DfE appoint ‘commissioner’ to oversee Covid catch-up

The government has announced the appointment of Sir Kevan Collins to the new role of ‘education recovery commissioner’. The Department for Education (DfE) say he will ‘oversee a comprehensive programme of catch-up aimed at young people who have lost out on learning due to the pandemic’.

Sir Kevan is a former chief executive of the Education Endownment Foundation (EEF) and has also worked as both a teacher and a director of children’s services. The EEF has recently been one of the organisations delivering the DfE’s National Tutoring Programme.

Exact details of the catch-up programme that Sir Kevan will oversee have not been announced, but according to the DfE his work will include ‘addressing factors such as curriculum content and quantity of teaching time in the coming months, to ensure the impact the pandemic has had on learning is addressed as quickly and comprehensively as possible.’ He will report directly to the education secretary and the prime minister, and will also ‘consult closely with parents, teachers and schools’ say the DfE.

Commenting on the appointment, education secretary Gavin Williamson said: ‘Sir Kevan brings a wealth of experience in education policy that I know will be invaluable in supporting all the young people who have been impacted by the pandemic’. Boris Johnson said he was ‘delighted’ that Sir Kevan had been appointed to lead this ‘vital work’, adding ‘I am absolutely determined that no child will be left behind as a result of the pandemic’.

Also commenting on Sir Kevan’s appointment, Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT said: ‘The new education recovery commissioner will need to recognise the extreme pressures on staff in schools and that approaches to education recovery based on trying to squeeze more out of an education system that continues to deal with unprecedented and exceptional challenges would be certain to founder.’

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