The agency running the National Tutoring Program (NTP) has been scrapped and the government will be forced to climb on its flagship scheme, which will now be amended instead of the funds going directly to schools.
Labor has accused the government of squandering millions of pounds of public money, and said the NTP restructuring announced on Thursday was “too short, too late, too much for the baby.”
Ministers consider the NTP to be the crown jewel of the government’s bn 5bn post-epidemic education recovery program. However, it has been the target of widespread criticism since Randstad, the company chosen to deliver it, had multiple problems with delivery and had a remarkably low participation rate in some areas.
After months of discussions with stakeholders, the Secretary of Education, Nadeem Zahwei, has promised a new “simplified” structure to provide as many students as possible with additional teaching opportunities in England.
In a significant U-turn, all of the £ 349m tutoring funding for the 2022-23 academic year will now go directly to schools so they can arrange their own arrangements – something that head teachers have been calling for from the beginning.
Under its current £ 32m agreement, outsourcing multinational Randstad plays a central role in NTP distribution, linking schools to approved tuition providers through a platform that is fraught with problems. It has a “one year, plus one year, plus one year” agreement with the government, which will now be terminated at the end of the first year.
Under the new system, schools will be given the freedom to decide how to provide the best tutoring for their children, which may include one-on-one or small group tutoring through a teacher or teacher assistant or continuing to work with external tutoring specialists and educators. Consultant
The Department for Education (DfE) will launch a procurement process in April for a new supplier for many small contracts, focusing on quality assurance, hiring and hiring academic consultants, and training schools to help them make the best use of their funds. . Randstad may decide to bid for a new contract.
The move, first published by School Week, was well received in the sector. “This is a welcome reset from NTP and thanks to Jahoi for listening,” said a relieved NTP delivery partner.
Regarding direct funding for the school, Geoff Burton, general secretary of the School and College Leaders’ Association, added: “We’ve argued since the beginning of the program that this should be the case.”
Jahoi told Schools Week that he did not think it was wrong to hire Randstad. “You turn something, you scale it, and then you start circling back and say, OK, how can I refine it? And that’s what we’re doing.”
But labor was harmful. “Conservative flagship tutoring programs have failed our kids and wasted millions of pounds of public money,” said Bridget Phillipson, shadow education secretary. “The education secretary is finally catching up but it’s too late, too late, for too many kids.”
The announcement comes as new figures confirm a lower participation rate, with only 14% of schools in the UK accessing tutoring through the Randstad program this academic year, compared to 53% of schools offering tuition through a school-led tuition route introduced last year. Overall, less than 60% of schools have participated in NTP since September.
Announcing the overhaul, Jahui said NTP schools have been transformed into a way to provide support to the students most in need, with 1.2 million courses launched since the program began.
“It’s the teachers and schools who know their students best, so we’re building on the success of school-led tutoring so far – with evidence as our watchword – to provide quality tutoring so that as many children and young people as possible can feel the benefits.” “
Commons Education Committee Chairman Robert Halfon welcomed the move: “The distribution of Randstad’s national tutoring program is particularly worrying.”
Randstad’s NTP director, Karen Guthrie, said: “We have been lobbying DfE and ministers for some time to simplify program access rules and funding standards, and we are pleased that our recommendations are being implemented for next year.
“We are committed to the policy of the program and its distribution and still have an important work to do for the rest of this year. Randstad will look to continue his relationship with DfE if we believe it is in the best interests of the program and those who are benefiting from it. “