Narrowing the attainment gap at The Nobel School

Case study from Paul Willsher, Head of Year 10, The Nobel School.

The challenge

“Historically, in our school (and at a national level), there’s definitely a gap between our pupil premium students and those from more well-off backgrounds. It’s an area that we’ve focused on a lot over the past two or three years, and a gap that’s closing, but still bigger than we want it to be.” 

The programme

“From our most recent data drop, we knew that Science was the slightly weaker subject of the core three, so we targeted our programme around Science, and specifically the Year 10 pupil premium students who had the largest gap between their target and predicted grade. Our hope was to try to engage these students more by having them in school for an additional period of time, and to provide extra support to narrow the grade gap.”

The impact

“Every single one of the students said they found their tutoring sessions ‘really useful’, because they had the opportunity to have that dedicated one-to-one hour with the tutor.”

“I posed the question to them whether they would be keen to continue working with MyTutor through to Year 11, should funding be available, and they unanimously said ‘yes’. Lots of them have gone back with renewed confidence into their Science lessons, feeling that they understood the topics more. In terms of the students’ wellbeing, how they feel about school, and how they feel about Science in particular, it did seem to have a huge impact.”

The experience

“Getting the programme up and running was really straightforward – and, I’ll be honest, a lot easier than I thought it was going to be! The MyTutor support team was fantastic – every time I phoned or emailed, there was an immediate, clear response. The Teacher Portal is really easy to navigate around and use.”

A view from the students

Charlie and Tabitha, Year 10 students.

Charlie: “We come in every Tuesday for two-and-a-half hours, and we get private one-to-one lessons. It’s really personalised, the tutor asks you what you’re struggling with, and what you’d like more recap over, so it’s really personalised to what you need to do. If we could [continue MyTutor into Year 11], I’d really like to do it – or give the opportunity to other people – because it actually really helps. And it feels like, although teachers are listening to you at school, it feels like you’ve got that voice that’s encouraging you and motivating just you, instead of 10 in a class. So it’s definitely a better way of learning.”

Tabitha: “I agree with Charlie, it’s one-on-one, so you can focus on your personal needs, plus the tutors also know what we’ve been learning and what we’ve been learning at home. Obviously our teachers work hard to try and make sure every student understands, but at the same time, it’s a class of 30 – they can’t focus on every single child because they’re trying to teach at the same time, so this [MyTutor] is definitely something I’d want to do in Year 11 as well, so I understand more.”

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