News | Published September 26 2019

27% of secondary school pupils have private tutor

A social-mobility charity has called on the government to do more to ensure disadvantaged families have access to private tutoring. 

The Sutton Trust said many parents “can’t afford” sessions, with most private tutors charging a minimum of £25 a session.

According to research published by the charity, just over a quarter of secondary school pupils in England and Wales have received private tuition.

27 per cent of the 2,800 11 to 16-year-olds questioned said they have had private tuition. 

This is up compared with 18 per cent who said the same in 2005, but down slightly from a 30 per cent peak in 2017.

The report warns richer families might be given an unfair advantage, as extra lessons can influence exam results.

The highest numbers of families paying for private tuition are based in London, with 41 per cent of secondary pupils getting extra lessons outside of school. 

Most private tutors were hired to help with a specific GCSE exam and “schoolwork in general”.

The Sutton Trust is calling on the government to introduce means-tested vouchers to help lower-income families access private tuition.

Sir Peter Lampl, the Sutton Trust founder and chair, said: “Private tuition is widespread. About 27 per cent of teenagers have been tutored, rising to 41 per cent in London. A quarter of teachers have provided tutoring. With costs of at least £25 per session, many parents cannot afford it.

“The government should look at introducing a means-tested voucher scheme to enable lower-income families to provide tuition for their children. Schools should also consider the implications of teachers offering paid tuition outside of lessons and how this is promoted in school.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We have invested an extra £2.4 billion this year alone through the pupil premium and schools have flexibility over how they use this funding, which can include providing one-to-one or small-group tuition to ensure disadvantaged pupils get the extra support they need.

“While we believe families should not have to pay for private tuition – and with standards rising in schools we believe in most cases private tuition to be unnecessary – it has always been part of the system and parents have the freedom to do this.”

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Authored by

Joshua Sandiford
Junior Political Editor
September 26 2019

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