Good morning. Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, is announcing funding for schools in England to help pupils catch up with the learning they have lost during Covid. The announcement includes £200m to expand the government’s national tutoring programme and an additional £300m “recovery premium” which will go direct to schools to support the most disadvantaged children. The government’s press notice is here, and my colleague Sally Weale has the story here.
The announcement does not say anything about extending the school day, but in interviews this morning Williamson refused to rule out extending the school day, or cutting the length of the summer holidays, to help pupils catch up. Asked on Sky News about extending the school day, he replied:
We’ll be looking at how we can boost and support children in a whole range of different manners. But it’s not just about time in school, it’s about supporting teachers in terms of the quality of teaching and how we can help them.
As the Daily Mirror reports, Williamson dodged this question three times. But he signalled that this issue would be considered by Sir Kevan Collins, who has been appointed education recovery commissioner to consider long-term measures to help the Covid generation of pupils.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: Prof Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, gives evidence to the Commons science committee. At 10.30am it will hear from Madelaine McTernan, director general of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, Prof Sarah Gilbert, head of the team that produced the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and Dr Philip Dormitzer, chief scientific officer of Viral vaccines at Pfizer.
9.30am: The ONS publishes data about the characteristics of people testing positive for Covid.
10.30am: Priti Patel, the home secretary, gives evidence to the Commons home affairs committee.
12pm: Boris Johnson faces Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs.
12.30pm: Edward Argar, a health minister, replies to an urgent question about last week’s court ruling saying the government unlawfully delayed publishing details of PPE contracts.
12.15pm: Vaughan Gething, the Welsh government’s health ministers, holds a Covid briefing.
12.15pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, is expected to hold a coronavirus briefing.
2pm: Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, gives evidence to the Commons international trade committee about free ports.
Around 2pm: MPs begin debating Lords amendments to the fire safety bill. Labour is urging Tory rebels to back an amendment that would protect leaseholders from having to cover the costs of making buildings safe.
2.30pm: Helen Whately, a health minister, gives evidence to the Commons health committee about burnout in NHS staff.
3pm: The UK/EU’s joint committee overseeing the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol meets.
Politics Live is now doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.
Here is our global coronavirus live blog.
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