Closing the learning gap

Closing the 'learning gap' through catch-up tuition

According to figures from UNESCO, 1.5 billion children worldwide were unable to attend school during the global pandemic. Closed schools has resulted in lost learning, lower skills and reduced life chances.


In England, there is clear evidence that poor pupils lost out most when schools were closed, leading to the government establishing a new National Tutoring Programme, offering disadvantaged children focused tuition aiming to close the learning gap. "This is about levelling up those opportunities," said Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson.


32 organisations have been selected to deliver the programme, leading to education unions suggesting that professional teachers should be the ones helping students, not tutors.

Since launching in November, Tuition Partners have enrolled thousands of pupils in schools across England where they can access high-quality tutoring from an approved list of tutoring providers, who have passed a set of quality, safeguarding and evaluation standards.

The tutoring will be subsidised by 75% and some sessions could cost schools as little as £50 for a block of 15, say the organisers. 

The scheme was designed by a group of five independent charities and is funded from part of the government's £350m allocation to tutoring through the £1bn coronavirus catch-up package.

The programme's main aims include:


- tens of thousands of pupils enrolled before the end of term, with provision increasing after Christmas

- schools able to choose the provider and type of tutoring that suits them best, whether face-to-face or online 

- 15,000 tutors ranging from post-graduate students to qualified teachers and volunteers.

Who has the programme helped so far:

62,000 pupils have been enrolled to receive support from an approved NTP Tuition Partner in the six weeks since its launch, meeting the NTP’s Christmas target. It’s been fantastic to see schools from the North East to the South West signing up and to hear stories of the difference tutoring is starting to make. Read more school stories here.

10,000 tutors are now working as part of the NTP. Across the approved Tuition Partners, the NTP is mobilising trained teachers, including specialists able to support pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disability, professional tutors, university students and volunteers. Read the experiences of Mary Barnard, a volunteer working with Action Tutoring, here.

Over 500 new Academic Mentors joined schools in January. This will more than triple the number of schools in the highest need areas of England employing an Academic Mentor, a number which will increase again when a third wave of Academic Mentors are placed this Spring.

To find out more about the National Training Programme click here: