DfE updates NTP figures on Pupil Premium, courses and school participation

20 April 2023

With the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) in its third year, the Department for Education has today updated its statistics on the number of courses, school participation, and pupil characteristics.

The NTP was introduced in July 2020 as a four-year education recovery scheme to support children whose learning were most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic disruption. 

As an accredited Tuition Partner that existed long before the NTP and advocated for its introduction, we keenly follow the evidence and impact of the scheme to ensure it’s on track to help students, especially disadvantaged, to recover from learning loss, with the hopes of narrowing the attainment gap.

Here are four quick takeaways from today’s updated statistics:

·   Pupil Premium target

Half of pupils receiving tutoring support under the scheme are in receipt of Pupil Premium (PP) – an annual grant given to schools to improve the attainment of children from low-income households or eligible for Free School Meals (FSM).

According to DfE, “49.8% were known to be eligible for free school meals (FSM) within the last 6 years.”

Although it’s encouraging that 1 in 2 pupils benefitting are from lower income households, the percentage is below the original 65% PP target the scheme was aiming when it was first established.

We are proud that 70% of the pupils we support at Action Tutoring are in receipt of Pupil Premium. Tutoring should be overwhelmingly focused on pupils from low-income backgrounds.

We would advocate for the NTP to remain focused on disadvantaged children by ensuring at least two-thirds of NTP recipients are from disadvantaged backgrounds to help narrow the attainment gap.

·   Schools Participation in NTP

As of mid-January 2023, DfE estimates “that  65.7% of state schools have participated in the NTP in the 2022-23 academic year.” This represents an increase of over 5 percentage points as compared to the figure as of March 2022, which was 59.9%.

About three-quarters of schools have indicated that they intend to deliver tutoring this year.

·   Special Education Needs or Disability (SEND)

The new figures paint a picture of SEND pupils who are receiving tutoring in schools. The data shows 28.3% were known to have special educational needs.

It is encouraging to know the NTP is reaching pupils with special education needs.

·   NTP courses started

The new data estimates that at least 839,495 starts had been made by pupils on tuition courses through the NTP in the 2022-23 academic year alone, resulting in total course starts of at least 3,365,598 as of January this year.

The new total figure is just over half of the original 6 million course starts target of the NTP when it was rolled out in July 2020. Given the NTP is in its third year, it would have been more encouraging if two-thirds of the target figure were reached, however we acknowledge the continuous efforts of the DfE to advance the figures on courses.

More NTP data needed

The NTP data released today is limited as compared to previous statistics. It focuses on restricted data from schools, without indidicating in detail the different tuition routes. 

Today’s data did not capture geographical breakdown of tutoring uptake, which indicates whether the scheme is reaching pupils in cold spots or hard-to-reach areas.

We look forward to more extensive data with estimates broken down by region and the different NTP routes – school-led tutoring, tuition partners, and academic mentors – for greater understanding of the scope and impact of the programme.