Tutor Trust are proud to be part of a national online tuition pilot to support disadvantaged pupils.  We are one of just four high-quality delivery partners chosen for the national pilot, and we are the only one based in the North of England.   

The Education Endowment Foundation, together with Sutton Trust, Impetus and NESTA, have today announced this pilot following publication of fresh analysis by the EEF highlighting the likely impact of school closures on the attainment gap.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP has warmly welcomed the national pilot, saying:

"This innovative online tuition pilot is an important part of our plans to put support in place to ensure young people don't fall behind as a result of coronavirus, particularly those facing disadvantages."

Tutor Trust’s role in the national pilot will build on our own pilot of online tuition which began after the Easter break, serving 70 pupils at six schools. As part of this new national pilot, we will offer online tutoring for an additional 90 students in Years 5 and 10 across Merseyside, Greater Manchester, and Leeds. We will provide tuition to 30 pupils in each city, with each pupil receiving 12 hours of Maths and 12 hours of English tuition. At least 75% of these young people will be eligible for free school meals or will be Looked After Children.

This project will more than double the number of pupils we are currently supporting through online tuition. Our aim is to provide well over 2,000 hours of tuition to pupils in our partner schools whose educational outcomes are being negatively affected by extended time out of the classroom.  

The work of Tutor Trust has contributed to the evidence of the positive impact face-to-face tuition can have on the outcomes of pupils.  In 2018, the results of a Randomised Control Trial assessing the impact of our work showed tuition could boost Year 6 pupils’ maths scores by an additional three months. We were named as one of the EEF’s ‘Promising Projects’ in February 2019. In addition, as an Impetus charity partner, we are proud to partner with both them and the EEF again as part of this national pilot of online tuition.  We are determined to maintain our impact as we move our tutoring services from face-to-face to online.

There is less evidence available for the impact of online tuition. There is, however, growing evidence that pupils are in greater need than ever for additional educational support. The EEF has gathered detailed analysis of how the past few months has impacted the attainment gap, showing in a recent report that the gap could widen by 36%. The Institute for Fiscal Studies have also published data on how economic background has determined learning experiences during national school closures.

A call for a ‘catch up premium’ of at least £700 per pupil for schools, as well as plans for a National Tutoring Service, are some of the ways that additional academic support may become available to the disadvantaged pupils that need it.  Tutor Trust backs both of these ideas and has signed an open letter to the Education Secretary, in conjunction with the Fair Education Alliance and Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee.

This online tuition pilot will allow us to provide a valuable intervention for pupils left behind during school closures. We are confident that our tutors will provide the support and attention needed to help their pupils catch up. We additionally hope our work can demonstrate the effectiveness of online tuition and provide clear evidence of its impact.  The national pilot will be rigorously monitored and evaluated by the EEF and NatCen. 

Nick Bent and Abigail Shapiro, Co-Founders of The Tutor Trust, commented:

“As an EEF ‘Promising Project’, we are thrilled. Our talented undergraduates have more time to tutor right now, just when disadvantaged pupils need more help than ever to fulfil their potential.  This pilot will show how to level up the playing field."  

"We are looking forward to transforming even more lives through tuition, and are grateful to the EEF, the Sutton Trust, Impetus and Nesta for including us in this important national project.”

 As part of our own pilot in online tuition, we have been working with 6 schools across Greater Manchester, Liverpool, and Leeds, providing academic support to 70 pupils; nearly all have been receiving tuition in both English and Maths on a 1:1 basis.

One of the schools taking part in the pilot is Norman Pannell Primary School in Liverpool (full case study here), where a parent posted a picture on twitter of their daughter enjoying her tuition session. Headteacher Rob Simpson said;

“The Tutor Trust online pilot has been a real positive that has come out of the difficulties of extended school lockdown. Our Y5 and Y6 children have responded so enthusiastically and the children are loving the sessions from home.” 

“As we all get used to the new technology, this partnership with Tutor Trust enables our children to continue to learn in a fast-paced, meaningful and enjoyable way, which is so important as they approach Y6 or transition into secondary education from September.”

Ellie Cross, the tutor assigned to pupils at Norman Pannell, had this to say about her experience of online tuition;

“Working with the students of Norman Pannell through online tuition has been a very rewarding experience so far. Each student I’ve worked with is passionate about learning and eager to adapt to the new style of tuition. With each session being 1:1, I have had the opportunity to work with the topics that individual students find challenging and I am able to find interactive games/activities to help their understanding.”

“Being online is a nice opportunity for the student to have a creative space away from their daily lives to explore English and Maths problems. One parent has told me that it has given their children a routine again which, with the absence of schools, is very important in the current situation.”