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Disadvantaged Pupils: Support in 2022-23

Volume 705: debated on Monday 6 December 2021

18. What steps his Department is taking to support disadvantaged pupils during the 2022-23 academic year. (904579)

The Government have announced an additional £1 billion recovery premium over the academic years 2022-23 and 2023-24, building on this year’s recovery premium. It will help schools to deliver evidence-based approaches to support the most disadvantaged pupils. This funding is in addition to the dedicated schools grant pupil premium, which was £2.5 billion this year, and the national tutoring programme.

There are significant budgetary pressures within the dedicated schools grant, which affect a number of Government Departments. What discussions is my hon. Friend having to ensure that those challenges are properly addressed?

I often discuss with colleagues across Government areas of mutual interest, including how best we can support young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The autumn spending review committed an additional £4.7 billion to the core schools budget, including funding for SEND to help the sector respond to the pressures that it is facing. I am sure my hon. Friend will join me in welcoming the trebling of the budget for high needs capital, and the continuation of our safety valve programme.

For many years Wolverhampton’s education outcomes have been below those of our neighbours in the Black Country, and we are currently experiencing a youth unemployment crisis in our city. How will these measures help to reverse that trend in places such as Wolverhampton, where there are a significant number of disadvantaged pupils?

Employers tell us that good numeracy and literacy are key to securing employment, and our three-year £1.5 billion investment in the national tutoring programme—complemented by £2.5 billion for the pupil premium and the new two-year recovery premium, worth £1 billion—focuses on raising disadvantaged pupils’ achievements in those key areas for employment.

We know that additional face-to-face learning will be an important factor in helping students to catch up after lost time at school during the pandemic, especially, perhaps, disadvantaged young people. Can my hon. Friend update the House on the progress of the national tutoring programme, and what efforts is he making to ensure that young people in Mansfield who really need it are able to access it?

As I have said, the programme is on track in terms of recruitment, and like schools throughout the country, those in Mansfield can benefit from Government-funded tutoring to help children to catch up after months of lost learning during the pandemic. Mansfield’s schools can also take advantage of the chance to appoint an academic mentor, or to provide tutoring support in-house.