Effective Personal Tutoring

Co-leaders: Andy Bainbridge, Loxford School of Science and Technology
Phil Bray, Beal High School


  1. Identify the crucial aspects of high quality tutorial support at KS3, 4 and 5 in the perception of students.
  2. Describe and document the actions and determining features of tutors who care; particularly successful in the eyes of students
  3. Disseminate the findings of this study in a way that empowers schools to manage the quality of tutoring for all students and thus raise achievement and well-being of students through their school career.
  4. Create a core group of highly trained staff who are able to carry this work forward in a sustainable manner in year 2 and beyond.

Preliminary Phase – Trailing a tool

Activity – Develop an online questionnaire that students can use to evaluate and reflect on the quality of support they receive from their tutor– Beal High School and Loxford High School to trial. Activitists will be asked to suggest questions. Initial coaching of our activitist will take place in Beal and Loxford where 2 focus groups will be run in order to test questions, check the direction of the project with students and test the online model.

This will use the Google Docs service as it is a platform which is accessible to all schools taking part. This gives the opportunity for unlimited participants

Results from the questionnaire will be verified through focus groups to check their validity and the questionnaire adjusted accordingly.

Phase 1 – Research into identifying excellent tutoring

Activity – Further planning, communication, meeting time to finalise changes to the online tool along with planning the initial network meeting.

Activity – Creation of the activitists group comprising of at least 1 member of staff from each school. Staff released to attend an afternoon meeting in late September. This meeting will focus on the initial objectives of the network, forming a team of committed staff, how to use the online tool, what feedback will be required and the key milestones over phase 1 , 2 & 3.

Activity – Apply the tool with students in a number of schools and in a number of year groups to determine what students think of as high quality tutoring. Ethics and ground rules for this phase will be important considerations and participating schools and tutors will have to agree how the results will be used and whether findings will be fed back to individuals. Each school to prepare a feedback paper on what they have learned etc.

Phase 2 – Research into best practice of tutors

Activity – Drilling down into the practice that produced good results. Nick Zeinau to be used in each school to support the work of the activists. Each school will have half a day with the option to arrange for more if necessary. The additional costs will be met by the school.

Activity – Identifying particular tutor groups and tutors that have scored highly with the tool and identifying through focus group interviews what behaviour, attitudes, practices gave rise to such good results and documenting same.

Using literature on the topic create a framework that can make sense of the practices and findings – the goal will be to produce practical guidelines but also a way of understanding how tutors and students understand the process of tutoring and the role of the tutor when it works well.
In this phase we will also explore in depth differences in practice and in student need KS3, 4 and 5. We envisage that each school will focus on different year groups as our initial view is that tutoring changes over time.

Initial outline – Year 2

Phase 3 – Initial Dissemination

Activity – A small conference to share findings and offer some options for implementing action to raise standards and consistency of tutoring and to evaluate and manage the quality of tutoring on a whole school level.

During this event the activities to date will be critically evaluated and year 2 will be planned.

Activity – Students will be trained as researchers to enable them to play an active part in the project. An example of this would be older students acting as focus group leaders in school speaking with small numbers of younger students about their perceptions of what a good tutor does.

Phase 4 – Initial Dissemination

More schools could take part in using the results of the project and should be supported in this phase to do so. This will not be restricted to schools that took part in the research.


A Great Tutor for Every Pupil

A research document.


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