NTP School Stories

We're proud to support so many schools to give young people the best education

Tute has always done what the National Tutoring Programme is designed to provide: high-quality online tutoring to fill gaps in learning.

As a Tuition Partner, we are providing 1:3 tutoring to disadvantaged students in primary and secondary schools, alternative provision and SEND settings throughout the whole of England using our 8 years’ experience in live online learning.

Learn how Tute is supporting schools and disadvantaged students up and down the country as a Tuition Partner:

     Newest School Story

Context

University Technical College Norfolk (UTCN) is located in Norwich city centre. Our students come from both urban and rural settings. Our attendance is usually in line with national averages but, in lockdown, our remote learning attendance has been very high; much higher than national averages.

Our pupil premium figures are slightly lower than average while the proportion of pupils with SEND is a few percentage points higher.

One of the main challenges our school faces is the vast catchment area that spans across the county, resulting in students coming from around 49 different high schools.

Our students join us in year 10, each having been taught differently at Key Stage 3 and having a wide variety of abilities. Meeting the needs of each student is important whilst ensuring a high-quality education is provided to all resulting in good outcomes.

We heard about the NTP around the start of the academic year. It seemed like a great opportunity for our students, especially as the provision could also be offered remotely.

Covid-19

UTCN is facing the same challenges schools are facing all over the country at the moment: disrupted education due to Covid. This was further exacerbated by the differing lockdown teaching our year 10 students received at their previous schools. 

As with all schools, organising online lessons that best reflect the normal curriculum has been a challenge. Our aim has been to continue to provide a full remote teaching and learning experience for all students whilst bridging any ​lost learning’ suffered from the first lockdown

Aside from this, lack of information regarding exams has also been difficult for us when planning and preparing our students for their next steps.

Tutoring

We have used tutoring in school before. It has mostly been used to support our pupil premium students with the aim of improving their English, Maths and Science GCSE results.

We heard about the NTP around the start of the academic year. We thought it was a great way of helping schools support students who were particularly affected by the previous lockdown. However, as with any newly introduced scheme, we understood there would be criteria that had to be met and so we were anxious to see how realistic they were.

As mentioned, Covid-19 had affected the school and most importantly, the education of the students. We wanted to make sure we did all we could to help students recover from any ​lost learning’ which may result in poorer outcomes for some students. The NTP seemed like a great opportunity for our students especially as the provision could also be offered remotely.

Finding the Tuition Partners that best suited our vision was relatively straightforward once the list of potential providers had been sent out by NTP. We decided eventually on Tute, who we have been really impressed with so far.

NTP journey

Finding the Tuition Partners that best suited our vision was relatively straightforward once the list of potential providers had been sent out by NTP. We decided eventually on Tute, who we have been really impressed with so far.

We had made plans to choose an online tuition provider so students could attend the sessions at home, allowing for more flexibility. However, as the criteria stated, tuition provided through NTP had to be in school, we had to change from our initial outlook. Considering most schools understandably seemed to want the 3 – 4pm slot so as not to disrupt the rest of their students’ education, it was a race to get them for our school. Unfortunately, after the second lockdown happened, a lot of our preparation was made redundant! However, we got there in the end.

Obviously, setting up the tutoring was a big job, especially since we wanted it to be sorted quickly enough for it to best support our students. However, Tute were really helpful throughout the process. The tuition itself has also been very good, and the tracking process has been great at ensuring attendance and engagement has been maintained.

Impact

Naturally, this early on it is difficult to accurately gauge overall academic progress, although the progress trackers Tute provide are brilliant at allowing us to see how well students performed in each lesson.

Our teachers select the topics for the tutors to focus on with each of the students, based on topics students have previously struggled with. The trackers Tute have set up show the progress made in the sessions and link the tutor with the teacher really well.

Engagement from our students has been great, which is a credit to Tute. We will be collecting student and parent surveys after half-term to fully evaluate the start of the tutoring, but I have had the following comments from students, without being asked, that shows that they are engaging with the tuition:

Thank you for the tutor lessons, I appreciate them. I get taught something new every time and find it really helpful!

I did remember my tutoring and it was really good, I got loads from it.

That was brilliant. He explained everything. I like the way he did it because he used the board to complete a sum and I had to tell him when he was making a mistake.

Advice

I’d certainly advise schools to take advantage of the opportunity. Without question.

Students from every school in the country have been affected by the lockdowns. The NTP provides a chance to make amends for this. However, schools should get on board sooner rather than later in order to make the most out of the opportunity to maximise its impact on our young people.

