Robin Walker – 2022 Statement on Education

The statement made by Robin Walker, the Minister for School Standards, in the House of Commons on 31 March 2022.

Following the launch of the Schools White Paper, which pledged that any child falling behind in maths or English will get the support they need to catch-up, I am today providing an update to the House on one of the Government’s most significant programmes supporting pupils to recover from the effects of the pandemic. My update today addresses our work to further develop the national tutoring programme to put schools in the best possible position to develop a high-quality tutoring offer for their pupils to benefit from in the next academic year.

On 14 March, I announced that over 1 million courses had been started through the programme since its inception in November 2020. I am now pleased to advise the House that our latest estimates show that 1.2 million courses have now been started, which means that the Government remain on track to deliver the ambitious target of up to 6 million courses by 2024. Today’s estimates also show that more than 887,500 courses have been started this academic year. Of these around 675,000 were provided through school-led tutoring, which we have enabled by providing funding directly to schools that wish to deliver tutoring via their own staff. From today we are starting a schedule of regular, half-termly data reporting to set out the participation of schools and pupils across all three routes from national to local authority level.

To ensure that as many pupils as possible can benefit from high-quality tutoring, we are today announcing that schools will have the flexibility to extend their tuition offer throughout the summer break. This will allow more pupils to benefit from targeted academic support and includes tuition provided via tuition partners, academic mentors and school-led tutoring. This reflects our commitment to invest in proven approaches, responding to the positive feedback from schools about the teaching provision they were able to offer in summer 2021.

In light of the success of school-led tutoring this year, we have decided that from the next academic year all national tutoring programme funding will go directly to schools. This will simplify the system and give schools the freedom to decide how best to provide tutoring for their pupils. This means that schools can still use their own staff to deliver tutoring and also continue to engage tuition partners they have worked with this year. Schools can also still employ academic mentors already on their staff. We will provide new support to schools that wish to find a tuition partner to work with them next year, and we will continue to recruit a pool of academic mentors for deployment to schools that request them.

We will share with schools their individual funding allocations in the summer term. These will be determined by each school’s number of disadvantaged pupils, which will mean that tutoring will continue to be targeted at those pupils who need it most. Schools will be able to use this funding to cover 60% of the cost of tutoring delivered in AY22-23. For the following year, schools can use national tutoring programme funding to cover 25% of the cost of tutoring.

The Department for Education will launch a procurement process in April to appoint one or more delivery partners to quality assure tuition partners, recruit and deploy academic mentors and provide high-quality training to new tutors. Launching a new procurement means that we will not be taking up the option to renew the contract currently held with Randstad beyond its initial contract term, which ends on 31 August 2022. We are grateful to Randstad for their contribution.