An industry increasingly professionalised, private tuition is an extremely effective and powerful tool - improving grades, perfecting key-skills, driving achievement and ultimately, boosting self-confidence. Nobody could have predicted two years ago the position the tuition industry would be in now. Of note, being critical of an announcement of a £1.4bn injection into catch-up education with tuition as the focal point. So, why are industry experts asking questions?
The latest COVID-19 tuition catch up plan announced on the 2nd June 2021 is comprised of an £1.4bn increase in funding, reportedly to be divided between:
- Schools (£580m)
- 16-19 year-olds (£220m)
- National Tutoring Programme (approximately £100m)
- Department for Education (£400m)
Whilst doubt remains whether schools will have autonomy to allocate the funds, it has been made very clear that investment is designated solely for the purpose of catch-up tuition. In spite of widespread criticism of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), it is expected the organisation will be the indirect recipient of the new funds, of which the international recruitment company, Randstad, is going to be the ‘Prime Delivery Partner’ responsible for its success. It is also unclear how exactly the increase in funds for the Department of Education relate to COVID-19 catch-up, with sources pointing to professional development as its primary use.
With ambiguity lingering as this eventful morning has unfolded, what are the key questions for parents, teachers, tutors and students?
1. How exactly are the funds going to be allocated?
Despite the UK’s increase in funding for catch-up education being considerably lower than the US (£100bn) and Netherlands (£7.3bn), the question of particulars is very pertinent.
2. What role are longstanding providers of professional tuition going to play in the latest catch-up effort?
Criticism of the National Tutoring Programme from respected voices of the tuition industry, such as The Tutors Association (TTA), over the quality of tuition providers has not been addressed by the recent announcement. Simply, parents, students and teachers alike have no guarantee that the tuition being delivered will be from professional tutors.
3. When is there going to be time for tuition in the school day?
With the core purpose of the investment catch-up, plans for a longer school day have been swept under the carpet amid reports of a shortened lunch break. Concerns remain about pupil burn-out and time for co-curricular activities.
4. What role will the arts, music, sport and other co-curricular activities play?
It goes without saying that the key to a well-rounded education often lies outside of core subjects. Furthermore, with concerns about student mental health rising to the forefront of the agenda for education policy makers, how much time spent on co-curricular activities, therefore, is a pertinent question for parents, teachers and students.
5. Are there going to be safeguarding measures in place?
With quality of tuition provided a vital factor in the success of the catch-up tuition, concerns over the safeguarding protections in place born from NTP controversies to assure parents and teachers are yet to be addressed.
With much left to be decided, and the future of catch-up tuition seemingly at a crossroads, Think Tutors remain poised to provide tuition to students who need it most.