Since July 2015, we have operated a vertical tutor model and Academy House system instead of a traditional linear tutor system. Vertical tutoring is a learning culture built on mixed-age groups. It has three goals:
- to improve learning and learning outcomes
- to improve learning relationships between students, staff and parents
- to improve learning behaviour and attitude
Vertical tutoring creates a better sense of community amongst our students and staff and gives added strength to our tutors as carers of the welfare and progress of youngsters as they grow up. Tutors have more effective contact with parents at crucial times and there is better dialogue with students about enjoyment, engagement, progress and attendance. Members of teaching staff and non-teaching staff are tutors and receive training and guidance to help them become the best tutor and the role model that our young people deserve.
Each tutor group is made up of students from each of the five year groups instead of just one year or age group. Tutor time last for 20 minutes each day and there are two tutors for each group. Once a week there is a House assembly in tutor time. On other days, students may compete in inter-House challenges, complete current affairs quizzes or additional literacy and numeracy tasks such as Ninja Maths, SPAG Superhero or Science Rockstar.
Tutor time also allows for student voice issues to be discussed and explored effectively as well as giving students a chance to talk about issues such as friendships, relationships, home learning and health, when they arise. When reports are issued throughout the year, students are encouraged to review their targets and progress and share advice on exams, revision and Key Stage 4 options choices. Older students are trained to be leaders and mentors of younger students, creating positive cross-age relationships and a very different atmosphere in tutor time.
Due to the need to minimise mixing between year groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not able to operate vertical tutoring at present. We will return to vertical tutoring as soon as it is possible for us to do so.