Changing with the times: Action Tutoring and home-based tuition
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Changing with the times: Action Tutoring and home-based tuition

Changing with the times: Action Tutoring and home-based tuition

Luc Vezzu is Digital Marketing and Recruitment Assistant at Action Tutoring, a NTP Tuition Partner. He explains how they’ve adapted to tutoring pupils at home.

With the help of our inspiring volunteer tutors, collaborative partner schools and supportive parents and guardians, Action Tutoring has begun delivering online tutoring sessions for pupils, who are currently learning from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and move to online learning.

When the Government announced the move to remote learning at the beginning of January, Action Tutoring made the decision to continue running tutoring sessions to pupils based at home by switching as many online and in-person programmes as possible to online-at-home based delivery. We did this with the support of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) team who have been putting their contingency plans in place.

We have 133 schools already taking part in at-home tutoring this term and almost 550 pupils have already had their first session in this latest lockdown, with many more about to get started. This means that, for the first time, our pupils will be able to benefit from extra academic support outside of the classroom. The NTP officially approved Action Tutoring to offer online sessions to pupils at home. This means we can deliver this tuition effectively and safely, making a difference to pupils who need our support the most.

Home-based tutoring is new for Action Tutoring and we know there will be some challenges along the way, as pupils access the technology from home and engage in learning outside the usual structure of the classroom. However, after a successful pilot of this approach last year, and a promising start to this term, we are on track to help pupils achieve valuable progress with their tutors at the most challenging time to their education.

Home-based tutoring explained

As part of the move to remote learning, pupils will now join the Vedamo virtual classroom from their homes to access our tuition. Our programme staff have been working hard to manage demands to ensure tutoring can still take place. This includes liaising with all of our partner schools, as well as each parent or guardian directly, to seek permission for pupils to take part. These conversations also help us to make sure each pupil has access to the right technology and the adults involved learn important details about sessions going forward. We have also produced new materials specifically for parents, including PDF and video guides, that outline what we do and give instructions on how to join tutoring sessions from home.

Despite no longer being in the classroom with pupils, Action Tutoring programme coordinators continue to oversee every programme, entering virtual classrooms to observe sessions and troubleshooting any technical difficulties that may arise.

Programme Manager for London, Nargis Taylor, said:

It has been really reassuring to see that the young people are able to have some consistency and normality whilst out of the classroom. It was lovely to see the pupils chatting away with their tutors. In many ways, it looked like most of the other school-based online tutoring sessions I have delivered for pupils.

Impact on tutors

For tutors already volunteering with us online, there is little change in how these sessions run. They continue to use the Vedamo virtual classroom, already in operation for our existing online programmes, to deliver sessions remotely. Home-based sessions conclude with a virtual debrief for tutors, where they can ask questions and give feedback.

Sarah Searle-Barnes, a volunteer in Bristol, said:

I have tutored three pupils at home now (I was involved in the pilot study) and have found each experience worthwhile. I have found that the session enables the pupils to engage on a one-to-one basis with the tutor, without the distractions of other pupils in the room or the background noises of school. I also think that the pupils’ confidence and self-belief is bolstered by the one-to-one attention which has a positive impact on their learning.

Response from pupils

So far, pupils have adapted to the home-based sessions incredibly well. Despite losing the familiarity of the classroom, where they would be surrounded by teachers, classmates and Action Tutoring staff, pupils have remained focused and have engaged well with the new format.

Emma Boyd, Pupil Premium coordinator at a school in Bristol, said:

The pupils access the sessions in the exact same way as they do in school and so they know what to do and they just get on with it! I’m really pleased that this is an option for them and it will help them through the last stages of their GCSEs.

The future of in-person tutoring

We plan to offer in-person tutoring opportunities again as soon as it is safe to. We are also considering ways to supplement any missed sessions later in the year, potentially with booster’ days or extended sessions in the spring and early summer.

School closures impact pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds disproportionately, widening the attainment gap and putting them even further behind their peers. Our volunteers combat this inequality by giving an hour or more a week to boost pupils’ learning and confidence while at home.

Join us as a volunteer tutor and be part of our efforts when pupils need it most. If you would like to tutor in person rather than online, we still encourage you to apply and sign up for training, so you can be ready to start as soon as schools reopen. Your help will make a difference.

Luc Vezzu is Digital Marketing and Recruitment Assistant at Action Tutoring.

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