Complete Guide To School Led Tutoring & How To Make The Most Of The School Led Tutoring Grant (2022)

School led tutoring is one of the three pillars of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) this year and from September 2022 it will be schools’ only route to receiving subsidised tuition.

Here we provide a straightforward guide to what school led tutoring means and how you can take advantage of the School Led Tutoring Grant, as well as some simple steps to ensure that it’s a success in your school.

We’ll continue to update this article as further changes are announced particularly regarding the school led tutoring grant for 2022/23 and any increased catch-up funding.

What is School Led Tutoring?

School led tutoring is the process of managing and overseeing tutoring for children in schools. Access to school led tutoring is determined by the school rather than by parents paying for private tutoring for their children in their home or in tuition centres.

School led tutoring is at its core what Third Space Learning has been providing to schools in the UK since 2013.

School Led Tutoring (or ‘in-school tuition’), as opposed to tutoring managed by a child’s parent or carer, has always been a uniquely effective method of tutoring. This is because it puts teachers and school leaders (the experts on any child’s learning gaps) at the heart of the process.

School led tutoring and the National Tutoring Programme

The term ‘School Led Tutoring’ (as introduced by the Department for Education in 2021) refers specifically to one of three current pillars of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), whereby eligible schools in England automatically receive additional funding to spend on tuition.

The National Tutoring Programme is a government initiative launched in 2020 to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on the pupils whose learning has been most affected.

Until the end of summer term 2022, the three pillars are:

  • School Led Tutoring: Ring-fenced funding given directly to schools to spend on tuition as they see fit.
  • Academic Mentors: Additional school staff, whose salary is subsidised by the government, placed in school to deliver small group tutoring sessions.
  • Tuition Partners: Subsidised tuition available to schools from a select list of Department for Education (DfE) approved providers, including Third Space Learning.

From September 2022, all funding will go directly to schools as part of an increased School Led Funding grant. This change is to give schools even more flexibility to allocate their ring-fenced tutoring budget how they see fit.

Schools are able to – and encouraged if these best fit their needs – to use School Led Tutoring Grant on accredited Tuition Partners recommended by the NTP and DfE.

“To ensure a smooth transition to the new approach, we have confirmed already that all 56 Tuition Partners involved in the programme at the end of the 2021/22 academic year will retain this status from September 2022.”

Graham Archer, DfE Director for Qualifications, Curriculum and Extra-Curricular, April 2022

Third Space Learning has continued as a recommended tuition partner in each of the two years of the National Tutoring Programme which is why we’re sharing some of our expertise and knowledge in this article.

Third Space Schools Next Term E1589989662478, Third Space Learning

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Why choose School Led Tutoring?

One to one tuition organised through school has been evaluated by the Education Endowment Foundation as having a high impact (+5 months) so it’s not suprising it’s a popular choice by headteachers and school leaders. However the drawback has always been that the costs for one to one tuition are relatively high too.

Since 2013, Third Space Learning has worked with over 3,000 primary and secondary schools across the UK to provide affordable online maths tuition to pupils from early primary to GCSE level. And we’ve seen first-hand the impact it can have on raising attainment in maths

  • In an independent trial, pupils receiving one-to-one maths tuition from Third Space Learning made 7 months’ progress in 14 weeks.
  • After each session, 90% of all pupils show a solid understanding of the concept they’ve been learning.
  • 30% of these are able to successfully complete greater depth tasks on that topic after the session.
  • Of pupils who report low confidence, 70% say their confidence has improved after just one session with their tutor.

Read more: Impact of Online Maths Tuition

How is School Led Tutoring funded? 

School led tutoring funding comes from the school led tutoring grant which is ring-fenced specifically for tutoring and is paid directly to the school from the Department for Education. The school then pays the tuition provider as normal.

It’s a great way for schools to support students who need intervention and is designed to give schools as much flexibility as possible to decide which pupils need tuition and how it should be delivered.

What is the School Led Tutoring Grant

The school led tutoring grant is the budget allocated by the Department for Education to deliver school led tutoring in England.

All eligible state-funded schools are given a ring-fenced grant to fund tutoring provision for disadvantaged pupils.

Which schools are eligible for the School Led Tutoring Grant?

All state-funded primary, middle and secondary schools and academy trusts in England with pupils in Year 1 to Year 11 who are eligible for pupil premium will receive School Led Grant Funding.

