Secondary school pupils face longer terms and shorter holidays after summer as part of multibillion-pound ‘educational recovery’ plan – but exams may be easier too
- Government ministers are debating whether to lengthen school day or the terms
- Ministers ‘have already agreed millions of youngsters need more time at school’
- Next year’s 2022 GCSE and A-level exams will also go ahead in a pared back form
Secondary school children are likely to face longer terms and shorter holidays after the summer as part of a multi-billion-pound catch-up plan.
A ‘comprehensive’ programme for ‘educational recovery’ will be published by the Government next month – which may also see exams made easier.
Whitehall sources said ministers have already agreed that millions of youngsters need more time at school after suffering more than a year of disrupted education.
A debate is going on within government about whether to lengthen the school day by up to an hour, or extend the length of existing terms to add around a fortnight of extra learning.
A ‘comprehensive’ programme for ‘educational recovery’ will be published by the Government next month – which may also see exams made easier
The longer day would be used to provide extra lessons and tutoring for children who have fallen behind.
Other pupils would do extracurricular activities such as sport, drama, music or clubs, possibly run by community groups to reduce the pressure on teachers.
But sources said ministers are currently leaning towards extending the length of terms – a move that will put them on collision course with the trade unions.
Primary schools will also receive catch-up help but are unlikely to be asked to work a longer day.
Ministers are also looking ahead to next year’s GCSE and A-level exams, which will go ahead in pared back form.
Under one proposal, youngsters would be told in advance which topics will feature in their exams.
Ministers are also looking ahead to next year’s GCSE and A-level exams, which will go ahead in pared back form [File photo]
The idea is designed to recognise the fact that schools have had less time to cover the full syllabus.
The new plans are being drawn up by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and the Prime Minister’s education recovery tsar Sir Kevan Collins.
The Government has already invested £1.7billion in a catch-up project which will see many schools offer summer programmes in the holidays.
But the Education Policy Institute think-tank yesterday warned that at least £13.5billion will be needed over the next three years to reverse the damage to children’s education.
A report by the charity Education Endowment Foundation found that extending time at school could help pupils achieve an extra two months of learning, with disadvantaged pupils gaining the most.
But a survey by the National Education Union found that 98 per cent of teachers were opposed to the idea of longer days or shorter holidays.
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