Students in the Wales community and across the country have experienced unprecedented disruption to their education because of coronavirus (COVID-19). Those from the most vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds will be amongst those hardest hit. The aggregate impact of lost time in education will be substantial and the scale of our response must match the scale of the challenge.
At Wales, we have the professional knowledge and expertise in the education system and the support of our community to ensure that our students are supported every step of the way in their education and recovery.
The DfE has allocated £650 million to be spent on ensuring all pupils have the chance to catch up and will be supporting schools to enable them to do so.
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published guidance on effective interventions to support schools. For students with complex needs, schools should spend this funding on catch-up support to address their individual needs.
There is also an allocation of £350 million for a National Tutoring Programme, intended to deliver proven and successful tuition to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.
Additionally, the DfE has set out the following Curriculum Expectations to ensure that all pupils, particularly disadvantaged, SEND and vulnerable students, are given the catch-up support needed to make substantial progress by the end of the academic year:-
Education is not optional – all pupils receive a high quality education that promotes their development and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
The curriculum remains broad and ambitious – all pupils continue to be taught a wide range of subjects, maintaining their choices for further study and employment.
Remote education – all the following key expectations need to be met:-
- Teach an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects from the start of the Autumn term but make use of existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important missed content. In particular, schools may consider how all subjects can contribute to the filling of gaps in core knowledge, for example through an emphasis on reading.
- Aim to return to the school’s normal curriculum in all subjects by the Summer term 2021.
- Plan based on the educational needs of pupils. Curriculum planning should be informed by an assessment of pupils’ starting points and addressing the gaps in their knowledge and skills.
- Develop remote education that is integrated into school curriculum planning. Schools should set out how they will allocate the additional funding to support curriculum recovery this academic year.
To support in achieving these expectations, the EEF has published a School Planning Guide 2020-21 which gives practical advice, proposing a three tiered approach that focuses upon
- High quality teaching
- Targeted academic support
- Wider strategies
As with all government funding, school leaders and governors must be able to account for how this is being spent. The impact and spending strategy for this catch-up premium will be reviewed at each school improvement meeting and shared with Governors throughout the 2020-21 academic year.