Online tutoring rose to prominence following the first Covid lockdown – and appears set to continue throughout the next academic year and beyond.
Schools to take the reins
With the National Tutoring Programme in its initial form coming to a close at the end of August, programmes like Pearson’s Direct-to-school offering will become even more prominent, with senior leadership teams creating their own tailored approaches to satisfy the unique requirements of their school community.
Many will choose to carefully select eligible pupils for focused, targeted support, liaising with tutors to complement more general school-wide plans. Deputy headteacher Adele Key, whose school selected one of Pearson’s fully qualified teachers, described her team’s preferred approach:
Working closely with the tutors, and taking the time to marry up the tuition sessions with the concepts that we're teaching in class, allows the children to benefit from additional support, working on the same topic at the same time with the tutors being able to pitch the work at just the right level for each child.
Increasingly effective platforms
Online tutoring platforms have been found to be an increasingly effective method to meet the needs of pupils at every level, and these digital pathways will continue to strengthen over the months and years ahead, thanks to the accumulated knowledge of smart technology.
The scope for sharing material during online tuition is now virtually unlimited, the resources are near seamless, and learners across the UK will continue to benefit from the ability to revisit their tutoring sessions, revise in their own time and space, and tackle the subjects that challenge them at a pace that fully suits their learning style. The ability for tutors to split a group session on his/her screen into four separate mini-views also allows tutors to move from group activity to tailored 1:1 activities, improving the quality of online sessions.
Communication between schools and tutors also stands to improve further, as they continue to unite in support of their learners, and general advancements in technology as a whole are also resulting in more stimulating and engaging sessions. A great example is virtual reality. It provides an immersive experience for students of all ages, and allows them to view and understand subjects and topics through personal experience, dramatically increasing their ability to understand and retain information.
The use of AI will increase as we find that AI powered smart subtopic detection provides unprecedented insight into what topics and subtopics students are covering, helping tutors and schools to understand where learners are struggling.
The growth of small group tutoring where learners can work with their peers and develop their knowledge in a safe environment.
1:1 to 1:3 interaction with tutors will remain a great benefit for student motivation, maintaining strong engagement with their subjects. While tutors closely monitor progress to make sure students are excelling in exams and academic life more generally, the improvement of scores through tutoring – such as the average two-thirds improvement attained by Pearson’s online offering – looks set to remain. Meanwhile, tutor support will not only boost the achievement of targeted grades, but the ability of students to take ownership and interest for their own progress.
A stronger swing to online
Research from the tutoring platform Bramble, through which Pearson offers its own tutoring programmes, has found that most students and families are fully onboard with the swing towards online tutoring. Whereas, back in 2019, in-person tutoring was the default option, just two years later in-person-only tutoring was the least popular choice.
Extended classroom support
Tutors should be an extension of the classroom, working together with classroom teachers on an agreed goal or outcome for each child.
Not only are pupils starting to see tutoring as a key part of their school lives, but we are beginning to see many schools view tutoring as an additional resource to be used and timetabled, as part of their regular school day. Learners can benefit from a number of different approaches and tutors can deliver the extra support that is needed on a regular basis, in harmony with classroom teachers.
The recent Government White paper states that the six million tutoring courses that will be available by 2024 will; “cement one-to-one and small group tuition as a permanent feature of our school system.” It further adds by 2030: “High-quality classroom teaching and evidence-based targeted support – including tutoring – will be made available to every child that is behind, with parents regularly updated on their child’s progress.” It is their vision that;
Tutoring will no longer be the preserve of families who can afford to pay for private tuition, but the right of any child in need of additional support.
Tutoring is definitely here to stay and thanks to the wealth of online tutoring benefits available – including the use of searchable lesson recordings, a huge growth in available tutors to choose from, a greater sense of safety in online environments, and the ability to maximise lesson flexibility – the unlimited potential of online tutoring will continue to support a great diversity of learners to survive, thrive and leap beyond their limits.
Melanie Williams Browne is Head of Schools Tutoring at Pearson
For further information on Pearson tutoring, visit: www.pearson.com/uk/educators/schools/pearson-tutoring-programme.html