Education & Family

Nick Clegg promises £50m summer schools

Nick Clegg
Image caption Nick Clegg is promising holiday lessons to help pupils make the transition to secondary school

Summer schools for pupils at risk of "going off the rails" are being promised by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

The £50m project, aimed at pupils about to start secondary school in England, was announced at the Liberal Democrats' annual conference.

Mr Clegg linked this summer's riots to educational failure.

"Too many of these young people had simply fallen through the cracks," he will tell his party's conference.

'Critical leap'

Secondary schools will be asked to volunteer to hold the summer schools, which could offer a fortnight of catch-up lessons in basic skills such as literacy for 100,000 pupils.

The schools could also offer sports-based holiday projects for these 11-year-olds who have just left primary school.

The £50m will allow the scheme to be run for one year - with the funding drawn from the pupil premium budget, which will help schools to provide extra support for disadvantaged pupils.

Mr Clegg told the conference that the summer schools will help children make the transition into secondary school.

"So often the people who have gone off the rails are the ones who were struggling years earlier. Not least in making that critical leap from primary to secondary school.

"We know this is a time when too many children lose their way."

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) welcomed the camps, but said they must not be seen primarily as an antidote to "broken Britain".

General secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, Russell Hobby, warned against creating "literacy boot camps for poor children".

"Neither should summer camps be seen as 'punishment' for children that have fallen behind or they will lose the support of the very families they seek to help."

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, warned that coalition education policies were widening and not closing inequalities.

"Tackling the root causes of the riots will not be solved by a two week summer school for primary children. What is needed are policies which address the growing inequalities in our society," she said.

"Tackling child poverty, reducing unemployment and ensuring that every child has access to a good education is vital. This is exactly the opposite of what will be achieved by many of the government's education policies."