Wayne Rooney: ‘I’ve had my time’ – England’s record goal scorer becomes Derby’s new manager

Wayne Rooney says he “has had his time and it’s time for the younger generation to have theirs” after being appointed as Derby County’s new manager on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

The 35-year-old, who had been in interim charge since Phillip Cocu was sacked on 14 November, has now also officially retired as a player.

READ MORE: Rooney appointed Derby County manager

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England’s Ali tests positive for virus

England allrounder Moeen Ali is isolating in Sri Lanka after testing positive for the coronavirus upon his arrival in the South Asian country for the team’s two-Test cricket tour.

Pace bowler Chris Woakes has been deemed as a possible close contact of Ali and was also observing a period of self-isolation in developments which have cast an early shadow on the tour that takes place weeks after a white-ball trip to South Africa was derailed by a spate of positive COVID-19 results.

Ali is due out of isolation on January 13, the day before the first Test starts in Galle. Woakes is being advised to isolate for a minimum of seven days.

England’s players were hosed down with disinfectant spray after disembarking their charter flight, before being kept in 48-hour solitary quarantine in a hotel.

They will undergo testing for a second time on Tuesday, with plans to begin training having been delayed until Wednesday at the earliest.

The 33-year-old Ali will be transported from the current team hotel to a private establishment in Galle from Tuesday. Being unable to take part in any training sessions until the day before the first test leaves the spinning allrounder as a major doubt to start.

Woakes has a better chance of building up to match fitness and will remain on site in Hambantota, where he will be monitored by medical staff.

The second Test starts January 22 and is also in Galle.

England captain Joe Root said before flying to Sri Lanka confirmed cases of the coronavirus would not be a threat to a series that has been rescheduled from March, when England left Sri Lanka following the initial outbreak of the virus.

“It’s a really dangerous virus and wherever we will be, we will be in contact with it in some shape or form,” Root said.

“If so, we have to manage it as best as possible. We’re as best prepared as we can be for it and we’re fully aware of what we’re getting ourselves into. I don’t think (a confirmed case) will end in an automatic end of the tour.”

In Turin, Italian soccer champions have announced Brazil defender Alex Sandro has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been placed in isolation.

In England, Manchester City say four members of their women’s soccer team have tested positive for the virus.

The FA Women’s Super League club did not identify the affected players but said they were self-isolating.

City’s men team has also been hit by COVID, with six players missing from Sunday’s 3-1 win at Chelsea.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced there will be another lockdown starting on Wednesday and lasting until at least mid-February.

But the government says elite sportspeople will be allowed to compete and train, meaning there will not be any suspension of the Premier League or England’s other professional soccer leagues.

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Despite Strict Measures, England’s Virus Cases Are Soaring

Credit…Tolga Akmen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

More than half of England is under the nation’s strictist lockdown measures, and people have been ordered to stay at home, but the coronavirus is still spreading at an alarming rate. Hospitals are treating more patients than at any time during the pandemic, and there is a growing debate about allowing tens of thousands of students to return to classrooms after the holiday break.

The nation’s scientists have said that a more contagious variant of the virus is driving the rise in cases and, having already imposed severe restrictions on more than 48 million people, it remains unclear what other tools the government has at its disposal to get the outbreak under control.

There were 41,385 new lab-confirmed cases reported on Monday, the highest figure yet on a single day. The National Health Service said there were now over 20,000 people in the hospital, more than at the peak of the pandemic in April.

With the government scheduled to meet to evaluate the current restrictions on Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure to impose another national lockdown and move students — especially older ones in colleges and secondary schools, who may be more easily infected by the new virus variant — to remote learning.

The government said that it would rely on mass testing to keep the virus from spreading in schools, with military help. Some 1,500 soldiers are being dedicated to providing schools with the “guidance, materials and funding they need to offer rapid testing to their staff and students from the start of term,” according to the education secretary, Gavin Williamson.

But two teacher unions have said that staff has not been given adequate time to set up mass testing and the country’s board of scientific advisers, known as SAGE, has recommended against allowing classrooms to reopen, according to British media reports.

Even as the country’s health workers find themselves under growing pressure to treat the influx of patients, they are also being asked to speed up the largest mass vaccination program in the nation’s history.

