catch-up

Sir Kevan Collins has been appointed as the government’s “education recovery commissioner”.

Downing Street said in a press release this evening that Collins would “oversee a comprehensive programme of catch-up aimed at young people who have lost out on learning due to the pandemic”.

However apart from repeating a commitment to provide £300 million more catch-up funding this year, no further details of the programme have been released.

Prime minister Boris Johnson had also promised “specific initiatives for summer schools and a Covid premium to support catch-up”. The press release today said “potential plans” for summer schools would be “developed in partnership with the education sector”.

Collins was previously chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, one of the organisations running the government’s flagship National Tutoring Programme.

In his new role he will “work with government to deliver measures that will support children who have missed out on face-to-face education due to extended school closures.

“This will include addressing factors such as curriculum content and quantity of teaching time in the coming months, to ensure the impact the pandemic has had on learning is addressed as quickly and comprehensively as possible,” the press release added.

The announcement comes after Schools Week revealed this week the promised expert group to find solutions for uneven lost learning across the country had been “refocused”.

Johnson said Collins’ “experience and expertise will help ensure every young person is supported to catch up on their education and gain the skills and knowledge they need to be able to seize opportunities in future”.

Collins, who has worked in the sector for 30 years including as a teacher and director of children’s services, will report directly to the prime minster and education secretary Gavin Williamson. He will “consult closely” with parents, teachers and schools in the role.

Williamson added Collins is a “tremendous asset to those young people, their families, and everyone working in education who have my lasting gratitude for their efforts to support young people throughout the pandemic”.