Schools will have to raid their own coffers to pay for tutoring when government subsidies end, with an expectation that pupil premium is also spent on literacy and numeracy interventions.
Ministers expect tutoring to be a “staple offer from schools” when current financial incentives end in 2024.
Schools will be expected to “use their core budgets” to fund the provision, which will become a “core academic option in the pupil premium menu”.
The government also said it would “make it easier” for schools to use the £2.6 billion annual pupil premium funding to “support literacy and numeracy skills where needed”.
Although the fund will retain its “core focus” on improving attainment for disadvantaged pupils, the new expectations show the government becoming more prescriptive about what cash is spent on.
Lee Elliot-Major, a professor of social mobility at the University of Exeter, said establishing high-quality tutoring as a sustained and embedded option for all schools was the government’s “biggest test”.
“In my view there should be more pupil premium funding available – as long as it is spent on effective classroom approaches.”
James Turner, the chief executive of the Sutton Trust, said schools “should be properly resourced to provide tutoring”.
Raise pupil premium to pay for tutoring
“If the expectation is that schools should fund tutoring from their core budgets, then ensuring that the pupil premium is at least increased in line with inflation would be an important start.”
In the white paper, the Department for Education said “effective use” of the premium was “key” to delivering its parent pledge.
It pointed to a recommendation from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) that half the funding is spent on high-quality teaching, with the other half for “targeted academic support and wider strategies”.
Based on EEF evidence, the DfE has produced a “menu of recommended evidence-based approaches”, which schools are encouraged to use.
The EEF told Schools Week that its research showed the “most commonly cited approaches in pupil premium statements are literacy interventions, general staff CPD and small group tuition”.
Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the school leaders’ union ASCL, said tutoring “must be a decision for school leaders and teachers who know their students and their needs, rather than with the government which does not”.
Eleanor Harrison, the chief executive of the youth charity Impetus, said she was “delighted” with the “vision for tutoring as a long-term tool to tackle the attainment gap”.
But it was “vital” the national tutoring programme worked as a “stepping stone to a future where all young people get the support they need to succeed”.