Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions about NTP Tuition Partners and Academic Mentors.

General FAQ

Q: What is the National Tutoring Programme (NTP)?

A:

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) will provide additional support to schools to help disadvantaged pupils whose education has been most affected by school closures.

The NTP was developed to support schools in responding to the immediate challenge of school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic and to provide a longer-term contribution to closing the attainment gap. 

This website has been created to support schools to access the Tuition Partners and Academic Mentors pillars of the NTP

Both pillars are funded as part of the Government’s £1 billion coronavirus catch-up package, with £350 million allocated to support tutoring.Further information about catch-up funding, including for early years settings and post-16 providers, is provided on the Department for Education website.

The programme has been designed and developed by a collaboration of five charities – the Education Endowment Foundation, Sutton Trust, Impetus, Nesta and Teach First – working in partnership with the Department for Education. Additional support has been generously provided by KPMG Foundation, Bain & Company, and Freshfields.

Q: How will the NTP Tuition Partners and Academic Mentors work?

A:

This website has been created to support schools to access the Tuition Partners and Academic Mentor pillars of the National Tutoring Programme in the 2020 – 21 academic year:

Through NTP Tuition Partners, participating schools will be able to access subsided high-quality tutoring from an approved list of tuition partners. These organisations – who will all be subject to quality, safeguarding and evaluation standards – will be given support and funding to reach as many disadvantaged pupils as possible.


Through NTP Academic Mentors, trained graduates will be employed by schools in the most disadvantaged areas to provide intensive catch-up support to their pupils, allowing teachers in these schools to focus on their classrooms.

Guided by quality standards and clear criteria to target support to the most disadvantaged pupils, teachers and school leaders in participating schools will decide which approach best fits their needs, which tuition partners in their region to work with, and which pupils will benefit most from additional tuition.

Further information about catch-up funding, including for early years settings and post-16 providers, is provided on the Department for Education website.

Q: Who is the NTP for?

A:

The NTP Academic Mentors and Tuition Partners pillars are designed to reach disadvantaged pupils in England. State-maintained primary and secondary schools in England will be able to access these two pillars and use them as best fits the needs of their pupils.

Further information about catch-up funding, including for early years settings and post-16 providers, is provided on the Department for Education website.

Q: How many pupils will NTP Tuition Partners and Academic Mentors reach?

A:

The focus of the NTP will be on disadvantaged pupils. Through NTP Tuition Partners and Academic Mentors, we aim to offer tutoring to as many disadvantaged pupils as possible.

Q: What is the difference between NTP-funded tutors and NTP-funded academic mentors?

A:

Through NTP Tuition Partners, schools will be able to access heavily subsidised tutoring from an approved list of Tuition Partners. These providers will be subject to quality, safeguarding and evaluation standards. They will also be given support and funding to reach as many disadvantaged pupils as possible, with subsidised tutoring being made available in all regions of England.

The Education Endowment Foundation will be leading the delivery of this part of the programme in the academic year from 2020 to 2021.

Through NTP Academic Mentors, trained graduates will be employed by individual schools in the most disadvantaged areas to provide intensive support to their pupils.

Teach First
will be responsible for the initial delivery of the NTP Academic Mentors, including recruitment and training.

Q: Why is the NTP needed?

A:

There is a substantial attainment gap between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and their classmates – and this is likely to have grown significantly since school closures. There is extensive evidence showing the impact of tutoring to support pupils who have fallen behind.

However, access to tutoring is often limited to the schools and parents that can most afford it. It’s estimated that around 80% of disadvantaged pupils don’t have access to quality tuition. The NTP aims to support schools in addressing this.

Q: Why are you focusing on tutoring?

A:

There is extensive high-quality evidence demonstrating the potential of one-to-one and small-group tuition as a cost-effective way to support pupils who are falling behind in their learning. The Teaching and Learning Toolkit suggests it can boost progress by up to +5 months. Randomised controlled trials funded by the EEF have also found positive effects for a range of tuition models.

However, access to tutoring is often limited to the schools and parents that can most afford it. Almost all the pupils that need intensive support the most are not able to access it. The NTP will help schools address this disparity.

By harnessing and growing high-quality tutoring within the system, the NTP aims to ease the burden on schools and support them to help those pupils who have missed out the most.

The evidence confirms the role of quality classroom teaching, which has the greatest positive impact for disadvantaged pupils. With schools facing unprecedented challenges, NTP is designed to be a powerful tool for teachers and school leaders.

Q: When will the NTP start?

