Tutoring revolution builds as students return to class

All three ways for schools to access tutoring to help their students catch up from lost learning - academic mentors, school-led and external tuition – are now live


Huge expansion of tutoring will support up to six million pupils over the next three years


Students return for the new school year with Covid restrictions eased to allow full school experience

Schools will have greater flexibility to offer high-quality 15-hour tutoring courses that meet the needs of their pupils in a major expansion of the National Tutoring Programme, backed by £1 billion. 

One course of high-quality tutoring has been proven to boost attainment by three to five months, so tutoring will be vital for young people in recovering the teaching hours lost in the last year.

The programme is expected to reach up to six million pupils across the country in total over the next three years to make sure students that need it receive quality catch up support.

As of today:

  • Schools can sign up from today with this year’s external tuition providers, covering the whole country and expected to reach over 500,000 students this year

  • New guidance has been published to support schools to offer their own teacher-led tuition, expected to reach over one million students this academic year

  • Academic mentors are being placed in selected schools across the country to work in small groups with over 250,000 students most in need of support this year

As the new school year starts, 52 new free schools are opening for the first time to support continued growth in student numbers across the country. 

Schools and colleges are ready to welcome students back with the right balance of measures in place to minimise Covid related disruption, including enhanced ventilation, regular Covid testing and vaccinations of older students and staff.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“It’s fantastic to see pupils returning to schools and colleges at the start of term once again. This year we have a greater sense of normality thanks to the roll out of the vaccination programme. That extra protection helps us find that sensible balance between protecting staff and students and ensuring education is not disrupted.

“Keeping children in the classroom helps them catch up. It has given pupils real, hands-on help to support them following the disruption caused by the pandemic and we want to build on that success. So I’m delighted to be further expanding the National Tutoring Programme.

“We are boosting the tutoring that is available to pupils so that millions more can benefit from the support they provide and we see a real tutoring revolution take place in our schools.”

Teachers are also returning to the classroom with additional support for training, especially in the early years of their careers to help improve outcomes for young people. The new Early Career Framework (ECF) launches this term, providing teachers with even greater high-quality training opportunities over the first two years after they qualify.

The new ECF is just one of the teacher training programmes being funded with £400 million for teachers at every stage of their career, making sure all children have access to the best possible teaching.

The government is also investing £102 million in 21/22 through the 16-19 Tuition Fund to support hundreds of thousands of young people to catch up in English, maths and other vocational and academic subjects. This is in addition to the £96 million made available in 20/21 to deliver vital support for those 16-19-year-olds who needed it the most.

The three National Tutoring Programme routes have been developed to complement one another, allowing students to potentially access up to all three areas of support at the same time.

Evidence suggests that pupils who receive one-to-one or small group tuition can make between three to five months’ additional progress. This is likely linked to pupils receiving more feedback, being more engaged and completing work tailored to their specific needs. Tutoring is an effective intervention to support attainment, which is crucial in addressing the impact of COVID-19 on educational outcomes of their pupils, and in particular, those who are most disadvantaged.

Students will be able to get going with tuition from the start of term, building on the 300,000 students reached by the NTP in year one, as the government has prioritised a return to the full education experience, minimising disruption from measures that were in place last year like bubbles.

Dr Susan Hopkins, COVID-19 Strategic Response Director at PHE said:

“Being in face-to-face education is the best place for children and young people, bringing with it many benefits to physical and mental health and we know that many will be looking forward to getting back to school.

“Parents, young people and teachers should feel reassured that the risk from COVID-19 for the majority of children remains low and that schools are not hubs of infection.

“It does remain vital however that we take precautions to ensure that children can return to school safely, with fewer interruptions, including regular testing and enhanced hygiene measures.

“Rapid testing is critical to help uncover hidden cases of the virus at the start of term, especially after the summer holidays.

“It’s really important that children return to school to take their first tests in-person and that they continue to test twice a week from home. This is an easy but important way to stop the spread of the virus.”

Karen Guthrie, NTP Programme Director at Randstad, said:

"Following on from the successful launch of the programme in 2020, we're pleased to be expanding the reach for the coming academic year.

“The NTP will benefit pupils in areas with the highest levels of disadvantage by giving them access to subsidised support. The programme is easily accessible via an online portal and we’ve made the process easier to access and register, taking the admin burden away from schools.

“We're looking forward to working alongside our partners to make positive changes to the education and wellbeing of those who missed out on valuable learning time due to no fault of their own."

Adam Dean, Head of School at Chatten Free School, one of the new schools opening for the first time this term that specialises in working with children severely affected by autism, said:

“With the lessening of restrictions regarding Covid we are now able to provide the full education experience for our pupils. Of course we will continue to take precautions such as regular tests for staff and monitoring for outbreaks, allowing us to provide an effective education for pupils with significant needs.

“We want to work on teaching our pupils skills that will help them access the world in a real and meaningful way. For many of them this means something as simple and significant as giving them a way to make requests for the things they want in life and things that give them joy.

“It is a huge relief to me that Covid measures are now at a point where we are able to provide this full experience to our pupils.”

Lee Elliot Major, Professor of Social Mobility at the University of Exeter, said:

"The biggest challenge for the national tutoring programme will be ensuring that high quality tutoring is delivered to the most disadvantaged pupils across the country who have suffered disproportionate learning loss during the pandemic.

"Tutoring is one of the most powerful ways of boosting learning, but the key question is how to ensure it is delivered consistently at scale so that all pupils benefit.

"Using teachers as tutors makes educational sense - they are best placed to know what their pupils need. But I still believe we could do more to recruit university students as tutors for disadvantaged pupils – they remain an untapped source of talent."

Proportionate safety measures remain in place, with secondary schools and colleges in the process of offering two on-site tests, three to five days apart, to students as they return.

All students are strongly encouraged to take up the offer of testing, continue testing twice weekly at home afterwards, and report their results.

Students that are eligible for the vaccine, including 16 and 17-year-olds and 12–15-year-olds with specific underlying conditions, are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

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