A tutor and tutee sit side-by-side

DfE and Ofsted reports published which highlight the positive perception of tutoring

Today sees the release of two new publications, both giving positive perspectives on tutoring. These reports reinforce the view that, done well, tutoring is an effective intervention that can make a real difference to learners. 


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Today sees the release of two new publications, both giving positive perspectives on tutoring. These reports reinforce the view that, done well, tutoring is an effective intervention that can make a real difference to learners. 

Schools have made it clear in both reports that, despite enthusiasm for continuing to provide tuition for pupils, this can only happen with government investment.

We’re delighted to see that one of our partner schools, St John Bosco Arts College in Liverpool, have shared their experiences of working with us with Ofsted as part of their evaluation. They reported that tutoring had helped to give students with gaps in their knowledge extra support. They also said that mock exam data had shown an improvement among most students who had received tuition from us.

We took part in the Ofsted Research Programme on tutoring and the feedback received around tutoring was really positive and this is down to the support of Tutor Trust, so thank you.”
Michael Johnston, Assistant Head, St John Bosco Arts College, Liverpool

Below are our main takeaways from both publications:

The first report is from the Department for Education (DfE) and is an evaluation of year 3 of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NfER). Based on interviews with school leaders and a survey, the report shows:

  • School leaders agree that NTP is having a positive impact on pupils’ attainment (78%), confidence (78%), and the ability to catch up with their peers (76%). 
  • Schools valued the ability to use the funding to choose the appropriate route for their pupils, with satisfaction being high for all three routes.
  • 87% of school leaders said that they use Pupil Premium eligibility to decide who to support with tutoring, however the report shows that the actual number of Pupil Premium eligible pupils is lower than this. The DfE suggests that this may be due to these pupils dropping out of programmes and being replaced. This highlights a real need to make an additional effort to engage these pupils to enable them to be set up for success.
  • Teachers surveyed make it clear that they are keen to continue to provide tutoring to pupils, but this can only be achieved through the provision of external funding.

The findings from the report are consistent with our own evidence and findings. The Future of Tutoring report from July showed that improved confidence and attainment were the two main benefits of tutoring identified by schools. Our Pupil Voice data shows that learners score us highly on improving their confidence in lessons and in making sessions fun and engaging. Our Randomised Control Trials also showed that the impact of tutoring was greatest for low prior attainers and pupils eligible for free school meals, highlighting that when these pupils are engaged the outcomes are extremely positive.

The second report is from Ofsted and is an independent evaluation of tutoring covering NTP and 16–19-year-olds. This used qualitative research based on interviews with 55 schools and 31 16-19 settings. The main findings from this are:

  • Tutoring was viewed in a similarly positive light as in the above report, being seen as highly valued and effective when well-planned and executed. 
  • Quality is key with smaller group sizes being a driver of impactful tutoring.
  • The quality of the tutors themselves is also crucial to delivering effective tuition.
  • Pupils themselves enjoy tutoring, finding it to be a safe, judgement-free space where they can ask questions or make mistakes without feeling embarrassed.
  • The report did that the most effective provision was when tutoring was delivered in person and embedded into the school day, with remote learning being found to be much less effective.
  • This report also showed that school leaders said that it was vital for NTP to continue to enable pupils to access tuition.

We’re pleased to read that many of the indicators of quality tutoring highlighted in the Ofsted report reflect our own tuition model. Our sessions are run in small groups of 1:3 maximum, ensuring that that pupils’ individual needs can be met. We ensure that our tutors are of the highest standards and, following their initial training, are provided with ongoing learning and development opportunities. The vast majority of our tutoring also takes place in person, as we’ve found that  face-to-face tuition is much more effective than online in building tutor-pupil relationships and in engaging pupils.

It’s great to see these reports shine a positive light on tutoring and to hear that school leaders and pupils alike recognise the benefits that tutoring can bring. It also highlights the correlation between the pupil-tutor relationship and the effectiveness of tuition. Our face-to-face approach enables pupils to build trust and confidence in their tutor leading to more positive outcomes.

"We echo schools’ concerns that funding is crucial to enable tutoring to continue beyond this academic year. That’s why our immediate priority is to ask the government to commit to a sustainable future for accessible tutoring for all.”
Abigail Shapiro, Executive Director, Tutor Trust

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