The National Online Tuition Pilot aimed to support disadvantaged pupils by providing fully subsidised tuition during the summer of 2020, during and following the Covid-19 school ‘closures’. The pilot was delivered by four established tutoring organisations (Action Tutoring, MyTutor, The Access Project and Tutor Trust) and reached 1,425 learners in 65 schools. In total, over 9,800 tuition sessions were delivered between 15 June and 28 October 2020.
This pilot was a collaboration between the EEF, Impetus, The Sutton Trust and Nesta. It was co-funded by the EEF, alongside Wellcome Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Hg Foundation, Porticus UK, the Dulverton Trust, the Inflexion Foundation and other funders. The aim of the pilot was to establish the feasibility of supporting disadvantaged pupils through online tuition during the 2020 school closures.
Overall, the evaluation of the pilot found that delivering online tuition during partial school ‘closures’ was feasible. Learners enjoyed the tuition and there were perceived benefits for learning.Relationships were crucial in supporting take-up andengagement,and investing time in building rapport helped tutors to motivate learners and tailor the support
Access to equipment and reliable internet connections were key barriers to participation, particularly for home-based learners. Online tuition did lack some of the benefits of in-person delivery, and tutors found it more challenging to build rapport with learners online, wheretechnical challenges risked disrupting delivery.
- Delivering online tuition during the school ‘closures’ was feasible. Reach was high considering the circumstances and providers, schools, tutors, and learners quickly adapted to what was a new learning model for most.
- Learners enjoyed the tuition and there were perceived benefits for learning. All stakeholder groups felt that learners benefited from the tailored support. They saw improvements in learners’ confidence, engagement with education, and preparedness for the new school year.
- Relationships were crucial in supporting take-up and engagement. Investing time in building rapport helped tutors to motivate learners and tailor the support. Providers and school staff worked to identify the best ways to secure parents’ and learners’ buy-in, but were unable to reach all families during the school ‘closures’.
- Access to equipment and reliable internet connections were key barriers to participation, particularly for home-based learners. Solutions included providing equipment and inviting learners to take part at school.
- Online tuition lacked some of the benefits of in-person delivery. While the offer of online tuition was highly attractive during the Covid-19 pandemic, most learners would prefer in-person tutoring if given the choice. Tutors found it more challenging to build rapport with learners online and technical challenges risked disrupting delivery.