Around 200,000 people are getting their first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine every week. With the approval of a vaccine from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford expected in coming days, the number of doses available will expand drastically. The AstraZeneca vaccine, which comes without the stringent temperature requirements of Pfizer’s, should also be easier to distribute.

There is no evidence that the vaccines are any less effective against the variant of the virus spreading in Britain, and they remain the best chance for the country to break the back of the current wave of infection sweeping across the country.

But to meet the government’s promise to vaccinate all those over the age of 50 by spring, the speed of delivery would have to be 10 times as fast as it is now.

That will require not just supply, but the staff to deliver the vaccines. And that means even more pressure on N.H.S. workers.

Sir Simon Stevens, the head of the N.H.S. in England, delivered a message to health workers “back in the eye of the storm,” praising their dedication and urging them to press on through “the toughest year most of us can remember.”

“Many of us have lost family, friends, colleagues and — at a time of year when we would normally be celebrating — a lot of people are understandably feeling anxious, frustrated and tired,” he said, delivering his remarks from a vaccination center on Tuesday. “Therefore now is the right time, I believe, on behalf of the whole country to record our enormous debt of gratitude and our huge thanks.”

United States ›United StatesOn Dec. 2814-day change
New cases188,934–13%
New deaths1,899–10%
World ›WorldOn Dec. 2814-day change
New cases490,360–8%
New deaths9,465–4%

Where cases per capita are

Health care workers treating a Covid-19 patient at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, Calif., this month.
Credit…Ariana Drehsler for The New York Times

Dozens of research papers published over the past few months have found that people whose bodies were teeming with the coronavirus more often became seriously ill and were more likely to die, compared with those who carried much less virus and were more likely to emerge relatively unscathed. Now that information could help hospitals.

The results suggest that knowing the so-called viral load — the amount of virus in the body — could help doctors distinguish those who may need an oxygen check just once a day, for example, from those who need to be monitored more closely, said Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease physician at Columbia University in New York.

Tracking viral loads “can actually help us stratify risk,” Dr. Griffin said. The idea is not new: Managing viral load has long formed the basis of care for people with H.I.V., for example, and for tamping down transmission of that virus.

Little effort has been made to track viral loads in Covid-19 patients. This month, however, the Food and Drug Administration said clinical labs might report not just whether a person is infected with the coronavirus, but also an estimate of how much virus is in their body.

This is not a change in policy. Labs could have reported this information all along, according to two senior F.D.A. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Still, the news came as a welcome surprise to some experts, who have for months pushed labs to record this information.

“This is a very important move by the F.D.A.,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “I think it’s a step in the right direction to making the most use of one of the only pieces of data we have for many positive individuals.”

The F.D.A.’s change followed a similar move by the Florida Department of Health, which now requires all labs to report this information.

The omission of viral load from test results was a missed opportunity not just to optimize strained clinical resources, but also to better understand Covid-19, experts said. Analyzing the viral load soon after exposure, for example, could help reveal whether people who die from Covid-19 are more likely to have high viral loads at the start of their illnesses.

And a study published in June showed that the viral load decreases as the immune response surges, “just like you’d expect it to be for any old virus,” said Dr. Alex Greninger, a virologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, who led the study.

An uptick in the average viral load throughout entire communities could indicate an epidemic on the rise. “We can get an idea of whether the epidemic is growing or declining, without relying on case counts,” said James Hay, a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Mina’s lab.

Prudence Nonzamedyanti, a participant in a coronavirus vaccine trial, at the Desmond Tutu H.I.V. Foundation Youth Center near Cape Town this month.
Credit…Joao Silva/The New York Times

Over the past few months, rich nations like the United States and Britain have cut deals with multiple drug manufacturers and secured enough doses of coronavirus vaccine to inoculate their citizens many times over. China and Russia have conducted their own trials and begun mass vaccination programs.

Yet countries like South Africa, the African country hardest hit by the pandemic, are in a singular bind because they cannot rely on charity. Although its government is nearly insolvent and half of its citizens live in poverty, South Africa is considered too rich to qualify for cut-rate vaccines from international aid organizations.

And so, a few months from now, when a factory in South Africa is expected to begin churning out a million doses of coronavirus vaccine each day, those vials will probably be shipped to a distribution center in Europe and then rushed to Western countries that have ordered them by the hundreds of millions.

None have been set aside for South Africa, which does not expect to see the first trickle of doses until around the middle of next year.

