Earlier this year, the Government announced a £1billion fund provide catch up programmes. The funding is split as £650million for schools to use as they see fit, and an additional £350million to provide small group tuition.
In recent weeks, there have been reports that approximately half of the catch up funding allocated by Government has yet to be claimed by school leaders. This week, the Department for Education announced plans to extend the tutoring programme beyond 2020.
To gather insights on how this funding is being used in schools, the NSN Hub spoke to some free school leaders; here is what we found.
How they will use the funding
The free schools we spoke to have come up with a variety of uses for the funding: one school is using it to fund two part-time teachers, one with a maths and the other with an English focus, while others intend to use the funding to provide targeted small group tuition over the coming months. School leaders reported to us that the funding they received was often based on census data from last year, meaning it was less than they need.
Schools had catch-up programmes already in place
Free schools we spoke to already had catch-up programmes in place and will use the funding to expand them. Schools have planned to divide their pupils into groupings based on need to provide the best possible impact. Data has played an important part in this decision, as the schools have monitored pupil progress since lockdown so that they can be placed into appropriate groups.
Difficult to integrate tutor programme into schools
Schools we spoke to were less effusive about the National Tutoring Programme. One school leader said that a tutor from the scheme would not have the detailed understanding relevant to their students and curriculum; they went on to explain that their interventions aim to plug the specific gaps that children have missed over the last six months and that they didn’t think the programme would help.
If you would like to read the full interviews with school heads or if you are interested in joining the NSN Hub, please do not hesitate to get in touch here.