Falling Behind: SEND students in North East need more tutoring support, experts warn

Recent data reveals special education needs (SEND) children in the North East have the lowest participation rate in the National Tutoring Programme, accounting for less than 6% of special needs students.
Government data on the National tutoring programme (NTP), revealed the North East of England has the lowest participation in the programme, accounting for less than 6% of SEN students on the programme compared with London who have over 18% .

The NTP aims to directly counter some of the effects the pandemic had on the learning for disadvantaged children in England. The data collated by specialist recruitment firm Engage Education, reveals the areas in the UK with the lowest participation rates in the programme for special education needs students (SEN):


  • North East: 5%
  • South West: 7%
  • East Midlands: 8%
  • Yorkshire: 10%
  • West Midlands: 11%
  • South East: 12%
  • North West: 15%
  • London: 18%


The disparities in uptake in the programme reflect government data* which reveals the North East also has the least amount of SEND students receiving an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan or SEN support. Under 140,000 children in the North East received support in 2022 compared with 414,200 in London and 433,500 in the South East.  With nearly 1.5 million pupils in England having special education needs, and the North East being the region with the highest proportion of disabled people **more needs to be done to meet these needs.

Recognising the significance of this disparity, Joseph Raffell, Head of Education at Specialist recruitment firm, Engage Education, highlights the importance of tutors in supporting SEN students and provides insights into how these students can be better supported:

How can the National tutor programme help SEND students?

“Some students, including those with SEND, require extra help adapting to having a tutor. The NTP recognises the individual needs of each pupil and offers a high level of flexibility and choice. NTP tutors can offer support in a range of subjects and provide targeted support for pupils in small groups or on a one-to-one basis, tailoring their expertise to support their identified needs.

“SEND students often face challenges in keeping pace with their peers. Tutoring can help bridge the academic gap by providing additional support and reinforcement in key subjects. Tutors can offer specialised instruction, focusing on areas where students may require extra assistance or reinforcement.”

Why is it important that SEND students get support?

“Many SEND students struggle with confidence and self-esteem. Tutoring allows students to receive individual attention and guidance, allowing them to work at their own pace without fear of judgement or falling behind. This nurturing environment can significantly boost their confidence and motivation to succeed academically.”

“Similarly, this means tutors can prepare for the needs of each pupil on a personal level, ensuring they are clear on the emotional and mental support students might need alongside the educational needs of the pupils, to enable the students to get the most out of this support. At Engage we have a specialist SEND team, who focus on the needs of the individual. Find out more about the National tutor programme here. “

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