“Where you’re not rich enough but you’re not poor enough, you’re stuck,” said Salim Abdool Karim, an epidemiologist who leads South Africa’s coronavirus advisory council.

Poor and middle-income nations, largely unable to compete in the open market, rely on a complex vaccine-sharing arrangement called Covax. A collaboration of international health organizations, Covax was designed to avoid the inequities of a free-market free-for-all. But its deals come with strings attached, and health advocates are questioning its transparency and accountability.

“The people at the top, they’re going to get the vaccine, the people who have power,” said Mtshaba Mzwamadoda, 42, who lives in a one-bedroom corrugated metal shack with his wife and three children. “Maybe we’ll get the vaccine in 2025.”

South Africa has recorded over one million cases and 26,000 deaths as of Monday, according to government figures.

With one of the strictest initial lockdowns in the world, South Africa avoided the high death toll that many experts feared. As restrictions eased in the last quarter of the year, however, the death toll climbed steadily, beginning to spike as the holiday season approached.

Scientists from the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal announced on Dec. 18 that the country was seeing a variant of the virus that accounts for the vast majority of samples tested in the current wave.

Lynsey Chutel and Sheri Fink contributed reporting.

Taniya Ria, 12, moved to the Bronx from Bangladesh in 2019. Her confidence in her English skills has plummeted with the shift to remote learning.
Credit…Ismail Ferdous for The New York Times

While the disruptions of 2020 have threatened learning loss for nearly all students across the country, the toll has been especially severe for students from immigrant homes where English is rarely if ever spoken.

In-person instruction is essential for these students, teachers, parents and experts say. Not only are they surrounded by spoken English in their classrooms; they also learn in more subtle ways, by observing teachers’ facial expressions and other students’ responses to directions. Teachers, too, depend on nonverbal gestures to understand their students. All these things are far more difficult to perceive through a screen.

And beyond the classroom, these students, known as English-language learners, absorb incalculable amounts of information about syntax, slang and vocabulary by simply hanging out in hallways and playgrounds with other students — experiences that have been lost for most New York schoolchildren this year.

“For English-language learners, if you’re not having those casual, informal, low-stakes opportunities to practice English, you’re really at a disadvantage,” said Sita Patel, a clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University who studies the emotional health of immigrant youth.

Those concerns are playing out across the country. Parts of Virginia, California and Maryland are beginning to see E.L.L. students fall more behind than their peers, according to early fall data from each school district. In Connecticut, attendance is becoming a larger issue for English learners, who were second only to homeless students in their drop in attendance in virtual and in-person classes.

In New York City, the Department of Education does not yet have estimates on learning loss for the city’s roughly 142,000 English language learner students — among the largest populations of English learners in the country. It is also not clear how many of those students opted into hybrid as opposed to full-remote learning.

Officials with the city’s Department of Education said they had instructed schools to prioritize English learners in deciding who will be allowed to return to full-time in-person classes, and insisted they were leveraging every available resource to bolster remote learning.

Credit…Jackson Gibbs

In a typical year, New York employees of the magazine publisher Condé Nast must use their vacation days before late December or lose them — a common policy across corporate America.

But early in December, the company sent employees an email saying they could carry up to five vacation days into next year, an apparent acknowledgment that many scrimped on days off amid the long hours and travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

Condé Nast was not alone in scrambling to make end-of-year arrangements for vacation-deprived workers. Some employers, however, have been less accommodating.

Many companies that already allow employees to carry vacation days into the next year — including Goldman Sachs (generally up to 10) and Spotify (generally up to 10) — have not felt the need to change their policies.

The same is true for some companies that pay workers for their unused vacation days. Neither General Motors nor Ford Motor, whose hourly workers can cash out unused vacation days at the end of the year, is making changes.

A union official at the news organization Reuters said the company cited accounting concerns in sticking with its use-it-or-lose-it policy. The union had pleaded for leniency, noting that its contract allows management to roll over vacation days in “exceptional circumstances.”

A Reuters spokeswoman said that “our policy for U.S. employees for some years has not allowed for unused vacation days to be rolled over” and that “employees have been regularly reminded since the first half of this year.”

Several experts said a philosophical question loomed over vacation benefits: Is the point to ensure that workers take time off? Or are vacation days simply an alternative form of compensation that workers can use as they see fit, whether to relax, to supplement their income or to drag around with them as a monument to their productivity?

