Making sure tutoring makes a difference in your school
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Making sure tutoring makes a difference in your school

Making sure tutoring makes a difference in your school

New evidence briefing from the National Tutoring Programme reviews the best available evidence to offer schools guidance on how to utilise tutoring.

A new evidence briefing from the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) reviews the best available evidence on tutoring to offer schools guidance on how to utilise tutoring – and the opportunities available through the NTP Tuition Partners – in their school.

Tutoring will be available to schools from November, with a list of approved providers within regions published on the NTP website. The majority of tutoring will be delivered in small groups, with one tutor to three children. Tutoring will be provided in six subject areas: English, Humanities, Maths, Modern foreign languages, Science, and Primary (reading, writing, maths and science).

The guide answers common questions that schools may have about using tutoring as a complement to classroom teaching and offers clear advice on key principles for effective tuition. These include:

  • Aligning the work of tutors with classroom practice. The evidence tells us that tutoring works best when it acts as a complement to high-quality classroom teaching. The guide offers advice on how best to do this, including through setting tutors clear aims for pupils ahead of sessions starting and ensuring that tutors can utilise existing school feedback processes. 
  • Planning when to deliver sessions. Many schools will be planning additional support for their pupils outside of core timetabled hours, so it may be challenging to fit tutoring sessions in. The guide suggests that sessions should ideally be provided within standard school hours, wherever possible, as sessions delivered after school may have a lower impact due to implementation and attendance challenges. Rotation can make sure that pupils don’t repeatedly miss core curriculum content or lessons that they are particularly engaged with.
  • Deciding which pupils will benefit the most from tutoring. Many pupils will have lost out on learning during school closures, with schools facing difficult decisions about which pupils to target support at. Teachers know their pupils best and these individual relationships and professional judgement will be key in deciding who will need the most additional support. The guide also recommends focusing on those who are eligible for pupil premium funding and using prior attainment data to decide which pupils are most likely to benefit from tutoring, with evidence that low prior attaining pupils may particularly benefit.
  • Fostering positive relationships between tutors, teachers, parents and pupils. The period of school closures will mean that many pupils will need support to relearn positive learning behaviours and engaging them with tutoring sessions may be a challenge. The guide stresses the importance of presenting tutoring opportunities to pupils as a positive experience to further their learning, with support and buy-in from parents and carers. Tutoring in pairs or small groups may reduce the potential sense of stigma that could be associated with being selected to take part in tutoring.


All state primary and secondary schools in England will be eligible to access tutoring opportunities through NTP Tuition Partners and Academic Mentors in the next term.

Through NTP Tuition Partners, schools will be able to access subsidised high-quality tuition from an approved list of providers, announced at the end of October. The Education Endowment Foundation will be leading the delivery of this part of the programme and has been provided with funding from the Department for Education to fund activity in 20202021. Tuition Partners will be subject to rigorous quality criteria and all will be expected to have experience of working closely with schools and disadvantaged pupils.

Through NTP Academic Mentors, trained graduates will be employed by schools in the most disadvantaged areas to provide intensive support to their pupils. Teach First will be supporting the recruitment, training and placement of the first cohort of Academic Mentors. The salaries of Academic Mentors will be funded by the Government.

Today’s briefing is designed to support schools’ planning and provide guidance on utilising these opportunities.

Best tutoring practice for schools

This brief guide summarises key messages for schools, based on the best available evidence for effective tutoring.