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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

A partnership of charities, including Nesta, will support the government to provide support for schools through access to high-quality tuition. 

A National Tutoring Programme (NTP) – worth £350m – will provide catch-up support to primary and secondary school pupils who have missed out on learning during school closures, it was announced today.

Today, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will set out a package of measures to support pupils in the next academic year. As part of this, state schools in England will be able to access high-quality tutoring for their pupils through the NTP.

Despite the considerable efforts of schools to support remote learning over the past months, many pupils will have fallen significantly behind in their learning. These pupils are more likely to be drawn from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds meaning the gap in attainment between this group and their classmates could almost certainly have widened.

There is extensive high-quality evidence demonstrating the potential of one-to-one and small-group tuition, delivered in partnership with schools, as a cost-effective way to support pupils who are falling behind. The Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit suggests it can boost progress by up to +5 months. Randomised controlled trials funded by the EEF have also found positive effects for a range of tuition models.

However, access to tutoring is often limited to the schools and parents that can most afford it. Almost all the pupils that need intensive support the most will not be able to access it, with estimates indicating that 80% of disadvantaged pupils don’t have access to quality tuition.

Created through a collaboration between the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), Sutton Trust, Impetus and Nesta, with support from the Department for Education and funders including KPMG Foundation, the NTP will give schools the resources they need to address this challenge through two strands:

  • In NTP Partners, schools will be able to access heavily subsided tuition from an approved list of tuition partners. These organisations – who will all be subject to quality and evaluation standards – will be given support and funding to reach many more disadvantaged pupils.
  • In NTP Coaches, trained graduates will by employed by schools in the most disadvantaged areas to provide intensive catch-up support to their pupils, allowing teachers in these schools to focus on their classrooms.

Earlier this month, the four organisations launched pilots of four different models of online tuition with support from Wellcome Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Hg Foundation, the Dulverton Trust, the Inflexion Foundation and other funders. The findings from these pilots will feed into the evidence underpinning the NTP. The NTP will be running an open call to select organisations to deliver the tutoring.

Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust and chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), said:

“When it comes to schooling, Covid19 has done huge damage, at speed, to our children’s prospects, putting their futures in danger. Many pupils have fallen significantly behind in their learning. These pupils come disproportionately from poorer homes.

“There is strong evidence that high-quality tuition is a cost-effective way to enable pupils to catch up. While it is certainly no silver bullet, access to tuition will be key to supporting the work of teachers in mitigating the impact of school closures in the coming months and years.

“The government’s support for more high-quality tuition for our poorest children from this summer is a huge step forward. The National Tutoring Programme is a major opportunity to not only reverse the damage done by school closures, but to also build a fairer education system for the future.”

Professor Becky Francis, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), said:

“Tutoring is the catch-up approach supported by the strongest evidence we have. This is a tremendous opportunity to offer bespoke support for disadvantaged pupils, and to build a positive legacy from the present crisis.”

Andy Ratcliffe, CEO of Impetus, said:

“We have seen first-hand the power of tutoring to help young people achieve their potential. We are proud to be part of this collective effort to get high-quality tutoring to those who need it most.”

Ravi Gurumurthy, CEO at Nesta, the innovation foundation, said:

“When children finally go back to school, many will have fallen behind their peers. Through one-to-one and group tuition, we can reach a significant proportion of children quickly, and tackle the growing inequality in educational achievement.”


  1. More information will be available from this link tomorrow: http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/
  2. The Education Endowment Foundation EEF) is an independent charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust, as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus, with a £125m founding grant from the Department for Education. The EEF is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement.
  3. The Sutton Trust is committed to improving social mobility from birth to the workplace. Founded by Sir Peter Lampl in 1997, the Trust has supported over 30,000 young people through evidence-led programmes and published over 200 pieces of agenda-setting research, many of which have influenced government policy.
  4. Impetus transforms the lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds by ensuring they get the right support to succeed in school, in work and in life. We find, fund and build the most promising charities working with these young people, providing core funding and working shoulder-to-shoulder with their leaders to help them become stronger organisations.
  5. Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society. We’ve spent over 20 years working out the best ways to make change happen through research and experimenting, and we’ve applied that to our work in innovation policy, health, education, government innovation and the creative economy and arts. Nesta is based in the UK and supported by a financial endowment. We work with partners around the globe to bring bold ideas to life to change the world for good.

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