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What the Spring Budget means for the future of tutoring

The impact of a lack of announcement on tutoring in today's budget will be signficant


  • Time to read: 5 minutes

Incredibly, we’re already just over the halfway point in the academic year and, despite the continued tough economic climate, we’re really pleased with the impact we’ve been making in partnership with schools. 

Since September, we’ve supported 4,500 young people with tutoring in 125 schools across Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Merseyside and our fantastic team of tutors have delivered 15,000 hours of tutoring. It is testament to the quality and impact of our tutoring that, even after the decrease in National Tutoring Programme (NTP) funding for this academic year, so many have continued to choose to work with us. Yesterday I visited Peel Park Primary School in Bradford, one of our current partner schools. Speaking to headteacher, Andrea Grist, she has seen a really positive impact from working with us: 

We’ve chosen children specifically (to receive tutoring) and, for them, having that extra hour a week in a very small group, with somebody regularly looking at the gaps in their learning has been a real benefit for them.

“The vast majority of children that receive tuition at Peel Park are eligible for free school meals. They just wouldn’t be able to afford private tuition, so this is a real benefit that they have access to.”
Andrea Grist, Headteacher, Peel Park Primary School

There is clearly confidence in tutoring as a successful intervention in helping so many young people catch up on lost learning, as well as improving attendance. Tutoring also has been shown to increase confidence and resilience in young people, not just in the subjects in the subjects with which they’re being supported, but more broadly.

Despite this confidence from schools, parents and even MPs in tutoring, the government had announced that the NTP would come to an end in August this year. We, alongside our sister charities, have lobbied persistently for the government to prioritise access to tutoring for all.

We’re therefore hugely disappointed with the lack of any announcement by the Chancellor in today’s Spring Budget, to continue funding for tutoring post-August. A lack of subsidy will make it extremely difficult for schools to be able to continue to access tutoring services like ours. The attainment gap between young people from lower-income communities and their wealthier peers is at its biggest, and attendance in schools is now at crisis point and removing this funding is likely to exacerbate both of these.

When speaking to schools prior to the Budget today, there was serious concern about how this would impact young people, particularly in the communities in which we work, where the cost-of-living crisis and the after-effects of the pandemic have been most keenly felt. For Peel Park Primary, NTP funding has been vital in accessing tutoring for their pupils. For Andrea Grist this means: 

As a school, without the funding, we wouldn’t be able to provide the tuition. What’s added to it has been the squeeze on school budgets. We haven’t caught up [post-pandemic]. For some children, these were children who weren’t even in school at the time of Covid, but their early years experiences were quite different, so the foundations they had when they came to school were quite different, so we had a different starting point.

“For those that are in Key Stage 2 that have had tuition, 15 weeks of one hour a week of tuition – although it’s been fantastic – it hasn’t been enough to plug that gap that was created over a period of about two years.”
Andrea Grist, Headteacher, Peel Park Primary School

Although this is not the outcome we’ve been hoping for, I remain optimistic in the impact that we can continue to make in the lives of young people who are most in need of tutoring support. We'll be continuing to campaign for continued tuition funding, knowing that investment in this area builds a more equitable future for young people, as well as benefitting the UK economy long-term. With over a decade of experience, we know that our tutoring really does transform lives and that schools can see the value in what we do.  

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has voiced their support for affordable tutoring and look forward to continue to work together, despite the challenging climate, to improve outcomes for young people across the North of England. 

You can see my chat with Andrea in full below.

A pupil is smiling and looking eagerly at the tutor during a tuition session.

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