Schools should 'consider implications' of teachers offering paid tuition, says Sutton Trust

Schools have been warned to “consider the implications” of teachers offering or promoting paid tuition after a survey found a quarter of secondary teachers took on private tuition in the last two years.

The Sutton Trust’s annual polling of teachers and pupils also shows that two thirds of teachers who have tutored did so after direct contact from parents.

The survey of 1,678 teachers also asked if their school had promoted paid-for private tuition to parents. Although secondary school teachers were more likely to have tutored outside of school than primary teachers (24 per cent versus 14 per cent), heads in primary school were more likely to say their school had sent parents information about private tutoring (18 per cent compared to 11 per cent).

Sit Peter Lampl, the founder and chair of The Sutton Trust and chair of the Education Endowment Foundation said schools should “consider the implications of teachers offering paid tuition outside of lessons and how this is promoted in school.”

He also repeated the trust’s long standing demand for the government to introduce a “means-tested voucher scheme” to allow families on lower income to provide tuition for their children.

The trust is also recommending schools prioritise one-to-one and small group tuition in their pupil premium spending and for the government funding access to tuition sustainably.

Last year, a report from the Education Endowment Fund found that children who receive weekly maths tutoring make three months’ more progress than those without a tutor.

However Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said the increasing use of private tuition “reflects the worries that the government has unnecessarily created in so many parents’ minds about school standards and students’ prospects”.

She added that any “extra funding” for disadvantaged pupils should be focused on “addressing the shortfalls in pupil premium funding”.

The poll found that 27 per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds in England and Wales now say they have had tuition, up from 18 per cent in 2015. This number is considerably higher in London than any other region, rising to 41 per cent, up from 34 per cent in 2005.

Those who receive private tuition are also more likely to come from better-off backgrounds, with a third of pupils from “high affluence” households (34 per cent) receiving tuition at some point during their education, compared to 20 per cent of those in low affluence households.

The Sutton Trust has called on more private tuition agencies to provide a proportion of tuition for free to disadvantaged pupils, as well as an expansion of non-profit tuition programmes that connect tutors with disadvantaged schools.

Last year, the UCL Institute of Education’s Professor John Jerrim called for a tax on private tutoring services, which he said were commonly used by affluent families to help their children prepare for grammar school entry exams. He said the money from the tax should go towards paying for vouchers for low and middle-income families to give them subsidised or free tuition.