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 from October half term. Tuition Partners will begin delivery in schools from November.

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.

Q: Is the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) available nationwide?

A:

From November 2nd, all state primary and secondary schools in England will be eligible to access tutoring through the NTP Tuition Partners pillar. If demand is very high, caps may be introduced to ensure disadvantaged pupils in as many schools as possible receive support.

Schools in the most disadvantaged areas will also be eligible to access the NTP Academic Mentors pillar. Please visit theTeach First website to enquire if your school is eligible to employ an Academic Mentor.

For Schools

Q: How can my school get involved?

A:

Register your school for updates here.

Schools can access subsidised tuition through NTP Tuition Partners through this website. Scroll down for FAQS on the Tuition Partners pillar

If you are interested in hosting an Academic Mentors, you can register on the Teach First website. Scroll down for FAQs on the Academic Mentors pillar.

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 75%. This means that a school can purchase tutoring for four pupils for the normal cost of purchasing tutoring for a single child, e.g. for a block of fifteen tutoring sessions that would cost £200, the cost to schools would be £50.

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: I am a Virtual School, can I access the NTP?

A:

If a pupil attends a Virtual School but is also placed in a school or alternative provision setting, then NTP can and should be accessed by the pupil’s school. However, if the pupil is not currently placed in a school or alternative provision setting, then Virtual Schools may access NTP directly. Please approach your chosen Tuition Partner to check if that provider can meet the pupil’s needs.

Q: Is tutoring just for disadvantaged pupils?

A:

The NTP Academic Mentors and Tuition Partners pillars are designed specifically to support disadvantaged pupils in England, defined by Pupil Premium eligibility.

However, while it is expected that a majority of pupils receiving tutoring will be eligible for the Pupil Premium, schools will have discretion to identify the pupils most likely to benefit from support.

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

A:

For NTP Tuition Partners, we opened our funding applications across a number of academic subjects, and aimed to align the funding of tutoring with the demand from schools. Most funding has been 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)

Academic Mentors will be trained in one subject specialism to allow high quality training, and schools should request a mentor for a subject where their pupils need the greatest support. Additional subject tutoring may be negotiated between the school and the mentor, with the support of the Teach First Curriculum & Training Lead; however, Teach First recommends that the mentor tutors the subject they are trained in only.

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.

NTP Tuition Partners FAQ

Q: How can I access tutoring for my school?

A:

Schools can access subsidised tuition through NTP Tuition Partners by searching either by school name or location here. Schools can search for providers in their region from an approved list of Tuition Partners and make an enquiry directly with their chosen provider. A response to this enquiry will be received directly from the Tuition Partner.

Q: Is tuition only available for children who are disadvantaged?

A:

The focus of the NTP is on supporting disadvantaged pupils (including those eligible for Pupil Premium). We recognise however, that schools are in the best position to use their professional judgement to select those pupils who have been most affected by school closures; we would expect a large proportion of these to be eligible for Pupil Premium.

Q: How much tuition can a pupil receive?

A:

Schools can purchase one 15-hour subsidised block of tuition per pupil from a Tuition Partner. So that we can reach as many pupils as possible, we would encourage schools not to buy subsidised blocks of tuition for the same pupils from other providers. If schools wish to purchase more non-subsidised tuition per pupil, such as for other subjects, they may wish to discuss this with the Tuition Partner to see if they have capacity to deliver this outside of the NTP funding. We would suggest that schools select the subject that they think a pupil would benefit from having tutoring in the most, with evidence suggesting that this amount of tutoring in a subject can have important benefits for a pupil.

Q: How much tutoring provided will be online?

A:

A range of tutoring models will be offered by Tuition Partners, with most providers offering schools a choice of online or face-to-face support. Schools can choose a model which best meets the needs of their pupils.

Q: Is one-to-one tuition available for all children?

A:

One-to-one tuition can be purchased to support pupils with additional needs, including pupils with SEND (in any state-maintained school) and those in Alternative Provision. Each Tuition Partner offers different models of tuition such as one-to-one or in groups of three pupils. Further information can be found in theGuide to approved Tuition Partners’.

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

A:

Organisations were 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.

