The billion pound plan to help kids catch up with school work

  • Watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Hannah Pettifer

The Government has pledged £1billion to help pupils catch up with their schooling but some teaching unions have warned it may not be enough.

During the lockdown, the experience children are having of home learning across the region varies drastically.

In Haverhill in Suffolk, Lucille Whiting home schools her five children - she says their experience has been largely positive.

Mum Lucille, like many, has been busy home schooling Credit: ITV News Anglia

They want to be back at school, they do miss their friends, in school with actual teachers is obviously a lot better than our setup at home even though they've been able to get on with it... This can't go on forever but I don't think this is going to have any drastic impact.

Lucille Whiting
Sarah has been coming into her school in Essex for a few weeks. Credit: ITV News Anglia

For the past 6 weeks year 12 student Sarah Weersing has been coming into school for her learning.

Her parents are key workers but she made the decision to come back to Saffron Walden County High because learning from home just wasn't working.

It's a lot easier to get work done, I don't find it distracting with other people at home but I have all my devices around me, it's hard to stay focussed whereas here I may have my phone with me but I'm just more in the mindset to get work done.

Sarah Weersing, Year 12 student
The PM wants all pupils back by September Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Prime Minister has said "every child" should be back in school by September following the announcement of the billion pound catch-up plan.

As a way to mitigate the time lost to lockdown, the PM is introducing a scheme which will see the most disadvantaged children in England given access to funds to pay for personal tutors.

The majority of the funding will allow schools to step in to cover lost teaching time.

£650m

to fund things like holiday clubs for pupils who have missed teaching time.

The Prime Minister on a visit to a school. Credit: ITV News
£350m

is being provided for a national tutoring programme for disadvantaged children

Mr Johnson said last week that school pupils would undergo a “massive catch-up operation over the summer and beyond” to get up to speed on work they have missed, with thousands of youngsters having been out of class since March.

But he is determined no more education time will be lost after the summer holidays.

"Provided we can make the classrooms safe, and I think we can, I want every child, every pupil, every student back in September and I'm sure we can get it done," he said.

Rachel Law runs a tutoring agency in Ely. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Tutor Rachel Laws says in the last week she's seen a big increase in calls from parents worried their children will not be able to catch up alone.

One of the ideas from the government is to use graduates which, in theory, is a great idea but in practice just because somebody is really good at a subject doesn't mean they're necessarily good at teaching it, so it seems like a really good idea and there's probably a glut of graduates that could help, but whether it's the best for students I'm not wholly convinced.

Rachel Law, Tutoring Agency Tutor My Kids
But unions have warned the money doesn't go far enough Credit: ITV News Anglia

"This billion pounds obviously it's welcome, but there are eight million children in our school system, so that's £120 per child and we're not sure that's going to be enough"

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, NEU
  • Click below to hear from Jerry Glazier, an NEU Executive Member based in Essex