Keeping up with developments...

Regarding the £1billion catch up programme announced by the government, an increasing number of questions have emerged around how the funding can be used and where it is coming from.

The Secretary of State confirmed that the £650 million catch up funding for schools is for all pupils and not just those who are in receipt of pupil premium or otherwise disadvantaged.  The DfE is expected to announce further information about this funding including how and when it will be distributed. Key sector voices continue to ask for reassurance that schools will be given autonomy to decide how to spend these funds and are not simply expected to use it all for tutoring and small group work.

Concerns have been voiced by some headteachers that funds are not being recycled, calling for confirmation this is in fact new money, with it since being reported that the £55million catch-up grant for Yr7 students who start secondary school academically behind their peers has been scrapped.

Additionally, the education secretary Gavin Williamson informed MPs that he will be consulting exam regulator Ofqual about the possibility of moving 2021 GCSE and A-level exams to later in the summer. This would give children some additional teaching time as a way of addressing the teaching lost due to school closures.

However, concerns have been raised about the potential ramifications of this change. ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton pointed out that this will either give exam boards a much narrower window for marking or mean that results will be published later, with implications for progression into further and higher education.