The full criteria for funding Tuition Partners can be found here.

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.

All Tuition Partners are subject to in depth monitoring of safeguarding practices and procedures throughout the academic year.

Q: The provider I would like to work with has no places available. What can I do?

A:

In some cases, providers will be able to take bookings for sessions to take place later in the year. You might also consider changing your search criteria, for example considering online provision. The range of Tuition Partners offer a variety of models, and schools can explore a number of these to find the model which best meets the needs of their pupils.

Q: Can NTP delivery continue into the summer holidays?

A:

In order to provide maximum flexibility to support the DfE’s catch up plans, some Tuition Partners are able to offer a small amount of NTP tutoring to be delivered over the summer holidays, either in school if the school is open (face to face or online) or online at-home. The vast majority of tutoring sessions will be delivered within the remaining academic year, and only a small proportion of tutoring will continue in the summer holidays if the school, Tuition Partner and guardians agree to this. In most cases where this occurs, it is likely students will be able to finish their block of 15 hours of tutoring during the summer holidays, rather than start a new tutoring programme. If your school is interested in this, you should talk to your Tuition Partner.

Q: Can schools access subsidised tuition through the NTP next academic year?

A:

The Department for Education is currently running a tender process to appoint an organisation to deliver the NTP next year. Therefore, details on how schools can access tutoring for next academic year are yet to be finalised and will be communicated on our website and by the DfE once confirmed. Schools can still access subsidised tutoring through the NTP Tuition Partners for the remainder of this academic year. Search here for Tuition Partners to support your school.

Q: What should I do if I have a complaint about a provider?

A:

In the first instance, you should contact your provider directly, using their complaints process.

If your complaint has not been resolved, or you have wider feedback about the NTP, you can contact the NTP directly via the NTP website.

Q: Why are there different tutoring models available through NTP?

A:

Tuition Partners offer a range of approaches, such as in person, online and small group sizes and one-to-one tuition. A variety of providers have been selected so that schools can choose the best model for them and their pupils. Schools are able to decide on which Tuition Partner in their area to work with and which of their pupils will benefit most from additional support. Schools can find out more about all of the Tuition Partners in the Guide to approved Tuition Partners 2020 – 21’.

Q: Can a pupil receive tuition in more than one subject?

A:

Through NTP Tuition Partners, schools can buy one subsidised 15-hour block of tuition per pupil. Evidence indicates that tuition is most effective when focusing on one subject for a block of sessions. Schools should think about which subject a pupil would most benefit from support in and evidence suggests the amount of tutoring a pupil will receive under the NTP in this subject can have important impacts on outcomes. In some cases, schools and Tuition Partners may agree to split the block between two subjects for younger pupils, or for pupils with more specific needs. NTP Tuition Partners is designed to provide additional support to pupils, with quality first teaching and other catch-up programmes being an important part of the wider picture.

Q: Will tutoring be delivered during class time?

A:

The majority of evidence suggests that tutoring programmes conducted during the school day, which may include during breakfast clubs and form time, tend to have larger impacts than those conducted after school. However, to provide further flexibility during the national lockdown, online at-home delivery was expanded to include weekends. To avoid unnecessary disruption, online at-home tuition blocks that have already started at weekends can continue, if this is the wish of the parents or carers, school, and Tuition Partner. However, these sessions can also be re-arranged to take place in school if this is preferred.

Schools and Tuition Partners can also plan for in-school delivery, either online or face-to-face, during the Easter holidays and May half-term if this is agreed by all. These arrangements will depend on individual circumstances such as the preference of the family and school, and tutor availability.

For all arrangements, we expect schools, Tuition Partners, and families to work together to plan tutoring sessions at appropriate times for pupils: for example, immediately after the school day, or if tutoring is taking place during the holidays, broadly in line with school hours, rather than at late hours or irregular times. We ask both Tuition Partners and schools to give careful consideration to attendance and safeguarding processes for all arrangements.

Q: How will tutors be briefed on the needs of pupils and schools?

A:

Tutoring will be most effective when it is closely aligned with the curriculum and guided by the classroom teacher. Each provider will ask schools for information about the needs of individual pupils, as well as any important information about the school, for example related to its Covid policies.

