Using overseas tutors to deliver NTP tuition
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Using overseas tutors to deliver NTP tuition

Using overseas tutors to deliver NTP tuition

The NTP responds to criticisms of NTP Tuition Partner Third Space Learning.

One of the principal aims of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) has been to improve the reach of the most evidence-based and high-quality providers, whilst also raising the quality of the tuition sector as a whole. Fewer than one in 10 of the organisations that applied to become a Tuition Partner were approved, reflecting how competitive the process was. Each Tuition Partner was assessed against quality standards related to evidence, safeguarding and value-for money.

Giving schools choice

The NTP is proud of its approved Tuition Partners. Together they represent the breadth, innovation, and variety of the tuition market: some are charities, others companies or academic institutions; some use university students, while others use senior leaders with decades of experiences; and some specialise in online provision, while others offer face-to-face delivery.

But what links our Tuition Partners together is that they all provide high-quality, school-based tutoring that is designed to support disadvantaged pupils.

International expertise in a English context

Tutoring is an increasingly global market, with providers around the world increasingly using technology to boost quality and reach. Third Space Learning, one of our Tuition Partners, is an example of a provider with an innovative approach. Noticing a shortage of qualified STEM tutors in England, they found a solution by recruiting their tutors from further afield.

Third Space Learning uses trained undergraduates and graduates to deliver one-to-one online maths tuition. They recruit their tutors from India and Sri Lanka, recruiting well-educated English-speaking graduates and undergraduates who love maths.

Every Third Space Learning tutor goes through a three-week full-time training course, designed in partnership with University College London. To make sure the tutors’ skills can be put to best use in an English context, the course covers the primary maths curriculum, guidance on engaging pupils and safeguarding, as well as best practices in online learning. Tutors receive ongoing weekly professional development, frequent lesson evaluations and personalised feedback.

Some young people in Sri Lanka begin their undergraduate studies aged 17. Third Space Learning employs a very small number of 17 year old undergraduates as tutors – roughly 0.3% of their tutor workforce. However, all tutors working as part of the NTP will be over the age of 18. The average age of Third Space Learning tutors is 24 years old.

The NTP expects all Tuition Providers to follow all applicable laws and regulations and pay their tutors fairly. Third Space Learning tutors are paid very competitively in the countries they are based in, with the average tutor receiving around 2.5 times the average graduate salary.

Popular approach


Tutoring from Third Space Learning is proving popular with English schools. Since they were founded in 2013, Third Space Learning has worked with tens of thousands of teachers in over 2,500 English state primary schools, delivering one-to-one tuition to over 75,000 pupils, a majority of whom are eligible for free school meals.

Some schools using Third Space Learning through the NTP have commented that pupils love engaging with tutors from other countries and said the sessions have helped to broaden their horizons. Like access to tutoring, this sort of cultural interaction is something that so many better-off children take for granted.

The tutoring market is often described as a Wild West’. There are thousands of providers out there, all offering something different but often with no guarantee of quality.

A central aim of the NTP is to help schools navigate this landscape. Ultimately, NTP Tuition Partners is about harnessing the best provision in the sector and making sure that every state school in England has access to it.

While our focus may be on supporting schools in England, it is right that we look outwards and harness all the expertise we can to do this. It does not – and should not – matter where an online tutor is based. What matters most is the quality of the support that they can give children and young people

Read more from schools accessing Third Space Learning here and here.

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Wigmore Primary School, Luton

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The Bemrose School, Derby

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Kingswood Academy, Hull