In the spring, the software company GitLab responded to a significant rise in hours put in by its more than 1,000 workers with so-called family-and-friends days, in which the company shuts down to discourage people from logging in. Google, Slack and the software company Cloudera have started similar policies.

Herald Square in New York on Friday.
Credit…Brittainy Newman for The New York Times

The retail industry was in the midst of a transformation before 2020. But the pandemic accelerated that change, fundamentally reordering how and where people shop, and rippling across the broader economy.

Many stores closed for good, as chains cut locations or filed for bankruptcy, displacing everyone from highly paid executives to hourly workers. Amazon grew even more powerful and unavoidable as millions of people bought goods online during lockdowns.

The divide between essential businesses allowed to stay open and nonessential ones forced to close drove shoppers to big-box chains like Walmart, Target and Dick’s and worsened the troubles of struggling department stores. The apparel industry and many malls were battered as millions of Americans stayed home and myriad dress-up events, including proms and weddings, were canceled or postponed.

This year’s civil unrest and its thorny issues for American society also hit retailers. Businesses closed because of protests over George Floyd’s killing by a white police officer, and they reckoned with their own failings when it came to race.

The challenges faced by working parents, including the cost and availability of basic child care during the pandemic, were felt keenly by women working at stores from CVS to Bloomingdale’s. And there were questions about the treatment of workers, as retailers and their backers treated employees shoddily during bankruptcies or failed to offer hazard pay or adequate notifications about outbreaks of Covid-19 in workplaces.

Many Americans felt the retail upheaval — the industry is the second-biggest private employment sector in the United States — and some shared their experiences this year with The New York Times.

The Life Care Center of Kirkland, a nursing home near Seattle, was the site of the first U.S. coronavirus outbreak. Residents and staff members received vaccinations on Monday.
Credit…Karen Ducey/Getty Images

A nurse at the suburban Seattle nursing home that was ravaged by the first U.S. cluster of coronavirus cases sat down beside a visiting pharmacist on Monday, pulled up her blue shirtsleeve and received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine administered at the facility.

It was the beginning of what residents, families and employees hope will be a turning point in a pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of people in long-term care facilities. Vaccination teams from Walgreens and CVS were fanning out to facilities across the country on Monday, the start of a long, difficult campaign to vaccinate some of the country’s most vulnerable people.

At the facility near Seattle, the Life Care Center of Kirkland, which is connected with 46 coronavirus deaths, relatives of residents got a text message on Monday morning alerting them that vaccinations were beginning.

Colleen Mallory had been waiting for this moment. Her mother has severe dementia, and since Life Care was locked down last winter, her family has visited her mostly by standing outside her window, waving and saying “I love you.”

Ms. Mallory’s family gave Life Care permission to vaccinate her mother, and Ms. Mallory said she had been calling and calling, anxious to know whether it had actually happened. “I can’t get ahold of anyone,” she said. “It would be nice to know.”

Alice Cortez, the first nurse vaccinated at the facility, said she felt “a new life, a new beginning, but a better life,” The Seattle Times reported. There were roses and cheers as she was injected just outside the facility, with cameras rolling.

The scene was starkly different last winter, when the quiet, shaded nursing home became a scene of grim vigil and daily updates about deaths and case counts. Journalists crowded outside the locked-down facility as ambulances whisked residents to the hospital and families peered through windows to check on parents and grandparents.

Life Care officials did not immediately reply to inquiries about how many staff members and residents were vaccinated on Monday, or how long it would take to vaccinate them all.

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England’s TV revolution: Disney to screen Tests

The most likely platform to be used for the England tour to India would be Hotstar, which can be downloaded to PCs, tablet and mobile via an app and costs £5.99 ($10.50) a month.

From February 23, Hotstar content will be available in Europe via the Disney+ platform, a streaming service such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, but that will be halfway through the England series.

England will play four Tests in India, starting in Chennai on February 5, as well as five Twenty20s and three one-day internationals. The third Test in Ahmedabad will be a day-night match and the time difference works well for broadcasters in England.

Amazon has an appetite for one-off big events rather than long-term deals as Sky has with the England and Wales Cricket Board. The Ashes in Australia fits into Amazon’s model, and it has the purchasing power to outbid all rivals.

Cricket Australia signed a five-year deal with BT Sport in 2015 that expires after the current Australian season, leaving the rights to the next Ashes up for grabs.

