Growing numbers of school pupils get private tuition, finds Sutton Trust

By agency reporter
July 19, 2018

Over a quarter (27 per cent) of secondary school pupils in England and Wales have had private tuition, a figure that rises to 41 per cent for pupils in London. This is according to new polling published by the Sutton Trust.

These new figures, taken from the latest annual Sutton Trust / Ipsos MORI poll of 2,381 11 – 16 year olds in state schools across England and Wales, highlight the growing prevalence of private tuition in the past thirteen years. In 2005, 18 per cent of young people had received tuition, compared to 27 per cent in 2018. In London, 34 per cent of pupils received private or home tuition in 2005, compared to 41 per cent this year.

Over one in 10 (11 per cent) pupils of the pupils polled his year said they had had extra tuition this year (2018), while a similar proportion (10 per cent) reported having had private tuition in 2017.

The pupils were asked why they had received private or home tuition.  Almost half (47 per cent) said the main reason was to help them with their work in general, while a third (33 per cent) said they have had private or home tuition to help them do well in a specific GCSE exam. Just over one in four (27 per cent) said their extra tuition was to help them do well in a school entrance exam, a rise from 18 per cent in 2016.

According to the Sutton Trust / EEF Toolkit, one-on-one tuition can boost learning by five additional months. With the typical cost of private tutoring about £24 per hour excluding commission, £27 per hour in London, the Sutton Trust is concerned that the growing private tuition market is further exacerbating educational inequalities.

The Trust recommends that the Government should introduce a means tested voucher system as part of the pupil premium through which lower income families could purchase additional educational support. Evidence from the Education Endowment Foundation shows that good teaching skills are crucial in improving the attainment of disadvantaged students, so it is vital that the quality of provision is high. Tutors should be experienced and well-qualified.

The Trust is also recommending that more private tuition agencies provide a certain proportion of their tuition to disadvantaged pupils for free, as well as an expansion of non-profit and state tuition programmes that connect tutors with disadvantaged schools. Agencies like Tutorfair, MyTutor and Tutor Trust operate innovative models in this area.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said, “Our polling shows that private tuition has become much more common in London over the past decade. The fact that it’s predominantly used to help children do well in a specific test or exam means that those who can afford it are able to give their children a significant advantage over those that cannot. If we are serious about social mobility, we need to make sure that the academic playing field is levelled outside of the school gate by the state providing funding for private tuition on a means-tested basis.”

* The Sutton Trust


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