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Affordable Maths Tuition - The Third Space Learning’s Online Maths Tuition Service, a cluster RCT

The evaluation investigated the effectiveness of Affordable Online Maths Tuition on the mathematical skills of participating Year 6 pupils struggling with maths compared with Year 6 pupils experiencing ‘business as usual’ maths instruction. We found no evidence that the intervention had an impact on Key Stage 2 maths.

Why did we do this research?

Research has shown that one to one learning is one of the most valuable learning interventions, but it is expensive, hard for schools to organise, and, to maximum impact, should be synchronised with what a child is learning in class. Affordable Maths Tuition is a one to one tutoring programme where pupils receive maths tuition over the internet from trained maths graduates in India and Sri Lanka. Before each session, the pupils’ normal classroom teachers are able to select lessons to target individual learning issues. This study was undertaken to add to the effectiveness evidence base.

What did we do?

The impact of Affordable Maths Tuition, the intervention, was evaluated using a randomised controlled trial design, involving 64 schools and 600 year 6 pupils. Schools were randomised to either receive the intervention or deliver 'business as usual’ teaching, which might have involved intensive one to one support for maths. A process evaluation was undertaken to understand the perceptions of teachers and pupils, assess whether the intervention was delivered as intended, and inform any future development of the intervention.

What did we find?

The impact evaluation found no evidence that the intervention had an impact on Key Stage 2 maths, compared with ‘business as usual’ teaching and support in Year 6. Future research could examine whether the programme has an impact on pupils’ comprehension, mathematical capacities, verbal fluency, and confidence in maths, as this was an outcome reported by teachers.


Education Endowment Foudation. Affordable Online Maths Tuition. (Website)

Education Endowment Foudation. Affordable Online Maths Tuition. Evaluation report and executive summary. July 2016. 



Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, UK


  • Carole Torgerson

School of Education, University of Durham, Durham, UK


  • Gillian Hampden-Thompson
  • Deborah Humphry

School of Education and Social Work, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK


The research was commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation. The project was started in February 2014 and completed in February 2016.

Study Registration

The trial was registered as trial number: ISRCTN54650649