Wilnecote Junior is a small primary school in a diverse area of Staffordshire. Part of the Fierté Multi Academy Trust, a large number of the 337 pupils come from disadvantaged backgrounds and the school has a high percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals and Pupil Premium.
Targeted online maths tuition:
I had used Third Space Learning’s online one-to-one maths tuition in my previous school and, having seen the impact first hand, I was keen to introduce the programme in Wilnecote when I joined in 2020. When we heard about the NTP and the subsidised support they were offering for Third Space Learning, we were delighted to now be able to provide this support for those pupils most in need after the first lockdown.
We selected a group of 17 Year 6 pupils to receive the tuition, all of whom were close to meeting ARE, but their teachers and our own data showed they would need extra support to achieve this. During the time of school closures, thanks to the clear instructions and support provided by Third Space Learning, all 17 pupils were able to receive targeted online one-to-one support from their individual tutors at home.
Having a real-life person there to teach them maths was a bit of a novelty for the children, and invaluable for us as a school during the school closures!
Tutor and pupil relationships:
It was great to see the kind of relationships that formed between the children and their tutors and how rewarding it is for both the pupils and teachers in terms of pupil confidence. Some staff members were initially hesitant about online tutoring and potential safeguarding issues, but the fact that all tutors are background-checked and all the sessions are recorded put them more at ease. Any concerns were quickly resolved once sessions began.
Near the start of the programme, one pupil shared with their tutor that they were feeling a bit unhappy with something that was happening outside of the session. Within half an hour of that session finishing, we’d had a phone call from somebody at Third Space Learning explaining that this had been reported by the tutor. This tutor’s reaction showed us how observant and vigilant the tutors are, and the extent of their training.
We were blown away with the progress made by the pupils using Third Space Learning; out of the 17 Year 6 pupils signed up, 16 of them made accelerated progress and met their expected targets by the end of the academic year.
Due to the impact we’d seen in 2020/21, we were very keen to work with them again for a second year to help more Year 6 pupils in the lead up to SATs, as well as a group of Year 3s with their catch-up learning. Thanks to the continued funding provided by the NTP, this has been made possible.
In addition to our work with Third Space Learning, the introduction of funding through the school-led tutoring route of the NTP has meant that we have been able to explore more options for targeted support in other subjects. Three of our TA’s have undertaken the 11 hour training required before delivering tuition and so now, alongside our additional maths support provided by Third Space Learning, our pupils will be receiving one-to-one writing support with our trained TAs.
Advice for schools:
My advice for schools would be to make sure you read the NTP’s documentation thoroughly to make sure details, such as your school’s number of Pupil Premium pupils, are in line with the requirements to make sure you are eligible to access the NTP funding.
For teachers considering using Third Space Learning, see if you can watch a session. That’s what worked for me. Seeing it in action really helped me to understand the amazing impact Third Space Learning has. It really does achieve the desired effects and the increase in children’s maths confidence is amazing.