THOUSANDS of North East schoolchildren are set to benefit, after the success of an innovative bid by the University of Sunderland to help schools catch up on missed learning.
Earlier this year the Department for Education announced the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), a scheme designed to provide catch-up support to primary and secondary school pupils who may have missed out on lessons during the coronavirus pandemic.
A leading team from the University’s Faculty of Education and Society then helped devise a special Catch-up and Recovery course, aimed at trainee teachers, career returners, and recently retired educators.
These groups could sign up for the course to provide that much-needed helping hand to working teachers already under pressure.
And with a new lockdown announced over the weekend, the scheme is now more important than ever.
“This is a very exciting initiative… working in tandem with teachers to ensure all pupils are able to catch up…”
Now, the University has won its bid to be the provider for the National Tutoring Partners North East region, with just over £313,000 in funding coming direct from NTP. The scheme overall is worth £396,000.
Mikeala Morgans, principal lecturer and team leader, Initial Teacher Training, has been leading on the new programme, along with colleagues Allison Wilson and Kirsty Bell.
She said: “We will be working in collaboration with regional partners to recruit and train 350 excellent tutors to work in schools across the region.
“Our programme is designed to reach over 2,500 pupils from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 4 across the North East in English, mathematics, sciences, humanities and MfL.
“Tutoring will take place in small groups, and schools can opt for face-to-face or online sessions. This is a unique opportunity, with 75 per cent of tutoring costs funded by the DfE and 25 per cent by schools, to support the catch-up pupils who were out of school for a significant amount of time over the spring and summer.
“Our highly successful and experienced School of Education team here at the University of Sunderland are looking forward to training the tutors ready for their deployment in schools.”
She added: “Tutors will also receive high-quality safeguarding training to support them in this highly specialised role in schools.
“This is a very exciting initiative, which supports the development of graduates taking up tutor roles in schools, as well as working in tandem with teachers to ensure all pupils are able to catch up and reach their potential.”
The staff leading the programme have a significant amount of experience in developing, running and evaluating intervention support in schools and have carefully researched both the concept of the Catch up and Recovery plan as well as the supporting research which underpins it from the Education Endowment Fund (EEF)
“As the largest provider in the North East, we have introduced several initiatives during the pandemic to support schools, trainee teachers, children and parents.
“I’m very pleased that we have been awarded the contract to become a National Tutoring Partner for the North East region.
“Securing this bid is testament to the professionalism of the Initial Teacher Training staff team and our commitment and dedication to supporting children and schools in the region with their plans to deliver ‘catch-up’ and ‘recovery’ for those children who may have fallen behind with their education.”