THE UK Government's Commissioner for education recovery has quit his post over the lack of funding to help pupils who have missed lessons during the pandemic. 

Sir Kevan Collins said the £1.4bn announced by Gavin Williamson, education secretary, did not "come close to meeting the scale of the challenge" and resigned today, just four months after taking the job. 

In a statement he said the funding “betrays an undervaluation of the importance of education”.

It comes after Mr Williamson defended the sum for teacher training and tuition, which equates to around £50 per pupil, despite reports that Mr Collins had been seeking around 10 times as much from the Treasury. 

The education recovery tsar had recommended that schools and colleges should be funded for a flexible extension to school time – the equivalent to 30 minutes extra every day.

But the Department for Education (DfE)’s announcement did not include plans to lengthen the school day.

Sir Kevan said in a statement: “After the hardest of years, a comprehensive recovery plan – adequately funded and sustained over multiple years – would rebuild a stronger and fairer system.

“A half-hearted approach risks failing hundreds of thousands of pupils. The support announced by Government so far does not come close to meeting the scale of the challenge and is why I have no option but to resign from my post.”

He added that the package of support “falls far short of what is needed” as he warned that it is “too narrow, too small and will be delivered too slowly.”

“The average primary school will directly receive just £6,000 per year, equivalent to £22 per child. Not enough is being done to help vulnerable pupils, children in the early years or 16- to 19-year-olds,” Sir Kevan said 

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary said:"Kevan Collins' resignation is a damning indictment of the Conservatives’ education catch-up plan.

“He was brought in by Boris Johnson because of his experience and expertise in education, but the Government have thrown out his ideas as soon as it came to stumping up the money needed to deliver them.

“Labour has set out a plan to deliver the bold policies that will boost children’s recovery from the pandemic recognising that learning and wellbeing go hand-in-hand together.

“Our children and their future ambitions and life chances depend on us getting this right. The Conservatives’ failure to deliver for children now could cost our country dearly long-term.”

A No. 10 spokesman said: "The Prime Minister is hugely grateful to Sir Kevan for his work in helping pupils catch up and recover from the effects of the pandemic.
"The government will continue to focus on education recovery and making sure no child is left behind with their learning, with over £3 billion committed for catch up so far.”