A:

The first Academic Mentors will be placed in schools by October half term. We expect Tuition Partners to begin delivery in schools in the second half of the autumn term 2020.

We hope the NTP will have a legacy that will continue in the system, helping to close the disadvantage gap in the years to come.

Q: Who’s involved in the NTP?

A:

The programme has been designed and developed by a collaboration of five charities – the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), Sutton Trust, Impetus, Nesta and Teach First – working in partnership with the Department for Education.

Q: How is the NTP funded?

A:

Both pillars are funded as part of Government’s £350m allocation to tutoring, through the £1bn coronavirus catch up package. Further information about catch-up funding, including for early years settings and post-16 providers, is provided on the Department for Education website.

In addition, resources are also being provided by the founding organisations and philanthropic and corporate partners.

Q: I’m a parent, can I access the NTP for my child?

A:

The NTP can only be accessed by schools for their pupils. The evidence shows this is the best way to make sure tutoring is effective and linked to what pupils are learning in school.

NTP Tuition Partners FAQ

Q: How will you oversee the quality of the tuition?

A:

Organisations will be selected to become NTP Tuition Partners through an open funding round and based on how closely their delivery currently fits with, or could be developed to fit with, the existing evidence base, as well as other criteria around quality and scalability.

Quality criteria include:
  • The tutor recruitment and training process
  • Experience of working with schools 
  • Tutor recruitment and qualifications
  • Tutor training
  • The systems and processes for school and pupil communication. 
  • Experience of working with disadvantaged pupils. 
  • Monitoring delivery
  • Quality assurance and tracking progress. 
  • Evidence of impact.

More details on the funding criteria will be released prior to the round opening on the 31 August.

An independent evaluation of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) Tuition Partners will be commissioned. More details on the evaluation plans for NTP Partners can be found here.

Q: How will you choose the tutoring organisations you work with?

A:

In order to be eligible for NTP Tuition Partner funding, organisations will need to meet the eligibility criteria outlined below:

  • Proposals should be for tuition for 5 – 16 year olds – post 16 tuition is not eligible for NTP funding. Further information about catch-up funding, including for early years settings and post-16 providers, is provided on the Department for Education website.
  • All tutors will be DBS checked, or in the case of international tutors best available equivalents, and receive safeguarding training. This eligibility criteria is designed to set a minimum standard for completing a full application. However, safeguarding will be fully assessed as part of the application with detailed due diligence checks carried out for potential Tuition Partners ahead of agreements being entered into, and ongoing monitoring throughout the lifetime of the grant. The assessment carried out as part of the application will focus on five broad areas: Safeguarding Policy and Procedures, Safeguarding Training and Development, Organisational Structure and Governance, Safe Recruitment Policies and Procedures, and Specific Practices for Online Tuition.
  • All tutors will receive training on how to deliver tutoring. Organisations using untrained tutors will be unable to apply for NTP funding. This is because the evidence indicates that tuition is most effective when tutors are provided with training. Peer-to-peer tutoring (school-age pupils tutoring other school-age pupils) is not eligible for funding through NTP Tuition Partners.
  • The organisation has experience of working with schools. NTP tuition will be delivered through schools, and organisations that have not previously worked with schools will not be eligible to receive NTP Tuition Partner funding.
  • The proposal must commit to reaching at least 500 pupils over the year of delivery.
  • The organisation is willing to participate in the NTP Tuition Partners evaluation and will work with the independent evaluator and the EEF to provide high-quality and timely data using pre-specified templates and processes.

Organisations will then be assessed on the extent to which they meet the following Tuition Partner Quality Criteria:

  • Experience of working with schools
  • Tutor recruitment and qualifications
  • Tutor training
  • The systems and processes for school and pupil communication. 
  • Experience of working with disadvantaged pupils. 
  • Monitoring delivery.
  • Quality assurance and tracking progress. 
  • Evidence of impact

We will also judge proposals on reach and value for money. The NTP aims to reach a large number of pupils in all regions of England, so we will take into consideration: the areas you are proposing to work in, and the number of pupils you are able to reach, whilst maintaining quality. We will also consider the overall value for money of the proposal, including the cost per 15 hour block of tutoring, cost per pupil and proposed set up costs.

Following the initial assessment process, we will select organisations as preferred providers. We will then undertake a detailed assessment of their safeguarding practices, their financial management and controls, data protection practices and conduct other checks prior to confirming an organisation as an approved Tuition Partner.

Q: Will the tutors be paid?

A:

Through NTP Partners, we expect to work with a range of existing organisations, some of whom pay their tutors and others who have a volunteering model. We’re interested in assessing the efficacy of different models.

