Upton-by-Chester High School is a very large co-educational 11 – 18 secondary school. We are a popular first-choice year 7 school and have a thriving sixth form. Our school mainly serves the north side of the City of Chester but we attract learners from beyond our catchment area. Our learners come from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds and we are truly comprehensive in our intake.
Approximately 20% of our learners are eligible for the pupil premium, this equates to an average of 50 learners per year group. Through a mixture of whole school and targeted interventions we ensure that all learners, including those classed as pupil premium, are offered the highest standards of education and support. Our learners value their education and behaviour and attendance is very good.
During the first lockdown we reacted quickly to ensure that our learners were able to continue their studies from home. We also ensured that those learners attending school as either vulnerable or critical worker’s children were equipped to continue with their studies.
This presented many challenges which were overcome by our fantastic learners, their parents and carers and our wonderful staff. Our remote Learning Strategy has allowed all learners, whether in school or not, to access the highest standards of education and we have worked tirelessly to ensure that all of our learners can access our on-line platforms when not in school.
When we returned from the first lockdown we very quickly identified those learners who would benefit from some additional help, this primarily focussed on their mental health and well-being.
Our staff were then able to identify those learners who would benefit from some additional support using the ‘catch-up’ funding we had. We initially considered using our own staff to offer after-school tuition but recognised the unbelievable efforts they were putting into the daily education of our learners already and didn’t want to over stretch.
Through webinars and online information, we researched the available providers from the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). Our headteacher had successfully used Tute in a previous school and we approached them after reading their impact report. Since our initial meeting they have gone above and beyond to help us to put in place a robust 20-week programme to target our Year 11 learners from our pupil premium cohort and deliver a bespoke programme in both English and Maths.
The individual programmes were designed by our Heads of English and Maths addressing the individual needs of our learners. Tute’s experienced and fully trained, qualified staff have delivered these sessions online and the feedback from those learners involved and their parents and carers has been excellent.
Through the NTP we have been able to access tutoring that has the potential to impact the learning of our pupil premium cohort and wider school community.
Using our own staff’s expertise and in-depth knowledge of our learners, has allowed us to create a package, together with Tute, to address gaps in learning and have a positive impact on their life-long learning.
We will continue to use the NTP to ensure that learners across the entire age range of the school can access the highest standards of education and support.
Matt Rutter is Assistant Headteacher at Upton-by-Chester High School. They are accessing online tuition for their pupils through NTP Tuition Partner Tute.