Ministers should “seriously consider” revoking the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) contract with Randstad, the influential chair of the education select committee has said in a major intervention.
Conservative MP Robert Halfon will demand in the commons today that ministers “look again at the contract with Randstad, work with Randstad to up its game, or else seriously consider enacting the break clause”.
Schools Week first revealed problems under the second year of the NTP when leading tuition providers were in a stand-off with the international HR firm over contract disputes in September.
For-profit firm Randstad won the contract after under-cutting a group of charities including the Education Endowment Foundation that had set the programme up in its first year.
The flagship catch-up scheme has reached just 15 per cent of its ramped up target by the end of the first term.
Schools seem to be instead organising their own provision under a new third pillar of the NTP – where cash goes straight to schools.
The committee heard last year that a group of charities was discussing forming an “alternative” provider to challenge Randstad over the running of the NTP from September.
School leaders have told MPs the programme – which includes a portal where schools must manually input details to arrange tutoring – was a “bureaucratic nightmare”.
Randstad defended its progress earlier this month. Karen Guthrie, programme director, said tuition organisations are now able to “do some of the administration on behalf of schools”.
Ahead of a debate on education recovery, Halfon said: “The Government has spent almost £5 billion on education recovery, which is welcome, but I worry this funding is not reaching the most vulnerable children in our communities.
“Despite significant investment, the National Tutoring Programme, which has the potential to be one of the great interventions to support recovery, is falling far short.”
Last month Robin Walker said while there was “still work to do”, the figures were “hugely encouraging”.
“We are now seeing the real reach and impact of the unprecedented investment this Government is making in supporting children’s education recovery.
“Every pupil – wherever they live – should be supported to get back on track and reach their potential, and that’s what this tutoring programme is doing.”
DfE and Randstad have been approached for comment.