How should COVID funding be spent to help pupils catch up?

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Poll: Should the school day be extended to help students catch up?
Yes (110)
27.71%
No (287)
72.29%
BlinkyBill
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You might have seen recently that the government announced £1.4bn in funding over the next three years to help children catch up, having missed out on school during the pandemic (you can read more about it here).

This is way less funding than the Education Policy Institute recommended (£13.5bn) and even less than the then-Education Recovery Tsar Sir Kevan Collins recommended (£15bn - he actually resigned over the lack of funding eventually given).

But there's a big conversation happening about what that £1.4bn should actually be spent on to help kids catch up.

In February, you said extended school days were your least favourite option - yet Education Minister Gavin Williamson has said recently that this is 'still very much on the agenda' (see article above).

In a recent BBC article, students said the thing they need most is certainty.

So, what's your opinion?

How should you and your peers be supported to get back 'on track' with your learning?

What impact would it have on you if school days were extended?

If tutoring were an option, what kind would be best? Your own teachers? Private tutors? Group sessions? Individual?

Do you have other suggestions for what GCSE and A-level students need right now?

P.S. We speak with the Department for Education (DfE) regularly, and I'll be passing on your feedback in this thread directly to them.
Last edited by BlinkyBill; 1 month ago
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laurawatt
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Funding private tutoring was the first thing that came to mind
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vicvic38
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(Original post by laurawatt)
Funding private tutoring was the first thing that came to mind
Yes, having a pot that certain schools can offer funding from to pupils would be a good idea.

Personally when we were really behind on our GCSE computer science the best thing we did was two days in the holidays where we learnt literally all the theory.

The school day is already hard enough to get through for kids (I know I was snoring by the time ten to three came around) and so forcing kids to be at their desks for more hours is not helpful. Offering funding to schools to pay teachers/external tutors to create more learning opportunities in the holidays would be the better way to go. The issue there obviously is that the kids that need it most won't show up (be it out of want or out of need, they may need to care for siblings while parents are at work.) Those are the kids that are unlikely to listen in the classroom anyway, and definitely won't be in a listening mood if they have to stay behind.

Teachers also don't want this. They work long enough hours as is.

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. The reason educational outcomes are so poor in some areas is the deprivation. It's very hard to get through to kids living in poverty, and when you've spent the last 11 years stripping down everything that was helping them it's no wonder educational outcomes are rubbish.

The best they could do is let schools decide how they want to do it. They're the boots on the ground, they know the lay of the land best, and they know how best to reach the kids that need it.
Last edited by vicvic38; 1 month ago
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parmezanne
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School was tiring, but I feel like you have to make sacrifices to catch up even if it is only one more hour per day.
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laurawatt
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(Original post by vicvic38)
Yes, having a pot that certain schools can offer funding from to pupils would be a good idea.

Personally when we were really behind on our GCSE computer science the best thing we did was two days in the holidays where we learnt literally all the theory.

The school day is already hard enough to get through for kids (I know I was snoring by the time ten to three came around) and so forcing kids to be at their desks for more hours is not helpful. Offering funding to schools to pay teachers/external tutors to create more learning opportunities in the holidays would be the better way to go. The issue there obviously is that the kids that need it most won't show up (be it out of want or out of need, they may need to care for siblings while parents are at work.) Those are the kids that are unlikely to listen in the classroom anyway, and definitely won't be in a listening mood if they have to stay behind.

Teachers also don't want this. They work long enough hours as is.

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. The reason educational outcomes are so poor in some areas is the deprivation. It's very hard to get through to kids living in poverty, and when you've spent the last 11 years stripping down everything that was helping them it's no wonder educational outcomes are rubbish.

The best they could do is let schools decide how they want to do it. They're the boots on the ground, they know the lay of the land best, and they know how best to reach the kids that need it.
Agree with all your points The big problem lies with what/who decides how much each school gets? Also, for which students? Many in the ‘squeezed middle’ earn too much for bursaries and opportunities/initiatives provided for low income students but could not justify spending anything for tutoring.

I read this funding meant around £50 extra per pupil - I’d hazard a guess that’s around 2 hours worth of tutoring, for the typical GCSE student doing 10 subjects, that’s 12 minutes of tutoring per subject. (Obviously a longer time if the tutoring is done in group and if the funding is not going to every pupil)
///
To answer the OP, (small) group tutoring may be very beneficial, or funding for places programmes such as this (which is absurdly expensive for most)
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The RAR
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Say it loud and say it clear; NO
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04MR17
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Before anything else we have to appreciate that if the school day is extended, this will not be a temporary measure. If the school day is extended it will remain as such for a very long time.

Williamson's statements about schools allowing pupils to leave at 2.45 are really very misleading. There is a legal requirement for the number of hours of teaching pupils must have. What time the day starts and ends is up to schools, but they must provide at least that national requirement.

Suggesting the lunch break in schools could be shortened by half an hour would leave a huge number of schools with 0 minutes for lunch break. When I started school we had 25 minutes for lunch. You can't really get any shorter and schools have to adapt around their facilities in terms of capacity to feed their pupils.


When asked how the government should spend money improving the education of children, I would begin by spending money feeding children properly. Since the government so far has faced a lot of difficulty with that concept, frankly I wouldn't trust them with anything else until that basic step has been achieved. Feel free to pass this directly onto the DfE for me!
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Life1278
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(Original post by The RAR)
Say it loud and say it clear; NO
You WILL get far in life
a couple of cm's past the starting line tbh





but ill prolly be behind you still
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Life1278
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what weve missed is missed no point tryna catch up u can pour in trillions but we wont be able to take it all in quicker
SCHOOL LASTS 5 YEARS FOR A REASON, u cant shorten that time and expect the same outcome, exams should be shortened not extra school
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Life1278
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Before anything else we have to appreciate that if the school day is extended, this will not be a temporary measure. If the school day is extended it will remain as such for a very long time.

