Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has launched a new fund, totalling almost £1million, for secondary schools, including Pupil Referral units and SEND schools, to support pupils most at risk of falling behind in their education due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The School Covid Recovery Fund will provide cash, up to a maximum of £20,000 per secondary school, to support a range of interventions that schools can adopt to assist those pupils most in need of support and those that are most at risk of not been able to make up lost time in the classroom.
The mayor’s new fund will include support for young carers, looked after children and those who are at risk of not being in education, employment, or training when they leave school. This funding will enhance the existing support available through pupil premium and for those pupils who have special educational needs and disabilities.
Schools will be able to use the funding for a range of activities to reduce the impact of school closures during the pandemic lockdowns, including to provide more small group coaching and learning; counselling or support for mental health and wellbeing; catch-up study aids and teaching resources or for providing more pastoral support.
Mayor Houchen said: “Education has the power to dramatically transform lives and we need to do everything in our power to help pupils make up for any lost time, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“This new fund that I’m launching today will mean our secondary schools will have the resources they need so they can put the support in place to help those most at risk of falling behind in their education because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“With my wife Rachel being deputy-head at Conyers School, I have seen first-hand how tirelessly teachers have worked throughout the pandemic to help their pupils get the very best education they can in unprecedented circumstances.
“We would not normally fund schools directly, but because of the exceptional circumstances caused by the pandemic and its impact on education, I took the decision to set up this new fund because it is crucial that we do all we can to limit the long-term impact of the virus on our young people and their life chances.”