Report Overview

The annual Sutton Trust/Ipsos-Mori survey of 11-16 year olds on private tuition in 2018 showed that more than one in four young people in England and Wales have received private or home tuition, a figure which has risen by half since the Trust began collecting the data in 2005.

Key Findings

  • More than one in four (27%) young people in England and Wales have received private or home tuition, a figure which has risen by half since the Trust began collecting the data in 2005. Just over one in ten (11%) had been tutored during the most recent school year, consistent with results from the past few years.
  • Pupils in London were substantially more likely to have received private tuition than the rest of the country, with two in five pupils from London (41%) having had tuition at some point.
  • One in three (33%) pupils received tuition for specific GCSE exams, and 27% for a school entrance exam. Almost half (47%) said it was to help with their school work in general.

Recommendations

1. Implement a means-tested voucher scheme for tuition

The government should introduce a means-tested voucher system, funded through the Pupil Premium, enabling lower income families to purchase additional educational support. Limited trials of such voucher schemes have shown them to be successful. Evidence from the Education Endowment Foundation shows that good teaching skills are crucial in improving the attainment of disadvantaged students, so it is vital that the quality of provision is high. Tutors should be experienced and well-qualified.

2. Expand non-profit and state tuition programmes

Charities, such as the Tutor Trust, supported by the Education Endowment Foundation, connect tutors directly with disadvantaged schools. Such schemes have the potential to offer the advantages of tutoring to more disadvantaged students.

3. Encourage best practice for private tuition agencies

Some private tuition agencies provide a certain proportion of their tuition to disadvantaged students pro bono, in an effort to make tuition widely accessible – such best practice should be encouraged as widely as possible in order to combat the role of tutoring in increasing educational inequalities.

Methodological note

The pupil polling forms part of the Ipsos MORI Young People Omnibus Surveys. The 2018 survey for the Sutton Trust included 2,381 respondents in schools in England and Wales, with pupils filling out self-completion questionnaires either online or on paper. Data is weighted by school year, gender, and region to match the profile of school children across England and Wales.