The Values and Principles of Vertical Tutoring:
To improve relationships
To enhance the learning experience of the students, staff and parents
To facilitate and support achievement
To ensure partnership working
In a large school such as ours, it would be very easy for students to be missed. Plenty of attention is given to those who need academic and behavioural support, and to extremely able students. However, those students who do not fall into any of those categories, and do not get into any trouble or ask for any extra help can sometimes be unintentionally overlooked. Vertical Tutoring prevents this from happening.
In a school, designed to accommodate 1400 students, the students and staff have been allocated into 6 Colleges:
Each of the colleges is headed by a Head Of College and a Deputy Head Of College. In turn they then have 11 Tutors. Presently, two thirds of the tutor groups also have Co-tutors, and this number will grow
In each tutor group there are no more than 4 students of each age group. The maximum number of students in each tutor group is 21, and most are 20.
Siblings are placed in the same college, but not the same tutor group.
The role of the Tutor and Co-tutor becomes absolutely pivotal: in effect they are a headteacher or deputy headteacher of a school of 20 students; they become ‘The Guide by the Side”.
The Tutor will:
- Take an active role in supporting, encouraging and communicating with each of the students within the tutor group.
- Be the first point of contact for parents and families (and actually be able to do the job!)
- Liaise with subject teachers to support achievement and attainment
- Facilitate activities and opportunities to build positive peer relationships within the form group.
Other Benefits of Vertical Tutoring Include:
Age related barriers are removed as students begin to mix and support each other across the age groups. Older students become role models and mentors, while younger students increase in confidence and feel valued.
Year 6/7 Students are supported in transition and matched up with year 11 buddies, to help support the change in schooling.
For the first time, all staff, including the administrative team are directly involved with students, sharing their wealth of knowledge and skills with the students in their tutor groups.
Peer support is hugely underused in many schools. At Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen all of the students in Year 11 have been given training on active listening and peer support.
Raising aspirations- students have meaningful conversations about learning with each other as well as with the tutor and parents. All students are encouraged to achieve and aim high.
The mixed age tutor groups allow personalised attention for students at critical times during the academic calendar. Different ages have different critical times and the fact that there are no more than 4 of any particular age in a tutor group, means the Tutor and Co-tutor can provide high level and high quality support to those who need it.