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How To Get One To One Tuition For Less Than £6 Per Hour: Catch Up Funding Options Explained

As part of their catch up funding and Education Recovery Plan, the Department for Education has introduced a number of different initiatives to help schools implement and fund in-school interventions, especially tuition. This article outlines the different tuition funds available, as well as additional catch-up funding that can be used to mitigate the impacts of school closures through tuition. 

Research from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) suggests that school closures and the disrupted learning of the last few academic years have had a significant impact on pupils’ attainment.

Overall, pupils have made less progress than in previous years, and the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has widened. Many studies show an increased learning loss in maths when compared to other subjects.

Now, with schools hoping for a less turbulent academic year and pupils back in the classroom, teachers and senior leaders are looking for ways to provide these pupils with the support they need to catch up, and mitigate the impact of the last few years.

Why the emphasis on tuition?

Research from the EEF also suggests that tutoring is one of the most effective ways to raise attainment. Evidence indicates that the best way to make sure this tutoring is effective, targeted and aligned with classroom learning is to ensure the tuition is led by the school.

This tutoring might be in small groups or on a one to one basis, depending on the needs of the schools and pupils. One to one tutoring, in particular, delivers approximately five additional months’ progress on average.

Traditionally however tutoring has been seen as expensive for schools, and limited school budgets have meant it’s not always something that schools have been able to prioritise.

This is where Third Space Learning’s model of affordable tuition focused on individual pupils’ gaps has proved extremely cost effective for thousands of schools and over 100,000 UK pupils over the past 5 years. If you’re new to how this works, take a look at the KS2 maths interventions and secondary school interventions on offer .

What are your options for catch up funding?

Learn more about the funding options available for your school:

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

Since the Covid 19 pandemic the DfE has introduced several additional funding options to help make tutoring more affordable and accessible for schools across the country.

Amid all the announcements it can be difficult to understand what these options are, how you can apply and what they’ll actually mean to you. Here we break down the different routes schools have to receive subsidised tuition and other targeted Covid-19 catch up support to help school leaders best allocate their budget, staffing and interventions over the next academic year.

A Third Space Learning session taking place in a primary school.

1. The National Tutoring Programme Tuition Partners

The National Tutoring Programme is a government funded, sector-led initiative designed to support schools to address the impact of coronavirus on pupils’ progress and attainment.

Through the programme, schools can access heavily subsidised tuition from an approved list of Tuition Partners. These Partners have all been through a rigorous application process assessing their efficacy and impact as well as their tutor recruitment and training processes and safeguarding policies.

The NTP was first introduced in the 2020/21 academic year and is continuing in 2021/22. This year, the programme will subsidise 70% of the cost of tuition. 

Last year, 33 Tuition Partners reached over 250,000 pupils across the country. More than 14,000 of these pupils received subsidised online one to one maths tuition from Third Space Learning.

Third Space Learning has once again been selected as an approved Tuition Partner; thousands of schools have already signed up for .

Read more: How funding from the NTP helped Morland Primary to raise attainment

What it means for your budget

A school looking to use Third Space Learning’s online one to one maths tuition to support their target groups this year will only pay £5.50 per pupil per session, with the NTP subsidising the remaining £12.83.

Schools using Third Space Learning will also receive full access to all the resources in the Third Space Maths Hub, helping them to raise attainment across the school, not just for those pupils signed up to the tuition.

“There are a couple of reasons that I recommend Third Space Learning. The resources on the Maths Hub are great, the one to one sessions are really good and the children enjoy them, and the progress the children are making is fantastic.”


Daniel Nelson, Headteacher, Choppington Primary School, Northumberland

What you should know about the NTP

  • Tuition Partners cover a range of different subject areas, although it is expected that most tutoring will be in English and maths.
  • Partners also cover face to face and online tuition, as well as small-group and one to one.
  • Schools can choose which pupils they would like to support, although it a minimum of 65% of pupils must be eligible for Pupil Premium.
  • Schools must register on the central NTP platform.

Find out how to get subsidised online maths tuition from Third Space Learning.

Read more: A Quick Guide To The National Tutoring Programme.

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.

2. School-Led Tutoring Grant (New)

To complement the National Tutoring Programme and to give schools greater control over their spending, The Department for Education is providing ‘ring-fenced grant funding directly to schools to support provision of school-led tutoring’. This funding is new for the 2021/22 academic year.

Schools can spend this grant funding on whatever tuition they feel is best for their school, and are not limited to an approved list of providers or approaches. The amount of funding schools will receive is proportionate to the number of pupils who are eligible for Pupil Premium funding, and has been calculated based on the average cost of tuition for schools.

