Government 'to fund private tutors for catch up scheme'

Report comes as prominent MAT leader suggests catch-up plan will also involve DfE giving schools money for them to decide how to use

Catherine Lough

Coronavirus school closures: Education should welcome the National Tutoring Programme to help disadvantaged pupils, says this headteacher

The government will announce a year-long catch up tutoring scheme for pupils to recover lost learning time because of the coronavirus pandemic, it is being reported this morning..

The Department for Education is said to be ready to fund private tutors to deliver lessons either one-to-one or in small groups through a mixture of online and face-to-face sessions.

News of the scheme, reported to involve thousands of tutors from approved agencies, came as it was suggested that the government's "huge" catch-up plan would also involve schools being given extra funding and the freedom to decide how to use it to counter the loss of learning during the coronavirus crisis.  

Sir Daniel Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation trust, which runs 48 academies, said: "If in the end the government chooses to give schools money, which is what I've heard is the plan, and allows schools to choose best how to use that cash to help children catch up, well I think everybody's going to be pleased with that because each school locally will know best what needs to be done."

The tutoring will be available to both primary and secondary pupils in all schools and will be targeted towards the most disadvantaged pupils, according to a report in the Guardian.

It says details are being finalised for announcement later this week. But the Sutton Trust, Education Endowment Foundation, Nesta and Impetus, which trialled a new online tuition pilot to support disadvantaged pupils earlier this month, are all expected to be involved in designing the programme.

When they launched the pilot, they cited evidence showing that tutoring could give pupils five additional months' progress. 

Sir Daniel welcomed news of the scheme and said his trust was already developing its own tutoring plan. 

"We intend to try and bring in some of our most disadvantaged children over the summer and offer them small group tutoring throughout the summer," he said speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"The summer itself won't be enough, it will need to continue throughout the year. We already do supplement the teaching that we give with a team of private tutors to offer one-to-one and small group work so we'll be deploying those people as well, during the summer and into the next year. 

"And if it's the case as rumoured that the government's going to provide a large sum of money for schools to buy tutoring, I think that's a really excellent idea and I hope it's true."

However, he said there was "limited scope" for volunteers to be used to help pupils and said he did not think it was a "realistic idea". It would be better to use retired teachers, tutoring companies and ex-inspectors, or teachers in schools who would be willing to take on extra work, to help pupils with catch up. 


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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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