In response to the release of school funding allocations for 2020/21, Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “We are pleased to see that the government has recognised the particular pressures on both small schools and SEND funding in determining funding allocations for 2020/21. These are issues that NAHT has been highlighting for some time and this announcement appears to represent a step in the right direction. We will now need to look carefully at the details to ensure that the money is actually getting through to the schools that desperately need it.
“NAHT welcomes the commitment of an additional £650m ‘catch up premium’, to fund additional programmes to help address pupils needs. Today the government confirmed the amount that each school will receive will be determined by the number of pupils on roll. A per-pupil allocation will take account of the size of the school but is unlikely to reflect the scale of the challenge faced. Schools serving the most deprived communities may find that additional funding may not go far enough to address the true cost of this crisis. It may yet be the case that their children will need additional support from government, once schools have had the chance to assess the needs of all their pupils.
“In the long-term, we hope that the National Tutoring Programme will become a trusted source of support to schools, in helping to address the needs of pupils that have fallen behind. This will require sustained commitment and increased investment from government, beyond this year. In the short-term, the tutoring programme is unlikely to figure in many schools’ plans for ‘catch-up’, simply because additional support is likely to arrive too late for most. Schools will be working from day one to assess and address the needs of their pupils. Government have said to schools to plan on the basis that their curriculum should return to normal by the start of the summer term, yet the tutoring programme will only start ramping up in Spring 2021. It appears that the cavalry may arrive too late to be of help to many schools as a response to the immediate crisis."
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