National Tutoring Programme

Subsidised online maths tuition now available for schools in England

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A Quick Guide For Schools To The National Tutoring Programme & Catch Up Fund

Following the announcement of the National Tutoring Programme tuition partners, we’ve drawn together a quick summary of the key points about the programme that schools should know, together with information on how Third Space Learning is supporting this initiative. 

In their initial announcement about the National Tutoring Programme, the government promised a £1 billion fund for state-maintained primary and secondary schools to provide catch up tuition following the coronavirus pandemic. The fund is available to all of these institutions in England Wales – approx 25,000 of them.

£650m for schools, £350m for most disadvantaged pupils

The £1bn total funding is broadly separated into two ‘blocks’ – £650 million will be allocated for schools to use as they wish to help pupils catch up on learning missed during school closures in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. 

The remaining £350 million is being used to create the ‘National Tutoring Programme’ (NTP) – a tutoring scheme to provide schools with access to heavily subsidised one-to-one tutoring options to help the most disadvantaged young people catch up to their peers.

The NTP is targeted to reach pupils eligible for Pupil Premium funding, but schools will be able to ‘exercise their professional judgement to determine which pupils are in most need of support’.

Since 2013, Third Space Learning has worked with 2,000+ primary schools to help close the maths attainment gap through online tuition in maths from specialist tutors. Helping disadvantaged pupils in particular has always been a big part of what we do, so we’re delighted to hear that the government is making it a priority to support these pupils.

The NTP consists of two ‘pillars’:

  • NTP Partners: through NTP Partners, schools can access heavily subsidised tutoring from an approved list of tuition partners. These organisations – which will all be subject to quality, safeguarding and evaluation standards – are being given support and funding to reach as many disadvantaged pupils as possible.
  • NTP Coaches: through NTP Coaches, trained graduates can be employed by schools in the most disadvantaged areas to provide intensive catch-up support to their pupils, allowing teachers in these schools to focus on their classrooms.

How have the NTP Partners been chosen?

The National Tutoring Programme initially stated that Tuition Partners ‘might be existing tutoring providers that have experience of working with schools or other organisations, such as charities, local authorities or universities who are able to design a new programme to meet the NTP standards.’

All 32 Tuition Partners have now been chosen and have been drawn from a mix of charities, social enterprises and some newly formed organisations allied to various education businesses.

Third Space Learning has been selected as one of the 32 National Tutoring Programme Tuition Partners and is now offering highly subsidised online maths tuition to state primary and secondary school pupils. Following the return to remote schooling for some schools in January 2021, the National Tutoring Programme have also approved Third Space Learning to deliver online tuition at home. Find out more about how your pupils can benefit from our online tutoring and resources here: National Tutoring Programme.

Eligibility Criteria for National Tutoring Programme Tuition Partners:

  • Tuition should be for ages 5 – 16
  • All tutors must be DBS checked or equivalent (for international tutors)
  • All tutors must receive training on how to deliver tutoring from the tutoring organisation, as well as safeguarding training
  • Organisations must have experience of working with schools.
  • Organisations must commit to reaching at least 500 pupils over the year of delivery.
  • Organisations must be willing to participate in the NTP Tuition Partners evaluation

Quality Criteria for National Tutoring Programme Tuition Partners::

  • Experience of working with schools
  • Tutor recruitment and qualifications
  • Tutor training
  • The systems and processes for school and pupil communication
  • Experience of working with disadvantaged pupils
  • Monitoring delivery
  • Quality assurance and tracking progress
  • Evidence of impact
  • Reach and value for money

What does the funding mean on a pupil-by-pupil level?

The £650m additional funding breaks down to around £80 per pupil, according to research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS). This is an approximate rise of 1% from current funding.

The £350m National Tutoring Programme is intended for use by schools to provide one-to-one tutoring for disadvantaged pupils by established, approved providers. Schools can choose either online tutoring or face to face tutoring.

The funding will subsidise 75% of the cost of tutoring, with the remaining 25% to be made up by the school using existing funds such as pupil premium, or it can be taken from the £650m in additional funding they will also receive.

Click here to receive a per pupil quote for Third Space Learning’s online one-to-one catch up tuition.

What can the funding be used for?

Schools minister Nick Gibb stated that the £650m can be used as schools see fit, and will be given to schools in the 2020/2021 academic year.

He confirmed that school leaders could begin allocating the funding from the date the fund was announced (summer term 2020), but stressed that schools should look at catch-up plans and one-to-one or small group tuition spanning the full academic year, not just the autumn term.

