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10 common questions about the National Tutoring Programme

Two members of our team, Maariyah Dawood and Jack Haines, answer some of the most common questions we’ve received since launch.

It’s been nearly three weeks since the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) launched in schools. 33 Tuition Partners are now offering high-quality, subsidised tutoring to schools to support their disadvantaged pupils that have been most affected by the pandemic.

The first wave of 188 Academic Mentors have also started their roles in schools in the most disadvantaged areas to provide intensive, subject-specific support.

We have been really pleased with the response so far. Schools have made thousands of enquiries to our approved Tuition Partners, to arrange tutoring for their pupils.

We spend some of our time managing the NTP inbox, so we thought it would be helpful to answer 10 of the most common queries that we get about the NTP.

1. How can I access subsidised tutoring for my school?

You can use our handy search tool to find Tuition Partners who are able to deliver tuition in your school. You can type in your school name or search by location, and filter by subject and tuition type (in-person or online). There are also options for Alternative Provision and pupils with SEND.

Once you identify a Tuition Partner, you can make an enquiry directly to them via their provider page.

2. How much does tutoring via Tuition Partners cost?

Schools can access tutoring from our approved Tuition Partners at a subsidised rate of 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.

While schools do not receive money from the NTP to pay for tutoring, they can use their allocation from the wider catch-up premium to pay for this.

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

3. How many pupils can a school access tutoring for?

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

If demand is very high, caps may be introduced to ensure disadvantaged pupils in as many schools as possible receive support. Caps may be introduced regionally or nationally and will be clearly signalled on the NTP website and by Tuition Partners.

4. How many hours of tuition can one pupil receive through Tuition Partners, and can it be in more than one subject?

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’d encourage schools not to buy subsidised blocks of tuition for the same pupils from other providers. If schools would like to purchase more tuition per pupil, they can discuss this with the Tuition Partner to see if that provider has capacity, but this would not be subsidised by the NTP.

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. NTP Tuition Partners is here to provide additional support to pupils, with quality first teaching and other catch-up programmes being an important part of the wider picture.

5. How many Tuition Partners can a school use?

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.

6. Can existing school staff apply to be tutors through one of the Tuition Partners?

NTP Tuition Partners provide additional capacity to support schools, enabling teachers and existing school staff to concentrate on providing quality classroom teaching, which is the single most powerful way to support pupils.

Part-time teachers or teaching assistants wanting to work as tutors might wish to register with Tuition Partners and work in a range of schools, but schools cannot receive funding directly from the NTP or via Tuition Partners to pay existing staff

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.

7. Can pupils receive tutoring at home?

As a default, tutoring offered through the NTP, including online tutoring, is provided to pupils in schools. 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 at home for extended periods, it may be beneficial to deliver tutoring to pupils at home. The NTP team are currently working with a number of approved Tuition Partners to ensure the necessary systems are in place to allow at home tuition to take place when needed, building on lessons from four online tuition pilots conducted by the EEF. More information on the accepted circumstances for at home tutoring will be published shortly.

8. Is the catch-up funding part of the NTP?

The Covid-19 catch-up premium is provided by the Department for Education directly and is separate from the NTP. Schools may wish to use this funding to pay for subsidised tuition under the Tuition Partners pillar. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has a helpful guide for schools, reviewing evidence related to the catch-up premium allocation.

9. How do I find out if my school is eligible for an Academic Mentor?

Academic Mentors are being placed in schools in the most disadvantaged areas. Teach First uses 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

More information on eligibility can be found on the Teach First website.

10. What costs are there for schools in hiring Academic Mentors?

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 an Academic Mentors’ salary.

Find out more about salary and costs here.

If you have any further questions, you can email us at info@​nationaltutoring.​org.​uk anytime. We monitor the inbox Monday to Friday and deal with the weekends queries at the start of each week.

Our FAQs section also covers common questions about the programme and you can keep up to date with us daily on Twitter.

We also ran an information webinar for schools on Thursday 5th November which gives an overview of the programme. Watch the recording of the webinar here.

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