Randstad tutor routes still two-thirds off promised catch-up

New statistics suggests ministers still way off delivering promised two million tutor courses as pre-exams boom doesn't materialise

New statistics suggests ministers still way off delivering promised two million tutor courses as pre-exams boom doesn't materialise

The Randstad-led routes of the National Tutoring Programme have delivered just a third of their tutoring targets – with just four months to go until the end of their contract. 

New figures published this morning show that, as of May 8, just 165,230 out of 524,000 courses had begun on the tuition partners pillar, where tutoring organisations are approved by HR firm Randstad.

Academic mentors, also overseen by Randstad, has reached 45 per cent of its target – 118,714 of the 252,000 courses target. 

That means, across both arms, the company has only hit 37 per cent of its 776,000 original contracted targets. 

The new school-led tutoring pillar, where money goes directly to schools, remains the most popular with 913,388 starts. This accounts for 76 per cent of all the tutoring courses this year.

Overall, across all three arms of the flagship catch-up scheme, 1,197,332 courses have started since September. It means the government is 40 per cent off hitting its target of two million courses by the end of August.

Schools Week revealed that ministers will overhaul the NTP so all the catch-up cash goes straight to schools next year, with under-fire HR firm Randstad axed.

Part of the overhaul includes allowing schools to continue to provide tutoring in the summer holidays, effectively giving the government an extension to August 31 to meet its recruitment target for this year.

Even with the extra time, the government would have to secure 47,215 starts a week to reach two million before September. It is currently on average reaching about 34,209 a week.

The statistics are particularly worrying as the March to May pre-exam period is usually the busiest time of the year for tutoring.

Following criticism of low take-up in January, schools minister Robin Walker said we was “hoping” to see “take-up picking up towards the exam season”.

“There is a logic that that should also happen particularly with the tuition partners pillar of the NTP as we head towards that,” he added.

Regional tutor variation

But only 16.5 per cent of schools have used the tuition partners arm, up from 14.1 per cent in March, while 5.8 have used academic mentors. 

Nearly 60 per cent have accessed school-led tutoring. It means overall, a third of schools are still yet to even use the NTP.

There is also big regional variation. In the north west, 72.9 per cent of schools have used the scheme, while only 60.5 per cent have in the south east. 

Schools Week revealed this month that the government plans to publish data on schools’ usage of the National Tutoring Programme in the autumn term, alongside funding allocations and data on the number of deprived children.

Walker said the NTP had “transformed” the way schools “provide support for the young people who need it the most”.

Karen Guthrie, Randstad’s NTP programme director, said they had “consistently relayed” that school-led tutoring had proved “the most popular for schools and full support giving more flexibility and autonomy to those on the front line”.

She added: “Over two thirds of England’s schools have been registered to the NTP in this academic year and Randstad is committed to evolving the programme, removing its complexities and further expanding its reach and accessibility.”

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