Sir Kevan Collins resigns! The school catch-up tsar has resigned after the government failed to meet up to the £15bn required for Covid catch-up funding.
Sir Kevin Collins became the school catch-up tsar in February of this year. His role was to create a long-term roadmap to help pupils close the learning gap caused by the pandemic.
Last Wednesday, he resigned from his role on the basis that the government fell short in funding for the recovery plan.
Earlier this year, The Education Policy Institute calculated that a catch-up funding recovery required £13.5bn while Sir Kevan Collins reportedly submitted plans costing £15bn to the government.
In a letter to the prime minister, Sir Kevan Collins said: “I do not believe it is credible that a successful recovery can be achieved with a programme of support of this size.”
A Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “The prime minister is hugely grateful to Sir Kevan for his work in helping pupils catch up and recover from the effects of the pandemic.
“The government will continue to focus on education recovery and making sure no child is left behind with their learning, with over £3bn committed for catch up so far.”
Last Wednesday, the government announced an additional £1.4bn over three years for catch-up recovery, to join the already announced £1.7bn.
£1bn of the extra funding was dedicated to 100 million hours of tutoring, specifically for disadvantaged pupils, and £250m for teacher training and development.
The resignation statement from Sir Kevan read: “A half-hearted approach risks failing hundreds of thousands of pupils. It falls far short of what is needed”
“The average primary school will directly receive just £6,000 per year, equivalent to £22 per child. Not enough is being done to help vulnerable pupils, children in the early years or 16- to 19-year-olds,”
The package of support “falls far short of what is needed”.
Sir Kevan Collins added: “The average primary school will directly receive just £6,000 per year, equivalent to £22 per child. Not enough is being done to help vulnerable pupils, children in the early years or 16- to 19-year-olds,”
“The support announced by the government so far does not come close to meeting the scale of the challenge and is why I have no option but to resign from my post.”
His resignation letter to the Prime Minister said: “When we met last week, I told you that I do not believe it will be possible to deliver a successful recovery without significantly greater support than the government has to date indicated it intends to provide.”
So what happens next? Will no disadvantaged pupils get left behind?
As Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said, the £1.4bn promised over three years is a “pretty hefty amount”. Did teachers expect too much?
Kevan Collins Resigns: Union Opinions
Many head teachers were very disappointed by the resignation because they were banking on more funding and execution.
Paul Whiteman, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, described the situation as a “damp squib” and added that “education recovery cannot be done on the cheap”.
He said: “It is completely understandable that Sir Kevan chose not to become a pawn in whatever game the government is playing.”
PM Boris Johnson reassured schools and parents that additional funding was “coming down the track”.
Sir Kevan Collins had reportedly requested funding for 100 extra hours of teaching per pupil which included for sports, music and the arts. All decisions about extra teaching hours, or longer school days, were paused dependent on getting more funding from the spending review.
Geoff Barton, head of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We are sad but not surprised that Sir Kevan Collins is standing down.
“We know that Sir Kevan had much bolder and broader plans but that these required substantially more investment than the government was willing to provide.
“He’s tried his hardest on behalf of children and young people, but, in the final analysis, the political will just wasn’t there to support him.”
Labour’s shadow education secretary Kate Green described the resignation as a “damning indictment of the Conservatives’ education catch-up plan”.
“He was brought in by Boris Johnson because of his experience and expertise in education, but the government have thrown out his ideas as soon as it came to stumping up the money needed to deliver them.”
Robert Halfon, chair of the education select committee said the government needs to “find the money from the back of the sofa”.
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