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On Wednesday 9 March 2022, there will be an Estimates Day Debate on Department for Education spending on the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) and adult education. The topic for the debate was proposed by the Backbench Business Committee, on application from Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee.

The government published its final plans for financial year 2021-22 spending in HM Treasury’s Supplementary Estimates 2021-22 on 22 February 2022. These will be put to Parliament for approval following the Estimates Day debates. 

National Tutoring Programme

The NTP has three strands – the tuition partners programme, whereby schools use external organisations via a national hub; the academic mentors programme, which is accessed in the same way; and school-led tutoring. The NTP is one of a number of funding streams made available in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with total Government funding for education recovery in England now standing at around £4.9 billion.

Sector representatives and commentators have raised concerns about the rollout and uptake of the NTP, and have questioned whether it is reaching the pupils in most need. The Education Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the Government’s support for education recovery.

Adult education

The adult education funding system in England is complex and has undergone a number of changes in recent years. Currently, providers are allocated funds from different sources depending on the type of courses they provide and on the age of their students. There is also capital funding available for upgrading the college estate.

The ESFA-funded Adult Education Budget (AEB) provides most of the public funding for non-apprenticeship, adult education in England, including classroom-based courses and informal community learning. Alongside the AEB, there are several additional funding streams for adult education, including the National Skills Fund and Advanced Learner Loans.

In November 2021, a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), Annual report on education spending in England, concluded spending on adult education would:

[R]ise by 30% between 2019– 20 and 2024–25. However, as with spending on 16–18 education, this only reverses a fraction of past cuts; combined spending on adult education and apprenticeships will still be 15% below 2009–10 levels. Spending on adult education on its own (i.e. excluding growing levels of spending on apprenticeships) fell by 49% between. 2009–10 and 2019–20, and will still be 33% below 2009–10 levels even with the additional funding announced in the 2021 Spending Review. 

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