Ofsted to judge whether DfE's Covid catch-up plans work

Watchdog tasked with carrying out independent reviews into government's plans for tutoring and teacher development

John Roberts

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Ofsted has been asked by the government to review the effectiveness of its two main Covid catch-up plans – tutoring and teachers’ professional development.

The watchdog has said its independent reviews will investigate how the government’s policies are working on the ground by gathering evidence through research visits and from its school inspections.

Ofsted said today that it will assess “the progress and, where possible, the effectiveness of the government’s education recovery plans".

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The inspectorate had already said it would be looking at schools' use of tutoring in its individual school inspections.

Tutoring and teacher development were the two key elements of a £1.4 billion catch-up plan announced by the Department for Education earlier this year.

The plan did not include extending the school day and fell way short of the £15 billion investment that the government’s own education recovery commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins, had said was needed. He resigned shortly after the £1.4 billion spending announcement was made.

Ofsted to investigate Covid catch-up plans

Tutoring in schools 

Ofsted has said the tutoring review will consider “the overall quality of tutoring offered by schools and 16 to 19 providers”, regardless of whether it is provided directly or through National Tutoring Programme (NTP) tuition partners.

The evaluation will also consider how well schools are integrating tutoring into their curriculum, its effect on the overall quality of education, and the likelihood that it will actually help children catch up.

The review aims to answer the following questions:

  • Whether there is a coherent, evidence-based rationale for selecting pupils for tutoring.
  • What selection criteria schools and 16 to 19 providers are using when recruiting tutors.
  • Whether the planned content in tutoring aligns with the school's existing curriculum.
  • What pupils are being taught in tutor sessions.
  • Whether pupils who have been tutored are able to learn more effectively in their normal lessons.

Ofsted said the findings of the review will be published in summer 2022 and summer 2023.

Teacher professional development

This review will look at the quality of training and development received by all teachers, with “a particular focus on the Early Career Framework (ECF) and National Professional Qualifications (NPQs)”.

Ofsted has said it will be collecting evidence throughout 2021-22 and 2022-23 to “establish the main features of effective teacher development in schools”.

This review will look at the following areas:

  • What training and development teachers and leaders are receiving.
  • Whether senior leaders value and prioritise the development of teachers.
  • The quality of professional development.
  • Whether the improvements in professional development have led to teaching and leadership improving in schools.
  • Whether improvements in professional development have had an impact on pupils’ catch-up.

The findings of the teacher professional development review will be published in early 2023 and early 2024.


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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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