Areas in the north of England have been "slower" to take up the National Tutoring Programme, officials from the Department for Education said today.
The comments come on the day that research has found learning loss among primary pupils is worse in the North and Midlands.
In a meeting of the Commons' Education Select Committee, the DfE's qualifications director Graham Archer highlighted that, while the Covid premium was on a per-pupil basis across all schools, "the National Tutoring Programme is an application-based programme".
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"We are seeing a slightly slower take-up in areas of the country where tutoring is seen as a less normal part of academic life, so it is slower to take up in the North essentially than in the South," he added.
"We are working closely with tutoring partners in those areas with schools and multi-academy trusts and local authorities in those areas, and using our regional teams to push hard the message of the benefits of tutoring to those pupils."
The government's £350 million National Tutoring Programme began last year to help disadvantaged pupils “catch up” on lost learning owing to school closures during the pandemic.
But in January, the NEU teaching union said it had "no confidence" in the plan, arguing that it “relies too heavily on private providers of tuition, whose quality is not assured, as well as being insufficiently controlled by school leaders”.