Ministers are to double funding for the government’s flagship tutoring programme.
The national tutoring programme (NTP) was launched in November 2020 to help children in England make up for learning lost during the coronavirus pandemic, when schools were closed to most pupils for months at a time during 2019 and 2020.
In January of last year, Labour had accused the NTP of failing children and taxpayers, after figures revealed that just 10% of the year’s target for children to receive tuition had been reached.
In 2021, the programme had been controversially outsourced to Randstad, which Labour said was a “private company with little tutoring experience”.
Ministers have announced that £150m will be made available to schools next year, with a total of £1bn provided over four years.
The government initially provided 75% of the funding for the 2021-22 academic year, before moving to cut the subsidy to 25% for 2023-24. It has agreed to reverse this policy and raise the subsidy rate to 50% for the upcoming academic year, with the remaining percentage being paid for by the schools.
In March, Sir Peter Lampl, the chair of the Sutton Trust, called for the subsidy to be maintained, saying: “Although there have been issues with delivery, the NTP … has changed the landscape of tutoring, giving young people the opportunity to receive tuition who would never have been able to afford it.”
Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said: “Since its inception in 2020, we have continuously evolved the national tutoring programme to ensure it works for pupils and schools.
“Over 3m courses have been started as a result and we remain committed to supporting schools to embed tutoring long term because we know the positive impact it can have on pupils.
“That’s why I am pleased that next year, we will be able to match school’s funding contributions, whilst also supporting them more widely through a £2 billion boost in school funding.”
Nick Brook, the chief executive of Speakers for Schools and chair of the DfE’s Strategic Tutoring Advisory Group, said: “I’m pleased that the government has listened to school and sector leaders and has agreed to raise the NTP subsidy to 50% next year. This will be welcome news to many schools, who have seen positive results from the programme and will want to continue offering tutoring next year.”
John Glen, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “We want everyone in school to get a world-class education, enriching their own lives and strengthening the future workforce.
“Paying half of tutoring costs to support our young people through the national tutoring programme next year is clear evidence of that commitment and a down payment on long-term economic growth.”
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