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Taking tutoring online, free laptops and our plans for the National Tutoring Programme – 21st September 2020

It was a busier summer than usual for all of us in Education, and since the new term began we have had more requests for tutors than ever before.  We are boosting our capacity so that we can do everything possible to support schools across Greater Manchester, Leeds-Bradford and Merseyside.

Last week, our tutors were back in schools for the first time since March, as a series of new face-to-face tutoring assignments got underway with Y6, Y7 and Y11.  We also continue to support LAC pupils and young people in Alternative Provision or at risk of exclusion. 

Our purpose here is to update schools about online tutoring, about the offer of free laptops and about our exciting plans for delivering the National Tutoring Programme.  Please do contact us for a conversation.  

Learning during Lockdown

At Tutor Trust, we continued to fulfil our mission of ‘transforming lives through tutoring’ despite lockdown, in close partnership with schools.  

Our team of staff and tutors delivered not one but two pilots of online tutoring; we were heavily involved in the advocacy and planning for the National Tutoring Programme, to which we made a formal application last week; we have moved our tutor recruitment and training online and hired 125 new tutors; and starting this month, we are running a ‘Hybrid Tutoring Project’ to pilot a blend of both in-person and online tutoring (funded by the Hg Foundation).

Online Tutoring – here to stay after two successful pilots

At the time schools were locked down in March, Tutor Trust had never delivered a single hour of online tutoring.  Six months later, we have supported nearly 200 children and young people over the period of school closures and the summer holidays.  

The feedback from the parents, carers, teachers and pupils involved has been overwhelmingly positive.  Our online tutoring has been featured on both local and national media, and we have supplied free laptops to pupils who needed computer equipment at home. 

In addition to our own pilot commencing in May, Tutor Trust was asked to be one of four delivery partners for the Government’s official national pilot of online tutoring.  This began in June and was run by our friends at the Education Endowment Foundation on behalf of the Department for Education.  Tutor Trust was the only delivery partner based in the North of England.  The national pilot was independently monitored and evaluated by NatCen.  

Crucial to this successful online work has been our fantastic tutors, who have been willing to venture into the unknown with us as we sought new ways of supporting children and young people while schools were closed to most pupils. The quality of our tutors is what sets us apart, and the Quality Checks that have been carried out have amply demonstrated how committed they are to ensuring that sessions are genuinely making an impact. 

Online tutoring is here to stay at Tutor Trust, and we are happy to offer online sessions in English, Maths and Science to pupils of all abilities from Y5 to Y11.  Pupils can do online tutoring either from home or at school.  We are also open to combining in-person and online tutoring in ‘hybrid’ tutoring programmes. 

In addition, through our business connections, we still have access to a significant supply of good quality laptops for pupils who need help getting online at home (free of charge).  

National Tutoring Programme – we hope to be a major delivery partner

In June, the Government committed £350m to a National Tutoring Programme to help schools give high-quality catch-up support to pupils.  This tutoring will be targeted at those learners who are Pupil Premium.  Tutor Trust worked closely with a broad coalition of Education leaders to lobby successfully for the creation of this scheme. 

The NTP is being run by our friends at the Education Endowment Foundation (Tutor Trust is one of just 18 official ‘Promising Projects’ of the EEF and the only one based in the North of England).  Indeed, a lot of the thinking behind the NTP has been shaped by Tutor Trust because we have such a strong evidence base for the quality and impact of our work, not least the positive results of our randomised control trial in November 2018.  Tutor Trust is the only tutoring organisation in the country which has been through a large-scale randomised control trial and come out with positive results.  

Last week, we submitted our formal application to the NTP.  It is an ambitious proposal, because we know there is high demand in the North for great tutors.  We are committed to doing all we can to support schools leaders and teachers to help pupils to fulfil their potential, despite the challenges that COVID has caused.  Our bid covers Years 5-11 and English, Maths and Science.

If we are successful, the NTP should give some great opportunities to Primary and Secondary schools across Greater Manchester, Leeds-Bradford and Merseyside.  Busy teachers would be able to have help from our tutors at about half the usual cost, because of the generous direct subsidy from DfE.  The EEF will announce the successful applicants in late October and the subsidised tutoring should begin in early November. 

NB: Because demand for tutors is likely to outstrip supply from November onwards, we are encouraging schools to contact Tutor Trust ASAP to register their interest.

Equally, more schools than ever before have booked in tutors from September onwards, to ensure that pupils who need extra help can get it immediately.  We still have capacity to support more schools with tutors in September and October.

The guidance about the National Tutoring Programme confirms that any schools who are already working with Tutor Trust in the autumn term will automatically be eligible for the reduced costs for the remainder of their tutoring programmes from early November onwards (assuming our application is successful).

Next steps

If you would like to discuss either an immediate tutoring programme or the potential opportunities with the NTP with us, please get in touch. 

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