Tutors in India are to give English pupils one-to-one maths coaching in an experiment to assess the potential of remote learning.
The large-scale trial will see 600 children in 60 primary schools have a weekly online session with tutors based almost 5,000 miles away.
Oliver Quinlan, digital education director at Nesta, the charity running the research, said the project aimed to see if the benefits of individual tuition could be replicated if it was done remotely.
“There is already quite strong evidence for one-to-one tuition and we’re interested in looking at whether you can scale it up,” he said. “Even if it has a similar outcome it is cheaper and potentially more convenient for schools.”
Each of the schools has chosen around 10 Year 6 pupils to take part, selected on the basis that they are at risk of not achieving their potential by the end of primary school.
The pupils will be taken out of class to have a 45-minute one-to-one session every week from September to May with the tutors, who are all maths graduates and have been given training in tutoring techniques.
Pupil and tutor will not see each other, but will communicate through a headset and will have a shared screen.
The pupils’ regular teachers will be able to specify what they want the tutors to work on, and will be given feedback on each session. They will also be able to review the sessions to see what the children found difficult.
“What we hope for with the feedback loops is it might be able to have more of an impact than standard one-to-one tutoring,” Mr Quinlan added.
The project, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, will be assessed on the basis of SATs scores, with those taking part compared with a control group of schools, with the results expected towards the end of 2015.