As another extraordinary term comes to a close, school leaders, teachers and staff are looking forward to a well-deserved break. One year on from the first lockdown and it’s strange to think schools would be rolling out testing for secondary students and grouping children into bubbles, but this is the reality we find ourselves in. From the lockdown announcement in January to arrangements for grading GCSEs, teachers and school staff have had to keep their ear to the ground and adapt accordingly to ensure the best outcomes for the students.
As schools responded and adapted to new lockdown and further restrictions, so too did the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). Children have already missed out on so much this year, and not just academically. In order to avoid further disruption to planned tutoring sessions, we adapted our delivery so online tutoring could take place at-home, and sessions could continue where possible for pupils who were still attending school. Tuition Partners worked quickly with their partner schools to rearrange tutoring sessions.
“When schools entered a further period of restricted attendance in January 2021, I was concerned those pupils learning from home would not be able to continue with their learning with the NTP. However, Tute were quick to reorganise the permissions and the home-learners began accessing their tuition lessons that very week.”
— Catherine Whatley — St John the Baptist Catholic Primary School, Andover
The NTP was designed to widen access to tutoring across the country and work in collaboration with schools, but we know that some schools and regions were not familiar with the tutoring market. To facilitate the delivery of tuition at-home, we created a guide for schools to maximise the impact of remote tutoring, and also created resources for school to share with parents and families. The evidence suggests that parental engagement in a child’s learning can help to increase the chances of a positive impact on pupils’ academic attainment.
“Thank you for all your hard work. I’m really impressed with all the support that’s been offered to my son and how hard you all work.”
— Parent of pupil — Stoke Damerel Primary Academy, Plymouth
Increasing parental engagement was also a key finding from the first National Online Tutoring Pilot in England, released in February. Independently evaluated by the National Centre for Social Research, it showed that tutoring was popular among pupils and there were perceived benefits for learning. Whilst access to technology and equipment was a barrier, it indicated that delivering tutoring through schools is feasible. If rolled out successfully, the NTP will lay the foundations for a long-term sustainable programme that addresses the effects we’ve seen of the coronavirus pandemic on our pupils.
What drives us the most though is the feedback we receive from schools on their experience. This term, we’ve heard stories from Northumberland to Derby, Bolton to Plymouth, all sharing how they’ve utilised the NTP to provide additional support, whether that be for pupils with SEND or those who needed a boost in their confidence after a year of disruption. Schools have been making the NTP work for them, integrating tutoring with their wider recovery plans.
“I think it’s about schools knowing exactly what the needs of their own pupils are and thinking creatively about how they can make the programme work for them. We feel the tuition is also part of developing a wider school culture of hard work and ambition. It’s rare that such increased additional capacity is on offer for such good value for money.”
— Caroline Spalding - The Bemrose School, Derby
Over 4,000 schools are now enrolled on the NTP and we’re well on our way to meeting our target of reaching 250,000 pupils by the end of the academic year. It’s still not too late for schools to book tutoring for their pupils by searching and contacting Tuition Partners. We also have more webinars lined up after Easter for schools to find out more about the NTP and sign up. We’re always happy to answer any questions, so do get in touch.