Key findings: Has the flagship NTP delivered what ministers promised?

Ministers meet overall target, but fewer schools take up scheme so far this year - and tutoring league tables will be published in April

Ministers meet overall target, but fewer schools take up scheme so far this year - and tutoring league tables will be published in April

15 Dec 2022, 11:46

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The government has revealed how its flagship national tutoring programme (NTP) performed last year. Here’s everything you need to know …

1. Tutor target hit (but Randstad routes flop)

Government met its pledge to deliver two million tutoring courses last year – with 2.14 million provided.

However this was after the timeframe was extended (to allow schools to complete tutoring over summer) and with the school-led tutoring route saving the day after abysmal earlier take up of the tuition partners and academic mentors routes.

The NTP as three different types of tutoring: tuition partners (where schools must use approved tutors), academic mentors (where a tutor is based in school) and school-led (where the cash goes direct to schools to organise their own tutoring).

A huge 1.7 million courses (81 per cent) were delivered through school-led, with just 228,247 (11) per cent through tuition partners, the former flagship route that was run by since-axed contractor Randstad.

This means the HR firm met just 44 per cent of its target to deliver 524,000 courses through tuition partners.

Across all routes, the most tutoring courses were delivered in London (377,236) and the fewest in the north east (126,455).

2. … and pupil premium target missed

As revealed by Schools Week, the scheme fell well short of its target to reach poorer pupils.

Sixth-five per cent of the catch-up provided under the tuition partners’ arm was supposed to reach pupil premium students.

But the figures today show just 50.5 per cent of students were eligible for pupil premium, similar to the data obtained from Randstad’s internal performance reports by Schools Week.

For the school-led tutoring route, which did not appear to have a pupil premium target, today’s data shows a smaller proportion of poorer pupils benefited (47.4 per cent).

Boys were slightly more likely to have tutoring than girls (51.3 per cent compared to 48.7 per cent).

3. Just 1 in 5 schools use approved tutor route …

Overall, the government data shows that 2,700 of 21,593 schools did not use any of the tutoring routes (13 per cent). A previous study found similar, and showed schools in disadvantaged areas where more likely to not partake.

Government currently subsidises 60 per cent of tutoring costs, but this will drop to 25 per cent next year.

Even when subsidies were larger last year, researchers previously said many schools not using the NTP “did not think subsidies were sufficient” and felt “unable to meet” the remaining requirements in their own budgets.

Just 85 per cent of schools in the south east used the scheme, compared to 90.1 per cent in the north west. Secondary schools were more likely to use the scheme (95.5 per cent) than primaries (87.2 per cent).

But breaking it down by route, just 4,536 schools (21 per cent) used a tuition partner last year.

In comparison, 18,382 schools (85 per cent) took part in school-led tutoring route. Cash for this year’s NTP now goes straight to schools.

4. … and just 2 in 5 use tutor so far this year

The government has also published figures for take-up of this year’s NTP (although it only shows the figures from the start of the academic year up to October 6, so it is early days to draw conclusions).

While nearly 400,000 tutoring courses had been started, just 43.7 per cent of schools had used the NTP as of October 6.

Schools in London were more likely to have used the scheme this year (50.7 per cent had taken part), with schools in the north east the least likely (39.9 per cent).

By local authority, this ranges from 23.7 per cent of schools in Hartlepool to 65.6 per cent of schools in Knowsley.

5. Tutoring league tables out in April              

As revealed by Schools Week, government will name and shame schools that have not used their tutoring allocation. Ministers previously said this would be in the autumn term, but have now said they will be published in April.

Government confirmed today this will be data showing the number of tuition hours delivered by each school on both the school-led and tuition partner pillars.

Any unused tutoring money is clawed back by government and handed back to the treasury.

While the process of clarifying correct figures for schools is ongoing (and not without its own problems), Schools Week understands the unspent cash was previously sitting at more than £100 million.

DfE added that: “Resubmissions will allow us to improve the accuracy of these figures.”

Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “I hope every school that is eligible will deliver one-to one and small group tutoring this year, as we move towards embedding tutoring in schools permanently and supporting schools to make best use of increased pupil premium funding.”

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