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Covid-19 Closures: Educational Disadvantage

Volume 702: debated on Monday 1 November 2021

14. What recent comparative assessment he has made of the potential educational disadvantage due to school and classroom closures as a result of the covid-19 outbreak for (a) those eligible for the pupil premium and (b) other pupils. (903946)

According to Renaissance Learning, pupils were one to three months behind in their learning in summer 2021, with improvements since the spring. Pupil premium pupils were half a month further behind in primary and two months further behind in secondary. We have announced a new £1 billion recovery premium to support disadvantaged pupils, with extra support in secondary, to reflect the evidence. That is part of our £4.9 billion investment in education recovery.

I thank the Minister for his comments. Research from education charities, such as Teach First, has found that during the pandemic children from disadvantaged backgrounds were twice as likely to have fallen behind as those from more affluent ones. I am particularly concerned about pupils with special educational needs in Hampshire, who are falling behind where they should be. Has he considered any further measures to help them?

My hon. Friend is right to raise these concerns. We have consistently prioritised children with special educational needs, for example, by providing additional SEN uplifts in the catch-up and recovery premiums for 2020 to 2022. We also set an expectation that those with education, health and care plans would be able to attend schools throughout the pandemic and ensured that special schools remained open. We announced an additional £1 billion of recovery funding directly to schools to support catch-up over the two years from the academic year 2022-23.