Covid testing

The prime minister has said he wants to “take further” the idea of one-to-one teaching, both for pupils in need of catch-up support and those of “exceptional ability”.

During his speech to the Conservatives’ virtual conference, Boris Johnson said he wanted to “explore the value of one-to-one teaching”, adding that believed such intensive teaching could be “transformational”.

His comments follow the establishment of the National Tutoring Programme, which will see schools given subsidised access to tutoring for pupils who have fallen behind as a result of the pandemic and ensuing school closures.

But today the prime minister said he wanted to “take further an idea that we’ve tried in the pandemic, and to explore the value of one-to-one teaching , both for pupils who are in danger of falling behind and for those of exceptional ability”.

“We can all see the difficulties, but I believe such intensive teaching could be transformational and a massive reassurance to parents. It’s in crises like this that new approaches are born.”

He did not elaborate on his comments, but they are likely to be seen by some as a tacit admission that education will not return to normal in the near future.

School leaders have been warned they may face further disruption under future local lockdowns, and pressure is mounting on the government to provide additional support to schools to help educate those most at risk of falling behind.

The comments could also point to a potential future role for the NTP following the period of catch-up. But it’s likely that further roll-out would be dependent on securing funding in the comprehensive spending review.