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Last reviewed on 16 November 2020
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Understand how the coronavirus catch-up premium will be allocated and what you can use the funding for, including details of the National Tutoring Programme and the Nuffield Early Language Intervention. Plus, find out how you'll be held accountable by Ofsted for your spending and how you should report on it.

Updates to this article

16 November 2020: We added a section on how you should report on your spending of the coronavirus (COVID-19) catch-up premium. 

9 November 2020: We updated the 'How and when can we sign up?' section of this article with the link to access subsidised tuition for your pupils through National Tutoring Programme tuition partners, and to reflect that applications have now closed for the NELI.

What is it? 

The government is providing funding to cover a one-off universal catch-up premium for the 2020 to 2021 academic year. 

It aims to support pupils to catch up for lost learning so schools can meet the curriculum expectations for the next academic year. 

You're able to spend the funding in the most effective way for your pupils, which could include accessing the National Tutoring Programme - a part of the government's £1 billion catch-up package. See the 'How should we spend the premium?' section below for more details. 

Who's eligible? 

This universal catch-up premium funding will be available for: 

  • Primary, middle, secondary and all through local authority-maintained schools, academies and free schools
  • Local authority-maintained special schools
  • Special academies and free schools
  • Special schools not maintained by a local authority
  • Independent special schools - local authorities will receive funding for pupils with education, health and care (EHC) plans, based on the number of such pupils in the area 
  • Pupil referral units (PRUs)
  • Alternative provision (AP) academies and free schools
  • Local authority-maintained hospital schools and academies

How and when will the funding be allocated? 

Mainstream schools 

You'll receive a total of £80 per pupil (for reception through to year 11), as follows: 

  • In 3 instalments - in autumn 2020, 'early 2021' and summer 2021
  • You'll get a total of £46.67 per pupil split across payments 1 and 2
  • You'll get £33.33 per pupil for payment 3

Per pupil numbers for each instalment will be based on the latest available data. For the payment in 'early 2021', this'll be your 4-15 pupil headcount from the October 2020 census.

Special, AP and hospital schools 

You'll receive a total of £240 per place, as follows: 

  • In 3 instalments - in autumn 2020, 'early 2021' and summer 2021
  • You'll get a total of £140 per place split across payments 1 and 2
  • You'll get £100 per place for payment 3

Per place numbers for each instalment will be based on the latest available data. For the allocation in 'early 2021' this'll be the following data: 

  • For local authority-maintained schools - 2019 to 2020 academic year place numbers, from your local authority's 2019 to 2020 financial year budget returns 
  • For academies and special schools not maintained by a local authority - published high needs place numbers for the 2020 to 2021 academic year 

How should we spend the funding? 

It's up to you to decide: 

  • Which pupils need to access the support. Although you'll receive funding on a per pupil basis, you should use the sum available to you as a single total to prioritise support. There are no specific requirements for who to spend it on. Identify pupils that will benefit most from the funding - see our article to find out which pupil groups this may include 
  • The activities that you'll provide. The DfE recommends the following: 
    • Small group or 1-to-1 tuition (particularly through the National Tutoring Programme - see the section below for details)
    • Extra teaching capacity or summer programmes

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has guidance on catch-up approaches you could choose, as well as a planning guide to help you implement these catch-up strategies in this 2020/21 academic year. 

What's the National Tutoring Programme? 

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) is one of the areas where you can spend your catch-up premium grant outlined above, if suitable for your pupils and context. 

The NTP aims to provide intensive, targeted support for disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils who need the most help to catch up.

Who's eligible?

The NTP is available for pupils that need the most help to catch up, that are either:

  • Reception age in state-funded schools (places are limited and, if oversubscribed, will be prioritised based on your school's percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals)  
  • 5-16 year olds in state-funded primary and secondary schools
  • 16-19 year olds in school sixth forms, colleges and other 16-19 providers

How will it work and when can we sign up? 

The NTP will be made up of at least 3 parts in the 2020/21 academic year, including:

1. The Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) for 4-5 year olds

NELI is a 20-week intervention designed to improve the oral language skills of reception-aged pupils. It'll involve individual and small group scripted language teaching sessions delivered by trained school staff (usually teaching assistants). 

If your school takes part, you'll receive resources and be able to access online training from the start of the spring term in 2021. 

Read these FAQs from the EEF for more information on NELI, including how long it takes to deliver and how pupils are selected.  

How to sign up

  • Schools were invited to register their interest by 30 October 2020 - so applications are now closed
  • It'll begin at the start of the spring term of 2021

2. The NTP for 5-16 year olds

This will provide:

  • Your school with access to heavily subsidised tutoring from an approved list of tuition partners (you could use your catch-up premium funding to cover the rest of the costs)
  • Schools in the most disadvantaged areas with trained graduates (called academic mentors) who'll be employed full-time in your school to provide intensive catch-up support to your pupils, so your teachers can focus on their classrooms. Teach First will be supporting the placement and training of mentors and the government will subsidise their salaries
How to sign up


  • Hire an academic mentor for your school now with Teach First 
  • It'll begin in some schools from the October 2020 half term, and others in the spring term of 2021 (depending on when you apply)

3. The NTP for 16-19 year olds

The NTP for 16-19 year olds will provide funding to support small group tuition in English, maths and other courses where learning has been disrupted - these groups shouldn't be more than 5 students.

Special schools and special academies aren't in scope for the 16-19 tuition fund, as all of their provision is covered by the catch-up premium funding.

You'll be allocated £150 per instance for full-time students without GCSE grade 4 or above in English and/or maths - you'll start to receive payments from November 2020.

All students supported:

  • Must be on a 16-to-19 study programme
  • Need to be those who haven't achieved grade 5 or above in English or maths by age 16

You should also prioritise support for students who haven't achieved grade 4 in English and/or maths.

How to sign up

You must accept or decline this funding. If you accept, you must:

  • Produce a concise statement explaining how you'll use this funding in line with the guidance to prioritise support for disadvantaged students
  • Publish the statement on your website in the autumn term
  • Record the use of the funding, including reference to the individual students that receive the support, the needs of those students, the number of hours of tuition delivered, and retain the necessary evidence of the tuition provided
  • Deliver the extra tuition and spend the associated funding in the 2020 to 2021 academic year
  • Notify the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) of any unspent funding from this fund for it to be reclaimed
You'll be allocated these funds from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and will start to receive payments from November 2020.

 For more information about the NTP, see its FAQs.

How will our use of the funding be scrutinised? 

You'll be held to account for how you use the catch-up premium funding in 2 ways: 

1. Governor and trustee oversight 

Your governors or trustees will scrutinise your plans for and use of catch-up funding. 

They'll consider whether you're:

  • Spending the funding in line with the school's catch-up priorities 
  • Being transparent with parents on the use of the funding 

2. Ofsted visits 

  • During the autumn term, Ofsted will be carrying out non-graded visits. Part of the visits will involve discussion on how you'll be bringing pupils back into full-time education, which may include the plans you have to spend your catch-up funding
  • From January 2021 (at the earliest; exact timing under review), Ofsted plans to resume routine inspections. As part of the quality of education judgement they'll look at how you're using your catch-up funding to make sure the curriculum has a positive impact on all pupils 

Read our summary of Ofsted's plans for autumn 2020 for more information. 

How should we report on our spending of the catch-up premium? 

You should publish details on your school website of: 

  • How you plan to spend the grant
  • How you'll assess its impact on the educational attainment of your pupils 

This is explained in the DfE's school website guidance for maintained schools and academies

Use our template report to do this and to share your plans with your school community. 

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