Evaluation of year 1 of the National Tutoring Programme Tuition Partners and Academic Mentoring

NFER authors: Pippa Lord, Helen Poet, Palak Roy, Andrew Smith, Roland Marden and Ben Styles University of Westminster authors: Veruska Oppedisano, Min Zhang and Richard Dorsett Kantar Public authors: Alice Coulter, Rosaline Sullivan, Sheyi Ogunshakin and Richard Matousek

18 October 2022

In Autumn 2020 the government launched the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) to provide tuition support for pupils as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first year of the NTP was made up of two pillars including: the Tuition Partners (TP) programme (which provided tutoring support to pupils), and the Academic Mentoring programme (in which mentors were placed in schools to work with small groups of pupils).

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) commissioned an independent evaluation, led by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) with Kantar Public and the University of Westminster (UoW). This evaluation covers the Tuition Partners (TP) programme as delivered in its first year by the EEF, from November 2020 to August 2021 – entailing a large-scale implementation and process evaluation (IPE), an impact evaluation in primary schools, and an impact evaluation for Year 11 pupils. The study also includes an impact evaluation of the first year of the Academic Mentoring (AM) programme for Year 11 pupils only. The first year of the AM programme was managed by Teach First. (A separate process evaluation of Academic Mentoring was undertaken and published by Teach First.)

Key Findings

Tuition Partners evaluation key findings

  • Over 232,000 pupils were enrolled onto the first year of the programme, with over 203,000 pupils receiving at least one hour of tutoring. 46% of enrolled pupils were eligible for pupil premium funding.
  • Most schools were satisfied with the quality of tuition, and with the programme overall. The majority of schools felt the programme had ‘helped pupils catch up with their peers’ and ‘improved pupils’ confidence’.
  • Some of our main analyses were unable to detect whether or not TP had an effect on PP-eligible pupils’ attainment because of the relatively low proportion of PP-eligible pupils receiving tutoring (compared to all PP-eligible pupils in analysed schools), and because pupils selected for tutoring had characteristics that were unobservable in the available data.
  • However, despite these challenges, we found that higher amounts of tutoring were related to better assessment scores in English in primary schools, and at a pupil level were associated with better Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) at Year 11 in English and in maths. (We note the novel use of TAGs as a research outcome measure – this warrants caution when interpreting the Year 11 results from this study.)
  • Where we were able to analyse outcomes in schools with higher proportions of PP-eligible pupils taking part (70% or more), the results indicated that the programme had a positive impact on Year 11 TAGs in English and in maths (this analysis was based on a smaller sample of schools with some different characteristics to all TP schools).

Research reports are available on the EEF website:

Academic Mentoring Year 11 evaluation key findings

  • In our analysis looking at Year 11 PP-eligible pupils in AM participating schools, the majority of PP-eligible pupils did not receive academic mentoring. Despite detecting an effect for maths of +1 month’s additional progress, the degree of uncertainty around this result, and the very large proportion of analysed pupils who did not receive academic mentoring, means it is unlikely that any difference seen in this analysis model was due to academic mentoring. This evaluation is unable to conclude, with any certainty, whether or not academic mentoring had an impact on the English and maths attainment outcomes of those Year 11 pupils who received it.

The research report is available on the EEF website:  AM exploratory evaluation report of impact for Year 11 pupils

These evaluations recommend that the government ensures clear guidance for schools and targeting of support to disadvantaged pupils, and that a programme of future evaluation should be developed to help explore which models of tutoring are most effective for which pupils and in what circumstances.

A paper outlining the challenging context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in which the programmes were delivered and evaluated, and of the challenges faced in the evaluation is available. 

Sponsor Details

Education Endowment Foundation, Kantar Public, University of Westminster