The National Tutoring Programme is based on a very simple idea: providing effective, additional support to help disadvantaged pupils affected by school closures.
Since launching this website last week, it’s been brilliant to see the initial response to that idea. Every day, we are receiving hundreds of registrations, from schools, individuals interested in working or volunteering as a tutor or academic mentor and providers keen to get involved. This level of engagement is hugely exciting and the first step towards achieving the programme’s aim of supporting thousands of pupils over the next academic year.
It’s also been great to have lots of interest in both of the NTP’s two pillars. Through NTP Academic Mentors, trained graduates will be employed by schools in the most disadvantaged areas to provide intensive support to students, with salaries covered by Government funding. Teach First are leading this pillar of the programme and are accepting expressions of interest from schools and potential mentors.
Through NTP Tuition Partners, schools will be able to access high-quality, low-cost tuition from an approved list of providers, assessed against a set of quality, safeguarding and evaluation standards. The Education Endowment Foundation are leading this part of the programme, and schools, potential tutors and providers can register on the NTP website.
There is extensive evidence showing that tutoring is one of the most effective tools to support learning.
Schools across England have already signed-up to receive updates about providers in their area and dozens of organisations – including charities, universities, local authorities and existing tutoring providers – have registered to receive information about how to apply to participate.
We’ve also received lots of questions and feedback, via the website and from direct conversations with teachers, school leaders and the wider sector. These contributions have been invaluable in shaping the programme and ensuring we can get the right information out to schools.
Across both pillars of the NTP, the first principle in ensuring that tutoring makes a difference is that it must be guided by teachers and aligned with the curriculum.
One big focus of discussion has been on how to ensure that tutoring provided through the NTP is high-quality. There is extensive evidence showing that tutoring is one of the most effective tools to support learning. In fact, even in the short time since the NTP was announced by Government, a new systematic review has been published describing tutoring “as one of the most versatile and potentially transformative educational tools in use today”.
But as with every approach, the detail really matters. Using the language of Professor Steve Higgins, lead author of the EEF Toolkit, “tutoring is a very promising bet” but how it is implemented will determine what difference it actually makes.
Across both pillars of the NTP, the first principle in ensuring that tutoring makes a difference is that it must be guided by teachers and aligned with the curriculum. High-quality classroom teaching is the single most powerful lever schools have to support learning. Tutoring funded through the NTP must supplement what happens in the classroom, supporting teachers by providing extra help to disadvantaged pupils who need it, rather than serving as a bolt-on.
Another common area of discussion has been about the timing of activity in schools. Both pillars of the programme will begin delivery from the second half of the autumn term and run for the remainder of the 2020/21 academic year, providing a sustained and flexible source of support to schools. Again, we hope that this timeline will increase the impact of tutoring – for example by ensuring that tutoring builds on teachers’ assessments of need and judgements about where additional support would be beneficial.
We’d also love to get more feedback and questions – please get in touch via this form with any questions, thoughts or suggestions about the programme.