Academic Mentors will be paid a salary, funded by Government.

NTP Academic Mentors FAQ

Q: Who will the Academic Mentors be?

A:

The Academic Mentors are likely to be mostly graduates with some experience in education or working with pupils. They will not all be qualified teachers but may be working towards an initial teacher training qualification or considering a career in education. They will receive a package of ongoing training delivered by Teach First, and will be managed by their school.

If you’re interested in becoming an Academic Mentor, you can sign up here.

Q: Will the Academic Mentors be school staff?

A:

Yes. The aim is that schools will treat Academic Mentors as part of their staff team, supporting and managing them to deliver tuition support that is appropriate, timely, and linked to their curriculum.

Q: Will Academic Mentors be leading classes?

A:

No. Academic Mentors are not expected to deliver whole-class teaching. They will mostly be providing one-to-one or small group support to benefit individual pupils.

Q: When will Academic Mentors start?

A:

Recruitment will start in August with some Academic Mentors starting in schools from October half-term, with the remainder starting in spring term 2021. Please visit the Teach First website to enquire if your school is eligible to take part, to put someone forward to become an academic mentor or if you would like to apply to the programme yourself.

For Schools

Q: How can my school get involved?

A:

Register your school for updates here.

Opportunities to access subsidised tuition through NTP Tuition Partners will be advertised through this website from the end of October and by eligible tutoring organisations in your local area.

If you are interested in hosting an Academic Mentors, you can register on the Teach First website.

If you are a Multi-Academy Trust interested in accessing tuition for multiple/​all state schools within your Trust, the approved provider of your choice will be able to specify whether they can organise tuition for all schools through one central contact or if they will need to liaise with a contact at each individual school.

Q: Do I have to pay for tutoring through the NTP?

A:

Yes, for NTP Tuition Partners. However, it will be subsidised by up to 75%. This means that a school can purchase tutoring for four pupils for the normal cost of purchasing tutoring for a single child.

For Academic Mentors, the Government will pay for the core salary of mentors. Schools will be expected to contribute the on costs of these employees, such as their pension contribution.

Schools are also free to use additional catch-up funding, announced by the Department for Education in 2020, to pay for the remaining cost of both NTP Partners and Academic Mentors.

Q: I’m a private school, can I access the NTP for my pupils?

A:

No. The NTP is designed to enable state-maintained schools to buy tutoring at a reduced cost.

Q: Is tutoring just for disadvantaged pupils?

A:

NTP Tuition Partners and NTP Academic Mentors will be targeted to reach disadvantaged pupils eligible for Pupil Premium funding. However, teachers and school leaders will be able to exercise their professional judgement to determine which pupils are in most need of support.

Q: What type of tuition will Tuition Partners and Academic Mentors provide?

A:

We expect to fund a range of Tuition Partners, including those delivering online and face-to-face models through small-group and one-to-one tuition. We are keen to fund tutoring models that are suitable for as many pupils as possible, including all ages, SEND pupils and pupils in Alternative Provision. Tuition Partners will be selected based on the quality of their model, evidence, and scalability.

We know that tuition is most successful when teachers have input on the content of sessions. Given this, NTP Tuition Partners will aim to select organisations who have a good record of working with teachers.

Academic Mentors will provide small group and one-to-one support to pupils within their allocated school. This may include support for those who are self-isolating and working from home.

Q: Is there any evidence on which year groups that tutoring works best?

A:

Evidence from the Teaching and Learning Toolkit is consistent and strong, particularly for younger learners who are behind their peers in primary schools, and for subjects like reading and mathematics (there are fewer studies at secondary level or for other subjects). Effects on pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds also tend to be particularly positive.

Q: Do you anticipate online delivery being a part of NTP Tuition Partners?

A:

Yes. While there is more evidence of the effectiveness of face-to-face tuition, we’re currently piloting different models of online tuition to build the evidence base on this mode of delivery. We anticipate online delivery will play a part in NTP Tuition Partners as it may be particularly useful for some schools, particularly those in remote areas.

Q: Can we employ our own staff as Academic Mentors or tutors?

A:

NTP Tuition Partners is designed to bring additional capacity to support teachers and schools. Any tutors will need to work with a Tuition Partner, responsible for providing training and safeguarding checks. 

Academic Mentors will be employed by individual schools. Any existing school staff are welcome to apply to this part of the programme through Teach First who will be overseeing the recruitment and training of mentors.

Q: Will tutoring be delivered during class time?