This includes:

  • Primary, secondary and all through local authority-maintained schools, academies and free schools;
  • Local authority-maintained special schools;
  • Special academies and free schools;
  • Special schools not maintained by a local authority, including independent special schools, where the placement is funded by the local authority;
  • Pupil referral units;
  • Alternative provision academies and free schools;
  • Local authority-maintained hospital schools and academies.

How is the School Led Tutoring Grant calculated?

In 2022/23, each eligible state school will receive funding based on the number of pupil premium funding pupils it has in Year 1 to Year 11.

Funding allocations will be calculated as follows:

  • 15 hours per pupil: The government is providing the funding to cover 15 hours of tuition for each of the pupils chosen to receive tuition.
  • £10.80 per hour: The grant has been calculated to cover 60% of the cost of tuition, which has been assumed at £18 per hour. This assumption represents the average costs across one-to-one, one-to-two and small group tuition. Schools are expected to use alternative budget – such as pupil premium or recovery premium – to fund the remaining costs not covered by the School Led Tutoring Fund.

As such, each eligible pupil is due to receive £162 to cover 15 hours of tuition for 2022/23.

It has not yet been announced if schools will receive £162 for each of their pupil premium pupils, or for a specified percent.

As further information becomes available on gov.uk we will update this article.

Built in flexibility for schools allocating their School Led Tutoring Grant

Schools have the flexibility to manage their own school tutoring grant allocation. They can pay above or below the assumed cost of £18 per hour or provide a pupil with more or less than 15 hours.

However, if they do not use the full allocation of hours, or find tuition for less than £18 per hour, they may be expected to repay any unspent grant monies.

Please note, the £18/hour is simply a way to calculate the funding each school will receive, and schools have flexibility as follows:

  • They can use this funding to support any pupil, regardless of pupil premium eligibility.
  • They will only have to report on the total number of pupils, the total number of hours and the total amount spent on tutoring, rather than on a pupil-by-pupil or provider-by-provider basis.

While the funding is allocated based on pupil premium, schools are free to use the School Led Tutoring Grant to support any pupil, regardless of pupil premium eligibility.

If schools decide not to use the School Led Tutoring Grant allocated to them, they cannot use it for other interventions and the ESFA will recover the full amount back as an overpayment.

Changes to the School Led Tutoring Grant

It’s worth noting that the allocations for 2022/23 are slightly different from the school led tutoring grant in 2021/22.

  • During 2012/22, the fund is allocated to cover £13.50 (75%) of the assumed £18 per hour cost and only allocated for 60% of pupil premium pupils (rising to 76% in the summer term), with the Tuition Partner pillar expected to support the remaining 40%.
  • In 2023/24, the DfE will provide funding to cover 25% of the cost of the assumed £18 per hour of tuition.

Even before the introduction of the National Tutoring Programme, Third Space Learning has been able to bring one to one maths tuition to schools at a price that works for their budgets. Our global tutor community enables your pupils to receive hyper-personalised one to one tuition for the price many other providers charge for small group rather than the more effective one to one sessions.

What can schools spend the School Led Tutoring Grant on?

The School Led Tutoring Grant must be spent on tutoring, but other than that there are no conditions of grant. This means schools have complete flexibility on how that tutoring will be delivered and by who. 

Schools can use:

  • their internal staff including teaching assistants,
  • accredited Tuition Partners (such as Third Space Learning),
  • other national tutoring organisations,
  • local tutoring provision.

For schools that choose to use their own school staff, any staff members delivering tuition who do not hold qualified teacher status will need to complete a free online training course provided by the NTP.

Schools can also choose between one-to-one tuition or small group tuition, and can choose the subjects they think their pupils will benefit from.

The grant is designed to help close the education gap between disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils and their peers; these are the pupils who research suggests have been most negatively impacted by the pandemic. Schools are expected to prioritise these pupils for tutoring, but have the flexibility to decide which pupils are most in need.

How are schools funding Third Space Learning this academic year?

Learn more about the funding options available for your school in 2021/22.

Downloadable SLT Guide for primary schools
Downloadable SLT Guide for secondary schools

Which subjects can schools focus their School Led Tutoring on?

The choice is up to the school according to the needs of their pupils. The DfE does however have some recommendations.

