3 Ways To Support Pupil Catch-Up


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What can schools do to help disadvantaged pupils catch up on lost learning?

Speaking to hundreds of teachers each week, I know that there’s a very genuine worry about the massive impact COVID-19 has had, especially on our most disadvantaged children.

Last year, I supported the National Tutoring Programme, a scheme for 5 to 16-year-olds to help address the impact of the pandemic on educational outcomes. In almost all examples of tutoring I have seen work in schools, all students benefit, especially disadvantaged pupils.

Now in its second year, the programme has been expanded to provide schools with more flexibility and control to allow them to support even more pupils whose education has been impacted by the pandemic. There are 3 potential routes your school can take:

1. Tuition Partners

Once registered, a tuition hub will offer schools a range of partner support; engaging with the approved Tuition Partners to provide 15-hour blocks of targeted support to pupils. Designed to enable state-funded schools to access subsidised, high-quality tuition from an approved list of NTP partners.

Not only does this take the workload away from school leaders, but it also supports those schools that might not have specific resources to help.

2. Academic Mentors

Approved mentors will be employed directly by the school to provide support on a targeted basis to pupils. In my leadership experience, this is where students benefit significantly.

Mentors can be used in class to work alongside pupils and the teacher, providing a range of interventions in (typically) 15-hour blocks.

3. School-Led Tutoring

The third option, requested by schools themselves, was a ‘grant payment’ to schools to fund self-sourced tuition, based on the number of pupil premium students in a school. Again, in my life as a school leader, having that autonomy to make a personal and collective decision, would be my preference.

Having a ring-fenced budget allows school leaders to deploy teaching assistants, existing teaching staff or local tutors who may already have a strong relationship with the school.

The National Tutoring Programme 2021/22

Learn more and register your school to participate in the National Tutoring Programme.

There are lots of flexible options schools can take. For example, what format flexible catch-up sessions take, one hour a week for 15 weeks or two hours a week for a half-term.

Tutor sessions can rotate across year groups, taking place during form time, breakfast clubs or even after school or on a Saturday morning if this is the preference. One-to-one tuition, Tuition Partners and Academic Mentors working with small groups can also help support lower attaining pupils who have a wider attainment gap post-pandemic.

Home catch-up is also an option for parents to help support, understand what students are learning and why.

Later this term, I’ll be hosting a webinar and inviting school leaders to join me and learn more about what’s different this year. The objective is so that as many pupils as possible across the country benefit from the tuition support the programme offers.

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