In an act of support for private tutors, and a means for upholding quality education for students, Founder of Tutors International, Adam Caller, endorses the Change.Org petition calling for a public enquiry into the National Tutoring Programme’s management.
OXFORD, UK: On 19th March 2021, Tutors International published a release issuing comment on the news that the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) were short-changing private tutors. Founder of Tutors International, Adam Caller, solicited a call to action for an officialised tutoring qualification. In response to this release, Vice President of the Tutors’ Association, Lucy Spencer, started a petition calling for Parliament to initiate a public enquiry into the management of the NTP.
Spencer details the ongoing issues in the petition’s blurb:
“The National Tutoring Programme Phase 1, managed by The Education Endowment Fund and Nesta, has excluded reputable tutors and tuition providers from taking part. It’s been exposed that one of the 32 NTP providers has been using 17-year-old Sri Lankan students, paid as little as £1.57 per hour (less than 15% of the cost of the tutorials charged to schools). Rather than remove them as a provider, the NTP has issued a statement of support saying that, from now, all contractors will be 18. It has further come to light that the company in question has been invested in on numerous occasions by Nesta and that in 2016, EEF impact studies found no impact from the provision offered by Third Space Learning.
“Another provider, Pearson, who have no history of providing tuition, were accepted as a provider. The CEO of the EEF, Becky Francis was a non-exec Director of Pearson at this time. On behalf of the Tutors’ Association, I am lobbying to get a public inquiry into the management during the first phase to prove that it wasn't just selection by nepotistic connections, ahead of NTP phase 2.”
Tutors International’s Adam Caller has also been critical of the NTP since its inception. It appears to be failing private tutors and students alike.
When the NTP was first announced, it was vague about the criteria they were using to select providers. Mr Caller stated at the time:
“When the Government announced that they would be using “qualified tutors” to operate the NTP, I was doubtful, but above all, curious. I wanted to know where the government was going to get “qualified” tutors when there is no current qualification to be a tutor. There was mention of a training course but never any details. The use of ‘qualified’ and ‘professional’ as modifiers for tutors are notoriously wishy-washy in the world of tuition.”
Then the NTP announced that its funding was going to be stretched over two years, rather than the one that was initially promised. Since then, they have been subjected to further critique about the age, quality, and salary of the private tutors engaged by the programme.
Short-Changing Private Tutors
In a recent announcement from Tutors International, Adam Caller articulated the significant issues with the NTP’s short-changing of private tutors:
“Private Tutors willing to work for £15 an hour fall into two categories. The first is the socially conscious tutor, who will tolerate being underpaid for the sake of helping their students. The second, is a graduate or inexperienced individual, using tutoring as pocket money or a filler on their CV. Do we really want to be attracting the least qualified people to carry out the biggest educational catch-up job in history? Significantly short-changing the tutors on this programme makes the quality of tuition something of a lottery.
"It also raises questions about where that substantial mark-up is going. Realistically, it’s one of two options: either it’s simply profit for the tutoring companies, or the administrative task of carrying out the NTP is so huge that they have had to compensate for it financially. Whichever is the case, it’s inefficient and unethical. Regardless of where that money is going, crucially, it’s not going to the private tutors, and by extension, it’s not reaching the children.
“This is a symptom of rushing out a programme that had not been fully considered. The Government hired 33 companies because they each had thousands of tutors to offer. This was part of the quick-fix approach. It didn’t matter to them that the quality and experience of those tutors were unknown. The Government would have been better off hiring far more tutoring companies (rather than a handful of mass employers), and writing a qualification programme for each of those companies to distribute to the private tutors.”
Endorsing the Petition
Owing to the NTP’s lack of transparency about their selection process, their short-changing of private tutors, and their oversight of not consulting industry leaders, Adam Caller and Tutors International endorse the petition for Parliament to initiate a public enquiry into the NTP’s management.