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Schools can now bid for share of £200 million to run summer schools

Gavin Williamson

Flagship summer schools programme opens today to help students recover lost learning 

  • Summer schools will be targeted at children who suffered the most disruption during the last year
  • Part of government commitment to help young people recover lost learning and build back better from the pandemic 

Schools in England can now register to offer a summer school to help children recover learning they have lost during the pandemic. 

Schools will be encouraged to bid for a share of £200 million in government funding to design summer schools for students who have experienced the most disruption. 

Incoming Year 7 students will predominantly be encouraged to get involved, to help them navigate the important transition between primary and secondary school following a year of disrupted learning.  

Summer schools will include a variety of activities from group activities such as sports to mental health support and academic catch up such as maths and English lessons. 

Summer schools are one part of £1.7 billion already invested by the government in ambitious catch-up activity over the next year, including high quality tutoring. 

A longer-term plan to help all students recover from the impact of the pandemic is currently under development, led by Education Recovery Commissioner Sir Kevan Collins.

 Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said

“Our resilient kids are now back in the classroom, seeing their friends and having all of the benefits that being in school brings. But we know that time out of school necessary to control the pandemic has had an impact on the learning of pupils right across the country. Additional support this summer – on top of the National Tutoring programme and additional funding for schools – will help boost learning and wellbeing plus help prepare those pupils about to start secondary schools.     

“We’re supporting schools to plan their summer provision as early as possible, and making sure parents and pupils themselves have the notice they need to plan their own summers. 

“I am confident that this summer of enrichment and engagement in academic work will be a great success, tailored to local needs by the wonderful heads and teachers who best understand the needs of their students.”  

NAHT comments on government ‘summer school’ programme

Today (Mon 26 Apr), the government has opened up the process for schools to ‘bid’ for a share of a £200m fund to provide ‘summer schools’ in August.

James Bowen, director of policy at school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Secondary schools will be thinking carefully about the merits of running a short summer school for students.  When it comes to their incoming Year 7, they will take into account their already well-established arrangements for supporting transition from primary schools. What we must not lose sight of is that these students still have seven years of education ahead of them – it is those years, rather than an additional week or two that will have the biggest impact.

“Some schools might feel that a summer school would benefit other groups of students more and the government’s guidance does contain that flexibility but schools will need to carefully consider the likely appetite from students and their families for such a scheme.”

Schools can sign up via an online form on to confirm their plans, with flexibility for schools to target funding at other groups of students dependent on their local circumstances. 

Parents should expect to hear from their schools over the course of May and June as they progress with their planning, but it remains at the discretion of schools which students they target their summer school offer towards. 

The government anticipates that a two week summer school will give students an opportunity to make up some lost academic ground before they start a new school. 

Summer schools should also offer an opportunity for schools to support students’ wellbeing, and schools should include activities such as team games, music, drama or sports activities, in their plans. 

Schools will need to determine how best to use the funding and staff the scheme to ensure that the extra time is used effectively.

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