Accelerating progress at The Ravensbourne School

Case study from Marc Naylor, Deputy Headteacher, The Ravensbourne School

This year, we worked with a large group of students at The Ravensbourne School in Bromley, Kent, to provide extra support in Maths and Science. Alongside other initiatives, including better tier allocation for pupils, our one-to-one tuition programme helped the students to make huge leaps in confidence and progress – turning U grades into strong passes.

What was the focus of your tuition programme?

“In total, we had 70 pupils enrolled on the programme, 38 of which were being tutored in Maths, and 23 in Science – our weakness areas. For Science, we ran a 6-week programme, split between Biology, Chemistry and Physics, with specialist tutors in those areas.”

“This cohort was largely made up of pupils who were high prior attainers, but were, at the time, under-performing. Whilst this was partly due to some of them being on the wrong tier for their level, a lot of it was also about confidence – which MyTutor helped to build back up.”

How did you set up the programme for success?

“The first thing we did was get parental buy-in. Following a parents’ evening, we gave parents a form inviting them to attend a briefing event on the tuition programme the following week – and to sign up their sons or daughters.”

“The majority of parents were more than happy to sign up straight away, as we pitched it to them as effectively getting hours’ worth of tuition for free! We ran the lessons after school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and we operated a ‘2 strikes’ policy where, if pupils failed to attend 2 sessions, we withdrew them from the programme.”

What results and impact have you seen? 

“Every single pupil in our Maths programme started with a U grade. Of those who went on to take the GCSE foundation paper, 69% achieved Grade 9-4, and 41% achieved Grade 9-5.”

“Similarly, looking at the higher paper in Maths, 100% achieved Grade 9-4, and 89% achieved Grade 9-5.

“We also saw this fantastic level of progress in Science, where 64% of foundation pupils achieved Grade 9-4, and 92% of those who took the higher paper also achieved Grade 9-5.”

“Considering many of these pupils started from a U grade base, this was obviously brilliant.”

What has the feedback from pupils been like?

“Overall, it’s been very positive. The students felt that the lessons were really useful, and that the tutors explained things well, and were happy to go back and re-cover any areas that they didn’t fully understand. I’ve spoken to several pupils that have come back after the summer, and they unanimously said ‘it helped loads, I’m so glad I did it’.”

“I’m now in the fortunate position where, when we recruit pupils for the next programme, I have several Post-16 students who have already volunteered to be advocates for MyTutor – and to stand up and present to their fellow students about why they should participate.”

Do you have any particularly special success stories?

“One brilliant example that springs to mind is one of our Year 11 girls who received tutoring in both Maths and Science, having actively approached us to ask for a place on the programme. She was really passionate about wanting to become a midwife, but she was on U grades for both subjects.”

“On results day, when I was enrolling Sixth Form students, she came to see me – having waited around for about an hour after collecting her results. I asked her if she had come to enrol, but she told me ‘no, I’ve already enrolled, I just wanted to show you my results’.”

“She put them in front of me, and she’d got Grade 6s across the board, which meant she could take the courses she needed to do to progress her career – and she’s now on course to study midwifery. So the tutoring has made a transformative difference to her life.”

What has been the biggest benefit of MyTutor for your students?

“I think it would be the focused, individualised nature of the tuition. For these pupils, who don’t often get one-to-one attention, it gives them a really tailored level of support. Because they have the same tutor each week, they develop a strong relationship and rapport – and it’s this that builds confidence and really helps them to improve.”

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