Independent Evaluation of the National Tutoring Programme Year 2: Impact Evaluation

Megan Lucas, Emma Moore, Chris Morton, Ruth Staunton and Stephen Welbourne

19 October 2023

Research report on the website

The Government’s National Tutoring Programme (NTP) was introduced in 2020-21 to help pupils in England recover the learning they missed due to Covid 19 disruption. Support was particularly targeted towards disadvantaged pupils.

The programme consisted of three tuition routes:

  • Tuition Partners (TP): subsidised tuition to schools from approved tuition partners.
  • Academic Mentors (AM): mentors employed by school with most of their salary subsidised by the Department for Education (DfE).
  • School-led tutoring (SLT): introduced in 2021-22 to provide schools with a ring-fenced grant to fund locally sourced tutoring provision. This was the most frequently used route in the second year.

This report summarises the findings from an evaluation carried out by NFER for the DfE of the second year of the NTP (2021-22). It explored the impact of the different NTP routes on maths and English attainment for pupils in Key Stages 2 and 4, as well as the longer-term impact of tutoring routes introduced in the first year.

Key Findings

  • The findings suggest that SLT led to small improvements in Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 maths (equivalent to roughly 1 months’ additional progress).
  • There was some limited evidence that SLT had a positive impact on Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 English (but these effects equated to less than one months’ additional progress).
  • Increasing the number of hours of SLT tuition led to better outcomes in maths and English. We recommend that the NTP guidance reflects these findings on tutoring dosage and that this is communicated to schools.
  • Schools with higher proportions of pupils doing SLT in English and maths had progressively better overall outcomes in those subjects. 
  • There was no evidence to suggest participation in the AM or TP routes led to improvements in Key Stage 2 or Key Stage 4 English or maths.
  • Participation in AM or TP routes was associated with poorer outcomes in English (Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4) and maths (Key Stage 4). However, these effects were all very small, meaning we cannot exclude the possibility that these results are caused by other factors unrelated to tutoring route.
  • Less than half of pupils selected for tutoring were from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Government should consider reintroducing targets and incentives for the selection of these pupils.
  • The impact of the different NTP routes was broadly similar across pupils with different characteristics and across geographical regions.
  • We did not detect any longer-term benefits of receiving tutoring in the first year of the NTP.   
The report advises against over-interpreting the evaluation results because the difference in attainment between those schools which did and did not receive tutoring was very small. Further research into how to optimise the delivery of tuition is needed to be able to offer guidance to schools on which type of implementation is most effective.