Paul Whiteman

Tutoring is a top priority for education recovery – but not via the National Tutoring Programme, say @NAHTnews

Today (Thursday 17 June), school leaders’ union NAHT releases the results of a snap poll of its members on which areas they think should be the highest priority for education recovery.

The poll received 728 responses from school leaders in England at the end of last week, and revealed that the top three areas school leaders think the government should be focusing additional funding for education recovery are:

  • 1:1 / small group tutoring run by schools themselves (70%)
  • Better support for pupil mental health and wellbeing (63%)
  • Increased pupil premium allocations (42%)

However, the two lowest priorities were:

  • The national tutoring programme (3%)
  • Extending the school day for additional learning (2%)

Commenting on the results, NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman said: “These results reflect what we have been hearing from our members directly – that rather than dictating how education recovery happens, the government needs to give schools the flexible funding and resources to get on with the job in the way they know works best.

“The National Tutoring Programme is a great idea in principle and could have a really positive impact, but the current bureaucracy surrounding it, and the difficulties schools are facing accessing tutors means that it is starting to feel like yet another hoop to jump through and a pressure rather than a help. It also doesn’t help that schools still don’t even know what their allocations will be for next year, making planning incredibly difficult.

“As our members show with their priorities in this survey, 1:1 and small group tutoring is a measure that education professionals know works. They just need the flexibility – and funding and resources – to organise it themselves.

“Schools are already doing the work of recovery and have been since children returned to classrooms. They know what they need to do – what they need from the government is support. They don’t need to be told how to do the job, they just need the government to give them the resources and stand back.

“The message I hear most frequently from our members is that they wish the government would just give them the extra funding directly so they can get it straight to the children that most need it. This is shown in the 42% calling for increased pupil premium funding.

“The government doesn’t fall into this trap with other professions. It doesn’t tell doctors how to practice medicine. In fact one of the biggest successes of the whole pandemic, the vaccination programme, is a demonstration of exactly that – the government invested enough money into getting the vaccines and then handed over to the NHS and stepped back to let them crack on.

“If only they’d do the same for education.”

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