COVID-19 has directly impacted all young people within education and training. Due to the pandemic, the academic year of 2019-2020 saw unprecedented changes; schools and colleges shut for long periods of time; teaching had to be completed online where possible. These changes had a negative impact on many learners, not all learners were able to access learning online, some didn’t have the technology or the ability. A deterioration in young people’s mental health has also been well documented by Child Adolescent Mental Health Services. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has acknowledged the disruption of Covid-19 and how it has impacted learners’ achievements and how the virus continues to impact their learning.
The 16-19 additional tuition fund has been made available for learners who are referred to as “Disadvantaged” (Disadvantaged learners include learners who have not achieved a Grade 4 and above in English and maths, learners with SEND, and learners who have barriers to learning). The fund has been made available for disadvantaged learners who have had their learning impacted by COVID-19.
Across Education & Skills 16-19 Study Programmes we have seen an increase in learners attending with learning difficulties and Education and Health Care Plans, many did not achieve a Grade 4 in the English and/or Maths GCSE June 2020 series. A percentage of these learners feel COVID-19 had a direct impact on their attainment, they also feel their study skills have been affected.
The additional tuition fund will be used to recruit an English and Maths Teacher who will provide small classroom-based learning across the Centres, these lessons will have a maximum of five learners in attendance. These additional learning sessions will allow learners to access a more tailored learning scheme. The fund will be used to fund two Learning Mentors who will provide additional Teaching Assistant support in the additional lessons and 1.1 sessions with the learner. The 1.1 sessions can support learners to develop their study skills and will also focus on raising the learner’s mental wellbeing and confidence. These staff will work holistically in a person-centered way to support the learner to achieve their learning aims.
Barriers identified for some of these learners are not having access to the internet or equipment. Funding will be used to purchase equipment, internet, and accessible software in order to remove these barriers. The Learning Mentors will support learners to develop their IT skills, this will complement the rest of their curriculum.
For learners to access the additional support, they will have to be referred using the Extra Tuition Fund Referral Form. The referral will need to clearly state how COVID-19 has impacted their attainment and how the support will move them closer to their learning goal. The additional tuition team will continually review the support offered to ensure this is meeting the individual needs of the learner.