What it means for your budget

Schools will receive £203 for 60% of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium, but the fund can be used to support all Pupil Premium children, as well as pupils who are not eligible. It has been worked out this way on the assumption that the National Tutoring Programme will reach 40% of Pupil Premium pupils across the country, with this School-Led Grant Funding then providing sufficient funding to reach the remaining 60%.

To help contextualise this funding, that works out at £121.88 per Pupil Premium pupil. However, this is just a way of calculating the amount of funding each school will receive, and schools are free to use their judgement to decide which pupils they should support. This is not limited to Pupil Premium pupils.

As an example, a school with 100 pupils eligible for Pupil Premium would receive £203 per pupil for 60 of those pupils, totalling £12,180 (or £121.88 per pupil).

This school could sign up for Third Space Learning at the standard price of £220 per pupil per term (12 weeks), and use the School-Led Tutoring Grant to cover £121.88 of this cost. This would bring the cost to the school down to £98.12 per pupil per term, or £8.18 per pupil per session.

What you should know about the School-Led Tutoring Grant

  • Schools have complete flexibility to use this grant in whichever way they feel suits the needs of their school and pupils, and the freedom to decide who is best placed to deliver the tuition. The only requirement is that the grant is to be spent specifically on tutoring.
  • All eligible schools will be required to identify pupils in receipt of School-Led Tutoring in their School Census return.
  • All eligible schools will need to complete the ‘School-Led Tutoring: Year-End Statement’ by the end of the July 2022, outlining the total amount spent on School-Led Tutoring, the number of pupils supported and the number of hours of tuition funded.

As this budget is so closely tied to the number of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium your school we recommend that you take care to spend it with providers who are experienced in working with children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, especially as the number of these increases

Read more: How St Paul’s Catholic School bridged the gaps from remote learning

Get a quote: Over 50% of the pupils Third Space Learning has worked with have been in receipt of pupil premium funding. If you know how many pupils you are looking to support get in touch for a quote that uses your school led grant funding

3. Catch Up Premium

The Catch Up Premium was a one-off universal £650m fund to schools for the 2020/21 academic year, although schools are able to continue to spend any unused funding in future academic years. 

Mainstream schools received £80 for each pupil from Reception to Year 11 inclusive. Special schools, alternative provision schools and hospital schools received £240 for each place.

“While schools can use their funding in a way that suits their cohort and circumstances, they are expected to use this funding for specific activities which will help pupils catch up on missed learning. Schools should particularly focus on disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils as we know they have been most affected.”

Government guidance on the Catch Up Premium, April 2021

As well as using any unspent Catch Up Premium funding on activities that support catch up, schools can use any remaining funding to cover the remaining costs of tuition that are not covered by the National Tutoring Programme or the School-Led Grant Fund.

What this means for your budget

As an example, a school might choose to use Third Space Learning and subsidise their sessions through the National Tutoring Programme. That school could use the Catch Up Premium to fund the remaining (non-subsidised) 30% of the cost.

In other words, the National Tutoring Programme would subsidise £192.50 of the cost of each pupil’s 15-week block, and the school would use the Catch Up Premium to subsidise the remaining £82.50. 

Read more What impact can you expect from tutoring in your school?

Find out more about using Catch Up Premium in your school to fund or part-fund Third Space Learning by giving us a call on 0203 771 0095 and we’ll give you a personalised quote.

4. Recovery Premium (New)

The Recovery Premium is new for 2021/22 and is a one-off fund of £302m for state-funded schools. This fund is in addition to Pupil Premium and can be used as schools see fit to support their disadvantaged pupils.

An average-sized primary school will receive an additional £6,000, with an additional £22,000 for the average secondary school.

“Building on the pupil premium, this funding will help schools to deliver evidence-based approaches for supporting the most disadvantaged pupils.”

Government guidance on the Recovery Premium, June 2021

The Recovery Premium will work alongside Pupil Premium funding, and all schools eligible for the Pupil Premium will be eligible for the Recovery Premium. Funding is allocated on a per-pupil basis, using the same criteria as the Pupil Premium.

What this means for your budget

Mainstream schools will receive £145 for each eligible pupil in mainstream education and £290 for each eligible pupil in a special unit or AP. Other types of eligible schools will get £290 for each eligible pupil.

There will be a minimum per eligible school, regardless of the number of individual pupils eligible. This is £2,000 for primary schools and £6,000 for secondary schools.

