The first announcement of an Education Recovery Package was made in February 2021. The aim of the package 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. A £302m recovery premium was then allocated as one-off funding for state-funded schools for the 2021/22 academic year.

Since then, further details of the Education Recovery Package have been announced, with specific details provided for the academic year 2023/24.

Details of the Education Recovery Package for 2023/24

Recovery Premium Grant

The Department for Education (DfE) announced £1bn of funding to extend the recovery premium over two academic years: 2022/23 and 2023/24. It is focused on pupil-premium-eligible pupils and pupils in specialist settings, due to the additional impact of the pandemic on these students, however schools can use it to deliver evidence-based approaches to support any pupil they assess to be in need of additional support.

The 2023/24 academic year will be the final time the grant is provided to schools.

As was brought in for the 2022/23 academic year, this current allocation of Recovery Premium Grant (RPG) cannot be carried forward to future academic years. Schools must spend all of the RPG they receive in the 2023/24 academic year. Funding will be recovered where the DfE has identified that a school has not spent all of its RPG.

The current guidance on the RPG is summarised below. The full guidance from the DfE is available on the Government website.


The types of school that will receive an allocation of recovery premium are:

  • 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 (PRUs);

  • 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.

Pupil eligibility

The Recovery Premium Grant 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), including eligible children of families who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF);

  • pupils who have been eligible for FSM at any point in the last six years;

  • children looked after by local authorities and referred to as looked-after children (LAC); and

  • previously looked-after children (PLAC).

For other eligible schools, and special educational needs units in mainstream schools, recovery premium allocations for 2023 to 2024 will be based on all pupils registered at the school.


School allocations will be calculated on a per pupil basis. For mainstream schools, £145 will be provided for each eligible pupil in primary settings and £276 per eligible pupil in secondary schools. This higher rate for secondary pupils is in response to evidence that the pandemic has had a greater impact on their learning, and that they have less time remaining in school.

For other eligible schools, including special education units in mainstream schools, this rate will be doubled - £290 per pupil in primary education, and £552 per pupil in secondary.

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.

Payment schedule

The recovery premium will be paid to schools in four payments during the 2023/24 academic year.

The first payment for maintained schools should have been received by local authorities on 29 September. Subsequent payments will be sent on 29 December 2023, 28 March 2024 and 28 June 2024.

Payments will be sent to academies and free schools on 9 October 2023, 9 January 2024, 9 April 2024 and 8 July 2024.

For non-maintained special schools, payments will be sent in November and December 2023 and March and June 2024.

Using the Recovery Premium Grant

As with the pupil premium, schools can spend the RPG on a larger group of pupils, including those who do not attract the funding. They also have the discretion to direct recovery premium spending to where they think the need is greatest.

As previously referenced, 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.

Schools must use their recovery premium on evidence-based approaches to support pupils, which is also true for their pupil premium funding. The DfE has developed a list of approved approaches to help schools to use both grants effectively. This list can be found on page 7 of ‘Using pupil premium: guidance for school leaders’.

A specific template must be used by schools to publish their strategy statements by 31 December every year.

As well as the DfE guidance, schools may find the Education Endowment Foundation’s (EEF’s) guide to using pupil premium effectively a helpful resource.

It is important to note that while the list of agreed approaches includes tutoring, the conditions of the recovery premium grant for the academic year 2023/24 state that schools must not use the grant to meet their portion of the costs of tuition provided through the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). Schools should meet those costs from other funding sources, including the pupil premium.

The DfE states that the recovery premium is additional funding to provide further education recovery support, on top of the subsidised NTP offer, which is why this condition is stipulated.

The full conditions of the grant for local authorities, academies and free schools, can be found in the DfE guidance published on the website.

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.

Schools must declare they have spent the funding in line with the conditions of the grant, including that it has not been spent on the NTP. They must be able to demonstrate this upon request, and a tick-box declaration is on the 2023/24 year-end statement for the NTP.

Accelerator Fund

The Accelerator Fund was awarded a further £66m for its next phase in 2022, with the intention of increasing access to high-quality literacy and numeracy programmes in schools over the next three academic years. An element of this is an allocation of £41.5m to the EEF to continue with its work to gather evidence around effective programmes, to scale up existing programmes and support schools with implementation.

Up to £21m of the funding will be used to support Maths and English Hubs. Schools can find out about participation in the maths programmes by contacting their local Maths Hub, while more information can be found about English Hubs on their dedicated website.

Further information on the EEF projects and how schools can get involved is available on the EEF website.

Tutoring provision and expansion of the National Tutoring Programme

For the academic year 2023/24, the DfE has confirmed that all tutoring funding will continue to go directly to schools. The Department has stated this is to simplify the system and give schools the freedom to decide how best to provide tuition for their pupils.

Schools do not need to apply for NTP funding.

This NTP funding can be used to pay for 50% of the total cost incurred by a school to deliver tutoring. Schools will need to make up the remainder of the cost using the pupil premium or other core school budgets. As detailed previously in this briefing, schools can no longer use their recovery premium to fund the remaining cost of tutoring.

The Academic Mentors and Tuition Partners schemes that have been running since the launch of the NTP will continue for 2023/24. Guidance on all elements of the NTP has been published by the NASUWT.

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 that 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.

The DfE suggests that schools and academies 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.

16 to 19 support

In 2021, the Government announced an additional £800m over the three academic years 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25, to fund an average of 40 additional learning hours across each academic year for all 16-19 students. This is extended to students aged up to 24 who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan. Guidance on the new requirement for these additional hours can be accessed through the DfE webpages.

In addition, the 16 to 19 tuition fund is running until the end of the 2023/24 academic year. This will support students in accessing one-to-one and small-group catch-up tuition. The corresponding 16 to 19 tuition fund guidance has more information, including eligibility criteria.

Length of the school week

As part of the wider sphere around education recovery, the Government’s Schools White Paper, Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child, is proposing the introduction of a minimum expectation on the length of the school week of 32.5 hours for all mainstream state-funded schools.

While this is an expectation rather than a legal obligation, the NASUWT has been engaging with the DfE on the detail of its plans and will continue to do so.

National Professional Qualifications

The National Professional Qualifications (NPQ) offers for teachers and leaders have been updated for 2023/24. There are now four NPQs in specialist areas of teaching, designed for both classroom teachers and leaders. These are:

  • Leading teacher development;

  • Leading teaching;

  • Leading behaviour and culture;

  • Leading literacy.

There are now also four specific leadership NPQs:

  • Senior leadership;

  • Headship;

  • Executive leadership;

  • Early years leadership.

These new NPQs have been made available from September 2022. We have provided more detailed information on our National Professional Qualifications (England) page.

From 2024, two additional NPQs will become available:

  • a National Professional Qualification for Leading Primary Mathematics will be available from Spring 2024. This is for teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading primary mathematics teaching across a school, key stage or phase;

  • a National Professional Qualification for SENCOs will be available from Autumn 2024. This is a leadership level qualification, primarily for SENCOs, school leaders or aspiring SENCOs.

Continuing Professional Development 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 its relationships and sex education (RSE) 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 DfE’s commitment to 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.

Next steps

The NASUWT will continue to monitor for ongoing information and updates to the Education Recovery Packages and programmes.

We have raised with the DfE our concerns over the potential impact this, or any future catch-up activity, will have on teachers and school leaders. The NASUWT will also continue to 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.


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