Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form

Supporting attainment in STEM subjects and boosting social mobility with tutoring
Time to read
3 mins

We collaborated with Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form, in Norwich, to support Year 12 and Year 13 pupils as they prepared for their A-Level exams.

Focusing on the STEM subjects, including Maths, Further Maths, Computing, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, the programme helped to boost confidence and engagement in lessons. 

 

The challenge

Sir Isaac Newton is fairly new and one of the first STEM specialist schools in the country. They provide access for pupils from all backgrounds, to help fulfil their potential - both academically and in their personal development (socially and emotionally). 

Their key challenge - which also happens to be a national challenge - is encouraging pupils to take up STEM subjects and continue them into university and beyond. 

Social mobility is another significant challenge in the area, with lots of young people unable to move within or between different socio-economic groups. Norfolk ranks 363rd out of 364 on the social mobility index. 

Lastly, like many sixth forms following COVID-19, the school now has the difficulty of supporting pupils who are on the cusp or sitting A-Level exams without ever having faced a 'real' exam experience. 

 

The programme

The school has worked with MyTutor for the past two years. This year, they ran a 10-week programme for Year 12s and 13s from home, covering the key STEM subjects. 

"We used the top-up funding from COVID (16-19 tuition fund) to fund the programme for qualifying students, and we consulted with teachers to nominate students they felt could benefit from 1:1 tutoring support," says Assistant Principal, Jess Gopee. 

"For those who showed an interest and motivation to learn, we progressed them to the programme. As a result, we had nearly 50 students enrolled on the MyTutor programme, which is a 10th of our cohort."

The school reports that pupils use the programme for lots of different reasons. Some Year 12s want an extra recap on foundational GCSE topics, while Year 13s are often looking for help with specific exam practice questions. 

 

The impact

Our MyTutor programme has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on pupil's confidence and lesson engagement. 

 

  • The freedom to progress 

"I think the tuition works so well because the pupils get 1:1 attention and nobody is watching or overhearing you - you don't need to disclose to your teachers or your peers that you're struggling," says Jess.

"The tutor is a person who's totally unrelated to the school but dedicated to helping the pupil, and the pupil only. It's a non-judgemental space where they can be themselves and don't need to put on a brave face for others."

 

  • Genuine engagement 

Because the tutors are former students, they're relatable and have been through similar experiences to their pupils - recently completing A-Levels or university. "After the programmes finish, we often get pupils proactively asking to use MyTutor again and have the same tutor to support them," says Jess. 

 

The experience

Teachers at Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form have found the programme can run smoothly once they've made an initial commitment to find the right pupil audience. 

"Identifying the right pupils who will make the effort to engage with the programme takes a little time - but once that's done, it more or less runs by itself." 

"I just monitor attendance and check in with students on how things are going, and most of them are absolutely thrilled." 

Teachers running the programme also found it easy to add pupils and quickly make changes - "It's a quick phone call, and I can see the change immediately on the MyTutor dashboard," says Jess. 

"The MyTutor Team have gone out of their way to help with any queries we've had - whether it was rescheduling lessons or switching tutors around - and these tweaks have always been resolved very quickly. I'd recommend MyTutor to others schools and sixth forms without hesitation."

A top tip or word of advice from the school

"I've tested other tutoring platforms before, but I feel that MyTutor is the most intuitive." 

 

Have you downloaded our latest Impact Report? Find out how more schools, just like Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form, are making an impact through online tutoring this year- as well as exclusive insights from our latest teacher and pupil survey, up-to-date funding and programme information. 

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