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What is catch-up tuition funding and how can it be utilised in schools?

17/09/2020 Scott

The Covid-19 crisis put an unexpected handbrake on the academic year. While teaching staff, schools and other professionals put in an unprecedented effort to keep educating pupils throughout lockdown, there have been concerns around learning loss as pupils return to the classroom. To help mitigate this, the Prime Minister and Education Secretary announced in June a £1 billion Covid-19 “catch-up” package, designed to tackle the impact of lost teaching time.

student in school tuition writing in classroom

What is catch-up tuition funding?

As part of the £1bn package, the government has released £650 million to help pupils in England catch-up on learning they have missed while schools were closed. The funding is available from September and will be shared across state primary and secondary schools over the 2020/21 academic year. The government expects this will be spent on small group tuition, but ultimately teachers will be able to decide how the money is spent.

Who is eligible for the catch-up funding?

The £650 million in universal catch-up funding is available to:
Primary, secondary and all through local authority-maintained schools, academies and free schools
Local authority-maintained special schools
Special academies and free schools
Special schools not maintained by a local authority
Pupil referral units
Alternative provision academies and free schools
Local authority-maintained hospital schools and academies
Independent special schools

In mainstream schools from reception to year 11, the funding solution is capped at £80 per pupil. In special schools, alternative provision and hospital schools this is £240 per pupil. Payments will be made to schools in three tranches in September, January and May. There is also a 16 to 19 fund for small group tutoring activity in school six forms, colleges and other providers where disadvantaged 16 to 19 students have had their studies disrupted as a result of Covid-19.

How can the catch-up tuition funding streams be used?

Although schools have the flexibility to determine the best way to spend their funding according to their circumstances, they have been instructed to act in line with guidance on curriculum expectations for the 2020/2021 academic year. Schools should look to the Education Endowment Foundation’s support guide for evidence-based approaches to help direct the funding in the most effective way. According to the guide, the best way for children to catch-up quickly is through one-to-one and small group tuition.

School leaders must be able to account for how the funding is being used in line with the goal of getting education back on track as quickly as possible. Note that the grant will only be available for the 2020/2021 academic year and should be used to fund specific activities to support pupils catching up on lost teaching during lockdown.

What is the National Tutoring Programme?

In addition to the £650 million catch-up funding, a National Tutoring Programme worth £350 million will be launched in November. This is designed to provide extra targeted support for disadvantaged pupils aged 5-16 who need the most help. The school will pay 25% of the cost while the remaining 75% will be met by funding from the National Tutoring Programme.

The programme is comprised of two pillars: Tuition Partners, where schools can access heavily subsidised tutoring from an approved list of tuition partners, and Academic Mentors, where trained mentors will be employed in schools in disadvantaged areas to provide intensive catch-up support to pupils.

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