Unfair to make schools accountable for failure of government scheme

Community, the union for education and early years professionals, has expressed its concerns at government plans to publish new ‘tutoring league tables’ – a move seen as an attempt to ‘name and shame’ schools in England that have not yet signed up to the National Tutoring Programme.

According to a letter to heads from Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, urging  remaining schools “to participate”, the “data of each school’s involvement” will be published in the autumn as part of the government’s “pledge to parents”; schools that have not signed up will be contacted directly by the Department for Education (DfE) to “discuss their plans”, while data on take-up will also be passed to Ofsted.

Martin Hodge, Community’s Head of Education Policy, said:

“The ‘parent pledge’ is being used unfairly to hold schools accountable for something over which they have no control – the failure of the government’s tutoring scheme, which it contracted Randstad to run in 2021 before announcing earlier this year that the contact with the company would be ended.

“School staff have continued to work throughout the pandemic.  They have asked for help and funding to support recovery – help that has not been given.

“The support that has been offered – tutors – has come with caveats and a heavy steer to use one of the government’s preferred providers, despite there being no control over the quality of the tuition.

“Where tutors have been employed directly by schools, they have proved to be remarkably effective, but most of the tutoring money was intended to be used to fund private tuition partners – something over which schools had no control – and yet they are now being implored to use these partners before the funding runs out.

“Any unused funding is expected to be returned to the DfE, and, in an unexpected and deplorable twist, schools will be held accountable for the effectiveness of the provision.”

If you are a member of Community and need help or advice, please contact us at help@community-tu.org or on 0800 389 6332.

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