More information on working effectively with Tuition Partners is available in the Best Tutoring Practice for Schools’ guide.

Q: How have you chosen the tutoring organisations you work with?

A:

In order to have been eligible for NTP Tuition Partner funding, organisations needed to meet the eligibility criteria outlined below:

  • Proposals needed to be for tuition for 516-year olds in years 1 – 11. 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 have to be DBS checked, or in the case of international tutors best available equivalents, and receive safeguarding training. This eligibility criteria was designed to set a minimum standard for completing a full application. However, safeguarding was 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 focused 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 were 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 needed experience of working with schools. NTP tuition will be delivered through schools, and organisations that have not previously worked with schools are not eligible to receive NTP Tuition Partner funding.
  • The proposal had to commit to reaching at least 500 pupils over the year of delivery.
  • The organisation needed to be willing to participate in the NTP Tuition Partners evaluation and work with the independent evaluator and the EEF to provide high-quality and timely data using pre-specified templates and processes.

Organisations were then assessed on the extent to which they met 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 also judged proposals on reach and value for money. The NTP aims to reach a large number of pupils in all regions of England, so we took into consideration: the areas organisations were proposing to work in, and the number of pupils you were able to reach, whilst maintaining quality. 

We considered 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 selected organisations as preferred providers. We then undertook a detailed assessment of their safeguarding practices, their financial management and controls, data protection practices and conducted 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.

Q: Can schools use their own staff to deliver tuition?

A:

NTP Tuition Partners is about providing additional capacity to schools so that teachers and existing school staff can concentrate on quality first teaching, which we know is the thing that will make the most difference to pupils. In most circumstances, teachers or teaching assistants are not able to be used as tutors through NTP, however, part-time staff may choose to become tutors with approved Tuition Partners. In such circumstances it would, however, be the responsibility of these providers to recruit, train and deploy these tutors. It is important that the tutoring provided through NTP provides additional capacity, rather than replacing any that would already be present.

Schools wishing to pay existing staff extra to provide additional tutoring outside of normal school hours might choose to use the wider catch-up premium to fund this directly.

Q: When can my school start to receive tutoring?

A:

Schools can receive tutoring from November onwards, through one of our approved Tuition Partners. Schools will be able to purchase tutoring in blocks of 15 sessions.

Q: How much does my school have to pay for tutoring through Tuition Partners?

A:

Tutoring received through NTP Tuition Partners is subsidised by 75%. This means that a school can purchase tutoring for four pupils for the normal cost of purchasing tutoring for a single child, e.g. for a block of fifteen tutoring sessions that would cost £400, the cost to schools would be £100.

Schools are free to use to use additional catch-up funding, announced by the Department for Education in 2020, to pay for the remaining costs.

Each Tuition Partners’ page on the NTP website shows the subsidised cost of tuition.


VAT costs

Not all Tuition Partners will need to charge schools for VAT. However, some Tuition Partners will need to charge VAT on the services they are providing. Where this is the case they will charge schools VAT on the full value of the service. For example, if the cost of a block of tutoring sessions before the NTP subsidy is applied is £200 the VAT charged will be on this full amount. For Tuition Partners that need to charge VAT a school would therefore need to pay 25% of the cost of the block, plus the VAT on the full cost.

However, schools can recover in full any VAT charged pursuant to s.33 of the VAT Act 1994 for Local Authority schools, or s.33B of the VAT Act 1944 for Academy schools, as a cost directly attributable to their non-business activity of the free supply of education to pupils. Detailed information on costings, including whether VAT must be charged at point of purchase, is available from Tuition Partners.

Q: How many Tuition Partners can a school use?

A:

There is currently not a limit, however we would encourage schools to think about their capacity to organise tutoring, e.g. scheduling sessions, providing space and/​or computer time; the availability of staff time to liaise with providers, in order to fully maximise the impact of the tuition. The aim of the NTP is to reach as many schools as possible, so we would encourage schools to access tutoring for those who need it the most.

Q: How many pupils can a school sign up to receive tuition?

A:

Tuition Partners have initially been funded to provide subsidised tutoring for up to 250,000 pupils, from November 2020. This will substantially increase the amount of tutoring available to disadvantaged children but is not enough to provide support to every disadvantaged pupil in England.

