The government is planning to evaluate its subsidised tuition scheme for 16-to-19-year-olds – after almost a quarter of eligible providers opted out of the fund in its first year.

A prior information notice has been issued by the Department for Education to alert researchers that they will soon tender for a supplier to measure the impact of the 16 to 19 tuition fund.

The scheme was launched last year, backed with an initial £96 million, as part of the government’s education recovery package to combat lost learning caused by Covid-19. An additional £222 million has since been earmarked to extend the scheme into 2021/22.

It aims to support small group tuition for sixth form-aged students in English, maths and other subjects that have been disrupted by the pandemic. Students are eligible if they have not achieved a GCSE grade 4 or 5 in English and/or maths or have a grade 4 or above and are from an economically disadvantaged background.

The information notice states that the research will aim to find out how the fund has been used by schools, colleges and training providers, how it has supported learners, and how it can be improved in “future years” – hinting that the scheme could be extended beyond 2022.

Researchers will also seek to measure the impact of the fund on educational attainment, whether this differs by type of course and learner characteristics.

The notice warns that the “universality” of the fund makes designing an impact evaluation “challenging” as there is “no significant control or comparison group”.

However, it adds that that in the academic year 2020/21, a total of 1,869 out of the 2,427 eligible 16 to 19 providers in England opted into the fund, while 558 (23 per cent) opted out.

The DfE states that while it may be possible to construct a comparison group from these 558 providers, this “could be difficult because the two groups may not be comparable”.

FE Week analysis of tuition fund allocations last year found that it was largely schools and academies with sixth forms that turned away from the scheme, with nearly all general FE colleges, sixth form colleges, and the majority of eligible independent training providers opting in.

Around £93 million of the promised £96 million was spent.

The DfE warns that another challenge for researchers is that schools and colleges can decide “how to use the money, for example through what tutors they will use and what learners they will put forward for tutoring”.

And given the many subjects the fund can be used for, as well as the opportunity to use the fund for enrichment activities, the department believes samples will be “too small to explore all subjects and uses of the fund”.

It therefore proposes that the impact evaluation focuses on outcomes in English and maths only.

The DfE offers up four “ideas” for how researchers could measure the impact of the scheme. These are:

  1. Recruitment of an intervention group of providers who opted into the fund alongside a comparison group from those providers who did not opt in. The comparison group would need to be a “balanced sample that was broadly in line with the intervention group in terms of characteristics”.
  2. Constructing a “counterfactual” from those eligible learners in England who have not been chosen to receive tutoring. This would, however, introduce “significant learner selection bias into the evaluation, through unobserved factors such as their motivation or engagement with learning that are likely to influence provider decisions about which learners are offered tutoring”.
  3. Constructing a counterfactual through modelling using past attainment data for similar groups of learners to predict likely attainment outcomes in the absence of the intervention.
  4. Using “dosage of tutoring” to explore impact, for example comparing academic outcomes for students receiving five hours of tutoring vs 12 hours.

The tender will be worth £250,000 and run from November 2021 to March 2023. There is no proposed date for when the procurement will launch.

Latest education roles from

Theatre Manager

Theatre Manager

MidKent College

Event Support Team Leader

Event Support Team Leader

MidKent College

E-Sport Technician

E-Sport Technician

MidKent College

Digital Technician

Digital Technician

MidKent College

Student Welfare Officer

Student Welfare Officer

MidKent College

Head of Langdon College (London)

Head of Langdon College (London)

Kisharon Langdon

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

#GE2024: Listen now as Let’s Go Further outlines the FE and skills priorities facing our new government

The Skills and Education Group podcast, Let’s Go Further, aims to challenge the way we all think about skills...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

How can we prepare learners for their future in an ever-changing world?

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, colleges and schools can be confident that learners...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Why we’re backing our UK skills ‘Olympians’ (and why you should too)

This August, teams from over 200 nations will gather to compete in the sticky heat of the Paris summer...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Is your organisation prepared for a major incident?

We live in an unpredictable world where an unforeseen incident or environmental event could disrupt a Further Education (FE)...

Advertorial

More from this theme

Covid-19

DfE Covid lockdown party may have gone on past 1am

Staff swiped out of Sanctuary Buildings 34 times after 10am on night of party, 8 times after 1am

Samantha Booth
Covid-19

EPI warns of widening disadvantage gap for 16-19 learners

Report prompts renewed calls for 16-19 pupil premium equivalent

Jason Noble
Covid-19

Just £9m of adult education and non-levy apprenticeship relief funding released

Training providers were handed less than £9 million as part of a relief scheme to support adult education courses...

Billy Camden
Covid-19

Williamson provided wine and mince pies for DfE lockdown Xmas party

Sue Gray report finds 50 staff were invited to the 'festive drinks' - organised days in advance

Samantha Booth

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *