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Evaluation of the National Tutoring Programme Year 3: Sector Response

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Schools perceive NTP is having a positive impact on pupils’ attainment, progress and confidence, but have concerns over future funding

Sector Response

Ben Styles, NFER’s Head of Classroom Practice said:  

“Across the sample of schools that participated in the NTP in 2022-23, there was high satisfaction for the programme overall, across the three routes, and with different aspects of delivery of the programme.

“It is encouraging that most school staff using the NTP were satisfied or very satisfied with how NTP tutoring aligned with the school curriculum (79 per cent) and met pupils’ learning needs (79 per cent).

“Senior leaders, teachers and tutors also perceived that the programme had positive impacts on pupils’ attainment, progress and confidence, and that targeted, small-group or one-to-one tutoring was pivotal to this.

“However, funding is seen as the biggest challenge for the long-term sustainability of tutoring.  A minority of interviewed senior leaders said tutoring would remain embedded once NTP funding ceased, but for most, although they want to continue, it is dependent on funding being available.

“The government should explore how financial support can be sustained to allow tutoring to become a permanent support option to help schools close the attainment disadvantage gap.”

James Bowen, assistant general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“These findings reflect what our members tell us about the positive impact that tutoring can have, especially for disadvantaged pupils.

“However, many schools are facing severe financial pressures, and have simply been unable to afford to continue running the National Tutoring Programme, even with the current 50% subsidy.

“We are still in the dark over whether the government is committed to the programme in the longer term and if it will invest in tutoring properly, and we urge ministers to provide that clarity without delay.”

Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“It is a crying shame that, having established tutoring support for pupils, schools now face the prospect of the government pulling the plug on the programme.

“As this report states, there is high satisfaction with the tutoring programme in its current form, and schools want it to continue, but they will need financial support to do so.

“However, the government has said that the academic year 2023 to 2024 is the final year of the programme and NTP funding will not be awarded beyond this academic year. It adds that schools will be encouraged to continue to prioritise tuition for those students who need it the most through existing budgets.

“However, as the budgets of schools are stretched beyond breaking point, it is highly unlikely that many schools will be able to do so.

“Tutoring was introduced as a specific response to lost learning in the Covid pandemic, but it can also be a great way of improving outcomes for learners who need extra support in general and narrowing the disadvantage gap.

“The fact that is has now been established should be seen as a golden opportunity by the government to capitalise on the work that has already been done and provide the funding to embed it in the school system.”

Find the report here

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