Luke Moralee teaches English and History at University Technical College Norfolk. They are receiving subsidised tutoring from NTP Tuition Partner Tute.

Via NTP

“Engagement from our students has been great, which is a credit to Tute. “

Context

Blenheim Primary School is in Orpington, Kent and is a one form entry school with 220 children. We currently have an IDACI score of 5332, putting us amongst the 20% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country. We have significantly high numbers of pupil premium children. 40% of children receive free school meals, the proportion of pupils that have English as an Additional Language (EAL) is 41%, higher than the national average, and we have children with high levels of mobility. About 20 per cent of the school are SEND so there are lots of barriers that we have to consider before we even start teaching in the classroom. These bring a number of challenges to our school, but as a school community we remain determined not to let that stop us. All of our children deserve the best educational experiences and we won’t stop in that endeavour. We continue to maintain our ​Good’ Ofsted gradings and serve as an important pillar of the local community.

Despite the challenges we face as a school, particularly with regards to improving pupil outcomes, our highly trained and committed staff base means that we are determined to ensure all of our children make excellent progress. As a school we have high levels of mobility and movement, and therefore it is extremely important for us to do as much as we can for individual children during the time they spend with us, however short or long that may be. The children of Blenheim deserve nothing but the best and so we have to have in place multiple, secure strategies which enable them to be challenged, to strive and to succeed which is embraced in our school motto.

Covid-19

The impact of two rounds of lockdown has seen a really significant drop in expected outcomes, compared to pre-Covid predictions. During the first lockdown there were significantly fewer children actively engaging in remote learning and there was a lot that was lost. This time round we were able to deliver live lessons with remote learning, which we didn’t do last time, and we set ambitious attendance engagement targets of 100 per cent. At the end of our most recent lockdown, our attendance in online learning was around 90 per cent. This was a huge improvement in comparison to the Spring of 2020, which is to be celebrated – but we were naturally disappointed we didn’t reach our target!

We do have a number of parents who struggle to read and/​or write, and understandably they find it tricky to support their children in their learning. Despite our best efforts, there was a small minority of children who we just couldn’t get through the screen to. That digital divide has highlighted a number of issues, not just access to devices, which the government and our Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) did help us with, but our office staff took a lot of time to help parents ensure their children logged on, typed in passwords and made sure their children were ready to learn each morning.

In this year we’ve delivered so much more. Rather than having one device per household, we have had one device per child. We’ve had laptops donated by parents, by the teachers, by families and so we have worked hard to get them supported so they don’t have access issues. We also had vulnerable children coming to the school to access provision with support staff. The whole impact is a lot more significant than we fully expected and therefore teachers are working extremely hard to design and provide the best recovery curriculum possible to ensure children make good progress.

NTP

We haven’t used external providers to deliver tutoring before, it’s just not something we could afford. Teaching and Learning support staff at the school have previously volunteered time to offer individual tuition directly; but nothing like this has ever been achieved, which is what’s great about using this external provider.

Our Executive Headteacher contacted me about the NTP and asked me to lead on delivering the tutoring programme at the school. Primary heads across the E21C MAT, which Blenheim is a part of, had identified Tute as their chosen partner and so I was paired up with Darren, and we went from there.

We sent out letters of interest and everyone came back and said ​Yes’. It was wonderful to see everyone jumping at the opportunity.

The parents are so relieved that this additional support is being put in place and together we are all grateful for the opportunity for extra learning and small group work. It’s something which we wish we could deliver ourselves of course, but logistically this isn’t something we would have been able to do, not on this scale. The whole set up has been fantastic from the start and the children are thriving.

Every child has come back differently from lockdown, so we can use the tutoring programme to focus on topics they haven’t yet grasped or previously found tricky during remote learning. We can build their confidence for learning more generally or we can focus on topics coming up for them using pre-teach methodologies.

Some of our children have come back to school and are flying ahead because their parents have been on furlough, for example, and have had the time to really work collaboratively with the school and adopted ​home education’ fully. But we have others whose experiences have involved them learning to cope with loss, significant change, parental mental health issues, family financial difficulties due to parental redundancies, alongside many other challenges which have come out of a year of national lockdowns. All the children have changed and have different needs, understandably, so we are doing a lot of work around reintegration and readjustment, but the NTP means we can really begin to target children’s individual needs which is paving the way for them to go on and flourish academically.

