Tutor Matching website slashes DfE to £4m

The company will support the DfE to ‘build and run the service’ to help schools find tuition partners

The company will support the DfE to ‘build and run the service’ to help schools find tuition partners

Education officials have expressed disbelief that ministers will pay up to £4million for a company to run a national website to match schools with local tutors.

A website was launched this year to enable schools to find suitable tuition partners through the national tutoring program.

The Department for Education has now awarded Transform – formerly known as Engine – a contract worth up to £4million to run the service.

The company will support the DfE to “build and run the service” over the next two years.

The potential value is greater than the £2.4m Tribal is paid to ensure the quality of the entire NTP.

Nick Brook

Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of the NAHT Chiefs Union, said schools would “naturally wonder” how this “can really be considered good value for money”.

“At a time when schools are being forced to make impossible choices about what to cut to balance the books, the news that the DfE has spent such a huge sum on a simple tutoring website is likely to be met with disbelief by many school leaders.”

The DfE said the funding was part of a digital results specialist contract, which is “joint across government and provides specialist digital support by providing web design specialists, user-researchers and software developers”.

Tutors receive few referrals through the website

The government launched the “Find a Tuition Partner” website after Randstad was made redundant as a supplier to the NTP last year and all tutoring money was given directly to schools.

Previously, the now closed nationaltutoring.org.uk website had a list of tutors that schools could use.

On the new website, schools enter their postcode and the milestones and subjects they need assistance with before receiving a list of tutors they can use in person and online.

Although difficult to follow, tutoring organizations have said School week that they have had few referrals through the website so far, with schools traditionally preferring to bring in their own tutors through the school-led route.

But schools can now only spend government catch-up money when using quality tutors.

School week asked the DfE if any changes would be made to the website under the new contract, but received no response.

A contract document said the DfE wanted to “extend the functionality” over time in response to feedback from schools.

Daniel L. Vasquez