Government continues to ‘pledge significant investment’ to help children recover missed learning, Gavin Williamson claims

The government continues to “pledge significant packages of investment” to help pupils catch up on education missed due to the pandemic, Gavin Williamson has claimed.

The education secretary’s comments come after the prime minister’s catch-up tsar Sir Kevan Collins last week quit and issued a stinging condemnation of the recovery fund for youngsters who have been affected by disruption during the COVID crisis.

Sky News understands the proposal put to the Treasury to help schools recover from lost learning was worth around £15bn, with 100 extra hours of teaching per pupil.

A £1.4bn package was unveiled by the government last Wednesday, with the plans denounced as a “damp squib” by unions.

Mr Williamson said on Monday that the total recovery package is now worth more than £3bn, including an extra £1bn that will be spent on tutoring courses for pupils such as those from a disadvantaged background.

In the Commons, the education secretary promised a “tutoring revolution” that would result in six million 15-hour tutoring courses for schoolchildren and two million 15-hour courses for 16 to 19-year-olds who need additional support to catch up.

And he said year 13 pupils will have the option for repeating their final year “where this is appropriate”.

He told MPs: “Helping our children recover from the impact of the pandemic is an absolute priority. Pupils, parents and staff have all experienced disruption and we know that continuous actions are required to help recover lost

He said 250,000 children will receive tutoring this year who would not have had access to it previously, and more than 500,000 will be able to attend summer schools.

Mr Williamson went on: “The evidence we have shows that disadvantaged children and those who live in areas that have been particularly hard hit by high COVID rates such as the North East of England and Yorkshire are among those whose learning is most likely to have been affected.

“We have always been clear and will continue to take the action that is required. This is why we continue to pledge significant packages of investment and targeted intervention to help them make up on their lost learning.”

Mr Williamson also thanked Sir Kevan for “his contribution to these efforts” following his departure.

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