Whizz Education, provider of the leading virtual tutor Maths-Whizz, is calling on the Government to use catch-up funding for virtual tutors as a cost-effective, scalable option to help lost learning due to the Pandemic.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies states: “By the time the Pandemic is over, most children across the UK will have missed over half a year of normal, in-person schooling. That’s likely to be more than 5% of their entire time in school. The unprecedented nature of the current crisis makes it hard to predict the actual effects and the negative effects are also likely to extend beyond educational attainment.”
Richard Marett, CEO, Whizz Education explains: “Over 2020-21, more than £350 million of public funds will be spent on the provision of subsidised human tutoring organised by the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) as an unrivalled means of supporting student catchup. However, there is a missed opportunity in the form of virtual tutoring. A virtual tutor is an automated online system that simulates the most effective instructional behaviours of a human tutor. Virtual tutors have been shown to be as effective as human tutors and far more scalable.
“For example, our research shows with just 60 minutes per week of the Maths-Whizz virtual tutor over a six-week summer period, students can expect to acquire a four-month learning advantage. In addition, Maths-Whizz provides more than 1,250 pre-prepared lesson plans, reducing the burden for teachers and assisting them to deliver measurable learning gains for children with a range of abilities.
“The rates payable by schools for just 15 hours of 1:1 human tutoring from the NTP subsidised tutors is a typical total cost of £700 per pupil. By comparison, virtual tutoring costs approximately £30 per child per subject per annum when deployed at an individual school level and would be substantially less if adopted at scale, reducing to around £10 per child. Therefore, we are calling for virtual tutoring to become part of a long-term national strategy bringing real-time accountability and measurable gains.
“Virtual tutoring now has the potential to form an integral part of education and serve as a safety net for all students irrespective of their background, to enjoy uninterrupted access to quality education. It offers the real chance to help to close the learning gap and help students get back-on-track in a cost-effective and scalable way.”