Why Schools Are Continuing Tutoring After The NTP Ends – And How They’re Funding It

The 2023/24 academic year marks the fourth and final year of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), a government initiative launched in 2020 to help schools mitigate the impact of the pandemic. 

The NTP has gone through many iterations, but in essence, it has provided schools with additional funding to provide one to one and small group tutoring to the pupils in their schools that they feel need it most.

This academic year (2023/24), schools can use their NTP funding to cover up to 50% of the cost of tutoring, with the remaining 50% coming from their school budget. Next year (2024/25), schools will be expected to cover 100% of the costs of tutoring themselves.

From September 2024, schools will not receive any additional ring-fenced tutoring funding, but the Department for Education is still strongly encouraging schools to continue to offer tutoring next academic year:

Tutoring is an effective and well-evidenced targeted approach to increase the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. Tutoring should supplement and be linked explicitly to high-quality classroom teaching. We strongly encourage schools to continue to fund tutoring using pupil premium from September 2024, following the final year of the NTP.

Department for Education – Using Pupil Premium: Guidance for School Leaders – February 2024

Here at Third Space Learning, we’ve been providing schools in the UK with personalised online one to one maths tutoring to primary and secondary schools since 2013, long before the NTP existed. 

And, while we certainly saw an increase in demand while funding from the NTP was available, a significant number of our schools are choosing to continue beyond the end of the NTP

Understandably, we’re also speaking to schools who would love to continue with the tutoring but aren’t sure how best to fund it with the NTP ending.

We appreciate how tough this time is for schools, and how many difficult decisions are having to be made to ensure stretched budgets work as hard as possible. 

In this blog we’ll outline why so many of our schools are continuing to provide tutoring after the NTP, and how they’re going to be funding it.

Tutoring works – especially when it’s one to one

According to the EEF, tutoring is one of the best evidenced interventions we have to support disadvantaged pupils’ attainment.

Many schools are choosing to continue with tutoring – funded by Pupil Premium – to ensure these pupils receive the opportunities they need to catch up to their peers.

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For many of our schools, the choice to continue is down to the efficiency of providing personalised one to one maths support for multiple pupils all within the same timeslot:

According to our recent survey of Year 6 teachers and primary SLT, most schools are opting for small group tutoring delivered by school staff this year, but schools who are providing one to one tutoring reported a bigger impact.

97% of teachers using Third Space Learning’s one to one maths tutoring programmes for their Year 6 pupils said the tutoring has been effective at preparing them for SATs.

The EEF agrees here too; reporting one to one tutoring as ‘very effective’ at improving pupil outcomes, with larger positive effects than small group tutoring.

But in this post-NTP world isn’t one to one tutoring too expensive for schools? Not necessarily.

While the average cost of one to one tutoring from NTP providers ranges from £51 per pupil per session for face to face tutoring to £46 for online, there’s a huge range in prices.

For example, support from Third Space Learning – the most affordable one to one tutoring provider – is 56% cheaper than the average, and is £10 cheaper per pupil per session than the next cheapest provider. 

By taking tutoring online and recruiting a global team of STEM specialist tutors, we’ve been able to provide schools with personalised one to one tutoring for the price other providers charge for group sessions – long before and after the NTP. 

And, given the increased positive effects on their pupils’ progress, one to one tutoring is seen by many schools as a cost-effective option – especially if they can implement this through something as affordable as Third Space Learning.

Tutoring frees up staff time

When schools are able to find a cost-effective tutoring provider that works with their budget, the impact is seen well beyond those pupils receiving the support.

We recently heard from one such Deputy Head who commented on how Third Space Learning’s tutoring has helped to increase efficiency in class teachers:

By using an external provider to provide support for those pupils who need personalised learning opportunities, teachers can progress more effectively through the curriculum without having to continuously revisit concepts and help close gaps with certain pupils.

According to a recent survey, teachers who used Third Space Learning tutoring:

  • Found the 2024 maths SATs papers easier than those who hadn’t
  • Thought their pupils were more prepared for the maths SATs 2024 papers
  • Felt more confident that the maths SATs 2024 papers will provide a fair understanding of their pupils’ understanding of maths
  • Were more likely to cover all of the curriculum content before moving on to revision

If you are going for an external provider, look for those that offer additional services that reduce workload or save time. For example, schools using Third Space Learning’s tutoring programmes get access to:

  • Diagnostic and post-programme assessments
  • Tutoring session reports
  • On-demand reports showing progress over time
  • Full library of ready-to-use maths resources and CPD

Many schools don’t have enough subject specialists without their chosen tutors

It’s no secret that teacher recruitment and retention is a big challenge for schools. In fact, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) recently declared it had reached a “critical state”.