There has been a significant learning loss in English and maths at primary level. Therefore, the DfE strongly encourages primary schools in particular to prioritise pupils who have fallen behind in these subjects. 

Recent research from the Centre for Education suggests that the link between KS2 and KS4 performance is stronger in maths than in other subjects, which again suggests that primary schools may benefit from focusing on maths tuition.

Read more: Exploring The Maths Attainment Gap In The UK

At secondary level, schools are encouraged to deliver tutoring in English, maths, sciences, humanities and modern foreign languages.

Reporting and accountability for the School Led Tutoring Grant

We understand that data collection can create an additional administrative burden for schools. The DfE has tried to limit this to only proportional and reasonable data needed to measure the impact of the NTP.

There are two mandatory data collections that schools must complete during the academic year.

School census

Schools will be required to identify pupils in receipt of School Led Tutoring in their census return, as well as the cumulative number of hours of tuition delivered to each pupil.

Year-end statement

The year-end statement will ask schools to submit:

  • The total amount spent on tutoring;
  • The total number of pupils supported;
  • The total number of hours of tuition delivered.

This form is expected to go live in June 2022. All schools will be required to complete this form by the end of July 2022, even if they have chosen not to use the School Led Tutoring Grant.

DFE guidance on getting school led tutoring right

According to DfE guidance, when implementing tutoring, schools should consider the following characteristics associated with positive teaching outcomes.

  • Tuition is most beneficial when it is explicitly linked to classroom teaching and pupils’ specific needs.
  • High quality and individualised feedback are essential to a pupil’s progress.
  • Regular assessment and monitoring will ensure pupils remain on track and identify areas of focus.
  • Short, regular and sustained tutoring sessions tend to have the greatest impact.
  • Smaller group sizes or 1 to 1 lead to better outcomes for pupils.
  • Tutoring is most effective when planned well, supported by teaching resources and has clear objectives for the course of delivery.
  • Engagement can be increased by building good relationships between tutors, pupils and families.
  • Tuition is most effective when staff are trained and supported.

Whatever type of tutoring provision you choose to implement in your school – whether it’s small group, one-to-one, delivered by internal staff, NTP Tuition Partners (such as Third Space Learning) or other tutoring organisations – it’s essential that your tutor of choice embodies as many of these characteristics as possible.

Not all tutoring options will tick all the boxes, and some might tick all the boxes but require more or less work from school staff than others. It’s important to do your research to see how each option stacks up for your school’s needs.

How Third Space Learning aims to deliver excellent school led tutoring outcomes

As a DfE accredited Tuition Partner, Third Space Learning has undergone a rigorous application and quality-assurance process, meaning schools can be confident that our tuition programmes can meet these criteria and give pupils the vital support that’s both highly effective and fits with the needs of your school.

At Third Space Learning, all pupils start with an initial diagnostic assessment to identify individual gaps and misconceptions. Mini-assessments after each session help to continuously update this picture of each pupil as they progress through the programme. 

Third Space Learning Mission Zero question for primary pupil
Example question from Third Space Learning’s initial diagnostic assessment

Each diagnosable gap is linked to an individual Learning Objective, meaning we can hone in on specific gaps and choose the exact tuition lesson that’s going to plug these.

Schools can choose for Learning Objectives to be automatically selected each week to plug these gaps, or to manually select Learning Objectives for each pupil each week. Where they choose the former, they’re free to skip lessons or amend the order at any time.

feedback tutoring quote

Because all of our tuition is one to one, we can ensure feedback to the pupil happens in real-time during the session. Tutors guide pupils through each question, providing feedback and praising pupils as they go. Tutors praise pupils for things like effort, perseverance, and their explanations, not just for finding the correct answer.

tutoring quote

By taking tuition online, we’ve also been able to build a comprehensive teacher platform that enables teachers to log in at a time that suits them to quickly and easily see tutor feedback.

Third Space Learning session report for primary pupil
Example of a session report on Third Space Learning’s teacher platform

Reports also show topics covered and progress made in each session and how gaps are being plugged over the course of the programme. Many of our schools tell us how helpful this is to inform their own classroom teaching.

quote about tuition

Each Third Space Learning session is one hour long. Most schools opt for one session a week per pupil, but we can arrange for multiple sessions a week if that’s preferred. Particularly in the lead up to exams, we often see schools ‘double up’ their sessions to ensure pupils can make the most of our dedicated SATs revision and GCSE maths tuition programmes.

