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18 June 2020

Government to launch £100m catch-up tutors scheme

According to one study, around 2 million students in the UK have done no schoolwork since lockdown measures against Covid-19 began.

By Rohan Banerjee

The government is planning to announce a one-year national tutoring scheme to help students catch up on lost learning caused by the UK’s lockdown measures against the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports. 

As part of the programme, schools would receive up to £100m of state funding to draft in private tutors from a set of approved agencies to deliver small group or one-on-one teaching.

According to research by the National Foundation for Educational Research, a third of UK students had not engaged with their lessons during lockdown, struggling to attend them either due to poor internet access or being distracted by aspects of their home lives. Another study by University College London’s Institute of Education found that approximately 2 million students in the UK – around one in five – had done no schoolwork since lockdown measures began.

In a bid to address the growing attainment gap between students from richer and poorer households, the government has partnered with BT to launch a free wi-fi scheme for those most in need. Students from poorer backgrounds will be given voucher codes and passwords to access around 5.5 million BT wi-fi hotspots to help with home-schooling.

In addition, the Department for Education has ordered more than 200,000 extra laptops and tablets, with over 50,000 wireless routers, to be assigned to poorer children via their local education authority. As of 14 June, the DfE had dispatched 114,536 devices capable of connecting to the internet, but recognised that the demand for reliable internet is even greater than that.

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In the coming weeks, the government will encourage schools to have one-on-one consultations with their students to review the progress they have made during lockdown, before deciding whether any additional support or catch-up learning will be required before the next academic year begins – which, at present, is still in September.