Dear Education Secretary

Dear Education Secretary …

I write to congratulate you on your new post – you are in a role that can do so much for young people and for productivity in the wider UK economy. New leadership is a time to rethink previous approaches, and also an opportunity to reflect on student educational journeys in coronavirus and beyond. As a tutor, I wanted to set out some asks for the coming months and years.

The first ask is a strange but crucial one – we would like to see consistency of leadership. The cycling of ministers through departments provides no continuity in policy direction, and makes it hard for us to try to build a rapport with you. What we need is someone dedicated to the education brief for the long-term, particularly so we can focus on continued recovery from coronavirus.

Secondly, education funding should be reviewed to ensure schools can deploy extra resources where needed. The National Tutoring Programme was not funded appropriately, meaning the amount of support learners needed was not given. Tutoring can improve educational attainment, and small group teaching allows us to personalise learning for the individual student more than a teacher can in the classroom. Particularly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds or those with special educational needs, students should be given a yearly personalised tuition allowance so the educational scars of coronavirus do not remain.

What is also needed is a shift in tone. Government feels in conflict with teachers and tutors, where for a high-skill, high-wage economy we need collaboration. Teachers and tutors are on the frontline, so know best what learners need at present. Morale is low in education due to continual attacks and the feeling of a disconnect between Westminster and the wider country. Children and their education needs to be a priority now, for the long-term benefit of wider society. Tutoring should not be dismissed or seen as the preserve of the middle class, but another piece of the educational toolkit which signifies progress and development. Now is a moment of change, and we need to take it.

Our final ask is more focus on the tutoring industry. Tutors are not failed teachers, and tutoring needs to be seen as a profession in its own right. What we need is more engagement so the industry is better understood. To increase confidence among consumers, we may need to consider greater regulation. Qualified Tutor has been leading the way by providing a quality mark and creating a commitment to continual professional development. However, for these innovations to be taken on board across the industry, it may take government involvement, just as we would expect our teachers to be adequately trained.

Everyone cares about education because we have all at some point experienced it. The brief is not an easy one, but by engaging with schools and tutors, we can all collaborate to make change for the better. The power of tutoring began to be acknowledged because of the lockdown period, but we need to continue these positive innovations for the benefit of all learners in the education system.

You have the opportunity to set new priorities, and hopefully start to get the funding education desperately deserves.

Very best wishes,

Daniel

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