The first announcement of an Education Recovery Package was made in February 2021. The aim of this was, and is, to support children and young people who have missed key elements of their learning and development due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Funding of £700m was initially allocated for the Recovery Package, focusing on tutoring programmes, support for the development of disadvantaged children in early years settings and summer provision for pupils most in need.

More details of the Education Recovery Package have since been announced, with specific details provided for the forthcoming academic year (2021/22).

Details of the Education Recovery Package for 2021/22

Recovery Premium

A £302m Recovery Premium, which includes a fund to scale-up proven approaches, is new, one-off funding for state-funded schools for the 2021/22 academic year. This allocation of funding builds on the Pupil Premium and is aimed at helping schools deliver evidence-based approaches to support the most disadvantaged pupils.

The guidance on the Recovery Premium is summarised below. The full guidance from the DfE is available on the Government website.


All schools that are eligible for the Pupil Premium are eligible for the Recovery Premium. This includes:

  • mainstream primary, secondary and all through local authority-maintained schools, academies and free schools serving children aged 4 to 15;
  • local authority-maintained special schools;
  • special academies and free schools;
  • non-maintained special schools;
  • Pupil Referral Units;
  • Alternative Provision (AP) academies and free schools;
  • local authority-maintained hospital schools and academies.

Funding will also be provided to local authorities for eligible pupils they have placed in independent special schools, where the local authority pays full tuition fees, as recorded on their January 2021 alternative provision census.

Pupil eligibility

The Recovery Premium will be allocated using the same data as the Pupil Premium. Therefore, Recovery Premium funding will be provided to schools for:

  • pupils who are eligible for free school meals (FSM);
  • pupils who have been eligible for free school meals at any point in the last six years;
  • children looked after by local authorities and referred to as looked-after children (LAC);
  • post-looked-after children (post-LAC).

School allocations will be calculated on a per pupil basis. For mainstream schools, £145 will be provided for each eligible pupil in mainstream education and £290 for each eligible pupil in a special unit.

Other types of eligible schools will get £290 for each eligible pupil.

Additional weighting has been applied to specialist provision to recognise the significantly higher per-pupil costs they encounter.

In addition, a minimum payment, which the DfE is referring to as a ‘floor’, will be applicable. This is to ensure that schools will not receive less than a certain amount. The ‘floors’ are:

  • an eligible primary school will not receive less than £2,000;
  • an eligible secondary school will not receive less than £6,000.

As with Pupil Premium, the funding for looked-after children will be paid to the local authority and should be managed by the virtual school head.

School allocations and the conditions of grant will be published ahead of the first payment in September.

Payment schedule

The Recovery Premium will be paid to schools in four payments during the 2021/22 academic year.

For maintained schools, payments will be sent to local authorities on the last working day of each month in September 2021, December 2021, April 2022 and June 2022.

For academies, payments will be made on the first working day of each month in October 2021, January 2022, May 2022 and July 2022.

Using Recovery Premium funding

Schools are expected to use the premium on evidence-based approaches that best support pupils. The DfE refers to the Education Endowment Foundation’s Pupil Premium Guide, stating these activities should include those that:

  • support the quality of teaching, such as staff professional development;
  • provide targeted academic support, such as tutoring;
  • deal with non-academic barriers to success in school, for example, behaviour, attendance, and social and emotional support.

As with the Pupil Premium, schools can spend the Recovery Premium on a larger group of pupils, including those who don’t attract the funding. They also have the discretion to direct Recovery Premium spending to where they think the need is greatest.

The DfE has updated its guidance on the use of Pupil Premium and Recovery Premium funding. This now includes a specific template that must be used by schools to publish their strategy statements for 2021/22. This is a condition of the funding.

As previously mentioned, funding for looked-after children should be managed by the local authority virtual school head. They should work with schools, including the designated teacher, to decide how best to effectively use the funding to support looked-after children.

Reporting and accountability

Schools must demonstrate how they are using their Recovery Premium effectively. This includes reporting on their use of the Recovery Premium as part of their Pupil Premium strategy statement, which is referenced above.
In addition, as part of Ofsted inspections, inspectors may discuss plans schools have to spend their Recovery Premium funding.

Tutoring provision and expansion of the National Tutoring Programme

The scale of support for 5-16 years olds through tutoring provision has been expanded. New funding of £218m will be directed to the Tuition Partner and Academic Mentor pillars of the NTP, which is in addition to the £215m already announced for the NTP for the academic year 2021/22.

Funding of £579m has been allocated to the School-Led Tutoring strand of the NTP. This new school-led approach will work alongside the two existing routes of the NTP and will allow schools to take on local tutors or use existing staff, giving them more control over who they appoint to deliver tutoring.

The DfE are encouraging schools to use a combination of the three routes to meet the diverse needs of their pupils, while accessing the maximum available funding.

