Summer school planned for kids who fall behind in lockdown

Summary

The government of Flanders wants thousands of summer school programmes to provide free classes in July and August

School’s not out

Youngsters who have fallen behind in their schoolwork during the lockdown will be offered the chance to catch up over the summer. With primary and secondary schools opening today and Monday for “normal” lessons, the government of Flanders is already laying plans for summer schools to help fill in the gaps.

“We must try to prevent pupils from starting the new school year in September at a disadvantage because they have fallen behind,” said Flemish education minister Ben Weyts. “So let’s try to deal with it during the holidays, in combination with a lot of fun, sport and games.”

Towards the end of June, both primary and secondary schools will be asked to identify pupils who could benefit from attending a summer school. Attendance will be encouraged, and free of charge, but ultimately the decision will be down to parents and pupils.

10 days, 10 pupils

Each summer school will run for at least 10 days in July or August, combining lessons with sport and cultural activities. The curriculum will be focused on just two subjects where the pupils appear to need the most help, with around 10 pupils in each class.

The government has issued an open call for schools and local authorities to bid to operate the summer schools, together with other partner organisations. Funding of €25 per day per pupil will be made available to cover salaries and operating costs.

Summer schools are not new in Flanders, but organising them on such a scale will be a challenge. The government has budgeted for several thousand to be run, if possible.

“I realise that schools are busy with many other things at the moment,” said Weyts, “but I hope that many of them, together with local authorities and other organisations, will respond to our call.”

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