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Pro Bono Economics conducted an exploratory analysis to understand the evidence needed to support Action Tutoring to place a full economic value on the impact of its work.

Action Tutoring (AT) supports pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve a meaningful level of academic attainment, and progress into future education, employment or training. The education charity targets pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium (which includes those who have been eligible for free school meals at any point in the last six years). Pupils are selected to take part in the programme if they are considered at risk of not passing their English or maths GCSEs or achieving expected standards in their Key Stage 2 SATs. Pupils receive tuition in English and/or maths at primary or secondary school level, delivered by volunteer tutors.

Action Tutoring asked Pro Bono Economics (PBE) to assess whether the charity holds sufficient data to place a full economic value on its work and provide recommendations on ways that the charity could take this forward.

The research found that AT’s data capture approach would not support a full economic analysis at present, and PBE has therefore provided a series of recommendations for future data collection to demonstrate the extent of AT’s impact on pupil outcomes. These include: collecting additional short-term outcome data to strengthen the link from their data to long-term outcomes in the future, and; incorporating long-term outcomes in AT’s theory of change to ensure the links to long-term economic benefits are more explicit. We also note that there is less up-to-date literature on the impact of KS4 results on long-term outcomes for direct beneficiaries or wider society than would be ideal, which is a potential area for exploration for AT with research partners.

PBE has provided some exploratory economic analysis for purely illustrative purposes to estimate the per-pupil economic value of AT’s work. This has been undertaken to provide an indication of the order of magnitude of the benefits of AT’s work based on the existing evidence. The data recommendations proposed by PBE will allow for a more robust estimate of the per-pupil economic value of AT’s work going forward.

Thank you to Ciara Lenoach, Beth Hancock and Maureen O’Reilly for their work on this project.

Thank you to City Bridge Trust for their support for this project.

06 August 2020