Ahead of the opposition day debate, many constituents have contacted me about vital support for education recovery programmes.
Children have missed over half a year of in-person school. They have been supported by teachers who adapted impressively when they had to deliver remote lessons to pupils. I pay tribute to the efforts of pupils, teachers and parents during that period. Now that children are back in schools, they deserve an ambitious plan for recovery.
As it stands, the Government says its total education recovery package is worth over £3 billion. This includes access to tutoring and summer schools for pupils. Schools will have access to a catch-up and recovery premium, to access what their pupils need and make provisions to provide this. There will also be teacher training opportunities.
The Government’s plan amounts to £50 per pupil for the next three years, compared with £1,600 in the USA and £2,500 in the Netherlands. The Collins report, by the Government’s own catch-up tsar Sir Kevan Collins, called for an investment of £15 billion, which would have provided £700 per pupil. I believe the Government’s plan is therefore missing the bold action needed to boost children’s wellbeing and social development, increased support for mental health conditions and funding for the pupil premium.
The Education Secretary said that this is just one step on the road. However, Sir Kevan Collins, a highly respected education expert, says action is needed now to protect children’s futures.
The next stage of the recovery plan will include a review of time spent in school and college, and the impact that could have on helping children and young people to catch up. The findings of the review will be set out later in the year to inform the spending review.