News & Insights 16 May 2024

National Tutoring Programme statistics released: where do we go from here?

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) released its latest statistics today and it’s a story of mixed progress. An additional 655,288 tutoring courses were started by pupils this academic year, bringing the total over 5.3 million since the programme began – an achievement that shouldn’t be overlooked and highlights that it is possible for tutoring to happen at mass scale in the education system. 

Schools opting out?

However the statistics also revealed a concerning drop: a decrease in the number of schools participating in the NTP from 65.7% last year, to just 50.1% today. 

There are no reasons given for this decrease, however two possibilities come to mind for us at Action Tutoring. We know the significant pressure on school budgets and many will have been unable to cover 50% of the costs this year, with the Government decreasing their subsidy to 50% this year from 60% last year and 70% the year before. Indeed many in the sector have warned repeatedly of the struggle for schools to match the subsidy. 

Secondly the announcement that the NTP will end this year may have prompted schools to opt out of engaging, if it wasn’t going to be something they felt they could embed longer term. 

Pupil Premium participation: a more promising outcome

Tutoring for disadvantaged young people has increased slightly, reaching 50.4% this year (up from 47% last year). This still falls short of the programme’s initial target of 65%. With an equal match in participation of Pupil Premium and their wealthier pupils, sadly it is unlikely the NTP will have a significant impact on the academic attainment gap.

At Action Tutoring, nearly 70% of our pupils are eligible for Pupil Premium funding. We know it is possible to engage this cohort in tutoring and that it makes a significant difference to their outcomes.  

Looking ahead

While we recognise the hugely positive value of these pupils receiving this academic support, we know that there are thousands more who are missing out. The attainment gap is now at its widest since 2012. It is the pupils facing disadvantage who suffer the most from the limited engagement in this support. 

The NTP had the potential to be a game-changer in tackling the academic attainment gap. With its funding ending in July, we are calling on the next Government to see sense and commit to funding targeted tuition for disadvantaged pupils. This is a critical opportunity to level the playing field and close the achievement gap.

Action Tutoring: committed to making a difference

At Action Tutoring we are relentlessly focussed on supporting those who need it most. We have a decade of evidence to show that we are making a difference. Our fundraising efforts have ramped up this year to ensure we can heavily subsidise our programmes next academic year. We will keep costs as low as possible for schools, whilst not compromising on quality.

The need for effective interventions to tackle the attainment gap is significant. We are calling for support to ensure all pupils have the chance to succeed, regardless of their background.

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