Connolly Foundation helping pupils catch up

The Connolly Foundation has joined up with the Harper Trust and the University of Bedfordshire to help children whose education has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic catch up on learning time lost over the past school year.

The programme will see trainee teachers get hands-on experience by teaching children from disadvantaged backgrounds in bespoke catch-up sessions at schools across Bedfordshire over the summer holidays.

Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by the impact COVID-19 has had on education, with the Institute for Fiscal Studies saying that such children could have lost up to two thirds of a year in learning.

The government has committed £1.7 billion in national funding but there are concerns from the three charities involved that there is not enough focus on helping disadvantaged children – the aim of this programme is to bridge that gap.

A spokesperson for the charities said: “We are excited to be working with each other and with the University to help tackle a national issue at a local level.

“We are determined that the pupils hardest hit by the pandemic should receive as much support as possible to enable them to catch-up with their learning and have the best possible chance to fulfil their potential.

“Our programme isn’t a generic tutoring package and so will provide schools with real ownership over what the pupils learn, how and when.

“We wanted our scheme to be as bespoke as possible and we’ve been working hard to match up students with schools to ensure the best fit.”

24 trainee teachers are delivering the catchup sessions and the charities worked with local employment specialists Allstaff Recruitment to place them directly into schools.

This is the latest in the The Connolly Foundation’s efforts to support school, college and university students to realise their potential, with the Foundation making £1.4m in grants over the past year.