As the Covid-19 crisis continues, the focus is shifting to supporting schools to tackle the impact of lost teaching time

DfE Catch up Funding – how to tackle the impact of lost teaching time

Most schools are emerging out of what could be considered Phase 1 of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Social distancing guidelines are being relaxed, safeguarding contingencies are becoming more streamlined and daily routines are becoming more, routine.

Whilst this happens though, focus on attainment, pupil progress and pedagogy is returning. And with data showing that school closures are likely to reverse progress made to close the gap in the last decade, the government is to invest £650m in the form of grants to primary and secondary schools in England.

The objective? To play ‘catch up’.

The DfE is feeding guidance on the details and the objectives of this funding through the EEF (Education Endowment Foundation). The EEF is a well-established national charity “dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement.”

You can read their guidelines document here:

In a nutshell, the main objective is to support schools to tackle the impact of lost teaching time, ensuring pupils are at the standard they would have been had this disruption not taken place. They intend this process (and progress) to start now and to continue through the summer and into the 2020/21 academic year.

A vital part of this process is around accountability; the DfE expects schools to get the best value from this additional funding and to be able to provide evidence of this value. The ideal scenario would be a set of data showing where pupils should be in terms of ability, where they are after this disruption and then data in the coming months showing that they are back at expected levels.

Tricky! And potentially onerous. This expectation is over and above recent COVID-19 challenges, which are over and above previous challenges, which still exist. And the extra sting in the tail? Gavin Williamson has explained that Ofsted is managing this process of accountability and reviewing of evidence.

Acronyms like Ofsted, the DfE and SATs coupled with words like accountability and evidence can easily cloud what is essentially good news for schools and for pupils. This is a new injection of funds designed to make schools more effective, and although the objectives are fairly short term, the investments made can have a long-term legacy if invested thoughtfully and appropriately.

Having read the EEF Guidance document in detail, and looked at surrounding commentary and statements, we’ve identified the key areas where we know technology can play a vital role.

Furthermore, each of the solutions we have identified facilitates evidencing of both activities and of pupil progress.

Technology supports the following objectives in the guidelines:

  • Pupil Assessment and Feedback
  • Year 6 Transition to Secondary School
  • Literacy and Numeracy
  • One to one and small group tuition
  • Evidencing results and value for money to Ofsted

As it’s clear EdTech can make such a large contribution, Elementary Technology, supported by Naace – the EdTech Charity, Learning by Questions and school leaders, are hosting an Explainer Seminar on Thursday 9th July at 3.30 pm.

The explainer seminar outlines the expectations on schools; what you’re being asked to do, what your objectives should be and our recommendations on how you can achieve them.

Crucially, it explains the simple measures you can take to provide evidence of progress and value to Ofsted when they come and knock at your door.

Click the below to register for this free information session


If you’re looking for more ways that you can bring budget back into your balance sheet, we wrote another blog about exactly that!

Please note there is now more information available since this webinar in July. Please contact us for the latest guidance.

If you have questions or would like some independent advice in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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