The Telegraph revealed last month that Amazon was interested in the Ashes, and it is understood talks have reached an advanced stage, although Sky remains a strong rival given it would be interested in showing the Big Bash as well as all other Australian Test series.

Losing the India tour and the Ashes would be a blow for Sky, given the need for England live content to fill schedules on its dedicated cricket channel, but the broadcasting landscape in sport is changing quickly. Streaming services such as Disney and Amazon have huge budgets to challenge the established sports broadcasters.

Sky has had a virtual monopoly over England’s tours since 1990.

The last Ashes series on BT Sport was the first England tour for decades to have not been shown live on Sky, which has had a difficult relationship with the Indian board and has not shown any of its cricket for the past two years.

Amazon recently signed a deal with Cricket New Zealand for exclusive access to its India rights.


Cricket is seen as the ideal vehicle for breaking into the Indian market and capitalising on its digital boom. “We focus on picking sports events that transcend the day-to-day and have broad appeal as well as appeal to hard-core fans. It is a moment to view,” Alex Green, the managing director of sport for Amazon Prime, recently told the BBC’s Media Show.

The pandemic has crippled other areas of the Disney business, but its streaming service is booming.

Christine McCarthy, the Disney chief financial officer, recently said it expected to have up to 350 million global subscribers by the end of 2024 and linking its sports content on Star with its digital service is inevitable.

The Telegraph, London

Most Viewed in Sport


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England’s Jones cleared for Suntory role

Eddie Jones has been cleared to continue as a consultant for Japanese Top League side Suntory Sungoliath after the Rugby Football Union said there is no conflict of interest despite England and Japan being drawn in the same 2023 World Cup pool.

“Eddie has had a consultancy agreement with Suntory for over 20 years,” an RFU spokesperson said. “We have been aware and comfortable with that since he joined the RFU.

“He provides consultancy in his holidays and this role is in no way a conflict with his England team priorities.”

Jones previously coached Suntory in 1997 and again between 2009 and 2012, leading them to the Top League final in 2012 before being appointed coach of the Japan national team the same year.

The Australian was in charge of Japan at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, where he masterminded the Brave Blossoms’ stunning upset of South Africa during the group stages.

England were placed in Pool D alongside Argentina and Japan in Monday’s draw for the World Cup in France.

“Japan are the most improved team in the game,” Jones said after the draw. “It’s going to be tough as we don’t get many chances to play against teams like Japan so we are going to have to be really well prepared.”

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Banksy mural of sneezing woman appears on England’s steepest street

Bristol: A mural of a sneezing woman by Banksy has appeared on a house at the end of what is said to be England’s steepest street in the city of Bristol, the birthplace of the elusive street artist.

Banksy, whose true identity is a closely guarded secret, posted pictures of the work on his official Instagram account, along with the comment “Aachoo!!”

The mural, which shows the woman’s false teeth propelled through the air and her handbag and walking stick sent flying by the violent sneeze, is on the side of a house at the junction of Vale Street and Park Street in the Totterdown area of the city in western England.

Vale Street has a gradient of 22 degrees and residents stage an egg rolling competition down the slope at Easter.


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England’s T20 international side sends messages to the team during game with coded ‘signals’ from the balcony

Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan has spoken out against a decision by the team to send coded information using signals during a T20 international against South Africa.

But England skipper Eoin Morgan defended the move, saying he was happy it was within the spirit of the game.

The practice came under the spotlight in England’s final T20 international against South Africa earlier this week.

Team analyst Nathan Leamon was shown by TV cameras hanging signs with letters and numerals on the balcony so they could be seen from the field while Morgan’s team was fielding.

England swept the T20 international series with South Africa 3-0.

The third game in Cape Town saw England chase down a target of 192 with 14 balls to spare, thanks to an unbeaten 99 from Dawid Malan, after South Africa made 3-191 off their 20 overs.

Michael Vaughan says any team featuring Eoin Morgan (right) and Jos Buttler (left) does not need to worry about coded signals.(AFP: Rodger Bosch)

Speaking on BBC radio, Vaughan said he didn’t feel the England side — that reached number one in the world T20 team rankings with the win in Cape Town — needed to “show the opposition anything”.

“Eoin Morgan is the greatest white-ball captain we [England] have had by some distance, Jos Buttler’s probably the greatest white-ball cricketer we’ve ever had behind the stumps,” Vaughan said.

