Last reviewed 7 April 2021

Details of the summer schools programme for secondary schools, including funding, requirements for running a summer school and best practice evidence, have been released by the Department for Education (DfE).

It explained that the aim of the programme is to deliver a short summer school offering a blend of academic education and enrichment activities.

In the guidance document, available at, the DfE confirms that funding will be made available to state-funded secondary and special schools, non-maintained special schools and pupil referral units.

In addition, it will support alternative provision for any pupils whose education was funded by the local authority outside of state place funded schools, including independent schools, non-maintained special schools and other providers.

“It is for schools to determine which pupils would most benefit from a summer school,” the DfE notes. “We expect, however, that most will want to focus this provision primarily on pupils making the transition into year 7.”

Speaking for the National Education Union, joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said that there was welcome clarity in the advice that schools can adopt the plans which best suit their situation.

He agreed that Year 7 pupils will have a complicated transition this autumn and that it was sensible to pay particular attention to this year group.

“We welcome the DfE making crystal clear that any teachers who volunteer to take part in summer provision are eligible for payment and that supply staff and support staff must be paid,” Mr Courtney went on. “It is also right that heads, teachers and support staff who volunteer to take part in summer provision are paid for this additional work.”

The NEU believes that many supply staff – especially those who have faced shortages of work during the last year– would be keen to lend their expertise to local schemes, again stressing that they must receive proper pay.