Post-Covid tutoring boosts economy by over £4 billion

Pupils who achieved better grades after they received post-Covid tutoring will boost the UK’s economy by £4.34 billion thanks to their higher lifetime earnings potential.

New modelling shows tuition supporting pupils to enhance their understanding in key subjects during the 2021/22 and 2022/23 academic years will produce substantial economic returns.

This economic benefit is captured through students improving their grades and, as a result, obtaining higher lifetime earnings with around 390,000 students achieving a higher grade set to earn, on average, around £10,000 more across their lifetimes.

Now in its fourth academic year, the National Tutoring Programme (NPT) has provided support for pupils and students most affected by disruption to their education because of Covid-19. Independent economic analysis by research agency Public First, using data from the 2021/22 and 2022/23 academic years, found the programme yielded a Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) of 6.58, so for every £1 spent, it leads to £6.58 of economic gain.

This demonstrates the effectiveness of the programme in not only enhancing educational outcomes through raising grades but also in contributing significantly to the economy by increasing future earnings. It supported almost 3 million young people during this two-year period alone, offering each pupil an average of 11 hours of tuition.

The analysis has led to respected educationists to call on the government to renew funding for the scheme. Despite the programme being the centrepiece of the government’s post-Covid catch-up programme for students affected by lost learning during the pandemic, ministers have so far refused to continue to back it beyond the summer.

For every £1 million spent on English tuition 670 students improve their grade, which results in £4.9 million of economic benefit. For every £1 million spent on maths tuition 530 students improve their grade, which results in £7.7 million of economic benefit. 

The analysis also highlighted the impact of tutoring across different key stages. Key Stage 2 tutoring had an economic impact of £2.58 billion, while Key Stage 4 tutoring contributed £1.76 billion.

The figures underline the vital role that tutoring plays in not only strengthening educational achievement but also in stimulating economic growth, making a compelling case for continued investment in the programme.

Dame Rachel de Souza, the Children’s Commissioner for England, said: “Additional tutoring at school is a great way for children and young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to get the help they need to progress in lessons. It has academic as well as many other benefits for children’s well-being.

“This research also outlines the economic returns of tutoring which makes it very clear that we must secure the future of tutoring and guarantee a much-needed service for the nation’s children.”

Alun Francis, Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, said: “The findings of this report into the economic impact of tutoring, and the benefits it brings to young people in terms of achievement and confidence, are very encouraging. It suggests that, if targeted in the right way, tutoring can make a significant contribution to equalising opportunity and improving outcomes.

“We need long term, consistent approaches built on interventions which have a strong evidence base and on this basis would urge the Government to maintain its commitment to funding this provision”.

Professor Becky Francis, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), said: “We know that high-quality tutoring is one of the best-evidenced and most impactful ways to help children and young children who have fallen behind get back on track. What’s more, it can be particularly valuable for pupils from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds too.

“Over the past four years, the National Tutoring Programme made tutoring available to every postcode in the country for the very first time. This democratisation of tuition could have benefits beyond the immediate impact on the academic outcomes of individual pupils, including on longer-term economic success. Targeted effectively, increased investment in tutoring has the potential to reap real rewards.”

Lee Elliot Major, Professor of Social Mobility at the University of Exeter said: “This report confirms that high-quality tutoring is one of the most cost-effective approaches we have at our disposal in levelling the education playing field. It will be a national travesty if we fail to embed tutoring as a core strand of our future education system.” 

Susannah Hardyman, chief executive of Action Tutoring said: “Tutoring is a proven intervention, that not only has a significant impact on individual lives – it’s great for the economy too. With the National Tutoring Programme set to end in mid-2024, today’s findings show now is really not the time to pull the plug on this hugely valuable support, especially when the attainment gap is at its widest since 2012. The Spring Budget would be the perfect opportunity for the government to commit to extending tutoring and secure a brighter future for pupils and the economy.”

Notes to editors

  • The £4.3 billion figure is worked out for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 academic years only, so the impact of the entire programme is likely to be much higher.
  • It is also likely to be an underestimate of the total economic benefit of the Government’s investment, because it does not include the impact of the 16 to 19-year-olds that have received tutoring through the 16-19 Tuition Fund.
  • The breakdowns for English and maths are based on the limited data available and are therefore estimates.
  • Although the impact of English tuition on grades is higher on average than in maths, the number of students receiving English tuition and the returns to higher grades in this subject, are both lower. The comparison assumes that the costs of providing maths and English tuition were equivalent. 
  • The NPT compares favourably to other programmes such as Adult Apprenticeships, which provides £4.7 of economic benefit for every £1 of economic cost according to analysis carried out by the National Audit Office. Although comparisons between sectors is difficult, the Department for Transport regards a benefit cost ratio above 4 as very high value for money.
  • The research was funded by Action Tutoring, CoachBright, Get Further, Impetus, Mannings Tutors, MyTutor, Quest for Learning, The Children’s Literacy Charity, The Tutor Trust, White Rose Maths. 

Read the report HERE

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