Tutoring

DfE to reopen tutoring spend return form after ‘difficulties’

One head said the process was 'taking up an unacceptable and disproportionate amount of time'

One head said the process was 'taking up an unacceptable and disproportionate amount of time'

The Department for Education plans to reopen submissions to its portal for schools to report their National Tutoring Programme spending after leaders “faced difficulties” filling it in.

Schools are required to tell DfE how much of their tutoring grant they have spent for the 2022-23 academic year. They had until 2pm today (Friday) to fill in the year-end statement.

Failure to do so meant government would clawback the full funding allocation.

However, heads complained they had struggled to access the form this week. One head said on social media the system “timed out at submission point five times”.

In an email to leaders today, seen by Schools Week, DfE said 13,000 schools had submitted their return – about 60 per cent of those eligible.

“However, we are aware that some users are facing difficulties when accessing the form and we thank you for your patience.

‘We will provide another opportunity to resubmit’

“We have now closed the year-end statement so that we can fix any issues and we will provide you with another opportunity to submit. We will email you as soon as the form is fixed and open for submissions.”

The NTP also replied with a similar message to users on social media who were facing difficulties.

One head said the issue had been going on for 10 days. He posted on that it was “taking up an unacceptable and disproportionate amount of my time that is now stopping me from doing my job”.

Last year, heads were left bemused when the DfE told them they could end up having money clawed back, despite saying they had used all the funding.

Overall, the DfE clawed back £114 million of unspent tutoring cash, with nearly half of the country’s schools not using all their catch-up allocation.

Many schools said they could not afford to put their own cash towards tutoring, a requirement to access the subsidy, and others said the scheme was overly bureaucratic.

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