Call for longer school days as part of £13.5bn…

Longer school days, summer lessons and letting pupils retake a year are among the measures needed help pupils catch up on lost learning during the pandemic, a report has suggested.  

A three-year funding package of £13.5billion is required in England to reverse the disruption to pupils’ education, according to the Education Policy Institute (EPI) think tank.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson should also offer more incentives for teachers to work in ‘challenging areas’ as part of its education recovery plans, the report said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already made £1.7billion of catch-up funding available in England to help children who have faced disruption from school and college closures due to Covid-19.

As part of the recovery package, this year summer school will be introduced for pupils who need it the most, while tutoring schemes will be expanded.

But the think tank said ministers will need to put in place an ambitious, multi-year programme of support to prevent total lost future earnings for pupils running into the tens of billions.

Longer school days, summer lessons and letting pupils retake a year are among the measures needed help pupils catch up on lost learning during the pandemic, a report has suggested. Pictured: Children wearing masks in school in Croydon

Longer school days, summer lessons and letting pupils retake a year are among the measures needed help pupils catch up on lost learning during the pandemic, a report has suggested. Pictured: Children wearing masks in school in Croydon

Longer school days, summer lessons and letting pupils retake a year are among the measures needed help pupils catch up on lost learning during the pandemic, a report has suggested. Pictured: Children wearing masks in school in Croydon 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson (pictured) should also offer more incentives for teachers to work in 'challenging areas' as part of its education recovery plans, the report said

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson (pictured) should also offer more incentives for teachers to work in 'challenging areas' as part of its education recovery plans, the report said

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson (pictured) should also offer more incentives for teachers to work in ‘challenging areas’ as part of its education recovery plans, the report said 

The report recommended a variety of policies to support pupils, including extending school hours to host sports clubs, social activities, games, pastoral support and academic programmes.

It said summer wellbeing programmes should be open to all school-aged children, rather than just targeted at Year 7s.

The government should also introduce a new right for pupils to repeat a year of education – where it is supported by their parents – to tackle extreme cases of learning loss after schools were first closed in March 2020.

The think tank added that extra payments given to teachers to work in ‘challenging areas’ should be doubled to £2,000 a year, extended to existing teachers, and focused on the poorest 20 to 25 per cent of schools.

Extra funding should also be given to schools to hire mental health support workers.

Natalie Perera, EPI chief executive, said: ‘If the Government is committed to building back better and preventing the harmful and long-term consequences of Covid, then it needs to provide a serious funding boost of around £13.5 billion over this parliament to schools, early years settings and colleges.

‘We are calling on the Government to implement a series of effective, evidence-based policies from this September to support children and young people – not only with their learning, but with their wellbeing and mental health too.’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already made £1.7billion of catch-up funding available in England to help children who have faced disruption from school and college closures due to Covid-19 (file image)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already made £1.7billion of catch-up funding available in England to help children who have faced disruption from school and college closures due to Covid-19 (file image)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already made £1.7billion of catch-up funding available in England to help children who have faced disruption from school and college closures due to Covid-19 (file image) 

EPI’s executive chairman David Laws said: ‘Over the last year, children have fallen badly behind in their learning, and those who are disadvantaged have suffered most acutely. 

‘We have seen the worst disruption to education in our country since the Second World War.

‘If the pandemic is not to scar this generation of young people, the Prime Minister needs to put in place an ambitious education recovery plan, based on sound evidence and sufficient funding.

‘If we fail to make good the lost learning, there will be significant adverse implications for skills, earnings, economic growth and social mobility.’

The Government’s education recovery commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins, is considering long-term proposals to address the impact of Covid on children.

Geoff Barton – general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders – said extending school hours and opting for summer schemes ‘have a great deal of merit as long as they are properly resourced and do not increase the workload of leaders and teachers to an even more unsustainable level’.

He added: ‘But there are also many other very important proposals in this package, including increased funding for disadvantaged children in the early years, and disadvantaged students in 16-19 education, which seem so obviously right that the Government simply must act.

‘In the meantime, we look forward to hearing from the education recovery commissioner Sir Kevan Collins on the plans he is currently developing, and we appeal to the Government to ensure that it backs up these plans with the funding that is so clearly required both immediately and in the longer term.’

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