Pupils living in London are twice as likely to receive private tuition as those outside of the capital, according to new polling published by the Sutton Trust today. 44% of the London pupils surveyed reported having ever received private or home tuition, compared with 22% of those attending schools outside the capital.

These new figures, taken from the latest annual Sutton Trust / Ipsos MORI poll of 2,488 11 – 16 year olds, show how children from the capital are significantly more likely to benefit from spending on private or home tutoring than their peers across the UK. According to the Sutton Trust / EEF Toolkit, one-on-one tuition can boost learning by five additional months.

National trends have seen the proportion of pupils receiving private or home tuition rise by over a third in the past decade, from 18% in 2005 to 25% in 2015. In London, 34% of pupils received private or home tuition in 2005, compared with 44% this year.

Today’s analysis also reveals how different ethnic groups are more likely to receive private tuition than others. 54% of Asian pupils reported they had received private or home tuition at some point in the last three years, more than double the 25% of pupils nationally.

The pupils were asked why they had received private or home tuition.  More than half (52%) said the main reason was to prepare for a specific test or exam. A similar number (50%) said they have had private or home tuition to help them with school work in general; a proportion which has increased from 41% in 2010.  Only 13% reported that their parents had paid for extra lessons because they are really interested in a particular subject.

Analysis by the private tutoring website, Tutorfair, suggests that the typical cost of a private tutor is now £23 an hour, rising to £29 for tutoring in London.

The Trust recommends that the Government should introduce a means tested voucher system as part of the pupil premium through which lower income families could purchase additional educational support.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said today:

“Our polling shows that private tuition has become much more common in London over the last year and more common across the whole country over the past decade. The fact that it’s predominantly used to help children do well in a specific test or exam means that those who can afford it are able to give their children a significant advantage over those that cannot. If we are serious about social mobility, we need to make sure that the academic playing field is levelled outside of the school gate by the state providing funding for private tuition on a means-tested basis.”


1. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 150 research studies and funded and evaluated programmes that have helped hundreds of thousands of young people of all ages, from early years through to access to the professions.

2. The pupil polling forms part of the Ipsos MORI Young People Omnibus Surveys. The 2015 survey for the Sutton Trust included 2,488 respondents in schools in England and Wales, with pupils filling out paper self-completion questionnaires under supervision by trained interviewers from January to May this year. Data is weighted by school year, gender, and region to match the profile of school children across England and Wales.

3. Tutorfair is a website to help people find the best tutors. For every student who pays they give tutoring to a child who can’t afford it. Finding tutors is as simple as putting in your postcode and subject and choosing from the list of tutors. Tutorfair has built a community of over 6,000 tutors spanning 1,000’s of subjects – from maths to magic and English to the ukulele. Tutorfair was founded in 2012 by Edd Stockwell, Mark Maclaine, Andrew Ground and Patrick Verdon.

4. The cost of tuition has been calculated using the average price charged by all the tutors listed on Tutorfair.com who have sold one or more hours of tuition.

5. The Education Endowment Foundation is a charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus Trust, with a Department for Education grant of £125m. It is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £57 million to 100 projects working with over 620,000 pupils in over 4,900 schools across England.

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