Schools can apply for the number of places they would like from their preferred provider, who will respond to their request. Schools are encouraged to think about which pupils are most likely to benefit and how they will co-ordinate tutoring with Tuition Partners, for example recognising the need for teachers to work closely with tutors and the need to timetable tutoring sessions for all pupils

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

A:

Tutoring can be accessed by all state-funded schools including special schools (maintained and non-maintained) and Alternative Provision settings. In addition to this, pupils attending independent special schools on state-funded placements can also access NTP tutoring. This might include pupils with Education, Health and Care Plans whose independent special school placement is funded by the Local Authority. Many Tuition Partners are able to deliver tuition in specialist settings as well as supporting pupils with additional needs including SEND in mainstream settings. 

Schools can explore which Tuition Partners can support them by searching here. If searching for Tuition Partners to support pupils in independent special schools, please search by school location to explore providers that can support your pupils on state-funded placements.

Q: I am a Virtual School, can I access the NTP?

A:

If a pupil attends a Virtual School but is also placed in a school or alternative provision setting, then NTP can and should be accessed by the pupil’s school. However, if the pupil is not currently placed in a school or alternative provision setting, then Virtual Schools may access NTP directly. Please approach your chosen Tuition Partner to check if that provider can meet the pupil’s needs.

Q: Can online tutoring take place at the pupils’ home?

A:

As a default, tutoring offered through the NTP, including online tutoring, initially focused on delivery in a school setting. However, this was adapted in January in response to the national lockdown, with the majority of Tuition Partners also being approved to deliver online at-home tutoring during this period. In response to the government announcement confirming the full re-opening of schools on 8th March, online at-home tuition blocks that have already started before schools reopen can continue in this format if preferred to avoid unnecessary disruptions to pupils. However, they can also be switched to take place in school if this is the wish of the school, parents or carers and Tuition Partner.

For new tuition blocks commencing after March 8th, the expectation is for these to take place in school (either online or in person) wherever possible. There are three reasons for this recommendation:

  • First, evidence suggests that tutoring during the school day, which may include during breakfast clubs and form-time, tends to have the largest impact.
  • Second, attendance is likely to be lower for tutoring outside of the school day or delivered to pupils at home.
  • Third, pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to have the necessary technology or quiet space for effective tutoring to happen at home.

However, the NTP recognises that in exceptional circumstances, for example for pupils shielding or self-isolating, it may be beneficial to deliver tutoring to pupils at home. Guidance for schools on at-home delivery of online tuition can be found here.

Q: Should tutoring continue when there are disruptions to normal education as a result of COVID restrictions?

A:

Provision from the National Tutoring Programme is an important part of supporting pupils to catch up, therefore we expect that schools will continue to offer NTP tuition as arranged with Tuition Partners. 

Where there is disruption to normal education provision, schools and Tuition Partners will need to discuss and agree to what extent the following is possible and appropriate:

  • Allowing pupils and tutors to access school premises
  • Where schools and Tuition Partners want to minimise tutors going into schools, face-to-face provision can switch to online provision for pupils to access in schools
  • Prioritising access to school premises for pupils who do not have a suitable device or home learning environment.

When providing access to tuition partners or academic mentors, schools will need to follow the relevant safeguarding guidance regarding keeping children safe in education and safeguarding and remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19).

More information on how pupils, in particular circumstances, can access online tuition from home will be published shortly.

Q: How are Tuition Partners remaining safe during in-school delivery of tuition?

A:

Schools and Tuition Partners are working closely together to ensure that teachers, tutors and pupils remain as safe as possible during the pandemic.

This involves organising the provision of adequate PPE, social distancing, sanitation stations, well ventilated classrooms and a number of other measures. Schools and Tuition Partners will adhere to the latest Government guidance and scientific advice.

Under the Department for Education (DfE) Covid testing programme for schools, tutors delivering face-to-face tuition in schools qualify for optional lateral flow tests from schools, categorised under staff who are in scope for testing’. You can see the relevant DfE guidance here. Tuition Partners are providing flexible options where possible to schools who need to move between methods of delivery as we appreciate that children, tutors or teachers may need to isolate and work or learn from home at short notice.

