Written Question on Schools: Coronavirus

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.

See more on: "Schools: Coronavirus"
Date Title Questioner
19 Jun 2020, 2:57 p.m. Mary Kelly Foy (Labour - City of Durham) Mary Kelly Foy (Labour - City of Durham)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to ensure that pupils who were eligible but did not return to school during the covid-19 outbreak on 1 June 2020 for safety reasons are not disadvantaged academically.

Answered by Nick Gibb - Minister of State (Education)

We want to avoid any child, whatever their background or location, falling behind as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Pupils in Reception, year 1 and year 6 have been returning to school in smaller class sizes, alongside the children of critical workers and vulnerable children of all ages, who continue to be able to attend. From 15 June, secondary schools and colleges have been providing some face-to-face support for years 10 and 12 and students aged in the first year of a two-year study programme, who are due to take key exams next year.

School leaders have explained that the level of challenge and nature of provision of remote education will vary across schools, and that schools need the flexibility to plan and provide remote education that is suitable for their circumstances. This includes considering the age of pupils. Remote education for younger children will typically need more involvement from parents, and parents are facing a range of pressures at this time. The Department has worked with teachers and school leaders to develop guidance on planning a curriculum and on remote education practice during COVID-19, which is at: www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-practice-for-schools-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Government has committed over £100 million to boost remote education. This includes: providing devices and internet access for those who need it most, ensuring every school that wants it has access to free, expert technical support to get set up on Google for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education, and offering peer support from schools and colleges leading the way with the use of education technology.

To support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education, the new Oak National Academy, launched at the start of the summer term provides at least 180 video lessons for free each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from Reception through to year 10. By 14 June, 3.4 million unique users had accessed the Oak National Academy website and 11.9 million lessons had been viewed.

For pupils who may not have access to technology, offline education resources are also available through the many hard copy resources offered by publishers across the country and from the BBC, which is broadcasting lessons on television. Its Bitesize Daily TV shows were watched by over 2 million households on iPlayer in the first two weeks of transmission.

We are working with a range of partners to explore how schools can best help their pupils to make up for time spent out of school.

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