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Updated 10/09/2020

Over 886,000 pupils have not returned to school. One in ten of our children need an urgent safety net

Boris Johnson in his Downing Street press briefing (9th September) said that “something like 89 per cent of pupils are back in school” meaning that of the 8m students in England over 886,000 are at learning at home with little in the way of structured or quality education and wellbeing support.

Current guidance from the DfE is that plans for remote learning must be in place by end September 2020 and be subjected to Ofsted scrutiny and review. New initiatives such as the National Tutoring Programme will not start to rollout at scale until spring 2021 at the earliest, and this continues to leave our most vulnerable students exposed.

According to research from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), the learning gap in July 2020 between disadvantaged pupils and their peers was 46% more than a year earlier. More than half of all disadvantaged pupils are already facing four months lost learning versus the average three months for all pupils, and further lost time will just widen an already unacceptable gap in attainment.

Whilst Government seems happy to celebrate that 89% of pupils attending school is a ‘vote of confidence’, industry and education leaders take a very different view. Indeed in the last 48 hours key partners have announced that they are to expand – a regional pilot funded by Nesta and supporting thousands of pupils in the Midlands – to ensure all schools can operate effectively in delivering high quality remote learning and wellbeing support. brings together traditionally disparate strands in a simple online environment. It includes live and recorded lessons, curriculum resources curated by Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust, pastoral and well-being support. The programme is evidence-based and has been proven in a large scale test programme backed by Nesta. It includes an assessment dashboard which shows student engagement and progress.

Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust brings curriculum, Inspection Framework and online teaching expertise (including active home learning) supported with content and platform services from the Hodder Education Group, connected by GLUU, who shape EdTech best practice into a solution that can be evidenced and shared. is taking registrations now from schools wanting to deliver high quality support to pupils not in school. The programme starts with a programme of free professional development so that teachers and leadership can learn how best to use the tools available to meet remote learning guidelines before going live in October 2020. The platform is fully flexible and designed to be used ‘out of the box’ or customised with schools to support the needs of teachers, pupils and parents across the country.

The service in headlines:

- Supports the ‘whole’ student with equal weighting on academic AND wellbeing support
- Includes both synchronous and asynchronous learning and assessment
- Provides a safety net for students with sustained pastoral and mental health support
- Augments schools’ current provision by integrating into office365, Google Classroom and other platforms
- Helps schools build immediate capacity for remote provision – provides the content, the tools, the PD and coach key stakeholders in partner schools
- Builds resilience in the education system when scaled in the event of regional or national lockdown
- Is a coalition of leading industry and school partners – collaborating with a shared goal that’s focused on supporting our students and educators
- Meets OFSTED requirements for a broad and balanced curriculum
- Ensures schools can meet DfE remote learning guidelines
- Is wrapped with PD and peer-to-peer support (teacher to teacher)

The solution is expected to attract great interest from across the UK and international schools delivering an English curriculum. The platform will be free for the remainder of 2020 during which time the partners will work with schools, Government and the industry to find a sustainable funding model from 2021.

Sir Mark Grundy, CEO, Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust says, “There has never been a more urgent need to adjust our curriculum and pedagogies to reflect the emerging landscape resulting from COVID-19 and DfE remote learning guidelines. The education system needs to respond quickly but thoughtfully to help our children reach their potential and our pilot in the Midlands has shown that this can be achieved.”

Christine Major, CEO of GLUU, says, “Schools are already under extreme pressure and for many the new remote learning guidelines will be an additional challenge. is an evidence-based solution to meet and exceed these new guidelines and we stand ready to support schools across the country.”

Lis Tribe, MD of Hodder Education Group says, “This is a worrying time for so many schools, teachers and pupils, and the need to provide support enabling pupils to catch up on their learning will continue for a long while yet. We are glad to be part of a partnership which will
make a major contribution to closing the gap, by providing a comprehensive curriculum to support learning whether at home or in the classroom.”


For more information contact:

Hodder Education Group: Victoria Goodall,

Schools can register their interest here


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