DfE won’t say if NTP second-year cash is new

The government’s flagship National Tutoring Programme will be funded for an extra year, but the Department for Education has been unable to confirm whether the cash is new.

Schools Week revealed on Wednesday that the scheme was heading for a second year, and the DfE belatedly confirmed the move yesterday.

Gavin Williamson said the spending review meant the government “can carry on delivering” its catch-up package “including £350 million to extend the success of the recently launched National Tutoring Programme”.

But both the Treasury and DfE have failed to respond to repeated questions about how the additional year will be funded.

Schools Week revealed the department is sitting on an unallocated £140 million from this year’s promised £350 million for the scheme.

It’s expected this will be used to fund the project for a second year.

Documents from Wednesday’s spending review also show a £400 million pot of cash has been allocated for education in 2021-22. This is listed as

Covid education spending “including schools catch-up and supplementary support for free school meals”.

There were no further details about the cash, but sources close to the government suggested at least some of it was for year two of the NTP.

Despite repeated requests, the DfE would not say whether the £350 million mentioned by Williamson was part of the £400 million pot included in the spending review.

The government initially told newspapers in June that the NTP would be a “multi-year” scheme, but then switched it to a one-year programme shortly before the announcement was made.

Schools Week reported last week how heads had encountered a number of issues with the NTP, including a rule that only allows them to book tutoring in one subject per child, and a stipulation that pupils must be in school to receive online tutoring.

Eleanor Harrison, chief executive of social mobility charity Impetus which is involved in running the scheme, said a longer-term commitment to the NTP “will help more young people receive the support they need to succeed, despite the setbacks”.

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