National Tutoring Programme levelling tuition playing field

A new survey by the Sutton Trust, which looks at trends in private tutoring, as well as in school tutoring, suggests that the National Tutoring Programme is levelling the playing field when it comes to access to tutoring by pupils from well off households, and those from the worst off households.

32% of those in the worst-off households reported taking up extra tuition in school, compared to 22% in the most well-off. The total proportion of pupils accessing any form of tutoring (both private and in-school) is now almost level between the most and least deprived, thanks to the growth of in-school tutoring, with 39% of those from the most well-off households accessing tutoring, compared to 37% of those from the worst-off. The data also shows that regions with the lowest rates of private tutoring, such as the North East, East Midlands and Yorkshire, have the highest rates of in-school tutoring take-up.

The authors say that while use of private tutoring is continuing to rise, particularly for young people from the most well-off families, the National Tutoring Programme is allowing a much wider group of pupils to access tutoring, with the potential to help level the playing field between the most and least disadvantaged, if issues with delivery and targeting can be addressed

The Sutton Trust is therefore calling for the National Tutoring Programme to be established longer term, beyond its role in catch-up efforts, as an ongoing part of national provision for schools to close the attainment gap between poorer pupils and their better off peers.

It also calls for the government subsidy for the programme to be maintained around current levels into the next school year (Currently the government pays 60% of the costs of tutoring, and schools 40%, however this is due to change to 25% government and 75% school in the 2023/24 school year).

Sir Peter Lampl, Founder and Chairman of the Sutton Trust and Chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “Private tutoring reinforces the advantages of young people from well-off families. In an increasingly competitive environment for school and university places, the use of private tutoring has risen from 18% in 2005 to 30% now.

"Although there have been issues with delivery, the National Tutoring Programme has been an exciting new development. It has changed the landscape of tutoring, giving young people the opportunity to receive tuition who would never have been able to afford it. Rather than treating it as a short-term catch-up programme, it should be part of an ongoing national effort to tackle the attainment gap.”

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