UK govt’s education recovery chief resigns after reportedly seeking 10 times more funding for schoolkids’ support plan

The UK’s Education Recovery Commissioner Kevan Collins has resigned, with the Times Education Supplement (TES) reporting he stepped down amid a dispute over state funding for the government’s education recovery plan.

Collins, a teacher of 30 years, was appointed by the government in February of this year to help young people catch up on work missed due to school closures during pandemic lockdowns.

But this week details of Collins’ plan were leaked to newspapers, which detailed how he was seeking £15 billion from the Department for Education, as opposed to the £1.4 billion that had been promised.

His resignation letter to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was published by the TES on Wednesday.

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In it, Collins refers to a meeting with the PM last week in which he says he told Johnson he does “not believe it will be possible to deliver a successful recovery without significantly greater support.”

“I do not believe it is credible that a successful recovery can be achieved with a programme of support of this size,” he adds.

Acknowledging the resignation, a spokesperson for Johnson said the PM “is hugely grateful” to Collins for his work in helping pupils recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Kate Green, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said Collins stepping down was a “damning indictment of the Conservatives’ education catch-up plan.”

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The Times reported on Tuesday that Collins’ £15 billion recovery plan included extending the school day by 30 minutes and giving each child an additional 100 hours of teacher contact time per year from 2022.

Green attacked the plan as “woefully inadequate,” while education experts said the £1.4 billion funding agreed would only amount to around £50 per pupil.

Earlier on Wednesday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he “absolutely” trusted Collins and defended the government’s plan, pointing to the £1.7 billion of funding that has already been given to schools in the pandemic.

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