The Department for Education has published guidance today for its £579 million school-led tutor fund.
It will form a third strand of catch-up support under the National Tutoring Programme, which opened for year two applications today. The other two routes are tuition partners and academic mentors.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. DfE wants tutoring to start ASAP …
Following feedback the government’s tutoring programme was not flexible enough, a new route has been set up to give cash straight to schools so they can source their own tutoring. All state-funded schools are eligible for the ring-fenced grant.
The DfE said schools can deliver tutoring from the beginning of this term. Today’s guidance states: “We strongly recommend that they begin to deliver tutoring as soon as possible so that pupils can start benefiting from tutoring support.”
Schools have freedom to choose their own tutors – including from current or retired staff, teaching assistants or trainees.
2. … but some staff will have to be trained first (and it doesn’t start until November)
However, some internal staff will have to do training before they can start tutoring.
A free online course will be run by Ranstad, the HR firm running year two of the NTP, and the Education Development Trust. But it won’t be available until November.
For qualified teachers, or those without qualified status who have at least two years experience teaching the subject and phase they wish to tutor in, there is a core module lasting two hours.
This is “optional” and teachers are “not required to complete the training in order to start tutoring”.
However, DfE “strongly recommend that these teachers take up this development opportunity to help them plan for and deliver effective tutoring”.
For all other staff – including teaching assistants, trainee teachers and those not yet qualified – the training is “essential and they will not be able to begin delivering tuition until they have successfully completed the course”.
The course is expected to take around 11 hours. Further details will be issued before the autumn half term.
On successful completion of the course, tutors will receive certification.
3. Three-on-one tutoring is favoured
The guidance recommends that a group size of three pupils will allow schools to “ensure cost effectiveness whilst maximising outcomes for pupils”. However one-on-one provision should be considered for pupils with additional needs.
4. Prioritise English and maths
There has been a “significant loss of education” in English and maths at primary level, the guidance states.
It adds: “Given the importance of these subjects in improving wider pupil outcomes, we strongly encourage primary schools and academy trusts to prioritise support to pupils who have fallen behind in language, English and maths.”
Schools “may” also support pupils in science or other subjects.
At secondary level, schools are “encouraged” to deliver tutoring in English, maths, sciences, humanities and modern foreign languages.
For special schools, the grant can also be used for tutoring to support catch-up in the “broader curriculum, for example practising and consolidating techniques in speech and language therapy”.
5. You can tutor during form time or breakfast clubs
Schools are “expected” to organise tuition at an “appropriate time for pupils to encourage high attendance”.
This will involve “careful consideration of timetabling to ensure that pupils do not miss out on core curriculum”.
The guidance adds: “Leaders can be flexible in their approach to timetabling to avoid this, for example by rotating tutoring session times or holding sessions during form time or breakfast clubs.”
6. It’s not just for poorer pupils
The tutoring “should” focus on disadvantaged pupils, including those on pupil premium, with additional needs or children who have social workers. However, a school can use the cash for a pupil that does not fit into these categories if they think the child would benefit from catch-up tutoring.
7. You can purchase NTP providers, but no subsidy
Schools can use the cash to buy tuition from approved NTP providers. However if they do, they won’t have access to the subsidy – they will need to pay the full rate. It also can not be used to fund the unsubsidised parts of the NTP tutoring, nor the academic mentors support.
The cash should also only be used to cover staff costs – not room hire, equipment, transport or record keeping.
The funding will be paid in three installments (September, December and April for maintained schools, and October, January and May for academies).
Schools will have to provide data on their spending through the school census once a term and via an online form. Data will also be used to evaluation the programme.