Young people have faced a year like no other.
By the end of the school year in July 2020, some children had missed over 2 months of schooling. Our research has highlighted that the impact of this lost learning has not been felt equally. Children who were already disadvantaged lost out the most, due to factors like access to technology and a quiet place to work. Research suggests that the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their classmates will almost certainly have widened.
So, now that (some) of the dust has settled, and most pupils are back at school, schools are faced with the challenge of how to support pupils to catch up on what they’ve missed.
According to evidence from our sister charity, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), small group tuition is one of the lowest cost, highest impact teaching strategies to support disadvantaged pupils who need additional support.
With this in mind, the rationale for the National Tutoring Programme – a scheme which will provide tuition to the students who need it most – is clear. NTP Tuition Partners will provide tutoring, subsidised by 75%, for pupils most in need. With the help of the NTP’s approved providers, all of whom have been carefully appraised and confirmed based on their ability to provide excellent quality, impact and safeguarding for students, the programme will support tens of thousands of students by the end of 2020 alone.
The second strand of the programme, Academic Mentors, will provide students not just with tailored support but with an academic mentor with whom they can build a meaningful and stable relationship – particularly important in light of this year’s disruptions. The Teach First trained mentors will be placed into schools, alongside tutors, to assist staff in delivering intensive support to pupils who need it most.
While the NTP has huge capacity to make a difference to the pupils that need it most, tutoring isn’t a silver bullet. It must be one part of a wider package of support. There needs to be real prioritisation of education, and an assurance from government that our schools and teachers will receive the funding they deserve.
At the Sutton Trust, we have been committed to supporting young people to achieve their potential, whatever their background, for over 20 years. The National Tutoring Programme is an important commitment to these students, and will go some way to ensuring that they will no longer be left behind.