When did the National Tutoring Programme start?

Tuition Partners were announced on 1st November and tuition is now being delivered in schools across the country. The announcement of partners was made on the new NTP website.

Before this announcement, we already had thousands of pupils booked in for support this year. Since the announcement of Third Space Learning, we have received lots of calls from schools and places are in great demand due to our ability to provide high quality tuition to schools across the country. To guarantee your pupils a chance of our tried and tested maths tuition from trained primary maths tutors, book a call here to find out more.

FAQs about the National Tutoring Programme

What is the National Tutoring Programme?

The National Tutoring Programme is an initiative from the government’s Department for Education to provide funding to primary schools and secondary schools in England that contributes to their purchasing one to one or group tuition for pupils.

Why was the National Tutoring Programme set up?

The National Tutoring Programme was set up to mitigate the impact of school closures during the national lockdown of Spring and Summer 2020 during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Who is behind the National Tutoring Programme?

The organisation is funded by the DfE and managed by The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), the Sutton Trust, Impetus, Nesta and Teach First. The tuition is being delivered by 32 tuition partners.

How much will the tutoring in schools cost?

The cost of tutoring in your school using the National Tutoring Programme depends on which tuition partner you choose. The total cost for a 15-hour block of Third Space Learning maths tuition is £275; with the National Tutoring Programme subsidy this now comes to £68.75. Other providers are free to set their own rates depending on whether they are offering one to one or small group tutoring.

How can schools apply for the National Tutoring Programme funding?

Schools apply via the Tuition Partners. Third Space Learning is one of these partners and, we estimate, the largest and most experienced for maths tutoring in primary schools.

What does the evidence say about one-to-one tutoring?

There is extensive evidence that tuition is the intervention that makes the greatest impact in closing the attainment gap.

EEF states that tuition is “the catch-up approach supported by the strongest evidence”. 

One-to-one maths lessons achieve up to 5 months’ additional progress in randomised control trials at primary and secondary level. 

At Third Space we  have been developing, refining, and expanding the delivery of our one-to-one maths lessons at Key Stage 2 for more than 5 years, and are now starting the progression into KS3 maths interventions. 

“One-to-one tutoring is one of the few education approaches we know works consistently, helping children to catch-up. Of course, the biggest impacts come when it is delivered by trained teachers, but it also can work when delivered through effective charity programmes using undergraduate students.

The beauty of one-to-one is that it is a relatively simple intervention, so it can be scaled up to work in many schools.”

Lee Elliot Major, Former Director of The Sutton Trust, now professor of social mobility at the University of Exeter

Cost of in school tutoring With Third Space Learning

While the cost for tuition varies greatly, the standard price is between £30-50 an hour, meaning that even with the 75% subsidy, schools will be expected to pay between £7.50-12.50 an hour for tuition.

With Third Space Learning, as we have always aimed for maximum affordabily, tutoring for schools works out at closer to £4 an hour with the subsidy.

By taking tuition online and delivering it at scale to thousands of pupils each week, we have been able to develop a tutoring programme that is significantly cheaper than most other alternatives.

Online tuition has always been just as effective and more affordable than face to face tuition. With the additional funding from the government, Third Space Learning is now even more affordable:

As an example, purchasing weekly online 1-to-1 lessons from Third Space Learning for 20 of your pupils each term (60 pupils total across the academic year) over the next academic year would now come to just £2,985 for the whole year. That works out to £4.14 per hour of expert tuition, and includes diagnostic assessment and reporting. You can request a personalised quote based on the number of pupils you are looking to support here.

Other benefits of using Third Space Learning as your tuition provider

  1. Efficiency. We are able to provide tuition to up to 15 pupils simultaneously, provided they have access to a laptop and headset (which we provide). This means you can intervene with 3x as many pupils, and do it all within a single hour of the school day as opposed to creating disruption by pulling children in and out of class throughout the week for their tutoring sessions.
  2. Access to hundreds of maths resources is included. While you will want to target your catch up tuition funding to those in greatest need, we know that many other pupils across years 1 to 6 will need additional support. Schools using the 1-to-1 intervention receive full access to all the resources in the Third Space Maths Hub at no additional cost, helping to transform maths attainment across your whole school.
  3. Effectiveness. We have a proven track record having worked with over 60,000 primary school pupils, the majority from disadvantaged backgrounds and in receipt of pupil premium, to boost their maths attainment levels, develop their reasoning and build their confidence in maths.

“We decided to use Third Space Learning because it was 1-to-1 and all the tutors were maths specialists. It’s a great way to use our Pupil Premium allowance.

