The disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge effect on the education of young people.
Congratulations to all in Crawley who have received their GCSE and A-Level results over the last week.
My thanks to teachers and all school staff for their work in ensuring that students could be assessed while exams did not take place, and my gratitude to those involved in delivering additional activities as part of the Government’s summer school catch-up programme.
It is welcome that a number of secondary schools in Crawley will be among more than 2,800 which are hosting a summer school over the school holidays as part of this £200 million Department for Education initiative.
Summer schools will offer a range of academic and extra-curricular activities to enhance the opportunities for children to catch up.
As well as developing maths and English skills, there will also be sports, drama and music, in addition to the option of theatre trips, cooking classes and workshops with authors.
These sessions will also help pupils establish and build friendships ahead of the start of the school year, not only enhancing their confidence but also improving mental wellbeing.
I am acutely aware of the difficulties which pupils have faced over the last 18 months and have been raising the importance of catch-up support in Parliament. The Children & Families Minister confirmed to me that this assistance is being largely targeted towards children who need the most help.
So far, more than £3 billion in catch-up support has been committed as part of the Government’s long-term education recovery plan. This backing includes £1.5 billion invested in national tutoring, £400 million for training and professional development, and £200 million for summer schools this year.
This builds on the £650 million universal catch-up cash boost for schools this year and more than £300 million recovery boost for next year.
It is vital that opportunities to learn, study and develop are in place for young people. Some 40,000 students will be able to study and work abroad as part of the new Turing Scheme.
The programme will see 39 universities and more than 200 schools and further education settings throughout the UK awarded grants to support placements.
The Turing Scheme replaces Erasmus and the new programme is far more global in its reach, opening up work and placements in more than 150 countries including Canada, Japan and the United States.
It is targeted at all students, particularly the most disadvantaged. While the most privileged were 1.7 times more likely to benefit from studying abroad when the UK was part of Erasmus, it is expected that almost half of people taking part in the new scheme this year will be from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Henry Smith MP