Schools will only have to contribute half of the costs towards catch-up under the National Tutoring Programme next year after government increased its subsidy.
The Department for Education announced today it would match schools’ tutoring costs in the 2023-24 academic year. Currently, the government subsidises 60 per cent of tutoring costs, but this was due to drop to 25 per cent from September.
The department said up to one million courses would be funded with £150 million of funding available to schools next year.
However, the DfE has confirmed there is no extra cash as part of the announcement. The government is seemingly forecasting less demand next year than anticipated, meaning its contribution will go further.
It follows lower than expected take-up of the scheme.
Schools Week reported in April that ministers clawed back £114 million of unspent tutoring cash – over a third of the amount handed out last year – with nearly half of the country’s schools not using all their catch-up allocation.
Schools said bureaucracy around providing tutoring, not being able to stump up their own costs and a lack of tutors were reasons behind not using their tutoring cash.
Heads say schools should get cash directly
Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the ASCL school leaders’ union, welcomed the reduction in the subsidy, but said schools should get their funding directly.
“ASCL has suggested several times that schools should be able to access their allocated NTP funding without having to top this up from their own extremely stretched budgets.
“It’s disappointing that the government has again chosen not to make this simple change which would, in our view, enable many more schools to access the programme, and many more pupils to benefit from it.”
Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “Since its inception in 2020, we have continuously evolved the National Tutoring Programme to ensure it works for pupils and schools.
“Over three million courses have been started as a result and we remain committed to supporting schools to embed tutoring long term because we know the positive impact it can have on pupils.”
The latest DfE statistics show that 3,365,598 tutoring courses had been started as of the end of January. That included 2,215,386 in the 2021-22 academic year, meeting ministers’ initial target of two million starts for that year.
Between September 2022 and late January this year, 839,495 courses were started.