The National Tutoring Programme will fail young people unless it reforms

Tutor pic july 2022

Changes to the flagship catch-up programme would transform the lives of the young people it was designed to reach.

Youth charity, Impetus - a founding partner of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) - has today published a report with a package of reforms that it says must be implemented by the Government in order for the NTP to reach the thousands of children who have fallen behind at school.

A high quality tuition provider can be transformational – it is one of the best evidenced interventions for supporting young people to make accelerated progress.* But according to the Impetus report, the quality of these providers varies, and the best provision is still not always available to schools, particularly those that need them most.

Earlier this month the government closed the loophole that meant schools could use potentially sub-standard tuition. They can now only use accredited tuition partners who have met a rigorous set of quality standards.

But schools are still struggling to find quality tuition. More high quality accredited tuition partners are needed, and it is clear that schools also need more support than the NTP is currently providing to make the scheme work.

The National Tutoring Programme was set up in Summer 2020 to make high-quality tuition available to help those whose education has been most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. These are overwhelmingly young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who were already only half as likely to pass GCSE English and Maths.

Impetus believes that for the NTP to work as it was intended, the Department of Education now needs to:

  • Explore higher subsidy rates for higher quality tuition providers - to encourage the take up of the best quality tuition.
  • Require the new NTP contractors to include a capacity building element in their programme - to grow the availability of quality tutoring.
  • Make NTP management information available to drive improvements in the scheme, and allow it to develop to meet more schools’ needs.

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

Tutoring is one of the best-evidenced interventions for supporting young people to make accelerated progress but, two years on, quality tutoring still isn’t available to every school that needs it.

The National Tutoring Programme has the chance to transform the lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. But without better data, and the ability to attract more, higher quality tutors, there is a real risk that this potential will never be met.

Our report today outlines the steps that the new contractor, along with the Department for Education need to take to make the programme a success, so that all schools can secure the tutoring they want for their pupils.

About tutoring

*A high quality tuition provider can be transformational for young people. Impetus has been funding the charity Action Tutoring since 2014. In 2021, 80% of the pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds that Action Tutoring supports, achieved GCSE grade 4+ in English or Maths, more than 10 percentage points higher than young people from disadvantaged backgrounds more widely.

In 2018, an EEF trial found that children who received tutoring from Tutor Trust made three months’ additional progress.

About the National Tutoring Programme

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) supports schools by providing access to high-quality tutoring to help pupils whose education has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Impetus worked with our sister charity the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to put together a plan for what became the NTP. We partly funded an early pilot to test whether online tutoring was viable during school closures. And we supported EEF with the first year of delivery under the testing circumstances of the pandemic.

Tribal has recently been contracted by the government to take over running the tuition partners pillar of NTP.

About Impetus

Impetus transforms the lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, by ensuring they get the right support to succeed in school, work and life. We find, fund and build the most promising charities working with these young people, providing core funding and working shoulder-to-shoulder with their leaders to help them become stronger organisations. In partnership with other funders we help our charities expand, and we work to influence policy and decision makers so that young people get the support they need.

Ben Gadsby is Head of Policy and Research at Impetus.

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