Children and young people across the country have experienced unprecedented disruption to their education due to the pandemic. To remedy this, in June 2020, the government announced £1 billion of funding to support children and young people to catch up on missed learning:
- A one-off universal £650 million catch up premium for the 2020 to 2021 academic year to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for missed learning
- A £350 million National Tutoring Programme (NTP) to provide additional, targeted support for those children and young people who need the most help, including:
- A schools programme for 5 to 16 year olds
- A 16-19 tuition fund
- An oral language intervention programme for reception-aged children
How do I find out more about how my child’s school is using the grant?
Returning to normal educational routines as quickly as possible to help children and young people get back on track is critical to any school’s recovery. As a result, schools are given flexibility to spend their funding in the best way for their cohort and circumstances.
To ensure appropriate transparency for parents and carers, school leaders and governing boards are also urged to make sure that their school is publishing information about how the grant funding is being spent and what the impact has been on learning, attainment and pupils’ wellbeing. You should check your school’s website to see if any information about the grant has been published online.
National Tutoring Programme – What’s available to my child?
The programme, launched in November 2020, is aimed at supporting schools by providing a sustained response to the pandemic and a longer-term contribution to closing the attainment gap.
State-maintained primary and secondary schools in England will be able to access the two schemes offered, NTP Tuition Partners and NTP Academic Mentors, and use them to best suit the needs of their pupils. The programme also includes specialist provision to support students with SEND, including 17 providers who are able to support students in special school settings.
What if my child is not able to access additional support?
The programme is currently providing subsidised tutoring for up to 250,000 pupils, which is only 15% of the roughly 1.7 million children eligible for free school meals in England. In June 2021, the Department for Education announced an extension to the programme for a further two years with additional funding to be confirmed.
Unsurprisingly, the NTP has stated that it may introduce caps on the number of pupils per school who can receive tutoring, in the event the demand be too high for the programme. This can potentially mean that schools with large numbers of disadvantaged pupils have arbitrary restrictions placed on them, thereby limiting the number of pupils who can access help. This could further the attainment gap as some pupils will be unable to receive tutoring if there is a cap placed on numbers.
If you are concerned that your child may not be able to access the support for which they are eligible and would like a specialist lawyer to take a closer look at your situation, please call us and we can explore some options.