SOME school children who have fallen behind on their work WILL have to attend summer ‘catch-up classes’
The Prime Minister today received a huge boost ahead of his announcement of the ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown on Monday, February 22 when Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer backed his plans to reopen schools on March 8, directly going against unions who have called for a more gradual return to classrooms.
While full details of the summer scheme are expected to be revealed by Boris Johnson at his live press conference at 7pm tomorrow (Monday) a source has told the Sunday Times that the plan so far is to give schools a hefty budget increase to hire external tutors and pay existing teachers overtime in order to help students who have fallen behind in their work during the lockdown to ‘catch up’ on their studies over the summer holidays. The plan will be to allow children time to play sports and enjoy some recreation time with their peers in the morning before knuckling down to their studies in the afternoon.
A source told The Sunday Times: ‘This is not just education support but also social support. We are acutely aware that pupils’ mental health has been impacted by not seeing friends or playing sport.’
The Government is also expected to offer an additional ‘Covid premium’ to schools who teach disadvantaged pupils, but former children’s commissioner Anne Longfield said in a statement on Saturday, February 20 that Mr Johnson’s approach so far has been a ‘national scandal’.
Ms Longfield said: ‘Two weeks ago the Prime Minister said educational catch-up was the key focus of the entire Government – yet we still don’t know if next month he is planning to take the Universal Credit uplift away from millions of families.
‘The two positions aren’t compatible. If the Government is really focused on educational catch-up, it wouldn’t even countenance pushing 800,000 children into the type of devastating poverty which can have a much bigger impact on their life chances than the school they go to or the catch-up tuition they get.
‘This is the basic flaw in how Government functions: different parts of the system know different areas of these children’s lives, but nobody connects the dots.
‘The Prime Minister’s promise to ‘level up’ is just a slogan unless it focuses on children.’
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