What assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 lockdown on (a) the attainment gap and (b) children’s mental health and wellbeing.
20 January 2021
Understanding the impact of COVID-19 disruption is a key priority for the Government.
The Department has commissioned an independent research agency to analyse catch-up needs and monitor progress over this academic year. This research is based on a large sample of pupils and will identify whether particular groups of pupils have been more affected by time out of school – including the most disadvantaged, those with historically poor outcomes, and those in particular areas.
The Government is providing a £1 billion catch-up programme, including a ‘Catch-up Premium’ of £650 million, to help address lost teaching time and support pupils’ social and emotional needs. Additionally, the £350 million National Tutoring Programme is an ambitious scheme that will provide additional, targeted tuition support for disadvantaged pupils who need the most help to catch-up.
The Department is working with the Department of Health and Social Care to understand the impact on children’s mental health and wellbeing. Public Health England is monitoring the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, including on children and young people, and have published a report about population mental health and wellbeing in England during the COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-surveillance-report.
The Department will also be convening a task force to look at the effects on children, young people and staff in the education system and we will confirm the next steps in due course.