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Government responds to Education Committee questions on catch-up proposals

29 July 2020

The Education Committee published a letter from the Minister of State for Schools in response to questions on the Government's £1billion Covid catch-up fund.

In the correspondence, Nick Gibb MP responds to the Committee's questions on the distribution of funding and allocations to vulnerable pupils.

The Committee will conduct further work in September to look at the impact of lockdown on education and how well the extra money announced by the Government is being used to tackle the attainment gap between different groups of children and young people.

The Committee plans to consider the Minister's response and other areas of the Department for Education's work with the Secretary of State in a session in September.

Chair's comments

Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee, said:

“The Committee's work has been focused on how the most disadvantaged groups can be supported both during and after the pandemic. The Government's £1 billion Covid catch-up fund is very welcome. However it is important that this money is targeted at those children that need it most. There needs to be strong guidance from the Schools Minister as to what is expected.

We will be following this up with the Secretary of State when Parliament returns in September. Our Committee will also seek more details on the £350million National Tutoring Programme for those children and pupils who have been left behind during the coronavirus crisis.

Given that a DfE official has said that the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and the rest could widen by as much as 75%, it is vital that the Government acts to ensure that the years of progress in closing this gap is not now reversed. There needs to be a long-term plan for education and ensuring the disadvantaged have a real chance to climb the educational ladder of opportunity.”

Further information

Image: PA