Tutor Trust - Affordable Tutoring (re-grant)
This page covers the effectiveness trial of Tutor Trust, which tested the programme under everyday conditions in a large number of schools. To read about the first trial of the programme - click here.
The Tutor Trust provides affordable tuition to primary and secondary schools by recruiting and training university students as paid tutors. This project aimed to improve the maths attainment of Year 6 pupils (aged 10–11) in disadvantaged schools who were working below age-expected levels. Children received 12 hours of tuition, usually one hour per week for 12 weeks in groups of three, during the school day.
Affordable one-to-one and small group tuition in maths and English
The York Trials Unit
Organising your school
There is good evidence that one-to-one and small group tuition can have a positive impact on attainment. However, the cost can be high. The EEF funded this project because Tutor Trust offers a way of providing high quality tuition to schools at a competitive rate.
This trial found that children who received tutoring from Tutor Trust made three months’ additional progress, with attainment measured using Key Stage 2 maths scores. While there is some uncertainty around the size of the impact, it appears that the tutoring led to benefits for the children in this study. Exploratory analysis suggested that the approach may be particularly beneficial for children eligible for Free School Meals, and those with lower prior attainment.
Maintaining continuity between classroom teaching and tutoring sessions was seen to be critical to successful delivery. This required effective communication between the class teacher and tutor, particularly regarding specific vocabulary and methods of teaching key mathematical concepts.
Children who received tutoring from Tutor Trust made three months’ additional progress compared to children in control schools. There was a 0.19 effect size benefit which was not statistically significant (95% CI -0.05 to 0.44). This finding has a high security rating.
Among children eligible for free school meals, those who received tutoring made three months’ additional progress compared to FSM children in control schools. The observed effect was 0.25 (95% CI -0.02 to 0.51) but not statistically significant (p = 0.06). There was also evidence that pupils of lower prior attainment tended to benefit more from the tutoring. These analyses are exploratory, but together suggest that the approach may be particularly beneficial for disadvantaged pupils.
The primary result and that for the FSM subgroup were not statistically significant. This means that if the intervention has no impact then the probability that we would have observed an effect size as large as the one found is greater than 5%.However, in both cases this probability was fairly low (10% and 6%, respectively). This, combined with the effect sizes and the high security rating does give some evidence that small group tutoring led to benefits for the children in this study.
Tutored pupils and their teachers consistently reported increased pupil confidence. Some extremely positive examples of tutoring were observed where productive relationships had been developed between tutors and tutees. Teachers reported that they valued the presence of an additional adult to support pupils with their maths and KS2 preparation.
Good communication with tutors, particularly about the language and approaches used to teach key concepts, was a challenge for some schools. There were some weaknesses in tutors’ subject knowledge for the KS2 maths curriculum, which might be mitigated by further training and testing.
Full project description
The Tutor Trust is a Manchester-based charity that aims to provide affordable small group and one-to-one tuition to primary and secondary schools. It recruits and trains university students and recent graduates as paid tutors, which enables it to provide tuition at a competitive rate. This project aimed to use Tutor Trust tuition to improve the maths attainment of pupils in Year 6 (aged 10–11) who were working below age-expected levels in maths, as identified by their class teachers. Children received 12 hours of tuition, usually one hour per week for 12 weeks. Schools had flexibility over the timing of sessions and group size. The vast majority of schools opted for pupils to be tutored in groups of three, and for sessions to take place during school hours.
One hundred and five schools in Manchester and Leeds participated in this effectiveness trial from September 2016 until July 2017. Schools in the trial had twice the national average of pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM). Tuition was delivered between January and May 2017. The programme was evaluated using a randomised controlled trial design, comparing children working below age-expected levels in maths across treatment and control schools. Of a total of 4,436 Year 6 pupils, 1,290 were identified by their teachers to receive the tutoring, should their school be allocated to the intervention group. Attainment was measured using Key Stage 2 (KS2) maths scores. Observations, interviews, teacher surveys, and pupil focus groups were conducted to explore how the programme was implemented and to obtain feedback from participants. The trial was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).