Earlier in the year the Government announced that they would be investing £350million into the National Tutoring Programme during the academic year 2020/21. The idea was for this Covid ‘catch-up’ package to help with the impact of lost teaching time. However, the Government has now broken this promise and has said this investment will now cover two years of tutoring instead.
This delay is likely to have disastrous consequences, making the attainment gap even larger than it currently is. Urgent investment is needed not only to help students catch up, but also to ensure those that are self-isolating have the equipment and technology they need in order to learn remotely.
Online Tutoring Helped The Disadvantaged
As we have seen during this year, distance learning courses have become extremely popular with many staff furloughed and having extra time on their hands. Online learning has also been a powerful tool for children affected by school closures, mainly due to the one-to-one support that they have received. The flexibility to learn at their own pace has also been a huge advantage.
With the pandemic showing very little signs of easing, this new way of learning could be here to stay. By giving students the right tools and equipment, a recent study has shown that high-quality tutoring can deliver five months of progress on learning. The delay with this cash injection could therefore be hindering the progress of students even further.
Benefits of Online Tutoring
Not only has online tutoring helped to increase the speed at which students are learning, there have been lots of other benefits too. Students have been able to receive personalised intervention in those subjects that they struggle with, helping to increase their engagement. This has not only improved their grades, but also given them a confidence boost.
Another school leader who had students that took part in the recent study concluded that tailoring the tutoring specifically to the needs of each child helped. Not only was learning made more relevant, it helped to increase engagement through the one-on-one support.
Online Is The Future
Until social distancing measures are relaxed, online tutoring and online learning offer a much more flexible way to provide learning to both children and adults nationally. The National Tutoring Programme is going to be essential in providing the support both students and teachers need during the next academic year. It is just unfortunate that this funding is now going to be spread across a longer timeframe so not all those who need this support will receive it immediately.