Can tutoring improve pupil performance?

Since the pandemic, there has been an increase in pupil absence and a growing number of issues, such as mental health problems, poor confidence and social factors that are negatively affecting pupil performance.

The government has set up the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) to tackle these issues and improve achievement.

Using experiences from Nottingham Emmanuel School, let’s find out how successful the scheme has been.

Pupil Attendance: How tutoring can help

It can be helpful to look more deeply into individual cases to discover the benefits of tutoring rather than relying on statistical evidence.

Nottingham Emmanuel School have been able to provide evidence from teachers, tuition partners and pupils themselves to help us learn more about the impact of tutoring on pupil attendance.

1. Teacher View

One teacher described how a regular small group tuition session gave confidence to a pupil who was anxious about attending school.

We all know that once a pupil becomes anxious, it will directly impact their attendance. School refusal based on anxiety and mental health struggles is an increasingly common problem.

Once a child does not attend school regularly, their learning will be affected, and their results will worsen.

In this case, the anxious pupil grew in confidence. It increased their attendance, and teachers saw how their learning improved.

2. SENCo View

The SENCo took overall responsibility for identifying the needs of an anxious pupil and putting some tuition in place using YipYap, their tuition partner.

They used 1:1 tuition in this case, resulting in the pupil accessing the curriculum and improving their science KS4 work.

An interesting comment by the SENCo was that they saw a change in attitude from the pupil, which is believed to have been initiated by the positive experiences and interactions with the tutor. Incredibly, the pupil’s attendance increased by 15%.

3. Tutor View

One tutor explained that choosing a familiar, comfortable space for tuition was vital. Reducing timetables can also prevent overwhelming students.

Building a close connection is also crucial. Initially, the tutor chose topics that appealed to the pupil and built on those foundations as time went on.

As part of the sessions, the tutor allowed time for discussion and encouraged the pupil to open up about their struggles. The tutor discovered that poor behaviour in the classroom had disrupted the pupil’s confidence and learning.

Confidence gained in the sessions allowed the pupil to feel more in control in class when they returned, and they could deal with problems more resiliently. The stress reduction was a significant factor in improving attendance.

The pupil also developed friendships, which acted as motivation to attend school.

4. Pupil View

One pupil who undertook tuition described the experience as very positive. They enjoyed the smaller group and could focus on learning better due to fewer distractions.

Upon rejoining their class, they found they had raced ahead of their peers and developed a greater understanding of the themes being taught.


Tuition can improve attendance for pupils who are anxious about being at school. Other benefits include:

  • Increased confidence
  • Improved resilience
  • Faster progression
  • Better social skills
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