Online Tuition Pilot

This pilot project is a collaboration between the EEF, Impetus, The Sutton Trust and Nesta. It is being co-funded by the EEF, alongside Wellcome Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Hg Foundation, the Dulverton Trust, the Inflexion Foundation and other funders. The pilot will offer tutoring to up to 1,600 pupils in disadvantaged communities over the coming weeks, and four different models will be tested:

  • Action Tutoring will pilot online tuition in core subjects using structured workbooks, for up to 100 students in Years 6 and 10 in three cities;
  • MyTutor, an established online tuition platform, using handpicked undergraduate tutors to provide live, interactive one-to-one tuition supporting up to 1,000 pupils in years 10/11;
  • The Access Project will support 440 students in Years 10/11 and Years 12/13 who would normally receive face-to-face tuition through a new online model; and 
  • Tutor Trust will adapt their small-group tuition model, and offer one-to-one online tutoring for 100 students in Years 5 and 10 across Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Leeds.

Online Tuition Pilot

Online Tuition Pilot

lock Pilot Study

Online tutoring pilot to test how effectively disadvantaged students can be reached through online tutoring during the period of Covid-19 school closures.

Progress: 80%
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Why are we funding it?

There is extensive high-quality evidence demonstrating the potential of one-to-one and small-group tuition as a cost-effective way to support pupils who are falling behind. The Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit suggests it can boost progress by up to +5 months. Randomised controlled trials funded by the EEF have also found positive effects for a range of tuition models. For example, the independent evaluation of the Tutor Trust model, which trains university students and recent graduates as tutors in local schools, found it boosted Year 6 (10-11 year olds) pupils’ maths scores by an additional +3 months. The prevalence of private tuition in England is also well-documented. In 2019, 34% of children from richer homes had received private tuition, compared to 20% from poorer homes (Sutton Trust, 2019).

While there is strong evidence that face-to-face tuition is a highly effective approach to help pupils catch up, less is known about how to deliver online tuition to pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, whether this is effective, and under what conditions it can be delivered well.

How are we evaluating it?

NatCen has been appointed as the independent evaluator on this project. The evaluation will aim to provide feedback on identified barriers as the project progresses, allowing delivery organisations to respond to these and adapt delivery as required. As well as providing formative feedback throughout the piloting period, the evaluation would also provide learnings that could inform any future larger scale-up of online tutoring for disadvantaged pupils.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in January 2021.