Maths is among the most affected subjects, with the BBC recently reporting how, in some schools, PE teachers were retraining in maths to fill school gaps.

According to the NFER’s annual report ‘Teacher Labour Market in England’ for 2024, The government only reached 63% of its target number for new maths teacher trainees this year.

In the DfE’s tutoring guidance, they highlight how ‘tutoring is more likely to be impactful when delivered by a subject specialist able to deploy teaching strategies effectively’, and how remote (online) tutoring can help to open up a wider pool of tutors to be able to bring this expertise into schools.

For many schools, tutoring is a really effective way to bring in subject specialists where they don’t have access themselves.

All Third Space Learning tutors are maths and pedagogy specialists; we recruit STEM graduates and undergraduates who complete a rigorous application process to assess subject knowledge and communication skills.

They then complete an intensive initial tutor training programme to ensure they’re equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to deliver effective and engaging one to one maths lessons.

Schools will still be expected to report on their tutoring provision

The end of the NTP doesn’t mean the end of schools needing to report on how they’re implementing tutoring.

In their recent publication ‘Tutoring: guidance for education settings’, the DfE stated that they will continue to collect tutoring data from schools, with schools asked to report on the number of pupils who have received tutoring.

Ofsted will also continue to consider tutoring as part of their inspections:

  • Ofsted will review and consider information about the use of tutoring in your school among a myriad of other relevant data;
  • Ofsted will evaluate learning from tutoring as part of the wider curriculum;
  • Ofsted will consider how tutoring supports the aims of the school curriculum;
  • Ofsted will integrate the use of tutors into the evaluation of the quality of education and the quality of leadership and management.

Tutoring will now mostly be funded by Pupil Premium

‘How are schools funding their tutoring after the NTP finishes?’ The short answer is through their Pupil Premium.

The DfE ‘strongly encourages’ schools to continue to fund tutoring using Pupil Premium from September 2024, and Pupil Premium is increasing by 1.7% in 2024/25.

This is how most schools funded Third Space Learning between our launch in 2013 and the start of the NTP in 2020. 

One of the added benefits of Third Space Learning is that schools also receive access to our full library of resources and CPD at no additional cost, meaning they can target their spending on specific pupils while still helping to raise attainment across the school.

Prioritising pupils is more important than ever

Given that this academic year the NTP only covers 50% of the cost of tutoring, many schools are choosing to continue their current contribution to tutoring but target half the number of pupils.

For these schools, it’s essential for them to prioritise not only which pupils they feel are most in need of tutoring, but those in which they’re likely to see the most impact.

We asked some of our primary schools which pupils they feel Third Space Learning’s one to one maths tutoring works best for:

Discounts can make a difference

If you’re part of a Multi Academy Trust or school cluster, you may well be able to arrange a discount with your preferred tutoring provider if multiple schools sign up.

At Third Space Learning, 46% of our primary schools and 76% of our secondary schools are part of MATs, with an average of 30% of academies per trust signed up. MAT discounts are available for multi-school sign ups.

We also offer a 13% discount for schools who sign up for 6-terms, and a 21% discount for 9-term bookings.

It’s always worth speaking to other schools in your local area or MAT to see if and how they’re implementing tutoring next year, as their provider may well run a referral scheme.

If you’re looking to sign up for Third Space Learning, we’re always happy to put you in touch with a school in your local area so you can hear directly from them the impact the tutoring has had on their pupils.

If you are referred by or refer a school, we offer a price reduction for both schools – it’s a win-win!

Looking to implement cost-effective one to one tutoring for your pupils in 2024/25?

We’d love to chat with you about how we can close gaps, boost confidence and accelerate progress in your pupils even after the NTP ends.

You can learn more about how it works here or request a personalised quote for your school here.

Already signed up to Third Space Learning tutoring and want to continue next year? Let us know here.

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Every week Third Space Learning’s maths specialist tutors support thousands of students across hundreds of schools with weekly maths tuition designed to plug gaps and boost progress.


Since 2013 these personalised one to one lessons have helped over 150,000 primary and secondary students become more confident, able mathematicians.


Learn about the diagnostic assessment or request a personalised quote for your school to speak to us about your school’s needs and how we can help.


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