A:

Schools will be able to decide whether to use tuition sessions in addition to their pupils’ normal school day, or during their timetabled day.

Typically, we would expect sessions to occur before or after school, or within the school day, rather than weekends. Some Approved Tuition Providers will offer face-to-face tutoring, whereas others will offer online tutoring, but both will take place in school.

Q: Will tutoring be available for pupils in special schools or settings that provide alternative provision?

A:

The aim is that tutoring will be available for pupils receiving state-funded education in whatever setting that is taking place.

NTP Tuition Partners will aim to work with a range of tutoring organisations so that as many pupils as possible can be supported, but with teachers and schools taking the lead on selecting the pupils who they think will benefit most from the offers available. We will work with the school system to make the offer as inclusive as possible.

Q: Which subjects will tutoring be available for, and for which pupils?

A:

We are open to applications across a number of academic subjects, and are aiming to align the funding of tutoring with the demand from schools. Most funding is likely to be allocated to maths, English and science tuition. We will provide tuition funding under six main areas:

  • English
  • Humanities
  • Maths
  • Modern foreign languages
  • Science
  • Primary (literacy, numeracy and science)

For organisations interested in being tuition partners

Q: We’re a small / local organisation. Can we still get involved?

A:

Due to the scale of the NTP, we anticipate involving a large number of organisations to be Tuition Partners. We’re expecting different funding levels to be available depending on the capacity for high-quality delivery, how well they align with their model aligns with the quality criteria, and their current level of evidence on impact on attainment. Organisations will need to apply to support a minimum of 500 students in order to be eligible for NTP funding.

Q: I’m interested in becoming a tutor in the programme, how can I get involved?

A:

Individual tutors won’t be able to apply directly to the NTP for funding, but will be able to sign-up with the Tuition Partners selected for funding. NTP Tuition Partners funding will be given out based on evidence of impact on attainment, safeguarding policies, and previous experience of working with schools at an organisational level. Individual tutors (understandably) don’t have the data on impact on attainment that we need to fund them, however opportunities are likely to be available through approved Tuition Partners.

Potential tutors can sign up through our sign-up form here. We will be sending out further details in future on any opportunities to become a tutor through the organisations involved in the NTP Tuition Partners pillar.

To become an Academic Mentor, you can register through the Teach First website.

Q: How will the cost of our tutoring be covered?

A:

All state-maintained schools in England are eligible to apply for tutoring, which will be subsidised by NTP Tuition Partners. This means that a school can purchase tutoring for four pupils for the normal cost of purchasing tutoring for a single child.

Schools best understand the needs of their students, and will be asked to identify the students they would like to put forward for tutoring. The NTP Tuition Partners funding is targeted at the most disadvantaged pupils, in order to mitigate the impact of school closures on the attainment gap, so we would expect a large majority of funding to go to pupils eligible for Pupil Premium funding.

Q: What funding can we apply for?

A:

Tuition Partners will be able to apply for funding to:

  • Deliver subsidised tutoring to schools during the 20/21 academic year. Organisations will bid to provide sustained blocks of tutoring (15 hours) to pupils, rather than individual sessions. This funding will cover 75% of the per session cost, with schools paying for the remaining 25%. We would expect central ongoing costs to be included in the session rate. We expect the majority of this tutoring to be delivered in small groups (with one tutor and three pupils) to ensure that as many pupils as possible can benefit from Tuition Partners. However, we are keen to allow flexibility for schools to choose one-to-one and one-to-two tutoring for specific pupils, particularly including pupils with SEND and pupils attending Alternative Provision, as well as other pupils who may have more specific needs. This tutoring would be for pupils aged 516 , with a focus on particular subjects (more details below).
  • Cover costs associated with the NTP set up and participation. Costs covered under this would include:
    • funding to increase reach, which could include funding to recruit and train new tutors and set up the necessary central systems to manage an increased workforce. A proposal made to increase reach would need to clearly justify how quality would be maintained.
    • NTP specific costs such as costs associated with providing monitoring information and data to the EEF and evaluators (there is more detail on this below).
    • Additional costs associated with recruiting schools to participate in NTP Tuition Partners, over-and-above normal recruitment costs.
    • Funding for the refinement of the tutoring model to meet the Tuition Partners Quality Criteria, or to deliver a small group tutoring model.

There is no limit on the number of pupils an organisation can bid to support, but we will consider the ability to maintain quality at scale, taking into account what is realistic based on the applicant’s scale of delivery to date. We would recommend that organisations do not bid for higher numbers at the expense of quality.