Case study from Will Wilson, Deputy Headteacher, The King’s Church of England School in Kidsgrove
This year, The King’s Church of England School saw a fantastic leap in attainment in their GCSE results, with the number of students who received a Grade 4 or above in Maths and English up by 11%
. We worked on a Maths-focused one-to-one tuition programme with some of the school’s pupil premium students, helping to increase their self-belief, confidence and academic progress.
Tell us a little about your MyTutor programme
“We started off initially with a pupil premium-only programme of 15 students, focused predominantly on Maths, because that was one of our key areas for improvement. We ran the programme from the back-end of the first term and found that it got real traction from January onwards, as students clocked up more hours.”
“Although we started with Maths, some pupils also asked to use MyTutor for Science – so that was more their call than ours, and we were happy for them to do that. Over time, we found that the cohort was whittled down to a core group of about 10 pupils who committed to regularly attending, saw the benefit, and wanted to do it.”
“This year, given the results we’ve seen, we’re offering MyTutor on more of an ‘open door’ basis to the full spectrum of students – as opposed to just pupil premium.”
What are the biggest challenges you face at your school with your pupil premium students?
“The main challenges in this demographic are low aspirations, a lack of parental engagement, and also a lack of opportunity at home for doing private study. And, of course, for a lot of our parents, there’s a financial restriction in that they can’t afford their own private tuition. So those were the three main barriers that the MyTutor programme was partly put in place to address.”
What made you choose to work with MyTutor?
“One-to-one tuition was already known to us as being a high-impact intervention strategy, based on evidence and recommendations from the Education Endowment Foundation
. But although we were aware of the impact potential, we struggled to find high-quality, reliable tutors in the local area – and we also didn’t have the means to QA those tutors.”
“The fact that Mytutor was online, with quality tutors, and that pupils could have lessons at convenient slots in their week, gave us a ready-made solution.”
What have the biggest benefits been for your students?
“A lot of our pupils were anxious about not hitting their forecast grades, having tried every other possible intervention in the school. For them, MyTutor was something new and different. We’ve found that pupils consistently speak positively about it, saying that it has increased their self-belief and helped them to feel that they can
actually tackle things that they previously thought they couldn’t.”
“For us, I think the biggest benefit has been the one-to-one attention that the students receive, focused specifically on their personal needs. One of our pupils, who’s now in the Sixth Form, was able to build a strong, sustained relationship with a tutor that she saw week in, week out – and that was really powerful for her, because it developed her self-esteem and confidence.”
“She said that ‘the tuition process is totally focused on her
as an individual and developing her
as an individual, rather than developing a class’, which I felt summed it up in a nutshell.”
“I think collectively the students felt that having someone on the other end of the screen, who was focused on developing them and addressing their issues, rather than developing a whole class, was really valuable – so that’s the power of it for me.”
What steps did you take to launch the programme effectively?
“We very clearly involved parents right from the start, and informed them about the cost commitment we’d made as a school and the benefits it could offer – drawing on MyTutor’s impact data to make a strong case for the programme.”
“This year, we’ve also taken an extra step to launch the programme for pupils, and we’re putting on an assembly to talk about the impact we’ve seen – both from our own numbers and MyTutor’s national data. We’re also going to have some of our ex-students stand up and speak to pupils about their personal experience, to encourage pupil buy-in.”
What has the feedback from pupils been like?
“After the programme finished, I did a pupil voice survey to understand how they felt about it. The responses were overwhelmingly positive, with:
- 100% of pupils saying they felt they’d improved their performance in the subject they were tutored in
- 100% saying they felt more confident, and
- 100% saying they felt their actual GCSE performance was better as a direct result of their tutoring”
“We also asked the students to sum up their experience in a word or phrase, and the responses that came back included ‘brilliant’, ‘great’, ‘challenging but beneficial’, ‘excellent’, and ‘key to exam success’.”
Would you recommend MyTutor to other schools?
“Yes, I would. Because it works. The evidence shows that it works – both in terms of the guidance around one-to-one tuition from the EEF, but also our own numbers and results.”
“The biggest thing, though, is that it inspires the students, who often feel that they are failures. Without exception, all our students who took part in the programme and sustained their commitment to it, valued it highly. They felt that the tutors empathised with them – and their issues and weaknesses – and ultimately, it built their confidence and their academic performance.”