The government’s £350 million national tutoring programme won’t fully “ramp up” until the spring term, with schools also not able to access tutors until November.
The Department for Education has published further details of how its catch-up programme for next year will work.
It follows announcements today that the £650 million for schools will be awarded on a £80 per-pupil basis, with Teach First chosen to recruit mentors for the £350 million national tutoring programme (NTP).
Furthermore, Schools Week revealed the £350 million originally earmarked for schools will now be raided to ensure colleges have access to tutors as well after post-16 providers were originally snubbed.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. NTP won’t be fully up and running until Spring!
Despite bold promises catch-up would be provided over summer, we now know the national tutoring programme won’t actually be fully up and running until the spring term.
While the programme will begin in the second half of the autumn term – it will “ramp up” through the spring term.
There are two strands to the tutoring cash: where schools can access sudsidised tutoring and where mentors will be based in schools.
On the former, tutoring organisations will be invited to apply from September and the offer will be “available to schools from November”.
Meanwhile on the mentor scheme, only “some” will “start working in schools from October half-term, with the remainder starting in spring term 2021”.
A portal will open in due course for schools to register their interest to participate, the government said.
2. Who’s actually eligible for the £650m catch-up cash?
The DfE has clarified which schools are eligible for the cash. They are:
Primary, secondary and all through local authority-maintained schools, academies and free schools
Local authority-maintained special schools
Special academies and free schools
Special schools not maintained by a local authority
Pupil referral units
Alternative provision (AP) academies and free schools
Local authority-maintained hospital schools and academies
Independent special schools*
*The DfE will provide funding to local authorities for pupils with education, health and care (EHC) plans who are educated in independent special schools based on the number of such pupils in their area
3. Special and AP schools to get treble the amount
As announced today, schools’ allocations will be calculated on a per pupil basis, providing each mainstream school with £80 for each pupil in reception through to year 11.
That means schools in richer areas with fewer numbers of poor pupils – who are most likely to have lost out on learning during coronavirus closures – will get the same cash as the most disadvantaged schools.
However, special, alternative provision and hospital schools will get £240 for each place for the 2020 to 2021 academic year.
This is to “recognise the significantly higher per pupil costs they face”, the DfE said.
4. Schools will have to wait until summer for all the cash
The funding will be provided in 3 tranches: an initial part payment in autumn 2020, based on the “latest available data on pupils in mainstream schools and high needs place numbers in special, AP, hospital schools and special schools not maintained by a local authority”.
There will be a second grant payment in early 2021, based on updated pupil and place data. For mainstream schools, this will be the pupil headcount from the October 2020 census.
A total of £46.67 per pupil, or £140 per place, across the first 2 payment rounds.
Then a further £33.33 per pupil, or £100 per place, will be paid during the summer term 2021.
The DfE update added: “Though funding has been calculated on a per pupil or per place basis, schools should use the sum available to them as a single total from which to prioritise support for pupils according to their need.”
5. Governors should ensure ‘appropriate transparency’ for parents
The DfE said governors and trustees should “scrutinise schools’ approaches to catch-up from September, including their plans for and use of catch-up funding”.
“This should include consideration of whether schools are spending this funding in line with their catch-up priorities, and ensuring appropriate transparency for parents.”
Ofsted will also discuss with schools how they are bringing pupils back into full-time education, during the new autumn term “visits”, which “include plans schools have to spend their catch-up funding”.
When routine inspections restart, expected in January, Ofsted will “make judgements about the quality of education being provided, and that will include how leaders are using their funding (including catch-up funding) to ensure the curriculum has a positive impact on all pupils”.