Educational attainment – Government action
UK Government actions
- In February 2021, the UK Government appointed an Education Recovery Commissioner focused on ensuring that children recover learning lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. The UK Government announced a package of £1.7 billion to support catch-up efforts.
- In January 2021, in response to the pandemic, the UK Government ordered schools in England to move to remote learning for most pupils. This followed similar decisions in 2020. It also announced the cancellation of exams in summer 2021, with grades based on teacher assessment instead.
- In December 2020, the UK Government announced support for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children to address educational inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic.
- In August 2020, following the cancellation of exams, GCSE and A levels in England were awarded on the basis of teacher predicted grades, or a standardised grade, whichever was higher.
- In July 2020, the UK Government announced reforms to early years learning to give teachers more time to focus on children’s development.
- In April 2020, the UK Government introduced a laptop and internet scheme to help children without access to technology at home during the pandemic.
- In April 2020, the UK Government increased the pupil premium in line with inflation for the first time in five years, providing extra funding to schools to help disadvantaged pupils.
- In September 2019, the UK Government announced a £7.1 billion increase in the schools budget in England by 2022-23, compared with 2019–20.
- In 2019, the UK Government announced an extra £18 million investment to improve educational outcomes for young people in disadvantaged parts of England.
- Between 2016 and 2018, the UK Government introduced several policies to improve educational attainment, including Educational excellence everywhere, and Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential, which targeted resources to schools in the most deprived areas of England.
Read our assessment of the UK Government’s progress on educational attainment.
Welsh Government actions
Education is devolved to the Welsh Government.
- Schools were closed on 14 December 2020 due to the pandemic and re-opened on 22 February 2021 for some pupils, with additional safety measures put in place.
- In February 2021, the Welsh Government announced a further £9.8 million to support pupils with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) in response to the pandemic.
- In November 2020, the Welsh Government cancelled exams for learners taking GCSEs, AS levels or A levels in 2021. In January 2021 it published a review of the 2020 arrangements and announced that grades would be determined by schools instead. This followed the cancellation of the 2020 exams, which were awarded on the basis of Centre Assessment Grades.
- In November 2020, most provisions of the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal Wales Act 2018 came into force, providing a new legislative framework for the identification and support of learners with ALN.
- In April 2020, the Welsh Government published a policy statement on continuity of learning during the pandemic, and announced £3 million to support digitally excluded learners by providing devices and connectivity.
- In 2018, the Welsh Government published an action plan with a number of commitments to improve Gypsy, Roma and Traveller attainment.
- In 2018/19, the Welsh Government set the budget for the Pupil Development Grant, a financial lever aimed at improving the attainment of disadvantaged children, at £94 million, an increase of £62 million since 2012–13.
- In 2017, the Welsh Government published ‘Our national mission’, a strategy aiming to improve the school system, including reducing attainment gaps, by 2021.
Read our assessment of the Welsh Government’s progress on educational attainment.