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COVID-19: UK sets up one-billion pounds catch-up fund for schools

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday announced a new one-billion pounds COVID-19 catch up package of measures to tackle the impact of lost teaching time as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

Siddhartha Singh

Siddhartha SinghBy Siddhartha Singh

Published on 19 Jun 2020 2:30 PM GMT

COVID-19: UK sets up one-billion pounds catch-up fund for schools
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COVID-19: UK sets up one-billion pounds catch-up fund for schools
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London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday announced a new one-billion pounds COVID-19 catch up package of measures to tackle the impact of lost teaching time as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

The most disadvantaged pupils in England will have access to tutors through a 350-million pounds National Tutoring Programme over the year from September.

Primary and secondary schools across England will also be given 650 million pounds to spend on one-to-one or group tuition for any pupils they think need it to catch up on lost classes.

This one billion pounds catch-up package will help head teachers to provide extra support to children who have fallen behind while out of school, said Johnson.

I want to once again thank teachers, childcare workers and support staff for the brilliant work they have been doing throughout the pandemic. This includes providing remote education for those not in school, as well as face-to-face education for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, he said.

The UK prime minister stressed that he remains determined to do everything possible to get all children back in school from September, after what is traditionally a summer holiday period for schools in Britain.

While head teachers will decide how best to spend their one-off coronavirus catch-up grant funds, the government has directed that the bulk must go towards small group tuition for those most in need.

The Department for Education said the one billion pounds package is on top of the 14 billion pounds three-year funding settlement announced last year and recognises the additional work schools will need to do to help students to catch up.

We cannot afford for any of our children to lose out as a result of COVID-19. The scale of our response must match the scale of the challenge, said UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

This package will make sure that every young person, no matter their age or where they live, gets the education, opportunities and outcomes they deserve, by spending it on measures proven to be effective, particularly for those who are most disadvantaged.

"The plan will be delivered throughout the next academic year, bringing long term reform to the educational sector that will protect a generation of children from the effects of this pandemic, he said.

The National Tutoring Programme is designed to reach up to two million of England's most disadvantaged children. The UK government said it hopes that all providers running holiday clubs and activities for children over the summer holiday will be able to open, if the scientific data on the coronavirus infection rate allows.

Guidance will be provided to the education sector on how to implement the protective measures necessary to open safely, and to parents on how to minimise the spread of the virus if they choose to attend.

While primary and other early years schools were allowed to open as part of the first phase of the government's lockdown easing plans this month, most schools are likely to return fully only in September.

Some basic level of school availability has been kept running through the lockdown for children of key workers such as healthcare providers and food retailers who had to get to work and other vulnerable families.

The details for education measures to be put in place by the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be laid out over the course of the month.

(PTI)

Siddhartha Singh

Siddhartha Singh

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