The Urswick School

Building resilience and attainment through after-school tutoring
Time to read
5 mins

This year, MyTutor has worked with 20 Year 11 pupils from The Urswick School in Hackney, London. We’ve provided extra 1:1 support for pupils in Maths. 

Here, Assistant Head Teacher, Naomi Dews, tells us how after-school lessons have helped to boost pupil confidence, encourage resilience and improve attainment.


What challenges are you trying to overcome?

“Our main challenge is deprivation. Roughly 80% of our pupils receive free school meals, and many pupils don’t have a private, personal space to work at home,” says Naomi. 

“For most of our children, having tutoring funded by their parents isn’t an option. Through working with MyTutor, we found that having someone who was invested in our pupils made a huge difference.”


How did you select pupils for the programme?

“We focused on those that had lots of potential, but for various reasons weren’t quite getting there. The group included children with a range of target grades, but largely those who we thought should be getting at least Grade 4s, but were currently on 2s and 3s.”


What are the biggest benefits of MyTutor for your pupils? 

“For our pupils, it’s the fact that the lessons are structured for them. They don’t necessarily have a quiet space and equipment to work at home, so we’re able to provide them with that environment at school. And the tutors can give them that tailored support.”

“The 1:1 aspect of the tutoring is a big benefit. It’s less embarrassing for pupils to share that they haven’t understood something with a tutor online, rather than in front of a class of 30. 

“There’s also no pressure on the tutor to move on from a topic because the rest of the class has got it.”

“For lots of our pupils, having someone to fill in those gaps and build their confidence was helpful. And once they believed they could do it, that was half the battle won.”

How did you find setting up the programme? 

“We’ve found it straightforward – we told our on-site IT team what equipment we wanted, and then the weekly sessions have been supervised either by myself or by the Head of School. 

“Although we’re physically in the room, we haven’t needed to do very much to facilitate the lessons – we can spend that time getting on with other tasks.”

“It was also really useful that the tutoring was available at times that suited us. As well as our main programme with 20 pupils, we also offered it to some of our GCSE re-sit students, who were on different timetables. The fact that we could have two different programmes running at different times to suit different pupil groups, was really helpful.”


What impact have you seen in terms of academic progress?

“The vast majority of our pupils have made real progress – every pupil has improved either within a grade or improved by a grade. And I’m confident that MyTutor has helped to contribute to that result.”


What has the feedback from pupils been like?

“It was really clear that the tutoring has made a genuine difference. Probably our biggest success story would be a pupil who we knew had lots of potential, but was sitting on a Grade 2 in his mocks in December. He then got a Grade 6 in his GCSE in June. Helping to build his confidence through tutoring played a big part in that.”

“Once you can help a pupil see that they can do it in one subject, it’s easier for them to build on that resilience and carry that positive attitude into other parts of their lives.”

“We all have times in life when something doesn’t go as well as we want it to. And I think this experience has really helped our pupils see that if they persevere at things, it can make a difference.”


Would you recommend MyTutor to other schools?

“Yes, because we’ve seen the impact. We’ve run some interventions that have been quite time-intensive from an admin point of view or have been quite hard to get pupil buy-in. But one of the things that’s made this a success is that the pupils bought into it.”

“It gave the pupils a chance to practice with someone who could give them immediate feedback.”

“The other thing that was beneficial – certainly for our more vulnerable pupils – was that the lessons are all recorded. Pupils could go back and rewatch certain sessions, pause them and try the questions again – in a safe, non-judgmental environment.”


Have you downloaded our latest Impact Report? Find out how more schools, just like The Urswick School, 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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