This report by Philip Kirby provides an overview of the private tuition market in the UK, focusing on England and Wales. It considers four main aspects of the industry – extent, purpose, people and delivery – and reviews how these intersect with issues of social mobility. It finds that the private tuition market has expanded substantially over the last decade and is now worth up to £2 billion. But there is differential access to private tuition – pupils from lower socio-economic are less likely to receive such support, despite being amongst those who would benefit the most.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Ensure grammar school tests do not disadvantage low-income students: Grammar schools should carefully assess their testing system to ensure that the 11+ tests they use for selection do not act as a barrier for high-achieving students from certain communities.