Summer schools face closure due to funding cuts

Summer schools face closure due to funding cuts

Summer schools for disadvantaged pupils face closures as a result of having their funding withdrawn.

These summer schools offer catch up lessons for 11 year-olds struggling in maths and English before they start secondary school.

In the past the Department for Education (DfE) has said of them: “Summer schools provide an excellent opportunity for secondary schools to help disadvantaged new pupils understand what and how they will be studying in Key Stage Three.

“It is also an opportunity for schools to help disadvantaged pupils who are behind in key areas such as literacy and numeracy to catch up with their peers.”

The Withdrawal of funding for 2016 was announced by the Education Funding Agency and has led to criticism that it is at odds with social mobility. A survey conducted by Let me Play of 140 schools found that nearly two thirds would not run summer schools without the targeted funding.

Amy Lalla, director of Let Me Play, said: “The decision is entirely at odds with David Cameron’s professed aim to increase social mobility and tackle entrenched social problems. It made a huge difference when additional funding was made available for summer schools three years ago: up to 2,000 schools have accessed the money.

“This is the point at which many disadvantaged young people fall by the wayside. They’re moving from being a big fish in a small pond to being a very small one in a very large, unfamiliar environment that often simply overwhelms them - and the impact on their attainment can be disastrous. If they falter at this stage, we know that many will never catch up.”

In response to the funding cuts, the DfE has encouraged schools to keep the summer classes open using the money from pupil premium.

A DfE spokesperson said: “Providing educational excellence everywhere is at the heart of this government’s drive to extend opportunity to all pupils. That is why we are protecting the core schools budget in real terms and the pupil premium rates for the duration of this Parliament.”

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