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Gaps in the National Tutoring Programme risk failing disadvantaged pupils

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Youth Charity Impetus – founding partner of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) – has issued a stark warning in their second report on the Government’s flagship catch-up scheme. It cautions that the central mission of the NTP – to reach pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds – risks being missed unless the Department for Education (DfE) addresses key gaps in the programme.

The National Tutoring Programme was set up in 2020, during the pandemic, with the ambitious aim of delivering up to 6 million tutoring courses – enough for every young person in receipt of pupil premium to receive tutoring in English and maths.

The new Impetus report warns that this vision risks being lost because of recent changes to the way that the NTP is being managed. The DfE has recently appointed three new contractors to manage different parts of the programme – meaning that some functions that are vital to the running of the NTP risk being overlooked or forgotten.

Covering these gaps is vital, and there are three key areas that need to be addressed:

  1. Evidence and insight – make sure clear and consistent data is collected and made available, so that weaknesses in the system can be identified and addressed.
  2. Quality and improvement – feedback mechanisms so that schools and sector stakeholders can influence programme development.
  3. Advocacy and engagement – winning back hearts and minds so that schools are bought into tutoring and can focus on the most disadvantaged pupils.

Ben Gadsby, Head of Policy and Research at Impetus, and author of the report said:

“The National Tutoring Programme has the potential to transform the lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. But with many changes of programme structure and responsible Minister, essential things risk being overlooked. As new Ministers bed in, it’s vital they ensure the National Tutoring Programme is set up to succeed and support the young people from disadvantaged backgrounds most in need of high quality tutoring”.

The report ‘National Tutoring Programme: The missing middle’ can be found here.

Impetus’ first report NTP tuition partners: Transformational not transactional was published in July, and outlined the steps that the new contractor, along with the Department for Education need to take to make the NTP a success.

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