Today’s report from the National Foundation for Educational Research, Tutoring sustainability: Understanding the views of school leaders, examines the perceptions of 439 school leaders regarding the National Tutoring Programme.

Survey suggests NTP is helping disadvantaged pupils, but views split on tutoring cost-effectiveness - NFER

It’s good to hear that nearly two-thirds (65%) plan to continue using the NTP in the next academic year, that three-quarters (76%) currently using the NTP believe it is improving the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils, and that a similar proportion (73%) believe the programme selection guidance allows them to prioritise pupils most in need of academic support. Plus the fact that almost all (91 per cent) of those currently using the NTP feel it has allowed them to offer support to more disadvantaged pupils. 

However, it's clear from the report that there is a way to go in embedding tutoring sustainably within schools. School leaders cite a number of challenges, and those who are dropping out of the NTP say they are doing so for financial and administrative reasons.

We know the NTP is enabling schools to support those pupils who most need an academic boost to their learning, but this report echoes what we have hard from school leaders ourselves – the subsidy isn’t enough for many (even if it was 90%, finding that additional 10% would be almost impossible), and the administration involved is time-consuming. 

We hear this ourselves, from schools, who tell us that they are finding it hard to identify any spare funds for tutoring. That’s when the support of our generous funders is even more vital. It enables us to reduce the cost of tuition for those schools, so that the pupils who need tuition, don’t miss out.

The report makes five key recommendations to Government, all of which we’d echo. Top of them is to explore how additional financial support can be made available to schools over a longer period, to allow tutoring to become embedded in schools.

Embedding tuition in our education system as an additional tool for schools to support those pupils who truly need it, will create greater equity overall. And will ultimately help shrink the attainment gap, by giving all pupils the same opportunities to achieve their potential.