Government to raise tutoring subsidy rate to 50% next year

The Department for Education has announced that half of tutoring costs will be funded through the National Tutoring Programme next year.

Over three million courses have taken place so far from the National Tutoring Programme, with school leaders reporting on the positive impact the programme is having on pupils’ attainment and confidence. 

This month, the Education Policy Institute also announced average outcomes in reading have largely been recovered in primary schools. 

Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, England has risen to fourth internationally for primary reading proficiency in the recent Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) results.

Backed by over £1 billion across four years, £150 million will be available to schools next year.

Whilst schools will continue to have the flexibility to decide which pupils to offer tutoring to, the government said that children from disadvantaged backgrounds will be prioritised, as well as those who are below the expected standard or grade boundary in a particular subject.

Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, said: “Since its inception in 2020, we have continuously evolved the National Tutoring Programme to ensure it works for pupils and schools.

“Over three million courses have been started as a result and we remain committed to supporting schools to embed tutoring long term because we know the positive impact it can have on pupils.”

Nick Brook, CEO for the social mobility charity at Speakers for Schools and chair of the DfE Strategic Tutoring Advisory Group, said: “I’m pleased that the government has listened to school and sector leaders and has agreed to raise the NTP subsidy to 50% next year. 

“This will be welcome news to many schools, who have seen positive results from the programme and will want to continue offering tutoring next year.” 

The Department for Education said it has always been clear that the subsidy rate for the programme will be tapered each year to support schools to embed tutoring long-term, moving from 75% in 2021-22 to a planned 25% in 2023-24.

Following feedback from school leaders, the government has now agreed a subsidy rate of 50% next year, to support schools to deliver the tutoring their pupils need.

To meet their costs when providing tutoring, schools will be able to continue to use funding streams like the pupil premium, which will rise to almost £2.9 billion in in 2023-24. 

To support schools to deliver tutoring next year, new guidance has also been published today. This is alongside information on the amount of funding each school will receive and a calculator tool to support schools to plan tutoring for next year. 

The Department for Education said it will also continue to support schools to embed tutoring into the long term as an integral part of the department’s strategy to raise standards in primary and secondary schools. 

This includes the target for 90 per cent of pupils to meet the expected standard of reading, writing and maths by the time they leave primary school. 

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, commented on the news, saying:

“School leaders have been clear that dramatically reducing the tutoring subsidy next year would have been disastrous for the programme. In a recent member poll, 59% of respondents told us that they were using the programme this year but would not be able to access it next academic year.

“It is therefore good news that the subsidy will be maintained at a higher rate than originally planned for 2023-24. We have been clear with the DfE about this, and it is positive that they have listened and responded.

“However, it is important to point out that due to the current financial pressures schools are facing, many will still find it extremely difficult to fund the remaining 50% that is required from them, particularly given that the amount of funding schools will receive overall for tutoring will not change.”

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