Each of the lessons in our curriculum is developed by teachers and pedagogy experts, and all follow an ‘I do, we do, you do’ approach to guide pupils through their learning. Scaffolded teaching slides ensure pupils get the support they need to solidify their understanding and plug their gaps. 

school quote on third space learning tutoring

As part of their intensive initial training programme (and the subsequent CPD on offer), tutors receive specific training on building rapport with their pupils and boosting engagement and confidence. 

quote on student tutor dynamics

In addition to the tuition, schools receive access to our full library of teaching resources and CPD at no additional cost on the Third Space Learning Maths Hub, helping them to raise attainment across the school.

7 practical steps to ensure your school led tutoring is a success

However you choose to spend your School Led Tutoring funding (whether that’s on internal staff or a DfE accredited provider like Third Space Learning), there are some fundamental best practices and pitfalls to bear in mind, particularly with regard to the practicalities of organising it. 

  1. Try to get multiple students tutored at the same time. This could be through several one-to-one tutors or running concurrent small group sessions; the more students you can teach at once, the less disruption there will be. 

We are often tutoring 15 pupils from the same school in one room. Due to the nature of our online maths tuition being one-to-one, each child can work with their own tutor without disturbing the rest of the class, using headphones and a shared screen.

  1. Consider timetabling. You’ll want to make sure that tuition fits into the school day seamlessly with minimal disruption. You also need to ensure that pupils aren’t receiving a tuition session at the expense of another lesson that you’d rather they not miss.

At Third Space Learning, schools are free to choose when works best for them for their sessions. Our sessions run before, during and after school. 

  1. Know what you’re going to teach and where to find your intervention materials. The DfE has made it clear that tuition content needs to be carefully thought out and aligned with the needs of each pupil. This means you’ll need to have a bank of materials ready to use in your tuition session, depending on which topic is being taught. 

We’ve developed an extensive curriculum of tuition lessons, each linking to a specific Learning Objective. Each of these is readily downloadable by the pupils’ teacher(s), meaning that school staff are free to use these in any additional intervention groups. 

  1. Make sure the tutor is trained on recent teaching methods. Anyone delivering tuition in your school needs to be clued up on the methods pupils are familiar with, and the approaches your teachers are using in classrooms today. It’s essential that you enquire as to the training any potential tutor has completed, and how well this has equipped them for tutoring your pupils.

All Third Space Learning tutors complete an intensive tutor training programme before delivering their first session and receive ongoing CPD throughout their careers. This training course has been developed by experienced UK teachers in partnership with researchers from the University of London. Training is updated regularly to reflect current teaching best practices and preferred methods.

  1. One size does not fit all. It’s essential that your chosen tuition provider can personalise learning to the needs of each pupil. Gaps vary widely across the class and, particularly in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, each pupil will require slightly different support. 

That’s why Third Space Learning places so much emphasis on diagnostic assessment and building a tuition programme that enables us to match content with each pupil’s individual needs.

  1. Consider each tutor’s subject specialism. If you’re opting for a particular pupil to receive tuition in a particular subject, you want to make sure that the tutor in question is a specialist in that area. 

All Third Space Learning tutors are graduates and undergraduates in maths, STEM and maths-related (e.g. accounting) subjects. By focusing only on maths tuition, we attract tutors with a high skill level and genuine passion for the subject. 

  1. Safeguarding. Of course, you need to be sure that you have the utmost confidence in anyone tutoring your pupils. The safety and security of your pupils should be at the centre of any tuition implemented.

All Third Space Learning sessions are monitored for safeguarding purposes. Tutors receive specific safeguarding training as part of their intensive training course.

School led tutoring in action: stories from primary schools, secondary schools and multi-academy trusts

“In school maths tuition from Third Space Learning is exactly what our pupils need. It’s enabled us to give them the support at the level that’s right for them and it’s been really good for plugging gaps. It’s brilliant!” 

St Augustine Primary Academy, Bedfordshire

Read the full story

“Feedback about the tuition programme from the whole of SLT has been fantastic. The Head of Mathematics popped into a session and was blown away by what he saw.”

Holte Secondary School, Birmingham

Read the full story

“It’s impressive in terms of the way the children speak about maths, but also to each other and to the teachers. There is a positive relationship between tutors and pupils – something we have worked relentlessly on for some time.”

