School-led tutoring “reduced the effectiveness” of the National Tutoring Programme as much as the “failures” of now-axed government contractor Randstad, an education charity has claimed.
A report from Impetus, which helped to establish the national tutoring scheme in 2020, welcomed the Department for Education’s move to close the loophole allowing schools to outsource tutoring to non-approved providers.
Dutch HR firm Randstad faced criticism after overseeing a sluggish take-up in tutoring this year, with a majority of schools choosing to organise their own provision instead.
But according to Impetus, the school-led route “has reduced the effectiveness of NTP as much as any implementation failures by the contractor Randstad”.
Schools picked tutors ‘regardless of quality’
“The inevitable consequence of giving schools the freedoms of schools-led tutoring is to make some tuition partner programmes look rigid by comparison,” the report said.
“As this rigidity is usually the basis of the quality and impact the tuition partners have, there is a structural tension here.”
It added that because schools were able to pick external organisations “regardless” of quality, the route “undermines the aims of NTP”.
Figures published last week showed that 80 per cent of all NTP courses started this year had been via the school-led route.
DfE’s 6m courses target ‘unlikely‘
The charity also advised the next government to revise DfE’s “ambitious” target of delivering up to six million NTP courses by 2023.
“It seems unlikely that the target of 6 million courses will be met, and the new government should not wed itself to this target at the expense of ensuring the tutoring that is delivered is high quality,” the report said.
To get more schools to take up better tuition providers, it also argued for a tiered-subsidy system, with larger grants if schools use higher-quality providers.
“Instead of a 60% subsidy for all tuition partners, schools could instead receive (for example) a 70% subsidy for using the best tuition partners, a 40% subsidy for
using excellent but not quite as good tuition partners, and a 10% subsidy for using high
quality providers that only just meet the minimum standards,” it said.
Other recommendations outlined in the report include ensuring tutors have the ability to ramp up their output and for better publication of take-up data.