ASCL comment on NAO report on education recovery in schools in England

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the National Audit Office’s report on education recovery in schools in England.
“Schools and colleges have moved mountains to support students’ education recovery and we are very pleased to see the progress being made. This is in spite of education recovery funding falling so far short of what the government’s own education recovery commissioner recommended that he felt obliged to resign from his post.
“The government’s initial delivery of the National Tutoring Programme through private providers was overly complicated and switching to a school-led system, something we suggested from the outset, has been a big improvement. However, it continues to be hampered by the fact that it is only a partial subsidy and schools have to make up the rest of the money themselves. This year the NTP allocation to schools covers only 60% of the cost of tutoring and next year this will fall to 25%. With school budgets already under enormous pressure, this is simply unsustainable.
“It was disadvantaged children that were hardest hit by the pandemic, and government support for their educational recovery has been inadequate. The extra funding has been undermined by soaring inflationary costs for schools and colleges which have put pressure on all areas of their provision. As we return to more normal conditions, in a post-pandemic era there must be a renewed emphasis and investment by the government in support for disadvantaged children through from early years to post-16 education.”