A reaction to the DoE’s Independent Review of Tutoring in Schools: Phase 2


In October, the Government published an independent review of tutoring in schools. This was phase 2 of their tutoring review as commissioned by the Department for Education, to help identify how well tutoring is supplementing classroom practice and helping pupils catch up following the pandemic.

Tutoring has always been recognised as an effective tool for boosting student performance, and this review reaffirms its importance.

As the review highlights, while traditional classroom teaching is vital, targeted interventions like tutoring can provide much-needed additional support for those students who require it most.

One crucial aspect highlighted in the review is the integration of tutoring into school systems. Schools that have successfully embraced tutoring ensure that it is aligned with the  curriculum and builds upon students’ prior knowledge, if any. Some students may not have prior knowledge due to missed learning, whether that be through sickness or the Covid-19 pandemic. Other students may have gaps in their knowledge. This integration allows students to receive targeted assistance that reinforces their classroom learning, enhancing overall academic progress.

To derive maximum benefits from tutoring, it is essential to incorporate core principles from research literature. The review emphasises that small group sizes, consistent tutors, and frequent sessions are vital for effective tutoring. At TLC LIVE, we understand the significance of these factors, which is why we provide high-quality tutoring for schools delivered by qualified UK teachers. These experienced teaching professionals develop strong relationships with students, creating a safe and judgment-free environment for them to ask questions, seek clarification, and thrive academically.

The review also highlights the role of teaching assistants in primary schools and qualified teachers in secondary schools as providers of tutoring. While teaching assistants play a crucial part in ensuring students receive support, there is a significant difference in outcomes between sessions with qualified teachers and those with teaching assistants. Qualified teachers use their experience and expertise to ensure students can progress in different ways, be it scaffolding (breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps,), adapting (personalising content to fit a certain learning type), or stretching (challenging more-able learners).

It’s heartening to note that the perceived impact of tutoring, as reported by leaders, tutors, and students, remains overwhelmingly positive. Furthermore, students expressed their enjoyment of tutoring sessions and highlighted the additional support they received. These sessions fostered a safe space where students felt confident asking questions and making mistakes, ultimately improving their confidence and resilience beyond academic performance.

The review also sheds light on the challenges faced by schools implementing remote tutoring through tuition partner routes. Poor communication, a lack of lesson planning and little control regards tutor selection pose significant concerns. We totally agree and it is why we assess each student on an individual basis for strengths and weaknesses and agree a tuition focus with the student’s teacher, all before delivering any sessions. We then provide the teacher and the school with assessment feedback that measures the pupil’s attainment progress in the agreed focus areas. Through our platform, schools can maintain close collaboration with tutors, ensuring that tutoring aligns with the national curriculum while keeping students engaged and focused.

While the review acknowledges the variable quality of tutoring across the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), it also recognises schools’ preference for using qualified teachers as tutors – this principle is what our whole business is based on.

We’re proud that even though NTP funding has been reduced, we have schools coming back to us who originally found us via the scheme, to book tutoring sessions using alternative budgets. It is crucial to acknowledge that the right tutoring remains a valuable investment, providing boosts to student catch-up and increasing confidence in the participants.

If you would like to find out more, get in touch with us today.

By Ryan Lockett, director of studies at TLC LIVE