Rise in numbers seeking personal tutors.

Estimates for Belfast would put the figure somewhere between 30 and 40% with the highest proportion of tutors being GCSE Maths tutors. In London nearly half of pupils have received private or home tuition, according to a survey published today by social mobility charity the Sutton Trust.

Pupils in London are twice as likely as those in the rest of the UK to have extra tutoring, the Ipsos Mori poll of 2,488 pupils aged 11-16 shows.

Nationally, the proportion of students using private tuition has risen by a third in a decade, from 18 per cent in 2005 to 25 per cent this year. But London remains significantly ahead, with 44 per cent of students having extra tuition this year, according to the research, compared with 34 per cent 10 years ago.

The survey also finds that Asian pupils are much more likely to receive private tutoring, with 54 per cent saying they have done so in the past three years.

The Sutton Trust is also pointing to separate research published by the Education Endowment Foundation – which it administers – showing that one-on-one tuition can boost pupil learning by five months.

The charity is calling on the government to introduce a means-tested voucher system as part of the pupil premium, to help poorer families access extra tutoring for their children.

The poll finds that the most common reason given by pupils for receiving extra tuition are preparation for an exam or test (cited by 52 per cent) and help with general schoolwork (50 per cent). Just 13 per cent say they receive additional tutoring because they are really interested in a particular subject.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “The fact that [private tutoring is] predominantly used to help children do well in a specific test or exam means that those who can afford it are able to give their children a significant advantage over those that cannot.

“If we are serious about social mobility, we need to make sure that the academic playing field is levelled outside of the school gate by the state providing funding for private tuition on a means-tested basis.”

A Department for Edcuation spokesperson said: “We are determined to ensure every child, regardless of background is given an education that allows them to realise their potential.

“The Pupil Premium, worth £2.5billion every year, is providing vital support to disadvantaged children. As a result, these pupils are catching up with their peers at both primary and secondary, with thousands more children now leaving primary school having mastered the basics of reading, writing and maths than in 2009.”

Certainly, parents in NI seem to be more likely to seek the help of a private tutor than they were last year.