Report Overview

This Sutton Trust research brief analyses Office for National Statistics data and finds children from the most advantaged households benefit from significantly more spending on extra-curricular activities and private tutoring than their poorer peers. The brief also includes the Trust’s annual polling on private tuition and new polling on parents and enrichment activities.


Key Findings

More advantaged children are substantially more likely to receive extra private tuition.

• 23% of young people report receiving private tuition, but there is a 12 percentage point gap between the most and least affluent families.
• Polling shows parents in social group A two to three times more likely than those in groups C2-E to employ private tutors.
• They are also three to four times more likely than all other social groups to use private tutors specifically to gain place for children at selective school.
A large proportion of parents involve children in regular extra-curricular activities. However, there is still substantial social inequality.
• 76% of parents across all social groups involved their children in some form of regular extra-curricular social activity over the last year. Parents with professional or administrative occupations are 15% more likely than those with manual or routine jobs to involve their children in these activities.
• The ONS Living Costs and Food Survey shows top earners are almost four times more likely than bottom earners to have paid for out of school enrichment classes.


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.

Several promising private and charitable projects also offer the potential of making extra tuition available to less advantaged children, examples include:

The Tutor Trust: This education charity based in Manchester, trains undergraduates to provide pupils with individual and small group tuition in English, Maths, and Science. Schools pay for this tuition for their pupils at well below market rates, usually with Pupil Premium money, making the scheme more affordable for disadvantaged schools. The Tutor trust model is currently being evaluated by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), with the results scheduled to be published in 2015.

Tutorfair: A company that helps parents find and book tutors. As a website they are able to charge less than traditional tutoring agencies. Also, as part of their model, for every student who pays they provide tutoring to a child who can’t afford it.