The National Tutoring Programme: what is it, when does it start and who will it be for?

student being tutored with books on table

Government-funded scheme aims to help disadvantaged students in England who’ve fallen behind because of the coronavirus school closures

Schools have been closed to most students since March because of the Covid-19 lockdown, leaving a significant number of pupils with little or no support to help them keep up with their studies.

Disadvantaged students have been less likely to get online lessons from their school than those from wealthier households, a report in May found. For those who don’t go back to school until September, this difference in time spent on home learning could mean students from the best-off families having the equivalent of 15 more school days than their disadvantaged peers.

To help fix this gap in learning, the government has announced that it is funding the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). The aim is to help disadvantaged students who have particularly missed out on learning because of the Covid-19 school closures, by providing state schools with tutors and trained graduate coaches.

Its website hasn’t launched yet – although one of the charities running the programme has said that this will be coming soon – and the available information is slightly limited. Here’s what we know so far.

student being tutored

What is the National Tutoring Programme?

It’s a way for students who’ve been impacted by the coronavirus school closures to get free additional tutoring alongside their regular lessons, to help them catch up.

How will it work?

State schools in England will be able to apply to use the programme. There are two branches to it – NTP Partners and NTP Coaches.

Through NTP Partners, tutors will come into schools to give students tutoring for a set amount of hours per week – for example, a student might be assigned one hour of tutoring each week for a course of 12-15 weeks.

NTP Coaches are trained graduates who will be based in a school full-time. These coaches will be available to help students as much as they need it, without having set hours assigned.

Both the tutors and the coaches will mainly provide one-to-one or small group support.

Who’s running it?

The programme is being run by a partnership of four charities – the Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF), the Sutton Trust, Impetus and Nesta – with support from the Department for Education (DfE).

student with tutor

When will it start?

It will start in autumn 2020. It’s unclear how long it will run for – the DfE said that it will run “over the 2020-21 academic year” and has not said whether it will continue past then.  

The EEF has said that the aim is that it will have “a legacy that will continue in the system, helping to close the disadvantage gap in years to come”.

How can students apply to use it?

The programme can only be accessed through your school. This is to make sure that the tutoring is both high enough quality and along the same lines as what you’re being taught in school.

Who will be able to use it?

Disadvantaged students in England at state primary and secondary schools. The exact number of students who will be able to access it is unknown, but its main focus will be on disadvantaged students and the EEF has said that “we aim to offer tutoring to as many pupils as possible”.

It’s particularly aimed at students who are eligible for the pupil premium, but it will ultimately be up to the school to decide who can get the additional tuition.  

“Teachers and school leaders will be able to exercise their professional judgement to determine if tutoring is the right support for each pupil,” the EEF said.

When will the tutoring happen?

The extra tuition could be timetabled into your regular school day, or happen outside school hours – this will be up to your school to decide.

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