Since we first started 4 years ago, pupils on the programme have shown greater confidence, improved results, and even greater clarity and understanding for some of the trickier maths concepts.”

Catherine Prole, Deputy Headteacher, St Michael’s Primary School, Trafford.

Find out more about St Michael’s Primary School experience with Third Space Learning.

Why Third Space Learning was chosen to be a National Tutoring Programme Tuition Partner

As part of our application, we have had to demonstrate to the NTP how our online maths tuition programmes meet the highest standards of quality.

All of our tutors are maths specialists and are fully background-checked before joining us. They then receive 135 hours of initial training before their first session, followed by regular ongoing training and CPD.

Training covers general areas such as safeguarding and how to deliver effective online tuition, as well as maths-specific training including spotting misconceptions, developing mathematical language and preparing for SATs.

As the UK’s leading online maths tutoring company, we’ve been working with 7 to 11 year olds in schools across the country since 2013. In fact, since we began we’ve provided online maths tuition to over 66,000 pupils across 2,300+ schools.

The majority of our schools use our programmes as a way to effectively allocate their Pupil Premium funding, which means we have 7 years’ experience of successfully working directly with schools to close the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils through high quality tutoring. 

All of our tuition sessions are monitored and recorded and our support team is on hand for any issues or concerns that may arise during a session. Regular session observations from our Tutor Training Team help to ensure every session from every tutor is of the highest possible standard. 

Pupil and school communication is something that’s really important to us. Our team (made up of former teachers and teaching experts) regularly engage teacher and pupil feedback and use this to ensure the support we offer is as valuable as possible. Throughout our time working with schools, we pride ourselves on clear and relevant communication, ensuring schools have the information they need and that appropriate systems are in place to support each child.

By taking maths interventions online, we’ve been able to provide personalised one to one support to thousands of schools and pupils at scale. This means we’re well placed to deliver an effective tutoring programme that reaches a large number of pupils across the UK. What’s more, online tuition from Third Space Learning works out at 50% cheaper than running one to one interventions with existing school staff – even without a 75% government subsidy.

NB Third Space Learning only provides maths tuition to primary schools at present – there is no English programme. We are in the process of introducing a GCSE maths programme for secondary schools, but are not yet able to offer A Level maths support. If you are interested in hearing more about our secondary programmes, please sign up on the KS3 maths intervention page.

What you can expect from Third Space Learning’s catch up tuition

  • Initial diagnostic assessment to help identify individual knowledge gaps and establish baseline knowledge
  • Lessons are chosen to plug individual pupil gaps and tutors personalise the pitch and pace to suit, helping to ensure each pupil receives the personalised support they need to catch up. 
  • Maths specialist tutors, each of whom receives 135 hours of initial training and ongoing CPD each year.
  • Proven evidence of rapidly increased maths attainment with the most disadvantaged children, with over 35,000 children in receipt of pupil premium taught so far
  • Up to 15 pupils can have a 1-to-1 lesson within the same one hour time slot
  • All lessons are recorded for safeguarding and training purposes
  • Flexible online lessons that take place from school, or from home during periods of school closures
  • Weekly and termly reports to understand where your pupils are successfully catching up and where they might need more help.
  • Full access to all maths resources and video CPD from the Third Space Maths Hub to help raise maths attainment across the school

Taking the next step

We know that ‘catching up’ might not be the first thing on many teachers’ and school leaders’ minds as they settle back in to school life. Reintegrating children into school life, dealing with social and emotional issues, and ensuring they feel safe in their new post-pandemic environment are all challenges that we know that the education sector will rise to brilliantly as it always does.

You also know the majority of your new cohort already so you’ll have a fair idea of where their gaps in maths are likely to be.

This National Tutoring Programme is not going to be the answer to all the complex needs in your school.

However, additional (subsidised) support from trained tutors to provide the intensive gap filling work for those most in need will give you and your staff the time and focus to concentrate on returning your school to the productive, happy environment it can be again.

Third Space Learning exists to help narrow the attainment gap in maths, so we’d be delighted to be part of your solution.

If you’re looking at catch up tuition to support your pupils this academic year, we can provide you with a personalised quote within 24 hours and often within an hour.

Our online tuition for maths programme provides every child with their own professional one to one maths tutor

Anantha Anilkumar
Anantha Anilkumar
Content Editor
As a member of the content team at Third Space Learning, Anantha helps to ensure that teachers everywhere can enjoy the blogs and resources created by the team. Before coming to TSL, Anantha worked as a teacher and a marketing analyst.