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.

Applications to become an Academic Mentor have now closed for 2020/21.

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: Can we employ our own staff as Academic Mentors?

A:

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 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: What type of tuition will Academic Mentors provide?

A:

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: How many Academic Mentors can a school have?

A:

Each eligible school can request up to two mentors. Even if your school has two phases (e.g. primary and secondary), the maximum number of mentors your school can request is two.

You can request Academic Mentors in the following subject areas:

  • Maths
  • English
  • Science
  • Humanities
  • Modern Foreign Languages
  • Primary – numeracy
  • Primary – literacy

Q: Is my school eligible to hire Academic Mentors?

A:

Teach First will prioritise working with schools serving disadvantaged communities throughout England. Our criteria for partner schools are agreed with the Department for Education (DfE). They are used to identify schools that will benefit most from working with us. We use the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and Achieving Excellence Areas (AEA); a measure that recognises parts of the country where children consistently underperform.

This focuses on schools that have either:

  • an IDACI of 40 or greater (40% of pupils live in the three most deprived deciles)
  • an IDACI of 35 to 40 and an AEA score of 4 to 6
  • an IDACI of 30 to 35 and an AEA score of 5 or 6
  • an IDACI of 25 to 30 and an AEA score of 6

If your school does not meet the criteria above, but your school has an above average pupil premium, Teach First may be able to place an academic mentor at your school if there is availability in your area.

If you’re not sure whether your school qualifies, get in touch with Teach First at academicmentoring@​teachfirst.​org.​uk.

Q: If my school is eligible, am I guaranteed to get an Academic Mentor?

A:

Teach First are working hard to match as many mentors to schools as possible; however, there is a very high demand for mentors so there is no guarantee all schools will receive a mentor. We encourage schools to contact Teach First as soon as possible if they’re interested in hiring a mentor.

Q: When will Academic Mentors start?

A:

Recruitment began in August with some Academic Mentors starting in schools from October half-term. There are two possible remaining start dates for Academic Mentors:

  • 18 January 2021
  • After February half-term

Q: What training will Academic Mentors receive?

A:

Teach First will provide two weeks of intensive evidence-based training prior to placing an academic mentor in your school. The mentor will also receive ongoing support and training throughout the year. The intensive training will cover:

  • Assessment and planning
  • Behaviour management
  • Safeguarding and child protection
  • Diversity and inclusion

The purpose of this training will be to provide the academic mentor with the foundation they need to build relationships with pupils and teachers, and to work in a school-aligned way. It will also provide training on common misconceptions in different subject areas and intervention strategies which the highest impact. This initial training will be followed by monthly training sessions, the content of which will be responsive to the mentors’ needs as they get to know the pupils they are working with. Academic mentors are required to engage with all of their initial and ongoing training.

Academic Mentors will be assigned a Teach First support role, called a Curriculum & Training Lead, who will work with them throughout the year to support and the help develop them in their mentor role. Schools should commit to providing in-house training and support, making sure the provision of this is on par with other staff members.

Q: What is the salary for an Academic Mentor?

A:

Each mentor will be paid £19,000 a year, covered by the Department for Education. They will be paid pro-rata, depending on their start date.

Schools will be expected to cover on-costs such as pension contributions, tax and National Insurance, as well as any additional staff benefits offered. The on-costs will vary depending on a school’s context, but typically, they would be around 15 – 20% of salary.

Schools can make use of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) catch-up premium fund to cover associated on-costs.

Q: What subjects will Academic Mentors support in?

A:

Academic Mentors will specialise in one of seven subject areas:

  • English
  • Humanities (geography, history, religious studies)
  • Maths
  • Modern Foreign Languages (French, Spanish)
  • Science
  • Primary literacy
  • Primary numeracy


Academic Mentors will be trained in one subject specialism to allow high quality training, and schools should request a mentor for a subject where their pupils need the greatest support. Additional subject tutoring may be negotiated between the school and the mentor, with the support of the Teach First Curriculum & Training Lead; however, Teach First recommends that the mentor tutors the subject they are trained in only.