School days ‘to be extended’ to help pupils catch up after Covid lockdowns - what you need to know

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 8:05 am

School children could have to stay in class for 30 minutes extra in a bid to catch up on missed teaching due to Covid lockdowns, it has been reported.

Ministers are considering a £15billion plan to help pupils make up for lost time in classrooms after having their education disrupted by coronavirus restrictions, under a proposal revealed by The Times.

The proposal says that the UK Government will require children to stay in school for an extra two and a half hours each week from 2022, which would equate to an additional 100 hours of teaching per year.

It was reported earlier this year that the school day could be extended to assist pupils in catching up, with School Standards minister Nick Gibb saying it was one of the options being considered by Sir Kevan Collins, the government’s education recovery minister.

"I'm open to all ideas, we just have to leave no stone unturned in making sure that we can help those young people catch up from the lost education,” Mr Gibb told the Commons education committee.

Teachers could be given pay rises due to extra hours

Teacher training, tutoring and staff pay rises are mentioned in the proposal.

Officials are also reportedly considering a further year of education for sixth-form students if they are unable to finish their A-levels or courses on time.

The Times said the 56-page proposal was “90% complete” by 15 April, while a government source told the publication that nothing had majorly changed since then.

And insiders claimed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already been briefed on the document and is poised to give it the green light.

Unions had previously warned that such plans could pile extra pressure on teachers who already work long hours.

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union said: “Any proposals to change term times or holidays will need to consider that teachers already work more unpaid overtime than any other profession, and that excessive workload is the reason that many teachers and school leaders leave teaching.”

Pupils in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales were off school during the fresh national lockdown but returned at differing times earlier this year.