Extol Academy Trust

Read the full story


Further reading

Other School Led Tutoring FAQs

Do schools need to apply for the School Led Tutoring Grant?

There is no requirement for schools to apply for this funding. The grant will be paid through ESFA as part of the DfE’s scheduled payments to schools.

When will schools receive payment?

For maintained schools, payments will be sent to local authorities on the last working day of each month in: 

– April 2022  

For academies, payments will be made in: 

– January 2022  
– May 2022  

What’s the difference between School Led Funding and tutoring through NTP Tuition Partners?

Tuition Partners refers to the specific DfE accredited tuition providers, including Third Space Learning. These are currently available with a 70% subsidy as part of the NTP, with the school only invoiced for 30% and the government covering the rest of the costs.

From the start of the 2022-23 academic year, all tuition funding will be arranged via the School Led Tutoring Grant. Tuition will still be available from DfE accredited Tuition Partners, but schools will be invoiced the standard price and be able to use the School Led Tutoring Grant to cover this, rather than receive a subsidised invoice.

Is the School Led Tutoring Grant increasing for the summer term in 2021/22?

Yes, the final tranche of funding for the 2021/22 academic year will increase to cover 76% of pupils, up from 60% of pupils.

Is this funding exclusively for pupils eligible for pupil premium?

No. Although the grant has previously been calculated to cover a % of pupil premium children within the school, this is just a way of allocating funding per school. Teachers are free to use their own discretion to decide which pupils need additional tuition.

What funding is available to cover costs not covered by the School Led Tutoring Grant?

Schools can use any funding stream they wish to cover the remaining cost. This might come from pupil premium funding or their recovery Premium. The DfE have announced an additional £1 billion of funding to extend the recovery premium over the next two academic years (2022 to 2023 and 2023 to 2024) with more details to follow soon.

Do schools have to spend the School Led Tutoring Grant?

Yes, any money unspent or not spent on tutoring will be recovered at the end of the academic year.

Can schools use more than one provider at the same time?

Yes, pupils are able to receive tuition from more than one provider at a time. This is particularly useful if you would like pupils to receive support in more than one subject. Similarly, there is no limit to the number of providers that a school can work with at once.

Will all School Led Tutoring providers charge the same price?

No, it’s up to the tutoring provider how much they charge. The DfE has assumed an average cost of £18 per hour (blended across one to one and small group tuition) and as such will fund 60% of the cost of tuition up to this price. Schools are free to spend above or below this assumed average; where schools spend less than £18 per hour the DfE will still only cover 60% of the cost, where schools spend more they will need to cover more than 60% out of their own budgets (e.g. pupil premium or recovery premium).

Because all Third Space Learning tuition is delivered online via our global tutor community, we’ve been able to provide one to one tuition for the price many other providers charge for small group sessions.

Can schools use the School Led Tutoring Grant on tuition from Third Space Learning?

Yes! Schools can use the School Led Tutoring Grant on tuition as they see fit, including from DfE accredited Tuition Partners such as Third Space Learning.

How will Third Space Learning support data collection?

In our termly reports, you will be able to see the number of sessions that each pupil has received, as well as the topics covered. This should make it quick and easy to collect the necessary information for the mandatory data submissions.

Do you have pupils who need extra support in maths?
Every week Third Space Learning’s maths specialist tutors support thousands of pupils across hundreds of schools with weekly online 1-to-1 lessons and maths interventions designed to plug gaps and boost progress.

Since 2013 we’ve helped over 110,000 primary and secondary school pupils become more confident, able mathematicians. Learn more or request a personalised quote for your school to speak to us about your school’s needs and how we can help.

One-to-one tuition from professional maths tutors focused on the needs of each child.
Lottie Bates
Lottie Bates
Third Space Learning
Content Team
As a member of the content team, Lottie makes sure that the amazing blogs and resources on offer from Third Space Learning arrive safely in your inbox every week!
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Downloadable resource

Want to learn more about how schools are funding Third Space Learning?

Let us know how many pupils you're looking to support and we'll be in touch with a personalised quote and more information about the different funding options available for your school.

Find out more!

Want to learn more about how schools are funding Third Space Learning?

Downloadable resource

Let us know how many pupils you're looking to support and we'll be in touch with a personalised quote and more information about the different funding options available for your school.

Find out more!