Government announces £1.4bn in additional ‘recovery’ funding
By Rachel Lawler
The government has revealed plans to spend an additional £1.4 billion on the next step of its ‘education recovery’ plans.
Around £1 billion of this funding will be allocated to 6 million tutoring courses for disadvantaged schools and an expansion of the 16-19 tuition fund.
A total of £400 million will be offered to early years practitioners and school teachers for training and support.
£3 billion support package
This new funding is in addition to £1.7 billion already promised to help children catch up on missed learning during the pandemic, bringing the total spend on education recovery to a little over £3 billion.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson commented: “The package will not just go a long way to boost children’s learning in the wake of the disruption caused by the pandemic but also help bring back down the attainment gap that we’ve been working to eradicate.”
6% of funding for early years
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: "It is encouraging to see the early years sector properly considered in this stage of the recovery plan, with a proportion of funding significantly higher than the government's initial announcements. Additional training for early years practitioners is particularly welcome since tight budgets leave many settings with little money to invest in upskilling the workforce.
"That said, even with this uplift, we note that the early years still only accounts for around 6% of overall recovery spending. As such, we hope today's news will soon be followed by further investment into our vital sector.
"What's more, since children have returned to settings in greater numbers, early years practitioners are by far the most concerned about their personal, social and emotional development. With speech and language development specifically referenced, we await crucial details of the programme to ensure areas like social and physical development have not been neglected.
"The government states that it is taking an evidence-based approach to recovery. Given that we know money spent in the early years offers the best opportunity to close the attainment gap, it must not seek to fall back on this one-off announcement, but continue to invest in this sector to ensure a high-quality early education for every child, not least those who have lived a large proportion of their lives under social distancing measures.