Tute

Since we first engaged with Tute, it’s been extremely busy! There is a lot to do because we are designing a curriculum for individual children. But I’m glad we can work collaboratively with the tutors and as teachers, our knowledge and formative assessments inform the tuition program. As the children’s class teacher, I knew what they needed and what groups they needed to be in, I wouldn’t want anyone else to do that. All the teachers feel the same about their individual classes and it’s great that we have that control and ownership of what’s being taught, even during tuition with an external partner.

The turnaround from signing up to the first session was extremely quick. Tutoring started within just three weeks and that was during school closures with remote learning provision in place. We were trying to organise the logistics remotely as well, which was of course a challenge but one we are delighted has paid off.

In terms of organising the groups in order to target needs, I’ve been able to group three children together with low confidence in Maths, for example, and explain to the tutors this is a group that needs confidence boosts, or three children who haven’t picked up a pencil in three months and say that these ones need to focus on writing. Having the opportunity to provide additional, tailored support beyond what is feasible in the classroom is a complete privilege.

I was expecting it to be a bit of an uphill battle encouraging the children to take part; they’d already spent so much time accessing remote lessons during lockdown, I had visions of me spending what’s left of the year convincing children to plug into a laptop again! But they absolutely love it and I’ve had nothing but amazing reviews from them. All of the children have shown such maturity and are also grateful for all of the support which they feel is going to be beneficial for them in giving them a better start when they move on to their secondary schools later this year.

Tutor support

Tute uses a OneDrive file in which they use learning trackers, so I can access those, and any teacher can access those to have a look at the trackers which is really useful. It’s easier than getting emails.

Being able to see the children’s data is really helpful. Tute has offered me a session with their data administrator to show me how to look at the cost breakdown, how to look at their attendance trackers and look at the more nitty gritty side of it.

Impact

I have a lot of parents come up and thank me for letting their child get involved in the tutoring, which to me seems really bizarre because it is a government initiative and as a school we continuously provide so much for our children. But they’re just grateful we’ve selected their child and they can access more than any of us could imagine. It is moments like this that make all the hard work worthwhile.

We have children who are very shy, who don’t speak in class and are anxious about learning in school, often stemming from parents feeling the same way from their own childhood experiences. Those children are actively engaging in the online tutoring because they can type answers and there is no expectation to speak or put their hand up. So their engagement is more than we would get out of them in the classroom as there is such little pressure.

Then we also have other children who are just low in confidence, who would look around the room and let other people answer. Now they don’t do that because they are in a small, safe place and can make mistakes, take risks and be confident without all eyes being on them. Motivation in learning has increased visibly.

Children have frequently said to me that they like that tutors encourage them to give things a go and help them when they get stuck, and they are recognising their own development as well. They are extremely reflective about the benefits of the tuition which has been fascinating for me to see.

Then we also have other children who are just low in confidence, who would look around the room and let other people answer. Now they don’t do that because they are in a small, safe place and can make mistakes, take risks and be confident without all eyes being on them. Motivation in learning has increased visibly.

Children have frequently said to me that they like that tutors encourage them to give things a go and help them when they get stuck, and they are recognising their own development as well. They are extremely reflective about the benefits of the tuition which has been fascinating for me to see.

Advice

I think if I had some advice for another school using the programme, it would be to consider enrolling some children who are in the middle, those ​unseen’ children, children who are doing well but would benefit from being in a one-to-one, or a one-to-two, tutoring session. It can bring the most out in them rather than just simply focusing on the children that are significantly above or below expected or that naturally distract a lot of your attention in class. The children who are always doing exactly what we want, but that we may unconsciously overlook. Programmes like this are an incredible tool to empower the children that we may otherwise take for granted.

The NTP is just the perfect opportunity to give those children, just that little bit extra. A little can go a long way after all.

“The NTP means we can really begin to target children’s individual needs which is paving the way for them to go on and flourish academically.”

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.

Covid-19

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.

Through webinars and online information, we researched the available providers from the 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.

Lost learning

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.

Moving forward

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.

Via NTP

“…they have gone above and beyond to help us to put in place a robust 20-week programme to target our Year 11 learners.”

Context

We are an oversubscribed one-form entry primary school within a town with a growing population. As a faith school our catchment area is wide and varied but during the past seven years the numbers of children joining our school who do not speak English as a first language has increased.

Although we have low pupil premium and SEND, we currently have 48 per cent of pupils who have English as an additional language (EAL). Developing and delivering a curriculum into which children are immersed in high quality language opportunities and vocabulary development is challenging when children and parents speak a variety of languages at home, but our diverse community is something we are very proud of and we celebrate at every opportunity.

