At Tutor Trust, our vision is to be part of an education system that provides excellence, equity and opportunity to every child and young person in the UK. We believe that all young people should receive the support they need to overcome any barriers they face in achieving their full potential. Improving social mobility among young people in the North is more important than ever and we want to widen the future options and opportunities for as many as possible. This is why we’ve pledged to keep the costs of our tuition the same this academic year.

The availability of high-quality education as a key driver of social mobility is highlighted by the Social Mobility Commission in its State of the Nation 2023: People and Places report, published this week. This looks at full mobility outcomes, intermediate (early-life) outcomes, and what the key background factors are which determine these.

The report highlights that the attainment gap between pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) and those not eligible remains large, with a substantial ‘disadvantage’ gap remaining at 3 stages of the school career (ages 5, 11 and 16). These gaps also appear to have become larger at ages 11 and 16 years, following the disruption to learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this isn’t just limited to schools in the North, we know that young people in some communities in the North have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, where teacher and pupil absences were higher than the national average as were the number of school closures in the region. 

As a proudly Northern charity, we are committed to narrowing the geographical attainment gap but we can only do this with continued investment. That’s why, along with our sister charities, we’ve called on the next parliament to offer a Tutoring Guarantee, which would help narrow the attainment gap and also support the mental health of young people. The Tutoring Guarantee would allow all young people in receipt of Pupil Premium, who are behind in either English or Maths, to be offered high quality tuition support to help to close the gap.

One of the young people featured in the report talks about the impact that tutoring has had on his life and on how it provided him with the chance to study his preferred subject at college:

I can see how much my work has improved quality-wise, not just in Maths, since getting the tutor. I feel much more motivated to do well at college now that I know I can.

I’d definitely recommend anyone else finding Maths hard [to] ask their school about tutoring because I know there are others like me that need maths to do what they want at college. Sometimes when you don’t get something in a big group setting it just means you need to learn it in a different way, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try again a second time."

Simon, age 16, Norwich

Tutor Trust CEO Ed Marsh and Co-Founder and Executive Director Abigail Shapiro comment:

We welcome the State of the Nation: People and Places report, which clearly shows how high-quality education can significantly improve social mobility and reflects our commitment as a charity to transform the lives of young people across the North of England through tutoring.

The long-term effects of the pandemic are still prevalent and are now being compounded by the cost-of-living crisis. Young people in the North have been disproportionately affected by both, as highlighted in the clear attainment gap between the North and South of England in the latest GCSE and A-level exam results. We will continue to ensure that as many young people as possible in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and West Yorkshire can access gold standard tuition, growing their opportunities for the future as well as improving resilience and confidence. 

As well as supporting young people in schools, we are working on ensuring that we are tackling inequality in tutor recruitment through our Widening Participation programme, while our Poverty and Place work with the University of Manchester, explores how the use of language to describe communities, the language we use with schools and pupils and how we describe our offer can be used to better set young people up for success from the outset”