Online learning is currently the new normal for most schools, with the end to lockdown still uncertain. And for those who have already endured so much in the last 12 months, adaption to traditional methods of learning has been a key part in ensuring pupils can still get their education.
Here at the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), we have also been able to adapt the delivery of tutoring. We’ve made all the changes needed so we can make sure the thousands of schools we work with are supported to reach as many pupils as possible, including those learning from home.
At-home online tutoring brings with it, like everything during these times, a unique set of challenges. We know schools have had to put in enormous efforts to keep pupils engaged and attendance high and then of course we have to overcome any technical difficulties that have become so familiar to us all now.
To support schools in the delivery of our online tuition at-home, the NTP has published a new evidence-based briefing for schools to help maximise the impact of tuition. Our brief draws on guidance from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), the experience of schools we’ve spoken to and insights gained from our expert NTP Tuition Partners.
In the guidance we have covered four key themes:
- Schools and Tuition Partners should try and work on a case-by-case basis. This means having conversations with Tuition Partners about delivery and consulting with parents before starting delivery at home. In some cases, tutoring may be paused until it can take place in schools. In others, tutoring may be perfectly fine to resume at home but flexibility and collaboration are key.
- Make sure tutoring sessions remain as targeted as possible while being delivered at-home online. Tutors should still give feedback in the normal way, liaising with teachers to make sure tutoring is a complement to what happens in the virtual classroom.
- Our guidance also has practical suggestions on how schools can best support parental engagement with at-home tutoring. We advise taking a flexible approach to communications with pupils and their parents/carers. It’s important they’re aware of why and how NTP tuition is taking place and the importance of a sustained block of tuition to best support their child’s attendance.
- Supporting pupils to set up for their tutoring sessions. This includes getting the basics of the new way of learning right: testing the online connection before the session starts, working in a quiet environment if possible, and encouraging the pupil to see their NTP tuition as something positive that will help them.
We know teachers and school staff are all working incredibly hard to ensure those in school and at home continue their learning with minimal disruption. The NTP is not intended to be a replacement for classroom learning, but is about providing additional capacity to mitigate any learning loss caused by the pandemic. We hope this brief guide offers some advice to help schools arrange or continue with tutoring sessions where possible. If you ever want to contact the team with queries about this or anything else related to the NTP you can do so through our email firstname.lastname@example.org.