“I just don’t understand why you’d want to give the opposition any sort of information from the balcony.

Vaughan said if there was a need to send information to the captain to remind him who the best bowling match-ups for batsmen were, it could be handled by a message run out by the 12th man.

He said he “liked things done privately,” rather than exposed to others through signals.

International cricket teammates gather in celebration after taking a wicket in a T20 match.
England’s series sweep over South Africa gave the team the world number one ranking in T20 cricket.(AP: Halden Krog)

The strategy was reportedly cleared in advance by the match referee, but Vaughan said he felt that the practice could be a problem with cricket’s anti-corruption approach.

“We’ve been hounded with anti-corruption and match-fixing problems within cricket for many, many years,” he said.

“I’ve no idea how the ICC can clear an analyst giving information to the team from the sideline.

“I know it’s been mentioned that you can pass a piece of paper [to the players] and that’s fine, because it’s private.

“A 12th man can run on a bit of information and that’s private, but by deliberately putting signals on a balcony [that’s different].

“I think the ICC have to look at this and go now, ‘Wait a minute, why would we allow some kind of signalling to go on from the balcony that could potentially — I’m just saying potentially — could be picked up by someone in that ground that could be used in some kind of corruption?'”

England will ‘definitely continue’ with signals, says Morgan

Morgan rejected suggestions there was anything wrong with the tactic.

“There is nothing untoward about it. It is about maximising information that we are taking in and measuring it against things, coaches’ recommendations … the data about what is going on.

“We are definitely going to continue with it and give it enough sample size to see if it makes a difference to, or improves, our decision-making on the field or improves our performance, or it might tell us more about how we understand information that we are taking in during games.”


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Education – England’s catch-up tutoring programme has bold ambitions | Britain

IT IS A straightforward process. Go to the National Tutoring Programme website, type in your location and pick a provider. A school in Tyneside can, for instance, choose from 19 options, including TLC Live (a firm offering online tutoring from qualified teachers), the Brilliant Club (a charity providing lessons from PhD students) and White Rose Maths (just maths teaching, from a chain of schools in Yorkshire).

In June, Boris Johnson announced a £1bn ($1.3bn) pupil catch-up fund, with a portion set aside for tutoring. On November 2nd the National Tutoring Programme launched—and not a minute too soon. Children spent the end of the last academic year at home. They have now returned to school, but things are not going entirely to plan. Before the start of half-term, the spread of covid-19 meant that one in eight secondary-school pupils was absent.

English schools have an unusually high degree of autonomy, so the government can’t simply order head teachers to hire tutors. Schools have thus been given £650m to aid their efforts to bring children up to speed. Another £76m has been spent establishing the National Tutoring Programme, which is run by a group of charities, and which will subsidise 75% of the cost of tuition, to encourage schools to spend on extra pairs of hands. The government had planned to spend more: the limit is the availability of top-notch providers.

According to research by the Sutton Trust, one of the charities running the scheme, 10% of pupils received tutoring last year, up from 5% in 2009, mostly paid for by parents. The market is something of a Wild West, making it hard to identify high-quality providers. The National Tutoring Programme hopes to impose some order. Only 32 out of the 393 outfits that applied made it through the approval process, which required proof of safety standards and an idea of how to work with schools.

There is plenty of evidence that tutoring is effective, with trials finding that 12-week programmes can lead to the progress that would be expected from three to five months of normal schooling. As Robbie Coleman of the National Tutoring Programme notes, tuition tends to work best when it happens regularly over a longish period, which is why it is offered in 15-hour blocks. The programme will also add to the evidence base. By measuring the outcomes of pupils involved in the programme, and comparing them with similar ones who are not involved, officials will be able to measure which approaches do the most good.

That will help determine the relative effectiveness of, say, online versus in-person tutoring. It could also come in useful if the programme is extended, allowing resources to be directed to better outfits (and thus may help convince the Treasury to stump up the cash). Even before the results are in, the programme has a powerful cheerleader. Speaking at prime minister’s questions on November 4th, Mr Johnson hailed the tutoring programme as one of the most innovative ideas to have come out of the crisis, adding that he wanted to see it continue in the post-pandemic era. As more evidence emerges of the distance pupils have fallen behind, support for such interventions is likely to grow.

Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “New tricks”

Reuse this contentThe Trust Project

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