Covid: Prioritise attendance, assessment and recovery over time, schools urged

Effective diagnostic assessment and a focus on “recovery over time” should be priorities for schools – rather than an obsession with “catch-up” – the Education Recovery Commissioner has told MPs.

Sir Kevan Collins was speaking during a session of the Education Select Committee focused on “Covid catch-up plans”.

He said that using the Covid recovery premium to carry out diagnostic assessments of students in order to “inform curriculum adjustments” for September could be crucial.

MPs on the committee also heard from Professor Becky Francis, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), who said that ensuring good attendance could be much more effective than measures such as extending the school day.

The hearing took place on Tuesday, March 2, and saw Sir Kevan repeat his warnings about the kind of language we are using in this debate. He said: "Catch-up isn't really the language I'm using – I think it's much more about recovery over time. Catch-up is part of it, but that isn't going to be enough – we do need something over the longer period. The disruption has hit children who face disadvantage more than others."

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