Under the School-Led Tutoring strand, all eligible state-funded schools and academy trusts will be given a ring-fenced grant to fund locally sourced tutoring provision, All state-funded schools and academy trusts with pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium will receive this ring-fenced grant.

Funding is allocated for around 60% of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium per school, and 75% of the cost is being subsidised in the 2021/2022 academic year. Schools and academy trusts will need to fund the remaining 25% through other budgets, such as the Recovery Premium or Pupil Premium. The subsidy rate for 2022/23 will be 60% and for 2023/24, it will be 25%.

The DfE has published guidance on the conditions of this grant.

As schools are able to have more control over who they appoint to deliver tutoring as part of the School-Led Tutoring activity, there are a number of ways they could source individuals. Guidance from the DfE states this could include existing staff, such as teachers and teaching assistants.

The NASUWT is making clear that teachers on staff at a school should not be required and cannot be contractually obliged to take on additional tutoring duties. This is particularly pertinent given that schools have, and will continue to, receive additional funding for tutoring and can use their Education Recovery Premium funding to pay for their contribution to the costs.

The DfE suggests that schools and academies can consider sourcing supply staff to deliver tutoring. The NASUWT asserts that supply teachers, with their wealth of experience and knowledge, would be particularly appropriate for this work.

The NASUWT is disappointed that this has not been explored fully by the DfE. The Union has publicly warned that the Government is falling short of its promised investment in education recovery by squeezing out and undermining skilled and qualified supply teachers.

The NASUWT has published additional guidance on the NTP and the offering for 2021/22, while School-Led Tutoring guidance from the DfE is available on the Government website.

Funding of £222m has also been allocated to fund an extension of the 16 to 19 tutoring provision and training and resources for the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme.

Extended school days and shortened holidays

As part of the wider catch-up provision, there has been some suggestion that school days could be extended and holidays could be shortened to help children catch up. While this has not been confirmed, it has not currently been ruled out either.

National Professional Qualifications

New funding of £184m has been made available for middle and late career National Professional Qualifications (NPQs). NPQs in Senior Leadership, Headship and Executive Leadership have been refreshed and will be delivered from September 2021. The DfE has stated that these NPQs are underpinned by the latest and best evidence of what works.

The current NPQ in Middle Leadership is being replaced with three new specialist NPQs for teachers and leaders who want to expand and strengthen their expertise in key areas:

  • leading teacher development;

  • leading behaviour and culture; and

  • leading teaching.

These will also be available from September 2021. We have provided more detailed information on our National Professional Qualifications (England) page.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Support for Teachers

The DfE has added to its range of practical materials for primary and secondary schools to use to train staff about teaching mental wellbeing. The guidance has been added to support relationship, sex and health education planning as part of education recovery. The resources can be accessed through the DfE website.

NASUWT position

The NASUWT recognises the profound impact the disruption from the pandemic has had on the educational progress and achievement of many children and young people, as well as their emotional wellbeing. This is notwithstanding the commitment, dedication and professionalism demonstrated by teachers and school leaders in delivering high-quality learning during the lengthy crisis.

While the NASUWT welcomes the announcement of ongoing additional funding, we do not feel it is enough given the detrimental effect the pandemic has already had in children’s lives. Education recovery cannot be truly meaningful unless it is taken seriously by the Government and properly funded. It can also not be at the expense of teachers and support staff in schools who, even prior to the pandemic, are under extreme pressure and struggle to maintain a work/life balance.

The NASUWT believes the Government must commit to recruiting a significantly higher number of staff to provide an ambitious programme that will deliver the education recovery that all children and young people deserve.

As part of a broader approach to deliver a continuous and sustainable recovery from the pandemic, the NASUWT stands firm that substantially more investment will be needed to provide increased capacity to meet the needs of children, young people and families.

The NASUWT also affirms that while activities held during the summer holidays may have a place, educational recovery is a long-term process. Schools will require ongoing, significant levels of support and investment to truly make a difference to lost learning that children and young people have faced. After more than a year of serious disruption, the NASUWT does not believe that summer schools will fully address this, regardless of how well any programme is developed and implemented.

Next steps

The NASUWT will continue to monitor for ongoing information and more details following announcements of the Education Recovery Packages and programmes.

We will be raising with the DfE our concerns over the potential impact this, or any future catch-up activity, will have on teachers and schools leaders. The NASUWT will also express our concern that this programme does not go far enough to deliver support for children and young people who have been disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic.

The Union is seeking prompt assurances that all programmes will be designed and implemented in a way that ensures the full range of teachers’ and school leaders’ statutory and contractual employment rights are respected and not affected in any way.

The NASUWT is also continuing to engage with the DfE to ensure we are a valued and informed representative of the profession as longer term catch-up plans are continually developed.