Helen Carter, Deputy Headteacher at Burnage Academy for Boys, discusses how the academy has engaged with the National Tutoring Programme, the benefits of utilising Academic Mentors, and why she would recommend other schools to get involved.
I think for all schools, following a return to full opening after the lockdowns, we’ve got to prioritise children’s mental health and wellbeing. Children have been through an awful lot and part of the catch-up process needs to be making sure that pupils feel confident and secure in school.
We have used the National Tutoring Programme to fund our two Academic Mentors. We were fortunate enough to be able to use people we knew in order to support our own circumstances. So for example our English Academic Mentor is a fully qualified EAL teacher, which is useful in our school setting because we have 39 different languages spoken.
Across the school from years 7 to 11 we’re providing support with academic mentoring. Approximately 185 students have had some form of academic mentoring this year, be it in terms of one-to-one, in class support, one to three or one to six groupings.
I would encourage all schools to consider engaging with the National Tutoring Programme. We have found it really useful in supporting our pupils in addressing those gaps where a lesson might be going too quickly for a pupil who isn't as confident. The Academic Mentors are really well placed to ensure work can be consolidated, it can be fully understood before that pupil re-engages with that lesson.
We've recently done pupil voice surveys with a cross section of pupils involved in English and maths academic mentoring and 100 percent of those pupils reported that they are growing in confidence, they're building their resilience and they're really enjoying those sessions. They are able to see their own academic progress, but most importantly for use it is improving their mental health and wellbeing.