What school leaders need to know about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) catch-up premium

Sep 3, 2020 | Finance Posts

The government has announced £1 billion of funding to support children and young people to catch up.

This includes a one-off universal £650 million catch-up premium for the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

This ensures schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time.

Although all children have had their education disrupted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it is likely that disadvantaged and vulnerable groups will have been hardest hit.

That is why, alongside the universal catch-up premium, the DfE are launching a £350 million National Tutoring Programme to provide additional, targeted support for those children and young people who need the most help.

What school leaders need to know about the catch-up premium and the National Tutoring Programme, including funding amounts and how funding should be spent.

The £650 million of universal catch-up premium funding will be available for all state-funded mainstream and special schools, and alternative provision.

It will cover:

  • primary, secondary and all through local authority-maintained schools, academies and free schools
  • local authority-maintained special schools
  • special academies and free schools
  • special schools not maintained by a local authority
  • pupil referral units
  • alternative provision (AP) academies and free schools
  • local authority-maintained hospital schools and academies
  • independent special schools

The funding will be provided to local authorities for pupils with education, health and care (EHC) plans who are educated in independent special schools based on the number of such pupils in their area.

Funding allocation

Schools’ allocations will be calculated on a per pupil basis.

Each mainstream school will be provided with a total of £80 for each pupil in years reception through to 11.

Special, AP and hospital schools will be provided with £240 for each place for the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

Additional weighting has been applied to specialist settings, recognising the significantly higher per pupil costs they face.

For example, a typical primary school of 200 pupils will receive £16,000 while a typical secondary school of 1,000 pupils will receive £80,000.

How payments will be made

The funding will be provided in 3 tranches.

Schools will be provided with an initial part payment in Autumn 2020.  This will be based on:

  • the latest available data on pupils in mainstream schools
  • high needs place numbers in special, AP, hospital schools
  • special schools not maintained by a local authority.

The second grant payment will then be distributed in early 2021, based on updated pupil and place data.

For mainstream schools, the 4 to 15 pupil headcount from the October 2020 census will be used.

For special, AP and hospital schools:

  • 2019 to 2020 academic year place numbers from the published local authority 2019 to 2020 financial year budget returns for local authority-maintained schools
  • the published high needs place numbers for the 2020 to 2021 academic year for academies and special schools not maintained by a local authority

The second grant payment will also take account of the initial part payment made in Autumn 2020.

Schools will receive a total of £46.67 per pupil or £140 per place across the first 2 payment rounds.

A further £33.33 per pupil or £100 per place will be paid during the Summer term 2021.

Though funding has been calculated on a per pupil or per place basis, schools should use the sum available to them as a single total.  They can then prioritise support for pupils according to their need.

As the catch-up premium has been designed to mitigate the effects of the unique disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19), the grant will only be available for the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

It will not be added to schools’ baselines in calculating future years’ funding allocations.

How the funds can be used

Schools should use this funding for specific activities to support their pupils to catch up for lost teaching over the previous months.

This needs to be in line with the guidance on curriculum expectations for the next academic year.

Schools have the flexibility to spend their funding in the best way for their cohort and circumstances.

To support schools to make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published a support guide for schools.

This uses evidence-based approaches to catch up for all students.

Schools should use this document to help them direct their additional funding in the most effective way.

Guidance to support the use of tuition will be published as part of wider National Tutoring Programme communications later in the Summer.

To support schools to implement their catch-up plans effectively, EEF has also published the school planning guide: 2020 to 2021.

This provides further guidance on how schools should implement catch-up strategies when they return in September and supports case studies to highlight effective practice.

Accountability and monitoring

As with all government funding, school leaders must be able to account for how this money is being used to achieve our central goal of schools getting back on track and teaching a normal curriculum as quickly as possible.

Given their role in ensuring schools spend funding appropriately and in holding schools to account for educational performance, governors and trustees should scrutinise schools’ approaches to catch-up from September.  This includes their plans for and use of catch-up funding.

This should include consideration of whether schools are spending this funding in line with their catch-up priorities, and ensuring appropriate transparency for parents.

National Tutoring Programme

Although all children have had their education disrupted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it is likely that disadvantaged and vulnerable groups will have been hardest hit.

That is why, alongside the universal catch-up premium, the DfE are launching a £350 million National Tutoring Programme to provide additional, targeted support for those children and young people who need the most help.

The programme will comprise of at least 3 parts in the 2020 to 2021 academic year, including:

  • a 5 to 16 programme that will make high-quality tuition available to 5 to 16-year olds in state-funded primary and secondary schools.  This will be from the second half of Autumn term 2020.
  • a 16 to 19 fund for school sixth forms, colleges and all other 16 to 19 providers.  This will provide small group tutoring activities for disadvantaged 16 to 19 students whose studies have been disrupted as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • a reception year early language programme that will make training and resources available at no-cost to schools where additional targeted support for oral language would be particularly beneficial

For the full guidance, resources and links visit the gov.uk website here