From education to employment

Over three million courses started through the National Tutoring Programme

woman holding a book
  • 3.37 million courses started since the programme began in 2020 
  • 840,000 courses started across two-thirds of schools so far this academic year 
  • Figures reveal sustained numbers of school participation 

Now in its third year, figures published today (20 April) highlight the growing success of the National Tutoring Programme, with over three million courses now started.  

Initiated as part of the Government’s education recovery strategy and with over 800,000 courses started so far this academic year, the programme has transformed the way that targeted support is offered to pupils.

The data also shows a year-on-year rise, with more courses started between 1 September and 19 January than during a similar period in 2021-22. This includes around 440,000 course starts since 6 October. Around three-quarters of schools have also indicated that they intend to deliver tutoring at some point this year.  

Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, said: 

“The National Tutoring Programme has delivered tutoring on an unprecedented scale and thanks to the support of teachers and school leaders, millions of children have benefited as a result. 

“With exam season approaching, I hope that every eligible school will take advantage of the scheme this term to provide pupils who need additional help with one-to-one or small group tuition.”  

Today’s statistics also show that tutoring is reaching pupils who need the additional support the most, with 50% of pupils tutored being eligible for free school meals and almost 30% having special educational needs.  

The Department for Education will continue to support schools to embed tutoring into the long term as an integral part of the department’s strategy to raise standards in primary and secondary schools. This includes the ambitious target for 90 per cent of pupils to meet the expected standard of reading, writing and maths by the time they leave primary school.  

Sector Response

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“The Department for Education’s claim that they will continue to support schools to embed tutoring into the long-term just does not tally with reality. The NTP is fundamentally flawed as it is only partially subsidised and schools have to fund the remainder of the cost out of budgets that are already stretched beyond breaking point. The government subsidy covers only 60% of the cost this academic year, 25% next academic year, and disappears altogether after that. This will only serve to limit access with many schools likely to cut or completely abandon NTP provision. If the government’s intention really is to embed tutoring into the school system, this is a bizarre way of going about it.

“To add insult to injury, the DfE has today published school-level statistics showing participation in the National Tutoring Programme during the 2021/22 academic year. This de facto league table, that we have repeatedly warned them against publishing, tells us little more than what schools have been able to afford. It certainly should not be used as major indicator of a school’s appetite to make use of the tutoring scheme. If the government was serious about widening participation in the NTP, they would allow schools to access the subsided funding without the pre-requisite of topping this up from their own budgets. Rather than take this simple, cost-free step, they have instead chosen to publish this meaningless set of statistics.

“As the government’s flagship education recovery policy following the pandemic, this is just not good enough. Their own education recovery commissioner resigned because the funding allocated for education recovery was so low. Rather than taking on board this criticism, increasing the level of funding and making this more accessible, the government has chosen to deflect from their shortcomings by attempting to put the blame on schools. Right from the start, the NTP has been a textbook lesson in how to take a good idea and undermine it through bureaucracy and inflexibility. The publication of these statistics is just the latest example and suggests the DfE’s priorities are in completely the wrong place.”

Steve Haines, Director of Public Affairs at youth charity Impetus, said:

“Tutoring is one of the best evidenced interventions for supporting young people who have fallen behind to catch up with their peers, but today’s NTP data is less informative than previous releases.

“It’s impossible to know which tuition routes schools are using, a vital piece of information for anyone who wants to see the tutoring system evolve to address cold spots and meet schools’ needs.

“Ministers will struggle to improve the programme without a greater understanding of what’s actually going on behind impressive sounding figures for pupils reached.”

NTP ad-hoc statistics: at least 720,000 starts on courses by pupils by 27th February 2022, with SLT data up to 9th February 2022. Latest 22/23 statistics: 840,000 starts on courses by pupils by 19th January 2022. Comparisons should be treated with caution given different data collection processes in place. 

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