Blackpool schools to be watched to make sure Covid money spent properly

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Councillors called for an emphasis to be placed on improving and maintaining literacy standards.

 

Blackpool Council
Blackpool Council

The way schools spend their Covid catch-up funding will be monitored in order to ensure resources are used in the best way to help Blackpool pupils emerge from the Covid pandemic.

All schools in the resort have been eligible for the Catch-up Premium from the Department for Education (DFE) of £80 per pupil, and £240 per pupil for special schools and pupil referral units (PRU).

There will also be a recovery premium allocated for the school year 2021/2022, with the rates being £145 per pupil for mainstream schools and £290 per pupil for PRU and special schools.

Schools and academies must publish details on their websites of how the money is spent.

Members of the council’s children and young people’s scrutiny committee have agreed to carry out a comprehensive examination of the information to monitor how it is spent.

At a recent meeting of the committee, councillors called for an emphasis to be placed on improving and maintaining literacy standards.

Coun David Owen said: “I would like to see a lot of this additional expenditure spent on very basic stuff which is getting children leaving primary school able to read.

“It is at the very heart and soul of preparing them for life.”

Committee chairman Coun Paul Burdess also called for schools to focus on children who are struggling to read.

She suggested some of the catch-up funding could be used to purchase more books or bring in specialist reading assistants, and added it was clear the committee “would like to see how this money was being spent.”

It was agreed to carry out a detailed review of how the funding is used by all schools in Blackpool in order to provide a consistent approach across the town.

This will include examining the information published by the schools and inviting representatives from all maintained schools to justify their use of the funding.

Information already published on school websites shows it being directed towards additional staff, small group tuition, the purchase of additional technology such as laptop computers and enhanced pastoral care.