DfE Summer School Guidance announced

31 March 2021

New funding for secondary schools to run summer schools including arts activities.

Summer School Guidance

On 30 March the Department for Education (DfE) published Summer Schools Guidance which forms part of the funding announced in February as part of their Recovery package for children.

The guidance states summer schools should:

‘include enrichment activities, such as team games, music, drama or sports activities.’

Schools can decide to whom they offer a summer school place, however DfE expects ‘most will want to focus this provision primarily on pupils making the transition into year 7’.


Funding is available for secondary schools, and is based on the school’s existing year 7 cohort.  Schools will receive a daily rate per place, based either on 50% of their year 7 cohort being offered a place on a two-week programme, or on 100% of the cohort being offered a week-long programme.

‘The daily rate for a pupil place is £59.70. Schools will receive the full per-pupil daily rate for any pupil for whom a place was delivered in line with this guidance.’

The funding equates to £597 per two-week place, with £1,791 per place available for pupils in special schools, special units within mainstream schools and alternative provision.

This funding must be used for provision delivered during the school summer holidays and schools can choose to run a one- or two-week summer school, and involve different pupils over the period, which could mean more pupils benefit from a shorter summer school.

The funding can be spent on transport, food and hiring spaces if it is not possible to use school premises. It can be used to pay teachers and other staff for taking part in the summer school and the guidance also explicitly says:

‘Schools can work with other organisations and institutions to run their summer school, including those in the private and voluntary sectors. The school should ensure that its staff members are involved in the summer school design’

Working with arts organisations to deliver summer schools

The guidance gives schools clear permission to work with local arts and cultural organisations to deliver their summer schools:

‘Partner organisations can play a key role, ranging from providing arts, media and sports expertise to managing summer schools.’

and encourages them to consider how the arts can form part of the enrichment activities:

‘Schools could consider working with any local cultural provision, for example working with their local library on reading events, or organising visits to local museums or galleries.’

 Schools need to opt in to summer school funding

Eligible settings will be able to sign up to the programme completing a short online form by the end of April. The form will be made available via schools’ existing DfE sign-in after the Easter holiday.

Read the full guidance on the Department for Education website. You can also read Schools Week and TES blogs on the funding. 


Image credit: Maker Camp 2016 © Derby Museums