Political

Ed Davey announces radical flagship Catch-Up Voucher policy

An empty classroom
Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay.

A party press release brings the news:

Today Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey has announced a new flagship Education policy on the third day of the party’s conference – Catch-Up Vouchers.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a £15 billion package of education catch-up funding, as recommended by the Government’s former Education Recovery Commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins.

As part of this, the party is calling for a £5 billion programme of Catch-Up Vouchers for every school child, putting the money directly into parents’ hands to spend on whatever their children need most: tutoring in reading, writing or maths; music lessons; swimming classes or other physical education.

This idea of a three-year programme of education Catch-Up Vouchers would become the world’s biggest ever parent-listening exercise.

These Catch-Up Vouchers would be doubled and in some cases tripled, for children in care, for disadvantaged children, and for those with special educational needs.

Commenting on the new policy ahead of his speech Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

“Covid should mark a watershed in how we educate our children and young people. It is clearer than ever that we need a massive education catch-up fund. And this catch-up fund – which our schools desperately need – should also give parents a radical new role in their children’s education.

“If we are to repair and reverse the lost learning our children have suffered, we need this Government to implement what their own catch-up expert recommended, to fire up a fresh direction for education.

“Schools should be free to spend their Covid cash as they see best, and parents should have a catch-up fund that goes directly to them in the most radical empowering of parents ever.

“The Liberal Democrats are the party of empowering people, and supporting parents and children is our top priority in the new fair deal we offer. We empowered children and schools with the Pupil Premium, and our Catch-Up Vouchers would empower the most disadvantaged children now.”

Policy details:

Catch-Up Vouchers worth £200 a year for 3 years, given directly to parents for all 8.3 million children in state-funded schools.

Double vouchers (worth £400/yr) for disadvantaged children (those eligible for the Pupil Premium) and those with special educational needs.

Triple vouchers (worth £600/yr) for:

– Pupils with special educational needs who are also eligible for Free School Meals

– Looked-after and previously looked-after children

Vouchers are for parents to spend on approved tutors or classes however they choose – through the school or outside of it. Any vouchers not spent over the year go to the child’s school for their benefit.

Schools would be encouraged to offer extra catch-up tutoring and classes, funded through vouchers, and teachers encouraged to discuss with parents what would most benefit their children.

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