Government cuts blamed for fewer Nottinghamshire schools offering tutoring support

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Fewer Nottinghamshire schools offered tutoring support last year, new figures show.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) was introduced to help in-need children catch up after the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the Government has reduced funding to the programme – despite data showing poorer children are more likely to undertake courses.

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Figures from the Department for Education show 292 out of 341 schools in Nottinghamshire took part in the NTP in the 2021-22 academic year.

Fewer Nottinghamshire schools are offering tutoring due to Government funding cuts. Photo: OtherFewer Nottinghamshire schools are offering tutoring due to Government funding cuts. Photo: Other
Fewer Nottinghamshire schools are offering tutoring due to Government funding cuts. Photo: Other

But as of August – at the end of the 2022-23 school year – this number had dropped to 240.

The Government funded 70 to 75 per cent of the programme in 2021-22, with schools covering the remainder.

But Government funding was reduced to 60 per cent last year, and 50 per cent for the academic year that started in September.

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Over the last school year, 21,472 Nottinghamshire pupils undertook 28,907 courses – learning for a total of 332,000 hours.

By this October, 5,244 courses had been started for the current academic year, with 110 schools participating.

Nick Brook, chair of the Department for Education’s strategic advisory group for tutoring and chief executive of the charity Speakers for Schools, said the programme was ‘proving its worth’ despite some teething problems.

He said: "Schools and researchers increasingly agree that tutoring can help accelerate pupil progress.

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"This makes the absence of any announcement on funding beyond this academic year all the harder to swallow."

Mr Brook called tutoring programmes a ‘proven strategy’ to close the gap in attainment between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.

He added: "Put simply, without investment beyond 2024, the tutoring revolution in schools is likely to grind to a halt.

Across the East Midlands, 44 per cent of pupils who received tutoring in 2022-23 had been on free school meals at some point in the last six years.

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Damian Hinds MP, schools minister, said: "Dealing with the effects of the pandemic and supporting our education recovery is a national endeavour and requires a sustained effort.

"With almost five million courses started to date, the NTP has played a significant role in delivering extra hours for pupils most in need of additional support.

"I’d like to thank school leaders, teachers and tutors for their hard work in delivering this tuition to make sure no child is left behind."