In reference to a new government initiative to support a 15-hour tutoring programme, Boris Johnson told MPs in the House of Commons that “six million children will have access to tuition thanks to this programme.”
He said: “It is a fantastic thing. It is a revolution in education for this country.”
The pledge made by the government was for £1 billion to support up to six million, 15-hour tutoring courses for disadvantaged school children. The government has not said it will limit the number of courses schools can buy for individual pupils – meaning it’s likely those most in-need will get multiple sessions. As a result, the actual number of children impacted by the tutoring will likely be much lower.
Johnson’s claim that the new programme would allow “six million kids” access to tuition assumed that children would only take up one tutoring course each. But the government did not say it would limit the number of courses schools can buy for individual pupils. Johnson’s claim that “six million children will have access to tuition thanks to this programme” was therefore questionable. It conflated two different figures, rather in the same way that he and other ministers persistently misled the British public over Covid testing. Boris Johnson’s statement remains on the House of Commons record, in defiance of the Ministerial Code.