Sport, music and drama ‘should be part of England’s pupil catch-up’

Extra hours of academic learning – as well as sport, music and drama – will be needed to help England’s pupils make up ground following the pandemic, the new education catch-up tsar says.

Sir Kevan Collins told the BBC it was important to “act quickly” on making arrangements for the summer and he said that summer schools “had promise”.

Sir Kevan said the most disadvantaged had lost up to seven months’ progress.

But he also stressed that children were “amazingly resilient”.

In his first media interview, he said the youngest children would “need to learn to play together” and to develop the language and social skills needed for school life.

The government is considering options including shorter summer holidays, summer schools and extended school days, with initial catch-up plans due to be announced in late February.


Marcus Rashford welcomes school holiday support climbdown

The government is to spend more than £400m to support poor children and their families in England, following a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford.

A winter grant scheme, to be run by councils, will provide support with food and bills, and a holiday food and activities programme is to be expanded. 

Rashford said it would improve the lives of almost 1.7 million children. 

The move represents a climbdown for the government, which had said Universal Credit was the best way to help.

From the package of support, a £170m ring-fenced fund will be distributed through councils, with at least 80% earmarked for help with food and bills. 

This will receive funding from the beginning of December until the end of March.

The holiday food and activities programme will be expanded with a £220m investment to cover Easter, summer and Christmas in 2021.