Labour has warned that the government risks failing a generation of children in the East of England as new analysis shows that nationally just one in six pupils on Free School Meals, who are most likely to fall behind their peers, will benefit from programmes to help them catch-up on lost learning.
With 1 million children out of school last week, Labour is calling on the government to bring forward its planned spending to help pupils in the East of England catch up on lost learning.
Analysis by Labour shows that:
- 1,190,788 children on Free School Meals, who are most likely to fall behind their peers, will miss out on support from the National Tutoring Programme, when at full capacity.
- Only half of the National Tutoring Programme has been allocated for spending this year, with the scheme now being stretched over two academic years
- Fewer than one in five of the promised mentors are in place as we near the end of the autumn term, with the rest not expected to be in place until spring 2021; too late for many pupils sitting exams this year
In addition to the National Tutoring Programme, the government announced a one-off universal £650 million catch up premium for the 2020-21 academic year ‘’to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time’’.
In addition to the National Tutoring Programme, the Government announced a one-off universal £650 million catch up premium for the 2020-2021 academic year ‘’to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time’’.
However, since the government cut funding to help schools cover the costs of making classrooms safe during the pandemic, there are concerns catch-up funding, which is not ring-fenced, is being used to plug holes in schools’ budgets as they struggle to meet these additional costs. Wes Streeting, Labour’s Shadow Schools Minister raised concerns with Nick Gibb in a Westminster Hall debate on Monday after more than 780,000 people signed petitions raising concerns about the Government’s handling of education during the coronavirus crisis.
Labour is calling for the Government to bring forward the £1 billion of promised catch up funding, including keeping its promise that the £350 million for the National Tutoring Programme will be available this academic year to ensure thousands pupils who’ve been forced to miss school during the pandemic do not fall behind.
Wes Streeting MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Schools, said:
“It is completely unacceptable that the government’s plans will see the vast majority of pupils in most need of help unable to get additional tuition to make up for the learning they have lost.
“The government are failing to support the children who need it the most and breaking promises to parents and schools about the funding that will be available.
“They must urgently get a grip, bring this additional funding forward, and ensure that no pupil misses out on the support they need.”