What you should know about the Recovery Premium

  • Guidance published in September 2021 states that schools should use the Recovery Premium to fund evidence-based approaches to supporting pupils, including ‘targeted academic support, such as tutoring’.
  • The recovery premium will be paid in 4 payments to schools during the 2021 to 2022 academic year. School allocations and the conditions of grant will be published ahead of the first payment in September.
  • Like the Catch Up Premium, the Recovery Premium can be used to cover the remaining costs of tuition that are not covered by the National Tutoring Programme or the School-Led Grant Fund.

Read more: Effective one to one maths lessons: what works best for disadvantaged pupils

5. Pupil Premium

As well as the funds that make up the government’s Covid recovery plan, schools will also receive their Pupil Premium funding as usual.

The Pupil Premium Grant is designed to help schools support their disadvantaged pupils, as the evidence shows that these pupils face challenges that their peers do not, and will not perform as well in school.

What this means for your budget

Funding is allocated based on the number of pupils who fall into the following two groups:

Free School Meals: schools receive £1,345 for every primary pupil and £955 for every secondary pupil who claims free school meals or who has claimed free school meals in the last 6 years. Early years establishments receive £302.

Looked-After Children: schools receive £2,345 for every pupil who has left local authority care through adoption, a special guardianship order or child arrangements order.

Find out more: 45 most effective pupil premium strategies

What you should know about Pupil Premium

  • The main aim of this funding is to raise attainment, although schools are also free to use Pupil Premium funding on ‘non-academic’ outcomes and improvements, such as improving pupils’ mental health and boosting attendance. Schools can use their Pupil Premium on activities that also benefit non-eligible pupils.
  • Schools are required to demonstrate ‘how their spending decisions are informed by research evidence’ and publish a Pupil Premium strategy using the government’s strategy statement templates.
  • Ofsted is also likely to interrogate your use of Pupil Premium funding.
  • Since we started supporting schools with online one to one tuition in 2013 – prior to the creation of the specific Covid recovery funds and schemes – the majority of the schools using Third Space Learning used a portion of their Pupil Premium to fund the programme.

“Third Space was an attractive proposition because it was one to one and all the tutors were maths specialists. It was also a great way to use our Pupil Premium allowance. “

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

Read more: How St Michael’s Primary School used Pupil Premium to raise attainment in their disadvantaged pupils.

About Third Space Learning

Here at Third Space Learning, we’ve been helping schools to close the maths attainment gap through one to one tuition since 2013.

Over the last 8 years, we’ve helped over 3,000 schools improve educational outcomes for more than 100,000 pupils. Up until the 2019/20 academic year, the majority of our schools used Third Space Learning as a way to ensure their Pupil Premium funding was going towards something that would have a real and lasting impact on their most disadvantaged pupils.

“The resources are high quality and up to date with recent research. The one to one tuition is a great addition to our support for Pupil Premium pupils.”

Abi Hann, Deputy Headteacher, Holy Trinity Primary School, London

During the 2020/21 academic year, we were really proud to be able to provide subsidised maths tuition to schools as an approved Tuition Partner of the National Tutoring Programme. Throughout the year, over 14,000 pupils received subsidised support across 1,000+ schools.

We’re thrilled that the National Tutoring Programme will be able to make this kind of support more accessible for even more schools and pupils in the second year of the programme, and we’re so proud Third Space Learning is able to play a key part.

Pupils begin their time with us with a diagnostic assessment, and lessons are chosen specifically to plug their individual gaps, and tutors are trained to adapt the pitch and pace of each lesson according to their needs.

An example one to one lesson slide from Third Space Learning’s online maths intervention.

“After this year’s lockdown, we wanted an intervention that could support all of our Year 5 and 6 pupils at once. The diagnostic assessment is really great. Although it personalises the lessons to each pupil, it still allows us to have input, and we really enjoyed having that flexibility. It’s also really great how the actual teaching is personalised to the pupil’s specific interests – it creates an instant connection between pupil and tutor, and the slots are consistent so it’s the same tutor each session.”

Lindsay Lind, St Paul’s Catholic Junior School, Deputy Headteacher, Liverpool.

Read more about how one to one tuition helped the pupils at St Paul’s to catch up in maths after school closures.

We’d love to have a chat with your school about how we can help, or to help you make sense of the different funding options available to your school. You can schedule a call directly here and we’ll be in touch on the day and time that suits you best.

Further reading

Online 1-to-1 maths lessons trusted by schools and teachers
Every week Third Space Learning’s maths specialist tutors support thousands of primary school children with weekly online 1-to-1 lessons and maths interventions. Since 2013 we’ve helped over 100,000 children become more confident, able mathematicians. Learn more or request a personalised quote to speak to us about your 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!
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!