Myth busting series: Tutoring is expensive

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The affordability of online tuition today is often questioned by teachers, especially with tight budgets dismissing Tutoring as a luxury. However, thanks to the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) this is not the case. 

“Tutoring is expensive” is a phrase we have heard many times from teachers over the years. This should not be surprising: school budgets are tighter than ever, and headteachers need to find savings wherever possible. With constant financial and time pressures, tutoring can quickly be dismissed as a luxury. 

And yet, in the current climate, with so many learners set back by lockdowns and requiring high-quality, targeted interventions, tutoring can not only be essential, but widely accessible. With the support resources and dedicated funding now available nationwide, many schools can secure the step-up required to help more learners thrive without blowing their budgets.  

Understanding the options

Thanks to the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), all eligible schools can access ring-fenced grants to help cover the cost of school-led tutoring. This includes access to government-approved tuition partners – meaning schools can turn the page on a new chapter of support for learners. 

The 2023/24 academic year will see government funding for NTP continue to support with up to 50% of tuition costs, subject to the maximum hourly rate per pupil (as stated by the Department for Education), provided to eligible schools via local authorities and academy trusts. The remainder can be covered using Pupil Premium or other core school budgets. Even non-eligible schools can still benefit from tutor provision, with affordable packages for core subjects available from approved, high-quality providers like Pearson Tutoring.

Interestingly, even when school senior leaders thought the percentage would be dropping to 25%, two-thirds of those currently using the programme planned to continue using it in the 2023/24 academic year – a figure highlighted in a recent report from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).

 Technology that won’t break the bank 

The current tech-savvy generation has reported to parents and teachers that one of the reasons they enjoy online tutoring is because of the technology. This thirst for modern technology can cause unnecessary worry for schools, with fears of associated costs caused by new devices or systems, and resources required to set them up. 

Yet today’s online tutoring options can be completely web-based, working with all devices, desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. As a result, all students need is internet access!

Although online tutoring requires an element of set-up and communication between the tutor and class teacher, high-quality trained tutors will know exactly how to support students to get the most out of their tuition. The best tutors will ensure they have all the information needed before sessions start (i.e., the educational history of the child, and detailed information around their individual requirements). 

Top tutoring providers will also proactively keep class teachers in the loop, providing regular easy-access feedback on the student’s progress, as well as any areas identified where they may need more support. Such targeted updates can free class teachers to focus their efforts elsewhere, cost-effectively reducing the pressures on their time and workload.

Thinking outside the bottom line 

Indeed, supporting students with tutors who are qualified teachers via online tutoring can empower teachers and support staff in school, and importantly, in their classrooms; minimising the need for further recruitment. As one Deputy Headteacher said: 

“Tutoring has enabled me to tap into a vast number of highly qualified teachers to carry out the small group work that some of our pupils really need, without having to spend additional hours planning extra sessions for my children… I have not only seen pupils’ academic abilities significantly improve but they have become more confident, resilient, and assured learners too.” 

With the NFER reporting that more than 9 in 10 school senior leaders who use NTP say it has allowed them to offer support to more disadvantaged pupils, and three-quarters of senior leaders believing that online tutoring improves the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils, the question for schools will no doubt already be shifting: from “Can we afford to offer online tutoring?” to “Can we afford not to?”

Pearson Tutoring uses a web-based delivery platform designed for maximum access, inclusivity, and teacher feedback. An NTP-approved provider, it only employs fully qualified teachers who have passed rigorous background checks. Schools can access the service today, with no need to pay additional recruitment fees. Explore the options here.

Read Pearson’s guide to tutoring funding here. 

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