We are a two form entry primary situated in the Enfield Deanery, and part of the London Diocesan Board for Schools (LDBS), serving a diverse community and pupil population who live in one of the most deprived wards in London and the UK. 98% of our pupils are from ethnic groups other than white British and 56% have English as an Additional Language (EAL). 32% are eligible for free school meals and 36% are in receipt of the pupil premium.
During the first lockdown many of our children did not have access to devices for online learning and so we relied heavily on providing weekly work packs which parents collected or we delivered. As the lockdown progressed we ensured all our teaching staff and support staff were trained on Google Classroom and we also invested in a number of Chromebooks and applied for laptops from the Department for Education (DfE). This meant that when lockdown returned, we were in a good position to provide high quality live lessons to all our children from reception to year 6 working at home on borrowed laptops.
Throughout the second lockdown we had an amazing level of engagement from pupils on Google Classroom who followed a normal school day and curriculum. A couple of children accessed lessons from abroad as they had been unable to get home due to restrictions on travelling.
Keyworker children and others who were attending school followed these same lessons online with help from support staff, so they were able to interact with classmates working online at home and their teacher. This was vital in maintaining children’s motivation and enthusiasm.
We continued as far as possible with small group and 1:1 intervention via Google Classroom in, for example, phonics which both teachers and support staff ran online once daily lessons had finished. We used video resources from the Oak Academy and White Rose to support our teaching assistants in delivering some of these interventions.
We heard about the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) through DfE notifications. I then searched on the NTP website which was really easy to navigate and arranged online meetings with three of the Tuition Partners, to find out more about their individual offer and whether it would be suitable for our pupils.
I chose TLC Live because their tutoring model was topic-based, which means pupils are met at the level they were currently at. The TLC model also assesses progression of pupils over the course of the tutoring sessions but also within each hour-long session and we receive a detailed feedback report at the end of each session for every child which is great for assessing impact.
36 of our year 4 and year 5 pupils are currently accessing tuition in both English and Maths. We selected pupils based on two main factors; their level of engagement with learning during the first lockdown and prior assessment data. The tutoring began in early February so we had a mix of pupils accessing from home and pupils taking part in school but with the return to school for all pupils we now have groups running every morning from Monday to Thursday.
The children really enjoy these lessons and progress within lessons is clear to see. The lessons are differentiated for each child and this is really helping with boosting children’s independence, perseverance and confidence. The children are entirely engaged throughout their lessons and the online feedback they are invited to give at the end of their session has been entirely positive.
We use the feedback reports after each session, to identify areas pupils need a bit more support with and that information is fed back to the child’s class teacher who will then prepare a short relevant intervention so classroom learning and tutoring sessions are joined up.
I would highly recommend other schools to sign up for the NTP. My advice would be to look at a number of providers so that you find one that works for your school and your pupils. Having online tutoring in place means we are able to provide support quickly to close gaps in learning and give the children the individual attention they deserve following this difficult period.
St John and James Church of England Primary School is in Edmonton, North London. They’re accessing subsidised tutoring with TLC Live.