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Our support for STEM tutors during a pandemic

Published: Nov 18, 2020 2 min read

Stephen Lyon

Mathematics Lead

National STEM Learning Centre

When I was head of a large mathematics department I was regularly asked by parents if I could recommend a tutor for their son or daughter. They would explain their concerns - perhaps their child lacked confidence in mathematics or was not progressing as well as they hoped. Maybe they just wanted additional support for their child - and a mathematics tutor seemed a good idea as they considered mathematics to be important.

This is what happens in ‘normal’ times. The effects of the pandemic on student progress is not known but a number of well-respected organisations such as the Sutton Trust have been considering the likely impact. The report – ‘COVID-19 Impacts: school shutdown’ published in April, looks at the effects. It analysed aspects of the support offered by schools during the lockdown and compared the uptake of the provision of online lessons and online learning in affluent areas with that of students living with disadvantage.

Here's one key recommendation from the report: ‘Disadvantaged pupils should have access to additional one-to-one or small group tuition to reduce the impact of school closures.’ And so the National Tutoring Programme was born.


The National Tutoring Programme consists of two strategies:

  • Academic Mentors: Schools are supported to employ in-school academic mentors to provide intensive support to their pupils.

  • Tuition Partners: Subsidised high-quality tutoring for schools from an approved list of Tuition Partners.

If you would like to help support the National Tutoring Programme by becoming an Academic Mentor, or provide tuition in secondary mathematics and science but would like some training, then STEM Learning can help.


Our remotely delivered course ‘Developing your skills as a tutor of science and mathematics is designed to support secondary science and mathematics tutors. Based on academic research, the course centres on eight principles of good teaching exemplified using quality science and mathematics resources designed to help develop long term, deep understanding of these two core subjects.


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