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Covid-19: summer schools programme now open

Schools in England can now register to offer a summer school to help secondary aged children catch up some of the learning they have lost during the pandemic.

Which schools can apply?

The programme is open to state-funded secondary and special schools, non-maintained special schools and pupil referral units. It will also be made available to alternative provision for any pupils whose education was funded by the local authority outside of state place funded schools, including independent schools, non-maintained special schools, and other providers

Most schools will apply individually. However, smaller schools can work together to offer a programme.

Who is the programme for?

The programme is aimed at secondary aged children and each school running a summer school is free to decide which pupils will most benefit from attending. That said, the DoE has said that it expects most schools to focus on pupils making the transition into year 7 because pupils leaving primary school this year may have missed a significant proportion of key stage 2 face-to-face teaching and are likely to need additional support with English and maths.

How many weeks can schools offer? 

Schools are free to run a one or two week summer school and can involve different pupils over that time.

Which subjects should be taught?

It's up to the school to decide which subjects to teach, but you aren't limited to academic subjects. 

The DoE suggests that you offer 'strong enrichment activities' alongside academic content such as sports to encourage pupils to attend. These can include attendance incentives such as holding a celebration event on the last day of summer school for pupils and parents or a trip to the cinema. 

How is it funded?

If your school wants to run a summer school you'll need to apply for funding. The government has put aside £200 million for the programme. Funding is calculated on the basis of a school’s existing year 7 cohort. The daily rate for a pupil place is £59.70.

You can also top up and use additional sources of funding to support your summer school programmes, including using schools’ catch up premium, recovery premium or pupil premium.

Funding is paid in arrears. Schools won't be able to claim before September and will have to confirm that the summer school took place, set out the total number of ‘pupil days’ offered and confirm the total number of ‘pupil days’ attended. 

Academies will receive their funding directly in the October funding round. 

How do schools staff summer schools?

School staff will usually either be engaged on term-time contracts or contracts which require them to work 195 days a year (for those working full time). Most don't have to work during school holidays.

You therefore can't force your staff to work additional hours to either prepare for or teach at summer schools. If they are willing to work, you will need to pay them at their appropriate rates.

You can use supply teachers, initial teacher training trainees or volunteers provided you have in place and follow proper safeguards and are confident that they have appropriate skills and expertise.

What's the deadline?

The deadline to complete the summer schools sign-up form is 23:59 on 7 May 2021.

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