Private tuition ‘is the hidden secret of Britain’s educational arms race’

The Tes reports that children from wealthier families are twice as likely to have received additional help outside of school than their poorer classmates, Sutton Trust research shows.

Children from wealthier families are twice as likely to have received additional help than their poorer classmates, while those from minority ethnic backgrounds are more likely to have had a tutor than white pupils.

The Sutton Trust, which commissioned the Extra Time report, said private tuition is the “hidden secret” of British education, and that in an “educational arms race” it reinforces the advantages of youngsters from richer homes.

A poll of more than 2,600 secondary school children, conducted as part of the study, found that 30 per cent of youngsters said they have received private or home tuition at some stage. This was up from the 25 per cent of 2,500 youngsters who said the same last year, and approaching double the 18 per cent who said they had received extra help in 2005.

The survey also showed that a child’s chances of getting extra help varied depending on where they lived. While just over one in 10 children across England and Wales (11 per cent) said that they had been given private tuition in the past year, this rose to almost one in four (24 per cent) among those living in London.

The study also used international data published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, based on tests taken by 15-year-olds in over 70 countries to examine how private tuition varied between nations. Out of 22 countries examined, teenagers in England spent significantly less time getting extra help than their peers in 12 other countries.

The trust said it was calling for schools to establish “homework clubs” to give poorer pupils the support they need, and urged government to introduce a voucher system, using money set aside for disadvantaged children, to provide addition tuition for these youngsters.

Read more Private tuition ‘is the hidden secret of Britain’s educational arms race’

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