A BILLION-POUND government ‘catch-up’ package to help schools recover from lost teaching due to Covid has faced criticism for failing to provide enough money.

The government revealed a £1.4 billion recovery package last week - designed to help schools make up for lost learning to the Covid lockdown – which then led to the resignation of its education recovery commissioner Sir Kevan Collins.

The government’s education catch-up chief Sir Kevan Collins resigned last Thursday (June 3) in protest over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “half-hearted” recovery plan for schools which he said fell far short of what would be required.

Sir Kevan said the package fell “far short of what is needed" and warned it is "too narrow, too small and will be delivered too slowly.”

The £1.4 billion package announced for the post-pandemic catch-up programme for pupils comes after the education recovery commission had recommended a total of £15 billion.

Labour city and county councillor Lynn Denham said cutting back on funding now would create more damage further down the line.

“Unfortunately, this government doesn't have the best track record in listening to expert advice, particularly in education matters,” she said.

“Our children and young people have missed out on so much during the pandemic. It is a false economy to cut back now on the recommended support that children and families need to recover.

“We should also ensure that no child goes hungry. Hunger has a severe impact on learning and education inequalities.

“As more families in our city become eligible for free school meals, it is even more important that food programmes continue throughout the year, including school holidays.”

Councillor Marcus Hart, cabinet member for education at Worcestershire County Council, welcomed the extra money but did not say whether it was enough to help the county’s school recover.

“I welcome the latest announcement from government about the recovery package for education,” he said.

“Our schools have done a fantastic job throughout the pandemic to ensure children and young people have continued to receive a quality education.

“This additional funding will support schools to enable children and young people to engage in learning opportunities and experiences lost during the pandemic, contributing to their overall and longer-term achievements.”

Worcester MP Robin Walker was unavailable for comment.

Asked last week why there was such a shortfall between the government’s announcement and its education recovery commissioner’s recommendation, education secretary Gavin Williamson said the £1.4 billion fund was part of a “whole pack of measures.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said that more money would be "coming down the track" for schools.

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) thinktank had calculated that £13.5 billion would be needed to catch up on lessons disrupted by the pandemic.

The government’s catch-up plan, with £1.4 billion extra over three years in addition to the £1.7 billion already announced, will include £1 billion for 100 million hours of tutoring and £250 million for teacher training and development.

The EPI, which said primary pupils had lost up to two months of learning in reading and three months in maths, said the government’s funding amounted to £50 per pupil per year – a tenth of the required amount and much lower than the support from other countries including £1,600 per pupil in the United States and £2,5000 per pupil in the Netherlands.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “[The package] essentially equates to £50 per head: you compare that with the USA which is putting £1,600 per head, per young person, or the Netherlands, £2,500 per head. So what is it about those children in the Netherlands or the USA that makes them worth more than our government seems to say? It’s time to stop the rhetoric I think and start the action on behalf of children and young people.”