TTA's View on the Latest Report from the Sutton Trust - Sep '17

The latest report from the Sutton Trust, ‘Extra Time’ https// makes interesting reading. It clearly indicates that private tuition, in all forms, is still increasing. It also suggests that those from disadvantaged backgrounds are less than half as likely to have received private tuition compared with their more well-off counterparts. This clearly impacts on social mobility.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including:
· Implementing a means-tested voucher scheme for tuition
The government should introduce a means-tested voucher system, funded through the Pupil Premium, enabling lower income families to purchase additional educational support.
· Encouraging best practice for private tuition companies
Some private tuition companies provide a certain proportion of their tuition to disadvantaged students pro bono, in an effort to make tuition widely accessible – such best practice should be encouraged as widely as possible in order to combat the role of tutoring in increasing educational inequalities.
· Establishing a ‘highly able fund’ to support high attainers who can’t afford extra tuition
High attaining pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds receive less support than those from well-off backgrounds in danger of slipping back. The government should establish a dedicated fund to trial the most effective support for high achieving but less well-off pupils to reach their full potential.
· Ensuring grammar school tests do not disadvantage low-income students by providing a minimum ten hours test preparation for all pupils
28% of private tuition is for grammar school tests. So long as those who can afford private tutors are paying to ensure their children do well in grammar school tests, it is vital that there are opportunities for all applicants. There should be a minimum of ten hours test preparation support provided on a free or subsidised basis to all potential grammar school applicants to help level the playing field.

The first two of these suggestions are not new - and indeed we supported them in an open letter to the Trust’s Chairman Sir Peter Lampl a year ago. The full text of the letter is here but, to quote from the letter,

'Bright children need stretching to achieve their full potential, and The Tutors’ Association stands whole-heartedly behind the need to make private tuition available to all those who will benefit from it – whatever their social or economic background.

A number of our members already try to assist by providing subsidised tuition to families who would otherwise not be able to afford it, but an initiative on a grander scale is required to reach all of those who would benefit from it.
A voucher-type system as suggested by Sir Peter and the Sutton Trust would be a substantial step forward.'
We still hold the same position and support the additional ideas in the latest report.

We would welcome our members’ views on these - or any other initiatives they might like to suggest - that can assist with giving equality of opportunity to children from all backgrounds that will help them to achieve their full potential.
It would also be helpful to know how many of you are already participating in initiatives that are designed to help those from less advantaged backgrounds. Please let us have your stories.

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