Labour: All secondary pupils will have left by the time catch-up target is met

Labour analysis suggests the national tutoring programme will miss its three-year target.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with pupils at a school (PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with pupils at a school (PA)

Labour has criticised the Government over the pace of its education recovery package, saying that by the time its targets on tutoring are met, all current secondary pupils will have left school.

The party said its analysis of figures on take-up of the Government’s flagship national tutoring programme (NTP) show that whilst Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged that pupils would receive 100 million hours of tutoring within three years, this target would not be met for five and a half years, when current secondary pupils will have left school.

The party’s analysis of the figures showed that in the 2021/22 academic year, where 1,197,332 tuition courses of 15 hours had been started, this equated to 17,959,980 hours this year, meaning that at current rates the 100 million hours target will be met in more than five years.

The Conservatives have ducked this generational challenge, leaving children, parents and teachers to pick up the pieces once again

Stephen Morgan, shadow schools minister

Shadow schools minister Stephen Morgan said: “This Government’s farcical failure to help children recover lost learning threatens to limit their opportunities for decades to come.

“Millions of children will have left school before the Government delivers the support it promised. The Conservatives have ducked this generational challenge, leaving children, parents and teachers to pick up the pieces once again.

“Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan would be delivering small group tutoring for all who need it, quality mental health support in every school and new before and afterschool activities for all children after the isolation of lockdowns.

“It’s high time this Government matched Labour’s ambitions for our children’s futures.”

These projections don’t stand up

Department for Education spokesperson

Data published by the Government last week showed that, as of May 8, 165,230 out of 524,000 courses had begun through the NTP tuition partners pillar of the programme overseen by human resources company Randstad, while the academic mentors pillar, also managed by Randstad, had reached 45% of its target.

Randstad has lost the overall contract for next year, with tuition funding going directly to schools through the schools-led tutoring route, where take-up has been much higher.

Critics from schools and tuition providers have said the company’s systems were “dysfunctional”, leading to low uptake across the country.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “These projections don’t stand up; they are based on an academic year which hasn’t even finished. The national tutoring programme has already delivered 1.5 million tutoring courses, with 1.2 million courses starting in this academic year alone.

“From next year the national tutoring programme will be simplified, with all funding being provided directly to schools, and funding to support education recovery in secondary schools will double.”

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