Our experience in the first year of the NTP had been that the programmes that worked most effectively and had the greatest impact, were rooted in regular communication with a designated lead within schools, alongside clearly defined outcomes for the students. From a Tuition Partner’s perspective, knowing and understanding what the school wants for individual students is especially helpful in matching the right tutor(s) to the planned programme.
Understand the challenges
A summer school can provide some additional considerations, both for the school and the Tuition Partner, particularly in relation to attendance and engagement.
There are key logistics to think about, which will influence the way the programme will run.
Initial considerations will include:
- Does the school want the project to be run in person and if so, how will this be managed in terms of school staff being on hand to open and supervise the site?
- If online tuition is preferable, how will attendance and engagement be supported by the school? How can the Tuition Partner support the school in securing strong attendance to maximise impact and value for money?
- What is the scale and scope of the project? How many students will be involved? How will they be identified? What is the core focus on the project?
What this can look like in practical terms
We liaised with the school extensively prior to the launch of the project, establishing processes to support attendance.
The school communicated the purpose of the project and the rationale for choosing a summer school route with parents. They worked to secure ‘buy in’ from students and parents in advance of the programme launch. Parents signed up securely to our portal to provide contact details and give consent to be contacted by us during the summer school.
Students were carefully chosen by the school, considering several factors, including internal assessment information. Senior leaders engaged individually with selected students to establish a strong understanding of how the tuition would benefit the students, as they moved from Year 10 into Year 11, checking their commitment to the programme as a result.
Prior to sessions, parents received reminder texts with the link to access the session. Non-attendance was addressed in the first ten minutes of a session with a direct phone call to parents. This proved to be extremely powerful in supporting ongoing attendance.
The online sessions were hosted by Wes and Claire, which enabled a direct check with students and tutors at the beginning and end of each session, providing live feedback about the project and building a sense of community for those involved in the summer school.
Impact of summer tuition
Having centralised information and sharing processes helped to support triangulated communication between the school, parents and children and our tutors. Positive feedback was cascaded in this way and any issues arising were able to be addressed promptly.
Student feedback was consistently positive and because of the summer school, online provision was continued with this, and other, cohorts into the new academic year.
In addition to direct impacts on learning, there were wider benefits including improved engagement with learning, self-confidence and motivation.
Parent feedback indicated that the summer school programme was well received, with a recognition that tutor professionalism was clear, through engagement with the students and their ability to adapt their delivery to support the needs of the students in front of them.