Government announces £1 billion Covid “catch-up” package

The Government has announced a £1 billion Covid “catch-up” package and says it hopes all summer holiday schemes will be able to open, providing it is safe to do so.

School and education - childcare and tax cuts

 

The Government has announced a £1 billion Covid “catch-up” package for primary and secondary school children in England for the academic year beginning in September.

The catch-up package comprises a general catch-up fund of £650 million and £350 million for disadvantaged pupils.

A National Tutoring Programme, worth £350 million, is to be set up to give the most disadvantaged young people access to private tuition over the 2020/21 academic year. The money will cover 75% of the costs with schools having top up from the £650 million pot.

A BBC analysis suggests the money will amount to around five students per class of 30 getting one hour’s extra tuition a week for the year. It says: “If the total £650m was spent on tutoring, and schools accessed all of the £350m available in subsidies, the Institute for Fiscal Studies says it would mean about £2,400 available per class of 30 for the year. This could give one hour each week to about five pupils in a class of 30.”

Childcare and further education providers have criticised the package for excluding early years education and young people over 16.

Neil Leitch from the Early Years Alliance said: “Given that quality early years provision plays a pivotal role in children’s long-term learning and development, it beggars belief that the early years sector has been excluded from this ‘catch-up’ package.

“Childcare settings across the country are working hard to provide the best possible support to those children who have missed several weeks of important early education. Why is it then, that once again, schools get much-needed financial support and early years providers don’t?”

The Government also said that its ambition is that all providers running holiday clubs and activities for children over the summer holiday will be able to open, “if the science allows”.

It will issue guidance  on safe opening shortly both to providers and parents. There are concerns that many holiday clubs will not be open over the summer, leaving parents to fend for themselves, given many have already used up their annual leave by now during the early stages of the pandemic.

 



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