Children who have fallen behind to be offered summer school

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Summer schools will help children who have fallen behind academically during the lockdown, the government has announced.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said that there is funding for schools to put on "great activities" over the summer, whether education-led or wellbeing-led.

Mr Williamson, speaking at a press conference this evening, said: "We're going to make sure we do everything can do to make sure children reach their potential – while looking at all issues – and we're not going to be timid in aspirations for them and the actions we need to take."

Mr Williamson also ruled out an extension of the school day, but said that the government has given schools "additional resource" so they can bring in extra staff or pay existing staff to come in to give "high quality support" for children.

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Mr Williamson said: "On the summer holidays, what we have done in terms of a £200 million programme is we want schools to be putting on great activities, whether it is education-led or even wellbeing-led, so we'd be hoping that schools can be offering that, draw down that funding in order to be offering that to children.

"Yes, we'd hope that schools are offering time in schools for children and that's why we've put the funding there.

"You ask about lengthening the school day – it is not part of the plan."

More details on the plans for the summer are expected to emerge in the coming weeks.

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Mr Williamson also said that face coverings will be worn by pupils at secondary schools and students at colleges and universities to reduce transmission of Covid.

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The Education Secretary also offered a public thank you to teachers and parents across the country.

He said: "I want to say once again a massive thank you to our incredible teachers, leaders, support staff and childcare workers.

"You have been going above and beyond to keep schools and colleges open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers, and to keep the remainder of young people learning when they're at home.

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"I also want to thank parents, who have been supporting their children while they learn at home.

"And I want to thank children and young people themselves, for their patience and resilience.

"I know it hasn't been easy. But you have adapted and done so much to make sure that you've been able to continue to learn."