Children's catch-up funding

The National Audit Office report released today (1 February) shows that although the government has made some progress in supporting children to recover learning they lost during Covid, enough has not been done to support disadvantaged pupils and they remain even further behind expected levels of attainment.

The report details how far and quickly pupils have recovered learning. On average primary school aged children are between 2.2 months and 0.9 months behind in maths and reading and secondary school children are 2.2 months behind in reading.

However, disadvantaged children were 3.2 months behind in 2022 compared to 2.9 months in 2019. The National Audit Office warns that the gap for disadvantaged pupils has been consistently greater than for pupils overall.

Louise Haigh MP for Sheffield Heeley, said:

“The figures released by the National Audit Office are stark and layout in clear terms how this Tory government are failing our young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. They have not invested enough in ensuring children can catch up on the learning that they missed out on during Covid.

“The catch-up funding that the government pledged amounted to just £50 per pupil for three years, and this is compared with £1,600 in the USA and £2.500 in the Netherlands. In comparison this is a pitiful amount and shows that the government are not prepared to invest in our young peoples’ futures.

“They must focus on ensuring that all pupils and especially those from a disadvantaged backgrounds are provided with the help and support they need, to not only catch-up on the learning they lost during Covid, but to also boost their emotional and social learning. If they don’t, they will have failed a whole generation.”

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