Education catch-up czar Kevan Collins has dramatically stepped down and warned Gavin Williamson that his £1.4bn catch-up fund is “failing” children learning during lockdown.
Collins, appointed to advise the government just four months ago, said the deal Education Secretary announced this on Wednesday “doesn’t come close to meeting the scale of the challenge”.
The former headmaster had demanded some £15bn in funding per student and 100 additional teaching hours.
But Williamson – whose new fund accounts for just a tenth of what Collins is seeking – is said to have lost the battle for more cash in Rishi Sunak’s talks with the Treasury.
Collins said in a statement that the amount on offer “betrays a devaluation of the importance of education”, adding: “After the most difficult years, a comprehensive recovery plan – adequately funded and sustained for many years – Will rebuild a strong and fair system.
“A half-hearted approach puts hundreds of thousands of students at risk of failure. The support announced so far by the government has not come close to meeting the scale of the challenge and therefore I have no choice but to resign from my position. is. “
He said the package of support was “much less than what is needed” as he warned it was “too narrow, too small and would be delivered too slowly.”
“The average primary school will receive £6,000 per year directly, the equivalent of £22 per child. Not enough is being done to help vulnerable pupils, children in the early years or 16 to 19 year olds,” Collins said.
Ministers say the total funding for lost education is £3bn and the new money will support 100 million hours of additional tuition for youth who were lost during the pandemic.
The agreement has been dismissed by unions and school leaders as “moderate” and “disappointing”.
Williamson on Wednesday brushed off questions about the confrontation with the Treasury, but acknowledged that “more will be needed”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised there would be “more to come” in England to support children who missed lessons during the pandemic after criticism from education leaders.
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A No. 10 spokesperson said: “Very grateful to Prime Minister Sir Kevan for helping students recover and recover from the effects of the pandemic.
“The government will continue to focus on the restoration of education and ensuring that no child is left behind in their education, having committed more than £3 billion to date.”
The Education Recovery tsar recommended that schools and colleges be funded for flexible extensions of school time – the equivalent of an additional 30 minutes every day.
But DFE’s announcement did not include plans to lengthen the school day.
Collins said: “A conservative estimate puts the long-term economic cost of education lost in England due to the pandemic at £100bn, with the average student missing 115 days in school.
“In parts of the country where schools have been closed for longer periods, such as the North, the impact of low skills on productivity is likely to be particularly severe.
“The pandemic has affected all students but disadvantaged children the most. A decade of progress has been reversed in bridging the achievement gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.
“As part of the proposed plan to the government, I recommended a historic investment in my teachers, whose dedication throughout the pandemic has been inspiring. It is also true to expand access to tuition to support particularly disadvantaged children.
“Tutoring can provide valuable support that complements classroom teaching. But it is not a panacea and has to be of high quality to make a difference.
“This is one of the reasons why I recommend schools and colleges to extend school hours for a fixed, three-year period, and to provide significant funding for the flexible extension of school hours, with an additional 30 minutes every day. Is equal.
“From a teacher’s point of view, while the extra time would have been optional and paying, schools also use the time to offer enriching activities that children have missed.”
DfE’s program includes £1bn to support up to six million, 15-hour tuition courses for disadvantaged students, as well as the expansion of the 16-19 Tuition Fund that will target subjects such as math and English.
Another £400 million will be spent on providing high-quality training for early years practitioners and school teachers to ensure the progress of children.
But the announcement made during the half-term does not include plans to lengthen the school day or shorten the summer break.
Collins, a former chief executive officer of the Education Endowment Fund (EEF), has over 30 years of experience working in the education sector.
He was appointed in February to advise the government on how to help children recover lost education during the lockdown.