The school day could be made longer to help children catch up on missed learning, reports suggest.
Government ministers are discussing the possibility of extending the school day so that children who have missed out on vital teaching during lockdown have more time in the classroom.
The Department for Education (DfE) is considering multiple proposals including charities and volunteers running out-of-hours classes and extra-curricular activities, meaning teachers may not be required to stay later.
DfE official are also reported to be examining the cost-effectiveness of adding extra classes to the start and end of the school day. Shortening summer holidays to allow more time for learning is also being considered, but it is thought this is less likely to happen.
Robert Halfon, chairman of the Education Select Committee, told the Daily Telegraph: "They are definitely considering all these ideas. I think they are receptive and thinking about it seriously."
“We should extend the school day but not necessarily ask teachers to do it. It could be funded by the catch-up programme and use civil society groups to provide sports or other support.
“It would hugely improve the mental health of children — they’ve been locked up so long.”
The DfE did not comment on the proposals but a government spokesperson said: “The government will work with parents, teachers and schools to develop a long-term plan to make sure pupils have the chance to make up their lost education over the course of this parliament – and we have just appointed Sir Kevan Collins to the role of Education Recovery Commissioner, to specifically oversee this issue.”
Last summer, some catch-up school programmes were put up to help kids who fell behind using the government's £1billion Covid catch-up fund.
This was recently extended with another £300million and a national tutoring programme.
Number 10 is currently preparing to reveal how it plans to ease the national lockdown later this month, with classrooms in England expected to re-open in some form from the week of 8th March 2021.
The devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland have both announced that some primary schools year groups will return by 22nd February 20201.