Secondary schools are being asked to offer face-to-face summer schools as part of a multimillion pound catch up programme for children.
An additional £400 million of funding has been pledged, on top of the £300m pledged earlier this year in January.
The catch-up scheme is set to help children whose education has been disrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Part of the scheme involves summer provision for those pupils who need it the most, such as incoming Year 7 pupils, with one-to-one and small group tutoring schemes set to be expanded.
The programme includes a one-off £302m ‘Recovery Premium’ to help disadvantaged pupils in both primary and secondary schools. The money is set to fund the running of additional clubs and activities in the summer, or for evidence-based approaches to help students from September.
Face-to-face summer schools for secondary schools will also be funded by a further £200m.
However, Labour points out that the funding totals to 43p per pupil per day, and is less than the amount spent on the now controversial Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
Mr Johnson said: “When schools re-open and face to face education resumes on March 8th, our next priority will be ensuring no child is left behind as a result of the learning they have lost over the past year.
“This extensive programme of catch-up funding will equip teachers with the tools and resources they need to support their pupils, and give children the opportunities they deserve to learn and fulfil their potential.”
Sir Kevan Collins was appointed as the education recovery commission earlier this month by Boris Johnson to help oversee the government’s catch-up programme for pupils.
Collins is set to develop long term plans for evidence-based interventions to address the impact of Covid-19 on learning, after engaging with schools, colleges, charities and parents.
Sir Kevan said: “We know that ensuring all children and young people can make up for lost learning will be a longer-term challenge, and the range of measures announced today are an important next step.
“But this is just the beginning and I’ll be engaging with the sector, educational charities as well as families, to ensure this support is delivered in a way that works for both young people and the sector and to understand what more is needed to help recover students’ lost learning over the course of this parliament.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson added: “Our package of measures will deliver vital support to the children and young people who need it most, making sure everyone has the same opportunity to fulfil their potential no matter their background.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Summers schools will be of value for some pupils but it will be important not to overwhelm students. Recovery cannot happen in a single summer.”
The measure was called a ‘promising start’ by founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust, Sir Peter Lampl but he added that there were ‘no quick fixes’ and called for a consistent multi-year recovery plan.
He said: “The strongest evidence for accelerating learning is for increasing time for high-quality teaching. Targeted summer schools are one way to achieve this, and it’s good that schools will have flexibility to decide what will work best for them and their staff.
“However, it’s important to recognise the problem of teacher burnout that could be exacerbated by additional workload.”
Shadow education secretary Kate Green said: “This is not adequate and will not make up for the learning and time with friends that children have lost.
“There is no specific mention of supporting children’s mental health or wellbeing, which is fundamental to enabling their recovery from this pandemic.”
The long-awaited Sue Gray report has today detailed a ‘failure of leadership’ as the analysis of Downing Street parties is published in full.
The senior civil servant, who was tasked with investigating a number of alleged lockdown breaches in Number 10, specifically attacked ‘senior leaders’ in government in her thirty-seven page report.
The report, which also published a series of newly unearthed photos of the Prime Minister attending alleged parties, stated that many of the events investigated into ‘should not have been allowed to happen’.
Sue Gray wrote: “The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture.”
In the conclusion of her analysis, she also criticised the ‘attitudes and behaviours’ displayed by the leaders during the Covid pandemic.
Gray’s conclusion reads: “Even allowing for the extraordinary pressures officials and advisers were under, factual findings of this report illustrate some attitudes and behaviours inconsistent with that guidance.”
Another significant finding was that an ‘excessive’ amount of alcohol was consumed at a number of events, including one held on June 18th – reportedly a gathering in the Cabinet Office to mark the departure of a Number 10 private secretary.
The government’s former ethics chief, Helen MacNamara, previously apologised for an ‘error of judgement’ after being fined by the Met Police for this event.
The report states: “The event lasted for a number of hours. There was excessive alcohol consumption by some individuals.
“One individual was sick. There was a minor altercation between two other individuals.”
Gray also stated that the treatment of security and cleaning staff during this time period was ‘unacceptable’, writing: “I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. This was unacceptable.”
The report also published a series of text messages sent and received by Number 10 staff regarding the alleged lockdown events.
And perhaps most strikingly, Martin Reynolds, a top aide to the PM, was seen texting another member of staff via Whatsapp to discuss getting bottles of alcohol to the party without being seen by the press.
A text message sent to Reynolds from a Number 10 official read: “Drinks this eve is a lovely idea… Just to flag that the press conference will probably be finishing around that time, so helpful if people can be mindful of that as speakers and cameras are leaving, not walking around waving bottles of wine etc”.
At a later date, Martin Reynolds also sent the following message to a Number 10 special adviser about a news story which is not specified. The report says the message refers to the May 20th event.
His message read: “Best of luck – a complete non story but better than them focusing on our drinks (which we seem to have got away with).”
With regards to any disciplinary action, Gray says this is ‘outside of the scope of this report and is for others to consider’, but she does ‘offer a reflection’.
She says: “While there is no excuse for some of the behaviour set out here it is important to acknowledge that those in the most junior positions attended gatherings at which their seniors were present, or indeed organised.
“I have no doubt that they will have taken the learning from this experience and, while this is not a matter for me, I hope this will be taken into account in considering any disciplinary action.”
A boy has been found guilty of stabbing Ava White to death in Liverpool. The 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of murdering Ava, 12, at court today. The incident happened following a row over a Snapchat video, with the court hearing that a ‘chance encounter’ with the 14-year-old boy led to her tragic death.
Ava was stabbed in the neck at Liverpool’s Christmas lights switch-on last November, after asking a group of boys to stop filming her and friends, Sky News reports. A jury was told that the defendant then laughed and ran away following the attack, although the boy claimed he had acted in self-defence and denied murder. However, he was found guilty after the two-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
Family members were left in tears in court after a 20-second clip showing the stabbing – which happened on November 25th – was played.
The boy, who was found to have a 7.5cm flick blade, previously pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon.
Ava and several of her friends, who were all aged between 11 and 15, shared some alcohol together near the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool city centre when the boy and his friends saw them and filmed a video for Snapchat. Prosecutor Charlotte Newell QC said Ava asked them to stop filming before the boys started ‘jeering’ at her – she then ran towards them before the defendant ‘thrust a knife into the neck of this unarmed child’. She told the court: “His reaction at the time was to smirk, to laugh and to run away, leaving Ava to die whilst he sought to distance himself from his actions.”
Ava’s last words were ‘don’t leave me’, as she lay dying on the ground.
The court heard that the boy ‘began a conscious cover-up’ after the incident, attempting to discard his knife, phone and coat. When arrested he told a ‘series of lies’ about his movements at the time of the killing, the jury was told, saying he was playing Call of Duty at a mate’s house, before saying another boy had stabbed Ava.
While giving evidence, the 14-year-old claimed he was ‘scared’ Ava was going to ‘jump him’, and that he was only trying to ‘frighten her away’ because he was ‘scared’ – telling court he thought Ava was a boy and might have had ‘a weapon’.