'Significant' investment promised to help pupils catch-up

Education secretary Gavin Williamson. Picture: PA Images

Education secretary Gavin Williamson. Picture: PA Images - Credit: PA Images

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has said the government will "pledge significant packages of investment" to help pupils catch up on education missed due to the pandemic.

During a speech in the House of Commons on Monday evening, Mr Williamson said helping children's education recover from the pandemic was "an absolute priority".

He said: "Helping our children recover from the impact of the pandemic is an absolute priority.

"Pupils, parents and staff have all experienced disruption and we know that continuous actions are required to help recover lost learning."

He told MPs that 250,000 children will receive tutoring this year who would not have had access to it previously, and more than 500,000 will be able to attend summer schools.

Mr Williamson added: "The evidence we have shows that disadvantaged children and those who live in areas that have been particularly hard hit by high Covid rates such as the North East of England and Yorkshire are among those whose learning is most likely to have been affected.

"We have always been clear and will continue to take the action that is required. This is why we continue to pledge significant packages of investment and targeted intervention to help them make up on their lost learning."

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Shadow education secretary Kate Green responded, saying the government had "failed children and young people" adding that they had "been betrayed" by Mr Williamson.

She said: "The government failed children and young people.

"They were promised that their education was the prime minister's number one priority but they've been betrayed by a secretary of state who has let them down once again, and by a prime minister who won't lift a finger for them when it comes to a row with the chancellor about prioritising the investment needed in their future."

Mr Williamson said the package would close the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.

He said: "The recovery package will not just go a long way to boost children's learning in the wake of the disruption caused by the pandemic but also help bring down the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers that we've been working so hard to get rid of for so long."