Friday Five: tutoring, teacher recruitment and retention, private school taxes, widening participation, and youth social action


14th July 2023

1. Experts oppose government’s plan to end funding for the National Tutoring Programme

The creation of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) and the Tuition Fund have enabled schools and colleges to offer tutoring to pupils at an unprecedented scale across England. Research conducted by Public First analyses people’s perception of the value of tutoring to find that it is hugely popular with parents and students. 77% of parents polled supported an increase in tutoring provision; 81% of parents said tutoring should be available to every child; and 89% of parents supported tutoring for all children who fall behind in their learning. 

In view of the government’s plan to end funding for the National Tutoring Programme, a coalition of organisations led by charities Impetus, Action Tutoring, The Tutor Trust and Get Further are asking for the government instead to scale up and implement the learning from the National Tutoring Programme, targeted at pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, who need the most support. The demand is supported by senior figures including England’s Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel De Souza, Chair of the Education Select Committee Robin Walker MP, former Education Secretary the Rt Hon. Lord Blunkett and Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, Munira Wilson MP, who are calling for 10 million hours of tutoring to be funded over the next parliament to narrow the widening attainment gap and support young people’s declining mental health.

Read the full report here

2. NFER’s report forecasts the impact of different pay offers on teacher recruitment and retention

This research by the National Foundation for Educational Research aims to inform policymakers’ thinking by providing detailed analysis of a range of teacher pay and financial incentive policy options, with consideration of their likely impacts on recruitment and retention. Their analysis suggests that the School Teachers’ Review Body’s recommendation of a 6.5% increase in teacher pay for the year 2023/24 is likely to have a more positive impact on supply of teachers as compared to other proposals put forward by the Department for Education. However, over the longer-term, the analysis shows that even a pay award of 6.5% is unlikely to make a highly significant difference to the overall supply picture on its own, prompting the need for a wider strategy for improving recruitment and retention that is based on a long-term plan to continue to improve the competitiveness of teacher pay and/or financial incentives, action to improve the non-financial attractiveness of teaching, or a combination of both.

The report also lays out a number of different pay policy options for 2024/25 and beyond. Researchers consider the costs, impacts and implications of three packages – ‘balanced’, ‘bold’ and ‘adventurous’ – that combine different approaches to pay and early career payments, and with bursaries topped up to support under-recruiting subjects to reach their respective targets. The analysis suggests that all three scenarios represent high impact at a relatively modest cost. The report makes a number of recommendations including the need for the government to develop a long-term pay plan, re-designing the ‘levelling up premium’ to improve its impact, for political parties to make teacher pay plans part of their 2024 election manifesto, and for the DfE to publish data on forecasted teacher supply impact of its pay and financial incentive proposals.

Read the full report here

3. IfS investigates private school fees, state school pending, and Labour’s proposals to remove private school tax exemptions.

With Labour’s pledge to remove tax exemptions from private schools, including levying VAT on private school fees, the IfS looks at the likely impact these proposals will have in terms of tax revenue and school funding.

They find that in 2022/23, average private school feels were £15,200, nearly 90% higher than state school spending per pupil – meaning this gap has more than doubled since 2010. Despite a 20% real-terms increase in average private school fees since 2010, the share of UK pupils in private schools has remained around 6-7%.

So what Labour’s removal of tax exemptions mean for public finances? The IfS estimate that removing exemptions would raise about £1.6bn a year in revenue. They note that if higher school fees (caused by adding VAT to fees)  reduced demand, this would not affect tax revenue raised – as parents/carers would be spending money on other goods and services. If this higher demand results in a reduction in private school attendance, this will mean increased demand for state school places, associated with ~£100-300m in extra school spending.

The result of all this would be a £1.3-1.5bn per year increase in the medium to long run, allowing for about a 2% increase in state school spending in England. The authors acknowledge that there are some sources of uncertainty regarding these estimates, such as the heterogeneity of the private school sector and the fact that with pupil numbers in England set to decline, it is possible that the state sector could easily accommodate any extra pupils that would otherwise be in the private sector.

Read the report here.

4. Widening Participation stats show increased higher education progression but a persistent disadvantage gap

New widening participation data reveals an increase in the progression rate to HE by age 19. 46.8% of pupils in state-funded schools at age 15 moved on to HE in 2021/22, compared to 44.4% in the previous year. Moreover, progression rates for pupils eligible for FSM increased to 29.2% for HE and 5.3% to high-tariff HE – both the highest rates recorded. That said, gaps in progression between those eligible and ineligible for FSM grew to 20.2 percentage points – also the highest on record.

As covered in FE News, there wasalso great variation by region and local authority, with the progression rate for FSM-eligible pupils in Inner London at 29.2% compared to under a fifth in the South West. Moreover, 15 LAs in London had over 50% of FSM eligible pupils progressing to HE while over a quarter of LAs across the country had fewer than one in five pupils progressing.

Steve Haines of Impetus celebrated more young people going to university but noted that those from disadvantaged backgrounds are “20 years behind in terms of their better-off peers” when it comes to access.

Read the FE News coverage here

Access the statistics here..

5. RSA report posits that youth social action has ‘triple benefit’

This research report by the Royal Society of Arts, draws upon 10 case studies to highlight effective work that teachers are doing to facilitate youth social action, and draws out practical advice and inspiration. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative data, the authors suggest that youth social action has a ‘triple benefit’ which positively impacts communities, educators, and pupils equally. Over 60% of educators surveyed in this research agree that teaching and non-teaching staff benefit from supporting youth social action, and 62% of educators think youth social action can help to build positive community-wide relationships. 

The report outlines eight key findings for how educators are embedding youth social action in their practice. 

  1. Schools are doing youth social action without knowing it. 
  2. Youth social action projects can start small and scale up. 
  3. Levels of pupil participation can develop over time. 
  4. External connections and partnerships are powerful. 
  5. Curriculum connections are even more powerful. 
  6. Authenticity is key. 
  7. Schools are part of the community. 
  8. Senior leadership team support is vital for embedding youth social action.

Read the full report here