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UK PM’s ‘catch-up’ plan to help kids post lockdown

London: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled a 1 billion pounds ($1.24 billion) catch-up plan programmed for children who have missed school during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to the Department of Education.

The support package is aimed at giving millions of the most disadvantaged pupils access to one-to-one or small group tuition to make up for months of lost teaching time, the Metro newspaper reported on Friday.

It includes 350 million pounds for a “national tutoring programme” and 650 million pounds to be shared across state primary and secondary schools over the 2020-21 academic year, the Department said.

Head teachers will have sole discretion on how the one-off payment is spent.

In a statement, Johnson said: “This 1 billion pounds catch-up package will help head teachers to provide extra support to children who have fallen behind while out of school.

“I am determined to do everything I can to get all children back in school from September, and we will bring forward plans on how this will happen as soon as possible.”

The announcement comes after ministers were put under pressure to get children back to school amid concerns about the damage being caused to pupils’ attainment and wellbeing, said the Metro newspaper report.

But all pupils were not due to return to school until at least September after the Government was forced to abandon plans to get all primary school children back in class before the summer break.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the new package would “bring long-term reform to the educational sector that will protect a generation from the effects of this pandemic”.(IANS)

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