All the ways children could make up for missing out on school this year

9 February 2021, 11:06

The government is considering options to help children catch up
The government is considering options to help children catch up. Picture: Getty Images/PA Images

The government is reportedly considering different options to help young people catch up on their studies.

It’s been a tough year for pupils across the UK, with primary and secondary schools forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And despite the Prime Minister vowing to try and get schools fully open again from March 8, millions of children have already missed out on months of classroom teaching.

According to new reports, the government is considering many options to help young people catch up on their studies, including summer school and extra tutoring.

Here’s everything we know…

Summer school

It’s been suggested that Boris Johnson is considering the option of extending the term to see schools kept open an extra two weeks during the summer holidays.

Boris Johnson has said schools won't open again until March
Boris Johnson has said schools won't open again until March. Picture: PA Images

According to The Times, classrooms could be instructed to keep doors and windows open in a bid to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading.

Read More: Will schools open in the summer holidays in the UK?

Robert Halfon, the Tory chairman of the Education Select Committee, told the publication: "We have to reform the school year.

“There has to be change; things cannot carry on the way they did pre-Covid. From my discussions with No10, everything is up for debate.”

These plans would only apply to England, as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own lockdown rules.

Repeating the school year

There have been calls for children to be able to repeat a whole school year after missing out vital elements of their education.

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has said it could help pupils who have fallen behind, if their parents or carers agree.

EPI chief executive Natalie Perera said: "We are concerned that some pupils will have missed out on a significant amount of learning time because of the lockdown and issues with accessing learning from home.

"The government needs to consider urgently how it will support these students and, in doing so, it should also look at whether they should be allowed to repeat the school year if it's in their best interest."

But some education experts have warned large-scale repetition would create ‘a log-jam in the system’.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "We are interested in the EPI's idea of the right to repeat a year for students who have experienced extreme learning loss.

"In principle, this is worth consideration, but in practical terms it would need to be confined to small numbers or otherwise it would create a logjam in the system which would leave schools with more pupils than they could accommodate."

Longer school days

A longer school day is also reportedly being considered by the government to help children catch up.

According to The Daily Telegraph, officials at the Department for Education (DfE) are considering extending teaching hours to help disadvantaged kids.

This could involve using charities and volunteers to run out-of-hours classes and extra-curricular activities so teachers wouldn’t be required to stay late.

The DfE is yet to comment on the proposals, but a government spokesperson said: “We will invest a further £300 million in tutoring programmes, building on the existing £1 billion Covid Catch-Up Fund, but the prime minister has been clear that extended schools closures have had a huge impact on pupils’ education, which will take more than a year to make up.

“The government will work with parents, teachers and schools to develop a long-term plan to make sure pupils have the chance to make up their lost education over the course of this parliament – and we have just appointed Sir Kevan Collins to the role of Education Recovery Commissioner, to specifically oversee this issue.”

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