izusek via Getty ImagesStudents at school wear N95 face masks. Teenage girl wearing glasses sitting at the school desk listening to the teacher.
A £ 1.4 billion catch-up plan to help children regain lost learning after Covid was rated “extremely disappointing”.
The Department of Education (DfE) announced the money for schools and colleges in England, highlighting that it is on top of £ 1.7 billion already pledged for lost education.
The money will give students up to 100 million hours of extra tuition, with 13th grade students having the option to repeat their final year if they are particularly hard hit by the lockdown.
However, the unions have stated that the package “is failing the nation’s children” and will not reach the £ 15 billion school principals hoped for. Some accuse Rishi Sunak’s Treasury Department of blocking further spending.
The DfE program includes £ 1 billion to support up to six million 15-hour tutoring courses for disadvantaged students, as well as an expansion of the 16-19 Study Fund, which targets subjects such as math and English.
A further £ 400 million will be used to provide quality education for practitioners and school teachers at a young age to encourage progress.
However, the announcement made during the semester does not contain any plans to extend the school day or shorten the summer break.
Government Commissioner for Education Kevan Collins is still considering long-term proposals to address the effects of Covid on children.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) suggested that there had been a behind-the-scenes battle to fund the restoration of education between the Treasury Department and the DfE as the “deal was less than a tenth of the Pounds is 15 billion, which were discussed ”.
He said: “This is an extremely disappointing announcement that is failing the country’s children and schools at a time when the government has had to step up and demonstrate its commitment to education.
“The amount of money the government plans to spend on restoring education is insufficient and shows a lack of recognition of the extent of the learning loss that many students experienced during the pandemic, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the school leaders’ union, NAHT, said, “It’s a wet squib – having some focus in some of the right areas just isn’t enough.
“The funds announced to support these plans are meager compared to the amounts that other countries have invested or even compared to government spending on business recovery measures during the pandemic.
“Education cannot be restored cheaply.”
WPA pool through Getty ImagesEducation Secretary Gavin Williamson
Whiteman added that the union was relieved that the school day extension was “suspended for the time being” as he warned that the guidelines could cut family time and leave less time for extracurricular activities.
Mary Bousted, Joint Secretary General of the National Education Union (NEU), said: “The government’s plans to restore education to the country’s students are inadequate and incomplete. Seldom has so much been promised and so little delivered. “
“The Ministry of Finance has shown in this meager offer that it neither understands nor appreciates the essential fundamentals of education for the country’s economic recovery.
“Failure of this magnitude to fund what is needed to restore education is a scar that it takes generations of children and adolescents to heal.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the fund. However, a review of the longer school days would be part of the next phase of the review.
He said: “Young people have sacrificed so much in the past year and as we recede from the pandemic we need to make sure that no child is left behind.
“This next step in our long-term catch-up plan should give parents confidence that we will do all we can to support retarded children and that every child has the skills and knowledge they need to reach their potential.”
It was announced when Labor released its £ 14.7 billion biennial restore education plan, calling for the expansion of extracurricular activities and improving mental health support in schools.