The Sutton Trust have released their report, “Extra Time”, today, analysing evidence on private tuition and out-of-school study, and its effects on equality within education.

The report shows that talented young people from less well-off backgrounds receive less extra help than those from more advantaged backgrounds, and highlights the inequality in access to parental help with homework.

What is particularly striking is that the report highlights scale of this problem, giving the statistic that “almost one in three 11-16 year old state school students in England and Wales having had private tuition at some point in their life”.

We were proud to be the only organisation mentioned in the report, under the Sutton Trust recommendations: “Charities, such as The Tutor Trust, supported by the Education Endowment Foundation, connect tutors directly with disadvantaged schools. Such schemes have the potential to offer the advantages of tutoring to more disadvantaged students”. As the report says, “one-to-one tuition is very effective in helping learners catch up, and we are striving to increase the number of children who receive this educational support.

The report affirms much of The Tutor Trust’s ethos, stating that “students who receive private tuition disproportionately are those who are already advantaged and our past research has shown that about twice as many attend private schools as in the national population as a whole […] we need to make sure that these advantages are available as widely as possible: to narrow, rather than widen the attainment gap”.  According to the study, only 50% of the most disadvantaged 15 year-olds said that their parents regularly helped with their homework, compared to 68% of their better-off classmates.

Low-achieving pupils from the most advantaged homes spend more than twice as much time in additional instruction as high-achieving pupils from disadvantaged families (15 hours per week vs seven hours per week). The statistics show that for pupils of the same level of achievement, better-off pupils get about two and a half extra hours of instruction a week. The report warns that this creates a ‘glass floor’ for children from better-off homes in danger of low achievement, a substantial barrier to social mobility. 

The international report also shows us that England has amongst the largest socio-economic gaps in regards to the extent to which parents help their children with their homework of all the countries that participated. Around two-thirds  of pupils from the most advantaged backgrounds reported that their parents help them regularly with their homework, compared to only half of the pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Overall, what the report clearly outlines is the attainment gap that The Tutor Trust are making every effort to close within Manchester and Leeds. The Sutton Trust-Ispos MORI Polling shows us that almost one third (30%) of young people aged 11-16 say they have received private or home tuition at some stage, substantially up from 25% last year, and whereas 32% of low-achieving pupils from advantaged backgrounds receive one-to-one tuition in science or mathematics, this falls to around one-in-twelve (7%) of high-achieving young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Tutor Trust ethos is centred on the knowledge of this attainment gap, and we welcome research such as this that informs us further of the problem we strive to combat. It is exactly six years today since our Co-Founders Nick Bent and Abigail Shapiro secured our prestigious launch grant from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) on 7th September 2011, and since then we have put every effort into growing and expanding, in order to reach as many disadvantaged young people as possible. Since we have been set up, we have delivered over 70,000 hours of tuition, tutored over 10,000 pupils and worked in over 300 schools. We have expanded from a small office in Manchester to a large office base of 11 people spread across Manchester and Leeds, trained over 1,200 tutors, and worked in all 10 local authorities of Greater Manchester. Last year we carried out a control trial with the York Trials Unit funded by the Education Endowment Foundation across 100 Primary schools, and we are awaiting statistical evidence of our work in early 2018.

We are committed to this cause, and proud of the work we do to tackle it on a daily basis, but we always strive to do more. We are currently recruiting a new cohort of tutors in both Leeds and Manchester, as well as hiring a new member of staff to join our office team. We hope that our work, alongside our partner organisations, will help to close the gaps in attainment outlined in the next report.

If you would like to apply to be a tutor, please visit the How to apply page of our website.