Julia Harnden, Funding Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the government’s announcement that education recovery funding for secondary school pupils will double next year.
“The government’s announcement that it intends to double the rate of the education recovery premium grant for eligible secondary school students next year is obviously welcome and broadly in line with the extra £1 billion the Chancellor promised in the Spending Review last autumn.
“The confirmation today will allow schools to plan their budgets more accurately for the new academic year and to make important decisions regarding staffing from September. The expansion of eligibility to include all pupils in special and alternative provision settings is also a sensible and welcome addition.
“However, it is disappointing that the allocation for primary school pupils has not been increased. These children have suffered just as much disruption as those in secondary schools and the evidence indicates that there is still a long way to recover progress lost during the pandemic.
“Overall, we cannot share the government’s delight with the funding package announced last autumn, which lacks serious ambition and is far short of what is needed to help education recover. The extra funding will obviously help but the government has grossly underestimated the scale of the issue and needs to back schools with significantly more money to help children and young people whose education has been profoundly affected by the enduring disruption of the pandemic.”