Lodge Park Academy
We worked with Lodge Park Academy, near Corby in the East Midlands, to support their pupils year-round with several tutoring programmes, including during the Easter break. Using a combination of 1:1 and small group (3:1) tutoring, the Easter programme helped to provide intensive, personalised support for Y11 Pupil Premium pupils ahead of exams.
Corby, and the surrounding area that the school serves, is an area of disadvantage. Several families struggle with complex social and financial issues, and Lodge Park Academy has been through a difficult journey over the past few years.
The school is now in a phase of rapid improvement. "The challenges we face mirror those that are also felt nationwide - including falling attendance and absenteeism," says Ben Newmark, Trust-Wide Vice Principal for David Ross Education Trust (DRET).
"These tend to most acutely affect disadvantaged pupils - partly due to the disruption of the pandemic and COVID restrictions."
Lodge Park Academy has also seen a worrying increase in anxiety and other mental health concerns and there's a lack of external provision to help and support these pupils.
So, the challenge for the school was to empower Year 11 pupils to reach their full potential, despite how difficult their path might be.
The school initially started their MyTutor programme for Year 11 pupils after the Christmas break, focusing on the core subjects - English, Maths and Science.
This included a mixture of 1:1 lessons, which ran during the school day, as well as small group (3:1) sessions which were held after school. "As we were using the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) subsidy, we offered tuition to our Pupil Premium students first and foremost," says Ben.
Teachers then decided to run an additional Easter MyTutor programme for Year 11s to help them prepare for the race to exams. They opened it up to more pupils (both Pupil Premium and Non-Pupil Premium), working with wider teams to pinpoint those who might benefit most.
"By the Easter holidays, children have largely finished their courses, but they might have learning gaps and areas they need to consolidate before the exams," says Ben.
"We were asking for one hour per day for 10 days from the pupils, which is a considerable commitment. But the intensive and personalised nature of the tutoring meant it was a great success - giving pupils the space to just focus on the topics they were finding the most difficult."
The vast majority of Lodge Park Academy pupils feel like tutoring has been useful for them. Lots of them say they feel more confident and that they’ve made more progress in their subjects as a result.
Because the tutors are university students, they're closer in age to the pupils than most of their teachers, and this helps them to cultivate a close relationship.
"They speak the same language - including emojis - and they're able to made our pupils feel more relaxed in the tutoring environment," says Ben. "It's tapping into something that we otherwise couldn't offer at school."
"And the feedback has been lovely," says Ben. "Several students said that they 'miss their tutors already', and others proactively asked for the same tutor to teach them again."
A growing programme
"Although it's too difficult at this stage to get a concrete view of academic progress, we're looking forward to reviewing the exam result data," says Ben. "I was pleased to be able to expand our programme for this academic year, as I've seen that the tuition is effective."
Teachers at Lodge Park Academy found the day-to-day running of the programme easy - and fun. "MyTutor were an absolute joy to work with and offered great flexibility," says Ben.
"If there were ever any problems, I just had to ring up the MyTutor support line and someone would fix the problem on the spot - that level of responsiveness and human touch shows a real understanding of schools."
A top tip or word of advice from the school
"My advice to any other schools considering using MyTutor would be to lean into it. If you take steps to really embed the programme – like hosting assemblies about it, writing letters home to parents and sending texts to pupils to remind them of lessons – then you’ll see the true impact.”
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