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Boris Johnson to launch £700million summer school programme to help pupils catch up

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Number 10/Flickr

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.

Number 10 / Flickr

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.”

Number 10 / Flickr

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.”

He added: “Fortunately, there already exists a wealth of knowledge within the profession about how to narrow achievement gaps. We need to trust schools to put in place a long-term approach based on what they know about the needs of their pupils.”

General secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton said it is ‘frustrating’ the £700m package has been ‘salami-sliced to such an extent that it may reduce its effectiveness’.

Explaining, he said: “Our view is that the total sum of the money should go directly to schools, colleges, and early years providers, rather than being diverted into other pots or ring-fenced.

“By allocating a large sum of money to the National Tutoring Programme and apparently earmarking another large sum of money specifically for summer schools, there is less available to schools and colleges to use for catch-up support in general.”

Number 10 / Flickr

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.”

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Sir David Amess MP has died after stabbing incident, police say

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Sir David Amess / Twitter & Richard Townshend

A Conservative MP has died after being stabbed multiple times in his constituency.

Sir David Amess was attacked during an incident at his constituency surgery, Sky News reported earlier this afternoon.

According to police, he was treated by emergency services but died at the scene.

Sir David represents Southend West in Essex, and was reportedly attacked at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.

According to Sky News, a man walked into his constituency surgery and stabbed the MP multiple times.

He received treatment at the scene for his injuries, with emergency services at the scene.

The road surrounding the location has been closed off while the incident is dealt with. 

Police said in a statement: “A man has been arrested on suspicion murder after a man was stabbed in Leigh-on-Sea.

“We were called to an address in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm today (Friday 15 October).

“We attended and found a man injured.

“He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene.

“A 25 year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.

“He is currently in custody.

“We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”

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Conservative MP Sir David Amess stabbed multiple times in ‘major incident’

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Richard Townshend

According to reports this afternoon, a Conservative MP has been stabbed multiple times in his constituency.

Sir David Amess was attacked during an incident at his constituency surgery, Sky News reports.

Sir David represents Southend West in Essex, and was reportedly attacked at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.

According to Sky News, a man walked into his constituency surgery and stabbed the MP multiple times.

The latest updates suggest he has been receiving treatment at the scene for his injuries, and police are reportedly at the scene.

The road surrounding the location has been closed off while the incident is dealt with.

Essex Police have confirmed a man has now been arrested. 

They wrote on Twitter: “A man’s been arrested following an incident in Leigh-on-Sea.

“We were called to reports of a stabbing in Eastwood Rd North shortly after 12.05pm.

“A man was arrested shortly after & we’re not looking for anyone else.

“We’ll bring you more info when we have it.”

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The Manchester Christmas Markets is moving to Piccadilly Gardens this year

Big changes for the Christmas Markets this year…

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Manchester City Council & David Dixon / Geograph

Manchester’s beloved Christmas Markets are making a grand return to the city this year, but its main hub will be found in a different location.

While the heart of the markets is usually centered around Albert Square, ongoing renovations to the Town Hall have forced them to move to Piccadilly Gardens, the council have confirmed today.

The area will be transformed into the ‘Winter Gardens’, with all the usual yuletide bars, market stalls and food huts.

Plans for the Winter Gardens also include a one-way system and separate entrances and exits, as well as a strict limit on visitors to limit the spread of Covid-19.

David Dixon / Geograph

They are also adding a fully accessible toilet to make the Winter Garden as inclusive as possible.

Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “It’s wonderful to welcome back our world-famous Christmas Markets and the addition of the Winter Gardens for the very first time.

“Manchester has been the capital of Christmas for twenty-two years since the very first Christmas Market arrived in the UK in 1999 and we know it was a huge disappointment that we had to scale back our celebrations last year.

“We’re making up for lost time this year and I can’t wait to see the transformation in the city centre into the festive wonderland we know and love.”

@mcrchristmasmarkets / Instagram

Last year, in what would have been the markets’ twenty-first birthday, the festivities were cancelled as a result of the pandemic, much to the dismay of Mancunians all across the region.

At the time, Councillor Karney said that even the proposed smaller markets didn’t meet public health approval, adding that the council ‘could never take any risks’ with people’s wellbeing.

He said: “We’ve cancelled everything. It’s not met our commercial and public health tests, so the three markets in those locations have been cancelled, and won’t take place. It was a million miles from the traditional Christmas Markets, which obviously people would have been very anxious about.”

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