AimHi summer school and the big catch-up
In June the UK government announced £1 billion worth of funding to help students in England catch up on learning missed due to Covid-19. So what’s the ‘catch-up’ package composed of and who will benefit from the funding?
Broadly the fund can be split into two parts. £350 million will be spent on a national tutoring program, designed to reach up to two million of England’s most disadvantaged children over the 2020/2021 academic year. A further £650 million is set aside for state primary and secondary schools in England to use over the same period. Head teachers will determine how the money is spent, however it’s expected to largely go towards small group tuition, which experts, including Peter Lampl chairman of the Sutton Trust and Educational Endowment Foundation, state is a cost-effective way to mitigate the impact of covid-19 on education.
While this news has been welcomed by parents and teachers, research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies finds that the £1 billion fund amounts to £80 per student, and just over 1% of additional funding for state primary and secondary schools. Which, given the scale of educational disruption this year, is deemed modest at best.
Will catch-up education be available in the rest of the UK?
The Scottish government has promised £100 million of funding for local authorities, with half going to 850 new teachers and 200 support staff. It is hoped the additional staff will help schools in Scotland prepare to reopen in mid-August and prevent further negative impacts due to missed education.
In Wales, pupils were able to return to school in phases for 3-4 weeks this past month for ‘check in, catch up and prepare sessions’. However, recent reports find that around 40% of students that were invited to return did not attend. The Welsh government also announced £29 million to help pupils catch-up, with a proportion of the fund going towards 900 additional teaching posts. For full-time Welsh students aged 16-19, £15 million of additional funding will go towards increasing support in light of Covid-19.
Earlier this month Northern Ireland’s education secretary announced that no additional money would be available to support schools reopening. However, about £700,000 of funding will go towards summer classes at 71 schools. The 50 mainstream schools taking part in the summer school program are expected to each admit about 30 pupils entering years 5, 6 and 7, who will be selected by schools based on their need to catch-up.
What else is on offer?
Funding from the government will be crucial to get the tutoring schemes and catch-up plans in motion. However, with the amount of time that students have spent out of education it’s evident that additional, affordable catch-up support is needed on scale.
To support this, in the last two weeks of August we are hosting our own big catch-up. From August 17th students aged 13-17 can join us for 2 weeks jam packed with live syllabus-focused lessons, all for free!
Matthew will be running sessions on GCSE Physics and GCSE Maths, Josh is looking after GCSE Chemistry, and Dr Hannah is taking on A Level Biology. For students that want help with English, get your anthologies ready because Phil will be running a lesson on how to analyse a poem. We’re also excited to introduce you to our newest teacher Jaz, who will be teaching a few subjects including music, computer science, and a special session on how to prepare for an art design project.
We want students to feel excited and confident about their return to school in September. Our aim is for the big catch-up sessions to prepare students, while igniting their curiosity and getting them inspired to work hard throughout the year. We’d love to get your thoughts on what you need help with, and how these sessions can best support you or your children.
As usual we’ve also got plenty of exciting guests lined up including, science communicator and biologist, Dr Sally Warring who will join us on Thursday 13th August at 2pm (UK time). As well as Dr Sarah Pearson, an expert on stars from New York University, who will be hosting a live on Thursday 20th August at 5pm (UK).