Best Practice

A question of time? Priorities and considerations for the ‘catch-up’ funding

The Covid catch-up funding should not be used simply to create more ‘time’ for schooling, but should be used to make the most of the time we have and to get students to a place where they can re-engage with their learning. Jon Gibson and Ben Slater explain


This is an academic year that no-one could have predicted and school leaders are at yet another crossroads: while the second wave of the virus begins to take hold, schools must decide how to spend the £650m Covid-19 “catch-up” funding (DfE, 2020).

Over this last period, there has been a sharp focus on the amount of time that most students have not attended formal schooling on site. Some estimates put this at 38 per cent of the last academic year (Mulcahy, Menzies & Shaw, 2020).

The sum total of the time that children spend in school represents that school’s “season of influence” to improve the child’s life-chances. It is natural therefore to look at substituting this lost time. Is it the best bet however for bridging the perceived “learning deficit”?

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