UK education secretary urges remaining schools to take part in national tutoring scheme

Parents in England will have access to data revealing how their school is using the National Tutoring Scheme, the Education Secretary announced today (2 May 2022).

The program is at the heart of the Education Secretary’s commitment to parents, ensuring that any child who falls behind in English and maths will receive personalized support to help them get back on track, and the parents will be kept informed of their progress. This will support the government’s mission to upgrade education to ensure that 90% of primary school children reach the expected level in reading, writing and mathematics by 2030.

The national tutoring program is part of the government’s ambitious Covid recovery plan, providing government-funded high-quality remedial tutoring, world-class training for teachers and early years practitioners, additional funding for schools and an extension of time in colleges by 40 hours a year, backed by an additional investment of £5 billion.

In a letter to all schools, sent today, the Education Secretary confirmed plans to publish data on each school’s involvement this autumn, helping parents understand how their school is taking up the offer of government-funded support to help students catch up on lost learning. The data will also be shared with Ofsted, with the department working with Ofsted over the coming months on the best use of this data.

Since the tutoring program launched in November 2020, approximately 1.2 million high-quality tutoring lessons have been initiated by students, including just under 900,000 this school year. The department estimates that 40% of schools have yet to offer tutoring sessions under the national tutoring program this school year.

In the letter, Secretary of State Nadhim Zahawi will write:

I now appeal, especially to schools that have not yet started offering tutoring, to ensure that you do so as soon as possible this term – don’t miss an opportunity to help students who may benefit now.

Starting this week, my department will contact schools that have not yet offered tutoring support to discuss their plans and offer additional support to ensure they can offer tutoring to their students this term.

As part of my desire to ensure greater transparency on the impact of the program, I plan to publish at the end of the year the data on the tutoring offer of each school as well as the funding allocations and the number of students eligible for the student bonus. I will also share this information with Ofsted.

The education secretary’s letter encourages the few remaining schools that have yet to use the national tutoring scheme to do so, as the school year draws to a close. Schools that have not yet offered lessons under the scheme will be contacted individually starting this week to discuss their plans and offer support.

The department intends to release data in the fall on the provision of tutoring in schools in the 21/22 school year, in addition to the data the government already publishes on national participation, as well as on school-level funding allocations. More details will be available in due course.

Evidence suggests that small group lessons can speed up progress by an average of two months in secondary schools and four months in primary schools.

Current funding for the National Tutoring Scheme is sufficient to provide a lesson for every pupil eligible for the Pupil Bonus, helping to fulfill parents’ commitment to help all children in need.

Primary students have already recovered about two-thirds of the progress lost due to the pandemic in reading and about half of the progress lost in math, demonstrating the effectiveness of the broader and ambitious education recovery program of the government.

In March, the department announced updates to simplify the scheme, including the decision to provide the full £349m of tutoring funding for AY22/23 directly to schools. The decision was made following feedback from schools and stakeholders, giving schools the freedom to decide how best to provide tutoring to their children.

The recovery plan, with tutoring at its heart, supports the government’s mission to upgrade education to ensure that 90% of primary school children reach the expected level in key stage 2 reading, writing and mathematics by 2030 – and for the national average GCSE score in English and Maths to drop from 4.5 to 5, by the same time.

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