Tuition Partners FAQ

Tuition Partners FAQ

Answers to common questions about NTP Tuition Partners

Table of contents

General FAQ

Q: How can I access tutoring for my school?


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?


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?


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 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?


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?


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?


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?


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?


The NTP will continue next academic year, and the Department for Education have announced Randstad as their chosen delivery partner, following a competitive tendering process. At present, schools are not yet able to book tutoring for next academic year. Further details on how schools can access NTP support next year will follow in the coming weeks. 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?


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?


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: Which year groups can access tutoring?


Pupils aged between 5 and 16, in Years 1 – 11, are eligible for tutoring through the NTP Tuition Partners. Further information about catch-up funding and support for pupils in Reception with NELI (Nuffield Early Language Intervention) can be found here and information on the 16 – 19 tuition fund can be found here.

NTP model

Q: What subjects is tutoring available for under the Tuition Partners pillar?


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)

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


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?


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.

Who are the tutors and Tuition Partners?

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


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?


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?


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?


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?


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?


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?


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?


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: What should happen if a school wants to move to a different Tuition Partner, after already having started some sessions with one?


We would expect that the Tuition Partner and school to have worked closely together to try and resolve any concerns that the school is having. The NTP team would be keen to support the school and Tuition Partner in question to resolve any difficulties. Please fill out this form to get in touch, or ask your Tuition Partner to put you in touch with the NTP team. 

In the very rare case that the school is still wanting to move to a new provider, any remaining sessions can be taken up with a new Tuition Partner. For example, if the school has already had 6 hours with the first Tuition Partner, they will have the remaining 9 hours with the Partner that they have switched to.

Non-mainstream settings

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


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?


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.

Covid adaptations

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


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?


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?


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.