We have worked with colleagues at the Department for Education (DfE) to condense and set out the key facts and employment guidance below in relation to the universal catch up premium (£650m) and the National Tutoring Programme (£350m). Providing brief descriptions on the different ‘catch up’ funding programmes available and sharing guidance to support schools wishing to employ Academic Mentors (AM’s) for this 2020/21 academic year.
We have worked with colleagues at the Department for Education (DfE) to condense and set out the key facts and employment guidance below in relation to the universal catch up premium (£650m) and the National Tutoring Programme (£350m).
Providing brief descriptions on the different ‘catch up’ funding programmes available and sharing guidance to support schools wishing to employ Academic Mentors (AM’s) for this 2020/21 academic year.
In July 2020 the government announced £1 billion of funding to support children and young people to catch up (following the initial UK Lockdown from March 2020).
The £1 billion funding pot includes a universal £650 million catch-up premium alongside a fund of £350 million for the National Tutoring Programme to provide additional, targeted support for those children and young people who need the most help for the 2020/21 academic year.
Further information can be found in the general Covid catch-up premium guidance.
The National Tutoring Programme
The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) consists of two pillars:
Tuition Partners: An approved list of tutoring organisations that schools can use to access tuition for their pupils. Schools will be accessing it at a 75% subsidised rate - so the school only gets billed for 25% of the cost (and schools can use the Coronavirus (COVID-19) £650 catch-up premium fund to pay for the remaining costs). These are not school staff – schools are essentially purchasing a service.
Academic Mentors: schools in the most disadvantaged areas will be supported to employ in-house AMs on contracts that are most appropriate to them, to be determined at the school level, to provide intensive catch-up support to their pupils.
Role of Academic Mentors (AM)
AM’s will provide intensive small group and one-to-one tuition to those disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils that are identified as at most risk of falling behind. AM’s will be employed by their school and as a member of staff will be supported and managed by the school to deliver tutoring that is appropriate, timely, and linked to their curriculum.
Whilst AM’s should be used to provide small group or one-to-one tuition, they should not be used as additional teaching assistants or learning support staff in the general classroom.
Where schools have agreed to employ an AM, they will have signed up to a School Partnership Agreement (SPA) with the DfE’s delivery partner, Teach First. The SPA is expected to set out the detail of the AM’s role and the expectations of the school to support them. Each agreement will be slightly different as it will reflect the arrangements for the AM, so there is no centrally held template. We would advise that school share their own version with local authority/ HR provider colleagues to support the employment process.
Academic Mentor – DfE Employment Framework - T&C’s including pension
Teach First will be supporting the recruitment, training and placement of the AM.
The first AM’s were employed following the October 2020 half term with the two remaining start dates set to commence on or around the 18 January 2021 and after February 2021 half-term.
DfE have confirmed that it is for schools as employers to make decisions about the terms and condition of AM’s, DfE do not stipulate the terms of employment however, the following information may be helpful.
We have highlighted DfE Information, advice and guidance on T&C’s below:
- The DfE’s view is that the role of the AM is different to that of a teacher and so it is not the intention that the academic mentor is to be paid in line with the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document.
- The role of the AM should only be that set out in the School Partnership Agreement. When agreeing school-determined T&Cs with the AM, these will need to be set out in the locally agreed employment contract.
- The DfE will reimburse schools for the core salary cost of the AM set at £19,000 (pro-rata depending on start date and hours worked and including Bank Holidays and school holidays).
- Weekly working hours are to be 1 full time equivalent (FTE) or as a minimum, 0.8 FTE of the schools ‘normal’ school working week.
- Employed on fixed term contracts until end of academic year (July 2021).
- As the role of the AM is not that of a teacher, the posts would be eligible for the Local Government Pension Scheme.
- Schools are responsible for on-costs. Details of how schools will be reimbursed are set out here: EFSA bulletin: link
- Schools can make use of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) catch-up premium fund to cover associated on-costs
- Local arrangement can be made for employment as considered appropriate e.g. when hours are worked, as long as the role remains as defined in the School Partnership Agreement and it is clear that DfE will cover salary costs of £19,000 only.
- Finally, please note that anyone is free to apply for the role of an AM, there are a range of AM from graduates to those with Qualified Teacher Status, however the role and salary remains the same irrespective of previous experience or qualifications.
Read more from First Teach on FAQS on Academic Mentors.
Issued: 19 November 2020