Williamson's statements about schools allowing pupils to leave at 2.45 are really very misleading. There is a legal requirement for the number of hours of teaching pupils must have. What time the day starts and ends is up to schools, but they must provide at least that national requirement.

Suggesting the lunch break in schools could be shortened by half an hour would leave a huge number of schools with 0 minutes for lunch break. When I started school we had 25 minutes for lunch. You can't really get any shorter and schools have to adapt around their facilities in terms of capacity to feed their pupils.


When asked how the government should spend money improving the education of children, I would begin by spending money feeding children properly. Since the government so far has faced a lot of difficulty with that concept, frankly I wouldn't trust them with anything else until that basic step has been achieved. Feel free to pass this directly onto the DfE for me!
👌👌🙄👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑😜
so tru
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Interea
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They definitely should not extend the school day... As someone who barely made it to school 4 days a week as is, longer days would have forced me to drop out for the sake of my mental health, and I'd hate for someone to end up in that position because the government couldn't be bothered funding an approach with some regard for student wellbeing

I can't see a better way forward than private/small group tutoring, with how patchy things have been it's inevitable that every student has different gaps they need to fill, and that is most easily fixed when they have a low pressure environment to ask any questions they need and keep questioning it until they understand. I'm surprised the government hasn't taken more of an interest in the pandemic volunteer tutoring programs for uni students to be honest - there were several thousand who volunteered with one organisation alone over this pandemic, it's beneficial for everyone involved (good experience for those considering teaching) and it'd be a lot cheaper if the government only had to fund keeping the basic infrastructure and key staff members going. Obviously it would be best if everyone could be reimbursed for their effort, but if there's this decently large pool of people willing to volunteer that time then I'm surprised they aren't doing more to tap into that.
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BlinkyBill
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Interestingly, a new survey of 700 head teachers shows they pretty much agree with what you've been saying here.

More than two in three (70 per cent of) school leaders believe one-to-one and small-group tutoring run by schools themselves should be the focus of education recovery – but not through the government’s flagship National Tutoring Programme, according to a snap poll by the NAHT school leaders’ union published today.

The most popular choices were one-to-one and small-group tutoring organised by schools (70 per cent), better support for pupil mental health and wellbeing (63 per cent) and increased allocations for pupil premium funding – which helps schools provide support to poorer children (42 per cent). (Article)
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Bookworm_88
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Who's stupid idea was it to make school day's longer? What sort of half-baked, ill-thought out plan was that!
I can assure you that no work would be done, everyone is already tired as it is, by the time 3 o' clock comes.. they're really just shooting themselves.
Last edited by Bookworm_88; 1 month ago
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lilyjoestar
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(Original post by BlinkyBill)
You might have seen recently that the government announced £1.4bn in funding over the next three years to help children catch up, having missed out on school during the pandemic (you can read more about it here).

This is way less funding than the Education Policy Institute recommended (£13.5bn) and even less than the then-Education Recovery Tsar Sir Kevan Collins recommended (£15bn - he actually resigned over the lack of funding eventually given).

But there's a big conversation happening about what that £1.4bn should actually be spent on to help kids catch up.

In February, you said extended school days were your least favourite option - yet Education Minister Gavin Williamson has said recently that this is 'still very much on the agenda' (see article above).

In a recent BBC article, students said the thing they need most is certainty.

So, what's your opinion?

How should you and your peers be supported to get back 'on track' with your learning?

What impact would it have on you if school days were extended?

If tutoring were an option, what kind would be best? Your own teachers? Private tutors? Group sessions? Individual?

Do you have other suggestions for what GCSE and A-level students need right now?

P.S. We speak with the Department for Education (DfE) regularly, and I'll be passing on your feedback in this thread directly to them.
Personally i don't think it would help, i'd much rather just catch up in my own time, it doesn't take very long.
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McGinger
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(Original post by parmezanne)
School was tiring,
Poor little snowflakes.
Out here in the real world, we work 9-5 and often much longer.
You really do need to stop being quite so precious.
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parmezanne
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(Original post by McGinger)
Poor little snowflakes.
Out here in the real world, we work 9-5 and often much longer.
You really do need to stop being quite so precious.
:lol:

Thank you for your concern. I currently work 'in the real world' longer than 9-5 so am fully aware of what constitutes hard work! :yep:

One does not negate the other. I used my brain all day from 8-6 on weekdays during sixth form rarely with breaks (so - longer than a normal working day) and went to bed every night at 9.30, exhausted. Weekends I did work all day Saturday. I found school tiring, and that's the bottom line.
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04MR17
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(Original post by McGinger)
Out here in the real world, we work 9-5 and often much longer. You really do need to stop being quite so precious.
Who is we?
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Poll: What factors affect your mental health most right now? Post-lockdown edition

Anxiousness about restrictions easing (28)
5.63%
Uncertainty around my education (57)
11.47%
Uncertainty around my future career prospects (59)
11.87%
Lack of purpose or motivation (66)
13.28%
Lack of support system (eg. teachers, counsellors, delays in care) (27)
5.43%
Impact lockdown had on physical health (21)
4.23%
Social worries (incl. loneliness/making friends) (53)
10.66%
Financial worries (30)
6.04%
Concern about myself or my loves ones getting/having been ill (20)
4.02%
Exposure to negative news/social media (32)
6.44%
Difficulty accessing real life entertainment (14)
2.82%
Lack of confidence in making big life decisions (48)
9.66%
Worry about missed opportunities during the pandemic (42)
8.45%

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