News & Insights 3 June 2020

Action Tutoring joins forces in online tutoring pilot to reach disadvantaged pupils

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has joined forces with the Sutton Trust, Impetus and Nesta to launch a new online tuition pilot to support disadvantaged pupils as schools begin to reopen and Action Tutoring is proud to be one of the four providers taking part. 

The new initiative will bring high-quality tutoring to up to 1,600 pupils in disadvantaged communities over the coming weeks, supporting schools as they re-open for more pupils.

Four different models will be tested under the pilot:

  • Action Tutoring will pilot online tuition in core subjects using structured workbooks, for up to 100 pupils in Years 6 and 10, across three cities;
  • MyTutor, an established online tuition platform using undergraduate tutors, will support up to 1,000 pupils in Years 10/11;
  • The Access Project will support 433 students in Years 10/11 and Years 12/13 who would normally receive face-to-face tuition through a new online model; and
  • Tutor Trust will adapt their small-group tuition model, and offer one-to-one online tutoring for 90 students in Years 5 and 10 across Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Leeds.

The pilot will be independently evaluated by NatCen to assess the potential for online catch-up tuition to mitigate against the impact of school closures on the attainment gap.

The launch of this new Online Tuition pilot comes as the EEF publishes the most detailed analysis to date of the likely impact of school closures on the attainment gap.

Over the past decade, the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their classmates at the end of primary school is estimated to have narrowed, from 11.5 months in 2009 to 9.4 months in 2019. 

However, today’s analysis finds that this progress could be undone. Following a rapid evidence review looking at the impact on the attainment gap as a result of different kinds of school closures (e.g. summer holidays, adverse weather, natural disasters) it concludes that school closures as a result of Covid-19 will widen the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers, likely reversing the progress made since 2011.

Crucially though, if steps are taken, such as the Online Tuition Pilot, to support schools as they work to help pupils catch-up, the negative impact of school closures on the gap could be eased.

Action Tutoring will be using the pilot as a learning and preparation phase to ensure it is ready to roll out online tutoring more widely in the autumn.  This delivery option will sit alongside the charity’s face-to-face tutoring option and will enable even more disadvantaged pupils to access the benefits of tutoring support across the country.