Disadvantaged students waiting for GCSE results face huge challenges ahead with the leap to A-levels after months off school. With fellow education charities, we’re calling for the National Tutoring Programme to include Years 12 & 13. Read our letter to Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee, below


Dear Mr Halfon,

We welcome the recent decision by the Government to provide additional funding for 16-19 year old students to receive English and Maths support to help them catch up after COVID. We are grateful for the tireless efforts you have put into advocating for the National Tuition Programme (NTP) on behalf of students across the country.

We write to you as a coalition of charities who are keen to expand the scope of NTP so that all students can benefit fully. We are concerned that the extra funding for 16-19 provision has not been routed through the NTP, meaning that education providers will not be able to access subsidised tuition, and will therefore access less support for 16-19 yr olds than they otherwise could. We know this age group (especially those starting Yr 12 in September) will face particular challenges in the transition to higher study, and increasingly independent learning.

We are also concerned that if the National Tutoring Programme intervention is not sustained long term then there is the very real possibility that a generation of young people will be left behind. Without ongoing support, young people from disadvantaged backgrounds will have even less chance than they did previously of successfully continuing their education. We want to ensure that the NTP goes far enough not just to help mitigate the lost learning from school closures, but also to close the attainment gap further.

Our organisations run impactful tutoring programmes that help thousands of disadvantaged young people to improve their grades and reach their full potential every year. In many cases we see them transitioning successfully to further and higher education. We know that the best way to achieve this is with a consistent, multi-year intervention. For example, a recent study of the work of The Access Project by FFT Datalab, shows that a one year intervention at GCSE helps to improve a student’s progress by 3 months, whereas a 2 year intervention improves a student’s progress by 5 months.

The forced closure of schools because of COVID-19 means that all young people will have missed out on learning. In particular, Year 11s moving into post 16 education may have had minimal teaching for several months. Extended breaks in learning are known to have an impact on progress and for the most disadvantaged students this is particularly true. That’s why we owe it to students to take an evidence based approach to any catch up plan.

We are calling for the government to make a commitment to make the National Tutoring Programme multi-year, and to include 16-19 year olds in the National Tuition Programme. We would urge you to consider backing this call.

We would be grateful for the opportunity to speak with you further about this. The charities in this coalition would also be happy to appear before the Education Select Committee to discuss the evidence behind our recommendations. Students are at the forefront of our minds in all of this and this generation needs our backing more than any in recent history.

Yours sincerely,

Ashley Hodges, CEO, AccessEd

Nathan Sansom, CEO, The Access Project

Susannah Hardyman, CEO, Action Tutoring

Alex Charalambous, Head of Education Development, The Children’s Literacy Charity

Robin Chu, CEO, Coachbright

Paul Singh, CEO, Equal Education

Adam Alagiah-Glomseth, CEO, TalentEd