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Education: Disadvantaged

Question for Department for Education

UIN 95260, tabled on 24 September 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of school closures on the educational attainment of (a) Gypsies, Travellers and Roma pupils and (b) other pupils experiencing the poorest educational outcomes.

Answered on

2 October 2020

Although no full assessment has been made regarding the effect that school closures have had on the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, the Department has commissioned an independent research and assessment agency to provide a baseline assessment of catch up needs for pupils in schools in England. They will then monitor progress over the course of the year, based on existing assessments, to help us target support across the system. This research will make use of existing assessments that schools already choose to use and are typically taken by over one million children each year. This will allow the Department to assess how a range of groups are performing this year, including the most disadvantaged and those with historically poor outcomes.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department has made it clear that no child should fall behind as a result of COVID-19. Now children are back in school, teachers are assessing what support their pupils need to get back on track, and head teachers have the flexibility to spend their allocation from our £1 billion COVID-19 catch up fund in the way they think is best for their pupils, using approaches that are known to have the most impact. The Department also continues to provide pupil premium funding, worth £2.4 billion in the current financial year, which aims to reduce the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils.