National Tutoring Programme

Action Tutoring is thrilled to be continuing as a National Tutoring Programme (NTP) Tuition Partner for the next three years (2021-24).  We are proud to play our part in the catch up drive. The support from the National Tutoring Programme in 2020-21 enabled us to double our delivery, benefiting more pupils than ever before.

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What is the National Tutoring Programme?

The National Tutoring Programme is a government initiative, launched in November 2020, to support disadvantaged pupils recover from the educational disruption caused by Covid-19.

Based on the evidence that supports the effectiveness of one to-one or small-group tuition, the Department of Education (DfE) has chosen a group of accepted partners to deliver tutoring to children whose education was most affected by the pandemic.

Schools only have to contribute 30% of the cost of tutoring through Tuition Partners as part of the programme, with the remaining 70% of the costs of tutoring covered by the Government’s funding.

Why was the National Tutoring Programme introduced?

Despite schools’ continuous efforts to support pupils’ learning, many children have fallen significantly behind in their education. These pupils are more likely to come from socioeconomically disadvantaged families, which means that the attainment gap between this group and their classmates has increased.

Evidence suggests that tutoring is highly effective in a pupil’s learning progress, but only 18% of disadvantaged young people have been able to receive tuition support during the pandemic, compared to the 43% of pupils from more affluent backgrounds.

Studies show that during the pandemic, 20% of pupils on free school meals had no access to a computer at home, compared to 7% of other children. 40% of children from low-income households did not have a quiet room in which they could study during lockdown.

When was the National Tutoring Programme introduced?

The National Tutoring Programme was announced in June 2020 and launched in November that year. 

Action Tutoring was closely involved in campaigning for catch up provision, presenting to the Education Select Committee in 2020, and one of four charities involved in an online tutoring pilot; later in the same year; which informed these plans. Our charity has been refining our impactful tutoring model for disadvantaged pupils for a decade. We welcome this national recognition of its benefits and the opportunity for it to become widely available.

Through a collaboration of organisations across the country, our aim is to make this tuition available to tens of thousands of primary and secondary school pupils

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, in 2020

The National Tutoring Programme was designed and developed through collaboration with key charities in the education sector – the Education Endowment Foundation, Teach First, Sutton Trust, Impetus, and Nesta and we would like to thank these organisations for leading the NTP in its pilot year, in the face of many challenges.

There were plenty of positive learnings from the first year which will help develop an even stronger programme to reach many more young people in the years to come.

What does this mean for Action Tutoring?

This initiative and additional funding has allowed Action Tutoring to scale its work to reach thousands more pupils across the country. We believe it is our moral imperative to help as many disadvantaged pupils as possible who’ve been impacted by the pandemic, while ensuring the scale is achievable for a charity of our size and experience.

We believe in working alongside schools and teachers in order to deliver personalised tuition to disadvantaged pupils, to help them achieve better academic results. Our volunteer tutors are not only educators, but they also serve as role models, motivating pupils to overcome learning barriers and achieve their potential in life.

Thanks to the NTP’s support we have been able to reach many more disadvantaged pupils; those who have been significantly impacted by the pandemic.

How does the National Tutoring Programme work?

The National Tutoring Programme is divided into two components; Tuition Partners (universities, charities, national or regional tuition providers as well as private providers) and Academic Mentors. 

Primary and secondary schools have the opportunity to partner with organisations, who have been carefully selected by the Department for Education, and work closely with tutors or academic mentors. Based on clear guidelines and criteria, teachers will choose the pupils who are eligible to receive support outside of the classroom.

Tutoring sessions are generally flexible and can take place either in-person in school or online. Here is the approved Tuition Partners list that schools can visit in order to search for organisations in their region and contact them directly. 

Performance is regularly reviewed through audit processes. These involve analysing the number of pupils and schools supported, number of missed tutoring sessions, quality of sessions delivered, school feedback, safeguarding and tutor training. Approved organisations are provided with support and funding in order to ensure that they reach as many disadvantaged pupils as possible.

Why make use of the NTP?

Initially, the NTP may feel to some state schools like another plate to spin in their never-ending list of urgent priorities. The reality, however, is that NTP provides schools the opportunity to get additional support for their most vulnerable pupils. Schools could really benefit from the support of volunteer tutors, who can provide extra attention and academic assistance to disadvantaged pupils who may not feel confident to speak up in class.

The NTP will have the greatest impact when all involved parties work closely together. Before tuition begins, learning goals for each pupil must be clearly outlined, based on teachers’ assessments of where additional support is required.

Collaboration and feedback between the teacher, pupils, tutors, and the Tuition Partner will secure the highest chance of those learning goals being met. Not another plate to spin, but rather an incorporation of NTP tuition into all of the incredible work schools are already doing to achieve quality education and make it accessible for everyone.


Action Tutoring is a brilliant cost effective way to boost attainment especially for the disadvantaged pupils who are struggling despite the high quality of Quality First Teaching in our school. Targeted pupils receive excellent support with highly qualified tutors who engage and motivate the learners. It has been the best use of our Covid catch-up funding and we are fully committed to continuing this well researched programme to maximise the positive impact.

Kate Dingle, Deputy Head, Queensbridge Primary School

Who is eligible for the National Tutoring Programme?

The National Tutoring Programme has been created to reach the most disadvantaged pupils in state primary and secondary schools in England. All pupils in years 1–11, aged 5–16, are eligible for the national tutoring scheme. Schools are expected to use the funds for disadvantaged children whenever possible, as evidence shows that they were the most impacted by the school closures, and have fallen further behind their non-disadvantaged peers.

How were Tuition Partners selected?

Minimum eligibility criteria

The first step required all applicants to meet the minimum criteria in their proposals. It was necessary to prove that pupils between the ages of 5 and 16 would be supported, and that volunteers would be trained and DBS-checked. The minimum criteria also required applicants to have extensive experience working with schools and to commit to supporting at least 500 pupils throughout the academic year. Lastly, they had to agree to take part in the NTP evaluation conducted by NEFR.

Quality criteria

In this stage, applicants’ proposals must align with the NTP quality criteria and standards. Some of them are summarised below:

Understanding how schools work and the challenges disadvantaged pupils face

Those who apply must have experience in working with schools in order to fully understand their needs and challenges. This will help them better integrate into the school system and deliver effective and personalised tutoring sessions. It is important that they prove the significant impact their work has on disadvantaged pupils and how their mission supports improvement in academic achievement and attainment. 

Working closely with schools has allowed us to better understand their needs and provide tailored support. We’ve worked hard to develop an effective tutoring model with proven impact. At Action Tutoring we do more than just tutor – we know how to engage pupils and understand the demands and pressures that busy schools are under.

Excellence in impact 

Providers must demonstrate they understand hardships that disadvantaged pupils face, and how tutoring sessions can tackle them. This includes addressing learning barriers, engaging disengaged pupils and acknowledging the possibility of a lack of technical equipment at home for online learning.

We are proud to have an evidence-based approach that clearly demonstrates the positive impact of our work. Pupils sit a baseline assessment at the start of their programme and a progress check in February, roughly halfway through their time with Action Tutoring. This allows us to evaluate their progress, assess our impact in a clear and concise manner and ensure the quality of our tuition. 

The average score for tutors rating the quality of our organisation, communication and professionalism of tutoring sessions run by Action Tutoring Programme Coordinators was 4.7 out of 5. 

High quality tutoring sessions

Recruit qualified tutors with background checks, who possess the right qualifications and experience in order to provide tutoring services. They all must receive an initial training and learn about safeguarding policies that need to be followed at all times.

High standards are one of our core values and we always strive to achieve excellence in all we do. Our team has produced a portfolio of 12 carefully structured workbooks, designed by curriculum specialists, that include activities created to be effective in a tutoring environment. They motivate pupils to engage during the sessions and think critically. 

They motivate pupils to engage during the sessions and think critically, and ensures that Action Tutoring volunteers are supported and receive the proper guidance in order to provide the most effective tutoring sessions.

Evaluation of tutoring sessions and data protection policies

Tutoring Partners should monitor and evaluate tutoring sessions in order to maintain high quality tuition. They should also have clear quality assurance, data protection and privacy notices in place.

At Action Tutoring, we take pride in our evidence-based approach to supporting vulnerable pupils by using regular assessments and progress checks to measure the impact of our tutoring. Our community is made up of qualified and passionate volunteer tutors who have embraced our values and helped us continue helping pupils in need even in the most difficult times. 

I have been so impressed with the work of Action Tutoring! Their tutors are so well trained and were able to forge positive working relationships in the first sessions. Their online platform, which we have moved to recently, is incredibly easy to use and the move from face to face tutoring to online has been seamless. If you are lucky enough to partner with Action Tutoring – don’t ever let them go! 

– Polly Shields, Deputy Headteacher, Hanover Primary School

If you are interested in learning more, here you can find the full report on the quality criteria of the NTP Tutoring Partners. 

How to apply for National Tutoring Programme funding?

Tuition partners funding is available to all state-funded schools and academy trusts in England. If you are a primary or secondary school in England, you can register for national tutoring programme funding here.

How much do schools pay for NTP?

The subsidy rate for the 2021 to 2022 academic year will be 70%. The remaining costs will be funded by schools using their existing budget. 

Action Tutoring focuses on providing targeted and sustainable tuition, delivered by university students, professionals and retired individuals who are all passionate about helping young people overcome the challenges of the pandemic and catch up on lost learning.

We are incredibly grateful to be an NTP Tution Partner and have the opportunity to expand our reach. Do you want to learn more about the impact of our work? Read our success stories!

If you want to get involved, complete the application form below and join our community today.

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