Covid-19

We are not unique in the challenges Covid-19 has presented for our school. Each and every school is under immense and growing pressure to ensure all children have the opportunity to progress in their learning and thrive despite attendance restrictions.

When the children returned after the first round of restricted attendance in Summer 2020, we noticed a decline in language competency for many of our EAL pupils. Although not our only challenge during Autumn 2020, language acquisition and competency has a marked impact on all areas of the curriculum as well as listening and attention. We prioritised speaking, listening and vocabulary development throughout the school, alongside daily reading and discussion for all pupils.

Our experience with Tute has been positive. Class teachers were able to engage with Tute to identify the gaps in learning they wish to address which has ensured the tutoring provided reinforce classroom learning.

Accessing the NTP

We have never considered using tutoring as an intervention within school before. The cost has always been a barrier, so we have prioritised using in-house staff expertise and research-led interventions.

When I heard about the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) I was intrigued. The possibility of additional tutoring, at a subsidised price, was appealing as it would allow us to target individual pupils for accelerated progress. This would be an approach in addition to, not in replacement of, our current practice.

Initial assessments of the children as they returned to school in the Autumn identified gaps in their learning with many children operating up to 12 months behind. Teachers and support staff were already working at capacity to provide interventions so engaging with the NTP appealed as it offered a structured approach led by an NTP Tuition Partner without impacting on established interventions.

Our experience with Tute has been positive. Class teachers were able to engage with Tute to identify the gaps in learning they wish to address which has ensured the tutoring provided reinforce classroom learning.

When schools entered a further period of restricted attendance in January 2021, I was concerned those pupils learning from home would not be able to continue with their learning with the NTP. However, Tute were quick to reorganise the permissions and the home-learners began accessing their tuition lessons that very week.

It is a little too early to measure the impact on our current cohort of Tute pupils other than to say the children are engaged and enjoying their lessons. They look forward to them each week.

“Our experience with Tute has been positive. Class teachers were able to engage with Tute to identify the gaps in learning they wish to address which has ensured the tutoring provided reinforce classroom learning.”

Context

Severn View Academy is a primary school in Gloucester. The school, based in Stroud has a high percentage of Free School Meal pupils and has a large proportion of pupils on pupil premium sitting at 83 per cent.

Covid-19

Lockdown, like any other school in the country, has massively impacted us. During the first lockdown our school found it difficult to adjust to the new changes rolled out as we saw the effects of the pandemic take hold. We struggled to adapt and this led to us finding many gaps in our pupils’ learning.

However, during this latest lockdown and the move to remote learning we have improved greatly. We have improved our virtual learning for pupils and really ramped up engagement. We are now seeing massively improved levels of engagement amongst our pupils with 83 – 90 per cent attendance.

Accessing the NTP

Before the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) came along we had never been able to access any kind of tutoring. The main barrier has always been the cost of high-quality tutoring. As a school we haven’t been able to fund it.

Following the first lockdown we felt like the NTP was a really great opportunity to offer our pupils extra support that not only compliments the teachers work and efforts in the classroom, but also provides vital support to bridge the gaps in learning that came from the first lockdown.

Before the NTP came along we had never been able to access any kind of tutoring. The main barrier has always been the cost. We felt like the NTP was a really great opportunity to offer our pupils extra support that complements the teachers work and efforts in the classroom.

As part of a multi-academy trust (MAT) approach to help accelerate and bridge the gaps in learning, we began to engage with the NTP. The MAT began the process to work with the NTP and Tuition Partner Tute with the aim of supporting children who were falling behind due to circumstances that we all know are beyond their and our control.

The navigation of the NTP brought no additional pressure to us as it was done with our MAT working closely with the NTP.

Impact

So far our Tuition Partner has been incredibly helpful. Although it is early days to talk about the impact this tutoring will have, I can say Tute has been really efficient and professional when organising the tuition for our pupils.

The NTP is a great opportunity for pupils. It has widened accessibility and ensured we could access tutoring for the first time and has built confidence for us in using new technology.

Accessing the NTP has also presented itself as a great chance for pupils to engage with a tutoring programme that will provide us with the support we need to bridge the gaps the pandemic has caused in their learning.

Via NTP

“So far our Tuition Partner has been incredibly helpful…Tute has been really efficient and professional when organising the tuition for our pupils.” 

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