Young people in England will benefit from a series of summer activities and academic opportunities targeted at those who have suffered the most disruption to their education as a result of the pandemic.
The government has today (Tuesday 30 March) published new guidance for secondary schools to help progress plans for summer schools once they return from the Easter break, using the £200 million funding announced in February.
Summer schools will help pupils who have experienced the most disruption as a result of the pandemic. Guidance will provide advice ranging from academic support to sports and activities, mental health and wellbeing advice, and guidance for accessing premises.
Alongside this, the government will also work with a national supply contractor to give extra support for councils to deliver the Government’s expanded Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF), who will help to scale up plans for the summer, building on the foundations laid by councils, sporting organisations, charities and the voluntary sector when it kicks off during the Easter holidays from next week.
Following last summer’s HAF programme, which supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities, the programme will launch in every council across the country next week in line with remaining national restrictions, targeted primarily at those who are eligible for free school meals.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
"I know many students, parents, carers and teachers are in equal measures anxious and excited about what this summer might bring.
That’s why we’re providing clarity, issuing guidance as early as possible, so we can make the most of these opportunities. It will give local authorities, parents, carers and teachers the notice they need so they can make their summer plans to prepare large numbers of incoming year 7s for their first experience of secondary school, and to make sure the most disadvantaged children can make the most of the school holidays through the Holiday Activities and Food programme. I am confident this summer of enrichment and engagement in academic work will be a great success, tailored to local circumstances by their local authorities and also the wonderful heads and teachers who best understand the needs of their students."
The Department for Education is also publishing today the Conditions of Grant for schools and local authorities on how to use their Pupil Premium funding, expected to increase to £2.5 billion in total next year.
From September 2021, schools will be asked to show how their spending decisions are backed by evidence, and will need to publish an annual pupil premium strategy to make sure funding is targeted towards the most disadvantaged pupils.
Schools will be asked to sign up to run summer schools by the end of April, and confirm their plans in June. They will have the flexibility to target the funding to whoever they think could benefit most.
The government continues to encourage schools to consider summer school provision primarily for pupils making the transition into year 7, as this can be a challenging time for some students. A two week summer school can give pupils the opportunity to kick start any education recovery before they start a new school, as well as supporting their wellbeing through sports and activities.
Guidance is also available for local authorities to help them make the most of their HAF clubs during the school holidays. While Easter holiday club provision has naturally been affected by the ongoing pandemic, many areas will be offering some valuable face-to-face provision, and other areas are supporting families remotely. This Easter provision is an important milestone as local authorities prepare for their major delivery of the programme this summer. Wider support for vulnerable families is also available from the £229 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme, which has been recently expanded to cover the Easter period.