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Schools not using National Tutoring Programme funding will see money clawed back by Government

The Department for Education plans to 'name and shame' schools for underspending or overspending on the NTP - and it will be factored in to Ofsted reports

The flagship National Tutoring Programme rollout was criticised last year for being too complicated, with sluggish uptake and complicated procedures, which added to the workload within schools. More than £100 million of unspent tutoring funding was clawed back to the Treasury after schools struggled to access the scheme in 2021/22.

In response to the wasted funding and problems with the NTP, the Department for Education has set up a ‘strategic tutoring advisory group’ to make sure the NTP succeeds and delivers to disadvantaged young people to help them.

Purple Ruler's funding matrix toolkit helps schools plan their school-led grant allocation on tutoring services. This helps to get a better understanding of the 60/40 NTP funding intervention and to avoid a situation where some headteachers who say they have spent all their tutoring allocation are now being told they will have money clawed back.

Although the programme gives control to schools, it is very important that the funding criteria is understood by the senior leadership team and records detailing the eligible spending are kept to avoid any underspending or overspending.

Costs of using a tuition partner and academic mentor

So how much does it cost a school to utilise a mixed approach to the NTP with a combination of a tuition partner and academic mentor? One example from the DfE is as follows:

- Yours is a mainstream school with a funding allocation of £40,500.

- You provide 2,200 pupil hours of tutoring using a tuition partner, at a total cost of £39,600.

- You also employ an academic mentor, at a total cost of £25,500 (salary and on-costs), who provides 1,500 pupil hours over the academic year.

- In total, your school has spent £65,100 on 3,700 pupil hours of tutoring.

Rate calculation

Total cost


Total pupil hours


Hourly per-pupil rate


Funding result Because your hourly per-pupil rate is below the £18 maximum, your funding will cover 60% of the total cost you have incurred, which works out at £39,060. This means that £1,440 of your initial funding allocation is unspent. This will be returned by your school to ESFA on completion of the year-end statement. You’ll pay the remaining £26,040 from other funding sources, such as pupil premium. The DfE expects 100% of schools to be delivering the NTP as the government works with schools to help children catch up from lost learning in the pandemic. These are the three ways for schools to use this funding. All come with potential benefits and drawbacks.

NTP allowing greater autonomy for schools

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) launched in November 2020 and has been simplified in its third year to provide schools with the freedom to decide how best to target academic support to their pupils.

Schools now receive a tutoring grant payment at the beginning of each term to subsidise 60% of their school tuition fund. Each NTP tuition route has the same subsidy, which is a measure introduced this academic year to give the schools greater flexibility to design a tutoring programme to best meet the needs of their pupils, using one or more of the following pathways:

  • Tuition Partners

  • Academic Mentors

  • School-led tutoring


Schools are required to pay 40% of the cost of tuition through other funding sources, including pupil premium or other core school budgets. NTP funding can be used to pay for 60% of the total cost incurred by your school to deliver tutoring.

For the 2022 to 2023 academic year, schools are asked to submit information on their tutoring via: • the termly school census • the Year-End Statement – this will be available from the Education and Skills Funding Agency in June 2023 and is mandatory to confirm how much of the tutoring grant was used.

We are happy to facilitate capacity-building webinars if schools require help and support in understanding and completing the Year-End Statement near the time. Last year, 850 schools did not return their forms by the extended 21 October 2022 deadline and are now set to return their catch-up cash back to the government. All NTP partners function as a team. Please remember we are here to help and support you on the NTP.

Academic mentors

Academic mentors are recruited and matched by NTP delivery partner Cognition Education; they are employed by your school as full-time salaried staff members who work alongside your teachers to provide focused, small-group tuition.

To spread the cost, you could share an academic mentor with another school in your academy trust or local area. This can extend the benefits of tutoring to a higher number of students in need of support, especially if you wish to stretch your budget to maximize the NTP pathways, i.e. Academic Mentor and Tuition Partner working in collaboration.

The recruitment process to find the right candidates from Cognition ‘Recruit and Match’ service may not be immediate and it is advised to express an interest now to start the process. All Academic Mentors need to undergo bespoke training with Education Development Trust before they join.

School led

The school-led route offers flexibility for schools to identify their own tutors. These may be existing staff, such as classroom teachers or teaching assistants. If you are engaging new staff as tutors, you should make sure that all safer recruitment checks have been completed. It is the responsibility of schools to agree with tutors the terms of their employment Schools may use their NTP funding to cover the duties of internal staff released for tutoring. However, it must not fund the same role twice or be used to fund any current salaried positions.

Working in partnership with a Tuition Partner, you do not have to rely on your school’s internal staff capacity to deliver tutoring. Some providers will also support you to reduce the administration workload on a NTP programme, i.e. Scheduling, logistics, attendance reports, IT set up, stress test etc.

Tutoring works to help improve grades, The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has calculated that an intense programme of one-to-one tuition could add as much as five months’ progress to a young person’s schooling. Small-group tuition provides a safe space for pupils with low confidence to speak up and learn from their mistakes.


'Purple Ruler transformed my opinion'

Carolyn Daniels, Pupil Premium Lead for Enrich Learning Trust, said: "Purple Ruler has transformed my opinion from last year, of NTP online tuition being a waste of time and money, to being one of definite benefit to our students. The format of face-to-face tutoring using cameras and headsets is the most effective method when doing online tutoring - we have tried different formats before, and this ensures a rapport with the tutor and the students remain engaged in the lesson. By the second week of the sessions, and everyone had settled into it, our students were giving me very positive feedback on the quality and enjoyment of their lessons and their tutors, and that has continued."


It is concerning that this funding is being clawed back but there is no plans so far as of yet to increase the funding next year from 25%. DfE should redistribute the reclaimed funding to schools that want to use it.

Replying to

Good point, the clawed back funding should be re-invested in the programme to support schools and get a better buy in to the programme from Senior Leadership Team. The clawback evidence to me that there is a problem with how the funding is understood by schools, or schools not willing to take up the school-led grant.

This year the programme gives more control to the schools but what worries me is the consistency in the NTP. We have seen 3 delivery providers in 3 years of NTP!

Subsidy to 25% in year 4 is a challenge and I'm not sure if it can be sustainable without increase in other streams, such as PP etc

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