Quality Assurance underpins England’s ambitious Covid recovery plan to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of children

Posted by Mat Kirby

Developed as part of the UK Government’s ambitious Covid recovery plan, the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) is supporting pupils across England to get back on track following the disruption caused by the pandemic. It forms part of the Schools White Paper pledge to offer high-quality support to any child that falls behind in English and maths.

The 1.8 million courses, started between 1 September 2021 and 26 June 2022, demonstrate the huge value of the programme and the resilience of schools, teachers and young people, in the context of disruption to pupil and staff attendance over the winter, amidst the Omicron wave.


A new operating model to enhance delivery and quality

As the programme heads into its third year, the operating model has been updated and will now see funding go directly to schools, making it easier than ever before for pupils to access tutoring sessions. Three partners - Tribal Group, Education Development Trust, and Cognition Education - will take over from the previous sole contractor responsible for the ongoing delivery.

Tribal Group’s specific role as Quality Assurance Partner will see us support schools by quality assuring Tuition Partners. This will ensure schools can have confidence in the quality of tutoring provided by Tuition Partners that are involved in the programme.

“Building on what has already been learned in the first two years of the NTP, we will be working closely with school leaders, the tutoring sector and the DfE to put in place a new system for selecting and monitoring Tuition Partners, which ensures high standards across the country.”
- Kathryn Harris-Gurner, Head of Operations, Tribal Group

To achieve this, Tribal will co-construct the quality framework, in collaboration with Tuition Partners and education influencers, so all stakeholders have a really clear idea of what is meant by quality of tutoring. Through this, and with our appropriate challenge and support, we expect to shift the window on tutoring quality; to see the minimum expectation of good tutoring rise, eradicating poor quality provision; and for the bar to rise more generally – delivering better tutoring in schools across the country. Additionally, we are also looking at improving market access with there being a much clearer understanding of what it takes to be a good Tuition Partner, and creating networks to support the expanded provision of existing strong Tuition Partners to increase the breadth of the tutoring offering across the country.


Trusted partner for strategic programmes globally

Any large-scale, ambitious programme naturally comes with inherent challenges, but the fact remains that, delivered effectively, the NTP has the potential to change hundreds of thousands of lives. This drive to empower education to positively impact all learners, underpins our entire ethos at Tribal and is borne out in our work with Governments and Departments of Education around the world.

In the US, Tribal continues to work with the New York State Education Department (NYSED) as they have done since October 2013. Tribal School Support Partners work with NYSED’s Field Support Team in providing a range of support models for CSI (Comprehensive Support and Improvement) schools and professional learning opportunities. In other states across the country, we direct the program for initial teacher licensing in Massachusetts, support the Louisiana State Department of Education in their quality reviews of all teacher preparation providers, monitor district and school progress through federal funding for Utah State and are selected leadership development coaches for the Arizona Department of Education.

In the Middle East we have worked with the Ministry of Education Bahrain to develop a systematic and sustainable school improvement strategy that supports all government schools to develop school leadership and governance that focuses on teaching and learning to improve student outcomes. And in Abu Dhabi we have supported the development of review and monitoring services for schools since 2008, as well as conducting a series of the thematic reviews on all aspects of the education reform process including the expansion of the new school models.

Our co-delivery of the UK’s National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) since 2006 supports access to high-quality continuing professional development (CPD) for all teachers of mathematics, and promotes teaching for mastery in around 9,000 schools through over 40 local Maths Hubs. And more recently, Tribal was selected by the Department for Education to provide quality assurance of the new gold-standard National Professional Qualifications (NPQ), ensure qualifications are independently verified, nationally consistent, and of the highest quality across the country.

So, we’re confident our world-beating expertise, structures, procedures, and governance, alongside a collaborative approach to working with Tuition Partners, will only serve to enhance the successful delivery of the NTP.

“I remember hearing about the plans for the National Tutoring Programme back in the depths of COVID and being struck by the fact that someone, somewhere, had managed to pull off something extraordinary – identifying an intervention which comes from a place of really strong evidence but with an astonishing level of ambition, funding and potential scale. Now, as Quality Assurance Partner, we look forward to helping the programme achieve its full potential, and having a real impact on the experience of schools and pupils.”
- Matt Davis, Managing Director, Education Services, Tribal


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