How the National Tutoring Programme can be a powerful tool to help SEND pupils during lockdown

with Robbie Coleman, Secretariat Director, National Tutoring Programme.

You are almost certain to have heard of the National Tutoring Programme, set up to help pupils catch up after the lock coronavirus lockdown school closure of 2020. Now, here we are again in lockdown 3.0 and it is likely to double down on the damage done. This time, however, there are resources aplenty - see the ones we've gathered here. The government has also given schools guidelines for how and how much remote education should be delivered.

Technically, all children with EHCPs should be allocated an in-school place. But of course, many parents prefer to keep their child at home anyway and let's not forget most children with SEND do not have the legal protection that an Education, heath and Care Plan brings (or is supposed to bring).

So how can the National Tutoring Programme help children with SEND catch up on missed learning? Today on SNJ, Robbie Coleman, Secretariat Director of the National Tutoring Programme is here to explain more about it and how it can help. If you are a parent, please pass this on to your child's school.

What is the National Tutoring Programme & what impact has it had so far?

by Robbie Coleman, Secretariat Director of the National Tutoring Programme

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) was founded through a collaboration of five charities - the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), Sutton Trust, Impetus, Teach First and Nesta. Funded by the government, the NTP aims to directly counter some of the effects the pandemic has had on the learning for disadvantaged children in England.

Through the NTP’s 33 Tuition Partners, the NTP aims to provide high-quality and heavily subsidised tutoring to disadvantaged pupils across the country, both online and in-person. Delivery started at the beginning of November 2020 and so far, over 90,000 pupils have been enrolled. 

The impact of tutoring on learning is shown by a wealth of evidence. The EEF’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit identifies tutoring as an approach that can improve learning by, on average, five additional months’ progress over the course of a year. pilot study by the EEF has found that disadvantaged pupils can be effectively supported using one-to-one online tutoring during school closures.

With the NTP up and running, schools can now search for Tuition Partners offering tuition in their region and book in sessions for pupils at a heavily subsidised rate

How are we working in lockdown?

Despite schools' closures and the move to remote learning for a large number of pupils, the NTP will carry on providing services to disadvantaged children across the country. 

28 NTP Tuition Partners deliver tutoring online in schools with 22 of those currently approved to deliver online tuition at-home. The NTP has published guidance on at-home online tutoring (PDF), to support schools in this period. As well as this, where possible and where it is safe to do so, the NTP will carry on delivering in-person tutoring to those who remain in school during lockdown. This means a large majority of our support will still be available to those who need it. 

What can the NTP offer to those with specialised SEND provision? 

We have a significant proportion of tutoring places available for pupils with SEND. 26 of our 33 providers are able to support students with SEND, with 17 of these also able to support students in special school settings.

One of those providers is Targeted Provision who deliver 1:1 tutoring exclusively to pupils with additional educational needs. We want to make sure that the SEND offer through the NTP has something to work for every student who needs extra support.

The NTP story from those who have experienced it

As the NTP continues its journey we have been listening to the different stories of schools who have accessed our services. The Duchess’s Community High School is a rural school in Alnwick, Northumberland with a catchment area comparable to the size of Greater London. They have 229 pupils that are identified as having SEND. Assistant Head, Diane Murphy, explains how her school is using online tuition from MyTutor to help pupils who need extra support and those with SEND:

"I signed up for updates when the NTP was first announced in the summer. When it came to the 2nd November, we were ready to see who the providers were. We are using the subsidised tuition to support some of our SEND cohort. 

"I don’t think we could have done it without the subsidy. The subsidy made it a no-brainer. MyTutor has a facility where we can let them know what our pupils’ needs are, and they feed in strategies that help to support that student as well. So the tutor then decides, with support from ourselves, how best to approach the learning for that particular individual.

"With My Tutor, the students get the opportunity to spend some time, in a much smaller group, to really think about how they are doing and focus on their learning. It really gives them the grounding and the confidence they need."

Diane Murphy, Assistant Head, The Duchess’s Community High School

Schools can contact the NTP directly through our email address on and schools can book tutoring sessions through our website -

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Tania Tirraoro

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