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Rokeby Park Primary School, Hull

Kate Wilde is Assistant Headteacher at Rokeby Park. She shares her experience of using subsidised tuition from Teaching Personnel, an NTP Tuition Partner.

Context

Rokeby Park Primary school is a small primary school of around 200 children. We are extremely proud of our school and believe our pupils deserve an excellent education and a high quality, holistic primary school experience. We aim to provide a caring, trusting and safe learning environment and want to inspire each and everyone one of our pupils to aim high and achieve well.

Our dedicated staff work with the extended school community to ensure all our children are given the very best opportunities and we encourage them to ​‘aim to be the best you can be’. To help achieve this the school works in partnership with parents, carers and the extended community to enhance the quality of education provided by the school.

We are an inclusive school and provide a rich, inspiring curriculum and learning environment which help to motivate our pupils to learn. Through our high expectations, challenge and support we offer all our pupils the opportunity to succeed academically, socially, culturally, spiritually and physically.

Our intention for Special Educational Needs and/​or Disabilities (SEND) is to ensure that all children receive a high-quality and ambitious education regardless of need or disability. Through our high quality planning, teaching and provision we pride ourselves on early identification and intervention for SEND to ensure that progress and opportunities are maximized.

My Head engaged with the NTP website and got in contact with Teaching Personnel and then handed the process over to me. I found the whole process fairly easy to manage and Teaching Personnel were helpful and responsive on email.

At Rokeby Park Primary School, we ensure all children have access to a broad and balanced curriculum which is differentiated to enable children to understand the relevance and purpose of learning. We provide an accessible learning environment which is tailored to the individual needs of all pupils.

Since joining Rokeby Park in 2019, I could see how providing a nurturing environment for all children to feel safe and happy was extremely important to everyone. Every teacher welcomes children individually into the classroom and works hard to develop positive relationships between pupil and teacher. The school has two emotional literacy support assistants to help the children and families to ensure everyone is ready to learn.

The ELSAs provide a wellbeing check-in service so any child throughout the school can drop in. At Rokeby Park we have a before and after-school club for those families that need the provision. We know just how important the pupil voice is and our school council, anti-bullying ambassadors and playtime monitors regularly meet with the headteacher to discuss ways forward for the school. The Headteacher is very involved, she is always on the playground at lunchtime working with the pupils.

Covid-19

One of the positives to come from all of this is we have got to know the families and the parents really well. Our Headteacher made this a real priority and we had weekly phone calls with parents, checking in with them and also checking in with the children. Safeguarding is a high priority at Rokeby and vulnerable families are supported with regular phone calls, home visits and food parcels provided where necessary. We ensured the majority of the vulnerable children were in school during the lockdown periods.

The staff have tried really hard to maintain high levels of parental engagement but for some parents, lockdown has been extremely difficult. Each teacher has taught live lessons every day and staff were calling home every week to speak to the pupils and parents.

Some year groups pupil engagement with remote learning was above 80%. However, we were not necessarily seeing a true reflection of their learning.

At Rokeby Park we have realised that using technology to support our pupils will continue. Therefore, we are still using Microsoft Teams to set homework and to get the children to do tasks. We are trying to think of other ways we can carry on using Teams for the benefit of pupils’ learning.

Since coming back on 8th March, overall, the children have been very resilient. We have worked hard, using growth mindset strategies to ensure the pupils were ready to learn again after lockdown. The pupils are happy and eager to learn. We have worked on boosting their confidence and self-esteem through circle times and class discussions. We’re looking forward to the summer term where we can spend lots of time on outdoor learning and continuing to raise children’s aspirations and attainment.

Regarding the harm that may have been done during the period of lockdown and school closures, we have started to assess children to see where they are academically. For most of the children, I’m sure the lockdown and school closures will have had a detrimental effect. However, we have been proactive, focusing on phonics and reading since the pupils have come back, and we’re pushing for all children to be the fluent readers we know they can be.

One of the girls on the programme was really upset that she had to finish the tutoring as she really wanted to carry on with it. So I think, for the children involved, it has boosted their confidence and their self-esteem

NTP & Teaching Personnel

As far as I am aware, the school has never used external tutoring before. Cost is a major factor but also bringing in tutors is hard, because they don’t know the children like their teacher does, and that is really important.

My Head engaged with the NTP website and got in contact with Teaching Personnel and then handed the process over to me. I found the whole process fairly easy to manage and Rebecca and Tanya were helpful and responsive on email.

Teaching Personnel have been delivering for the school since January, delivering remotely to some children in years 3, 4, 5 and 6.. We had tutors teaching maths for years 5 and 6 and reading for years 3, 4, 5 and 6.

We had discussions with tutors before the tuition began to agree the objectives the tutors would work on. After tutoring sessions, the LEAP platform would show the attendance data and a learning comment for each child.

I’ve dropped in on some of the tutoring to see how things are going. The lessons were engaging for the children and for the reading lessons, the children were able to work on their reading fluency.

The tutors have worked well with the children and with the teachers. There have been a couple of safeguarding issues along the way, and they got in touch with us immediately when they had any concerns.

Impact

To some extent, for those children that have been involved in the NTP, there has been a positive impact. The tutors have been using engaging tools to work with the children, like using escape rooms. One of the girls on the programme was really upset that she had to finish the tutoring as she really wanted to carry on with it. So I think, for the children involved, it has boosted their confidence and their self-esteem. However, due to the lack of entry and exit data it is difficult to judge the academic progress that has been made at this stage.

Advice

If I had to share some advice with another school looking at the programme, it would be to make sure you are reviewing with the tutors weekly. At Rokeby Park Primary school, we have completed some standardised tests since coming back to school in March. It would be useful if the NTP could provide some entry and exit data to evaluate the impact of the programme.

Keeping an open dialogue with the children and parents is important as it has sometimes been a bit tricky making sure we had the engagement when pupils were accessing the tutoring at home.

I do think it’s been a positive experience overall.

Kate Wilde is the Assistant Head Teacher, SENCO and Inclusion Lead, and Y6 class teacher at Rokeby Park Primary School in Hull. They are accessing tutoring with Teaching Personnel.

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