Gavin Williamson tells LBC 'no corners have been cut' on education recovery plan

2 June 2021, 10:16 | Updated: 2 June 2021, 10:26

Education Sec asked if tutoring is being 'done on the cheap'

By Emma Soteriou

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson faced questions on LBC today amid accusations over a lack funding for new interventions as a part of the Covid-19 education recovery plan.

Measures announced include tutoring in small groups for students as well as improving teacher quality and extending the school day in a package worth £1.4bn. However critics have criticised the sum as "pathetic" and that a figure ten times higher is needed.

Tutors would not make more than £11 an hour, according to LBC's calculations, which Nick highlighted was "roughly what you would get working at a burger bar".

"Are we going to get crash-hot tutors delivering for that money, Secretary of State?" Nick asked.

Mr Williamson replied: "What you will also recognise is much of this tutoring will be done in small groups of maybe three children with a tutor.

"This delivers real benefit, has an amazing impact.”

"No corners have been cut. We have been rolling out this programme, and it’s delivering, it’s working, it’s having an impact on children.

"We want millions of more children to benefit from it and that is why we’re doing it."

Nick then challenged him on whether Chancellor Rishi Sunak refused to give him any more funding for the programme.

He sidestepped the question, saying: "I was absolutely delighted with £1.4 billion."

"What we are able to do with £1.4 billion is deliver massive expansion of tutoring, massive expansion in terms of teacher quality, and that is going to have a direct impact," he added.

"Did you ask for more in the region of five to six billion pounds, Secretary of State?" asked Nick.

"Nick, it is incredibly tempting to get involved in divulging to you private conversations with the Chancellor and Prime Minister, but I am going to possibly side-step this one." Mr Williamson said.

Read more: Ministers ‘planning longer school days’ to catch up on lost learning during Covid crisis

Read more: Nearly two in five parents ‘spending more on children’s education this year’

Williamson: "I've never known a union to say this is enough money"

When explaining the recovery plan, Mr Williamson said: "These are interventions that are going to be impacting on children straight away – immediately.

"Yes, we have more work to be done as part of a process, but this is going to be helping children when they are getting back into school."

Mr Williamson claimed it is not just about the academic side, but "the enrichment children get" too.

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