Recommendations for longer school days is still under government review, says the Home Office minister.
Extending the school day is still up for consideration to support children in recovering lost learning after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Schools catch-up tsar Sir Kevan Collins resigned and chose not to mince his words in his damning critique of the government’s £1.4billion funding efforts. According to Sir Kevan Collins the funding “falls far short of what is needed” for the recovery plan.
He added: “The pandemic has affected all pupils but hit disadvantaged children the hardest.”
Home Office minister Victoria Atkins disagreed that disadvantaged young people hit worst by the pandemic had been failed by the plans. She believes the current government funding has assisted the young people who needed it.
She said: “The point about targeting those children who are most affected by the pandemic is absolutely what this money is about.”
She added that the education recovery fund was “very much focused on what we can deliver and deliver quickly”, disputing what Sir Kevan Collins said in his resignation statement about the package of support being “too narrow, too small and will be delivered too slowly”.
Longer School Days?
Previously, Sir Kevan Collins recommended the equivalent of 30 minutes extra every day. He suggested that schools and colleges should be funded for a flexible extension to school time as part of his long-term plans.
Victoria Atkins said the government was still reviewing the proposal.
Last Wednesday, Boris Johnson asked some young people visiting Downing Street whether they would like a longer school day.
And Ms Atkins told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are reviewing this recommendation about extending the school day.”
Last Wednesday, education secretary Gavin Williamson dodged the questions about an alleged dispute with the Treasury over funding, but he did admit “there will be more that is required”.
Victoria Atkins added: “What I do know is that Gavin is absolutely committed to giving every single child in this country the very best start that we can.”
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