The Department for Education has set out details of a £700 million funding package to help children and young people catch-up on missed development and learning due to the pandemic.
While some of the support will be focused on funding attainment-focused tuition programmes, a large proportion of the funding will be left for schools to decide how they spend it, based on need. Supporting children’s mental and emotional wellbeing so that they are ready to re-engage with learning has already been identified as a potential use of catch-up funding.
At Thrive®, we welcome this funding announcement and the opportunity it offers schools to prioritise mental wellbeing so that children are in a place where they are able to access learning and meet, or even exceed, attainment targets.
The new recovery package for England includes:
- A one-off £302 million recovery premium for state primary and secondary schools, building on the pupil premium, to further support pupils who need it most. The average primary school will receive around £6,000 extra, and the average secondary school around £22,000 extra.
- £200 million for an expansion of the National Tutoring Programme for primary and secondary schools, an extension of the 16-19 Tuition Fund for a further year to support more students in English, maths and other vocational and academic subjects and funding to support early years language development.
- £200 million will be available to secondary schools to deliver face-to-face summer schools. Schools will be able to target provision based on pupils’ needs but the government is suggesting they may want to initially target incoming year seven pupils.
Guidance published by the Department for Education last year on how to spend catch-up funding signposts schools to the Education Endowment Foundation’s Covid-19 support guide for schools. This document specifically refers to the suitability of initiatives aimed at benefiting pupils’ mental and emotional wellbeing.
The EEF guide says: “Interventions might focus on other aspects of learning, such as behaviour or pupils’ social and emotional needs, or focus on particular groups of pupils with identified special educational needs or disabilities.”
It also goes on to mention wider strategies that could be considered, including support for families and carers, especially if this is likely to increase children’s attendance and engagement with learning.
Thrive offers a whole-school approach to supporting the social and emotional development of children. It equips adults with the tools, skills and insights needed to help children and young people become more emotionally resilient so that they are better placed to engage with their learning and with life. Alongside our training, which is grounded in established neuroscience, attachment theory and child development, the Thrive Approach® also includes the Thrive-Online® web-based assessment and monitoring tool. This allows schools to identify social and emotional development needs, for individuals and groups of children, and to track progress as they move forwards. This data can be easily extracted and presented to use as evidence for reporting funding outcomes.
Schools which have embedded the Thrive Approach tell us that it works – with benefits often being felt in a short period of time.
Ben Travitzky, headteacher (acting) of Baltonsborough Primary School, in Somerset, said: “I cannot stress enough the value of The Thrive Approach in the short term. We have experienced a cultural shift in a matter of weeks…”
Thrive also works with schools to offer Family Thrive sessions which help parents and carers to support their children’s mental and emotional health so that children have consistency at home and in school with parents and carers working effectively with teachers to help children successfully engage with learning.