We’ve been hearing from our tutors about their most rewarding moments in schools over the last 12 months.  And they are heart-warming.  Tutors describe the joy of tutees suddenly ‘getting’ a previously challenging topic and of watching them transform from shy individuals to being able to confidently answer questions in front of their peers.

As a learning organisation focused on delivering high quality tutoring to our tutees, and one of the delivery partners of the National Tutoring Programme, we regularly gather feedback from our tutors and use this to help us improve what we do. One of the ways we do this is through focus groups and in our annual Tutor Survey, where we ask our tutors for their highlight of the year.  Their answers show how important tutoring can be to their tutees and how having a highly trained tutor not only boosts a pupil’s attainment but also has other positives. 

Transforming lives through tutoring

Tutor Lucy Moreau (pictured right), a mature student at The University of Liverpool who is studying for a PhD in Irish Literature, is  working with Looked After Children (LAC) and those in Alternative Provision (AP) settings and is enjoying seeing the  impact she is having on her tutees. She says: “I have been working one-on-one with a girl who, when I started working with her at the beginning of the term, could not even look me in the eye or talk to me and is now reading fluently and her comprehension is fantastic. It has been a real privilege to work with her.” Hear about Lucy’s experience of tutoring and what it means to her.

Another tutor, Chloe Rilett (pictured left), has just completed her Secondary Mathematics Education with QTS at Manchester Metropolitan University and said her tutoring highlight was: “Being told by a tutee that I had made her like Maths again after she hated it for so long due to struggling.”

Many tutors also spoke about the lightbulb moments their young tutees had experienced when they finally got to grips with a tricky topic. Francesca Picucci was tutoring a group of Year 11 pupils in Maths at a school in Leeds and had been working with the group on factorising quadratic equations. “As a plenary activity, I got the students to fill in a pair of brackets, expand the equation and read it to each other. They then had to guess which factorised brackets their partner had started with. They both picked hard questions and when S worked out G's factorised brackets, he threw his arms up in the air and cheered. It was one of my best moments for me because S was so engaged in the sessions and committed to improving his Maths, and it showed when he solved the problem!”

She adds: “I look forward to tutoring each week and have found it especially rewarding during the pandemic because of the amount of teaching most students have missed out on."

Many of our tutors referred to the progress their tutees have made over the course of 12 or 15 hour-long sessions in a particular subject.  We know that this amount of tuition has significant impact as we took part in a large-scale randomised control trial (RCT). The results of this, published in November 2018, gave us gold standard evidence of the impact of our tutoring on tutees’ learning.  The RCT showed that, at SATs level, after a minimum of 12 hours’ tuition in Maths, pupils made three months’ additional progress. The impact was greater for young people on free school meals. 

Our tutors are aware of the difference it makes. Clare Seakins (pictured right) wrote that her tutoring highlight was seeing: “One particular pupil, who was very quiet and lacking in confidence, persevering with some word problems – and looking very proud when she cracked them!”

For Hannah Hughes it was: “Seeing one of my students improve by two grades for her mock exams. She just needed someone to have confidence in her and her abilities.”

Tutor Sharissa Lee joined our recent Tutor Focus Group and shared how one group of young pupils had treated her to a hamper of goodies as a thank you at the end of tutoring.  Another group of three teenagers who were below the expected level when they started tutoring had, over the course of tuition, progressed to achieving at a higher level than expected. She says: “One told me they couldn’t have done it without me, which was immensely flattering.

Supporting our tutees to grow in confidence is just as important as strengthening their knowledge in subjects they may find challenging.

And supporting our tutors is vital.  We are focused on ensuring that they deliver high quality tutoring to enable their tutees to achieve their potential.

Our tutor training platform Thinqi has a wealth of materials that tutors have access to whenever they need them, including 42 tutorials on a range of topics, lesson plans, an extensive library and discussion forums. The content continues to evolve and grow, for example, in response to tutor feedback about online behaviour management we developed remote learning guidance, a tutorial and a live CPD event to boost their confidence.

Since October last year we’ve also held nine live Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions and we hold regular lesson plan screening and lesson observations to ensure the consistency and quality of our tuition. Our tutors are also kept up to speed with news and updates on Tutor Trust in a monthly email.

The support from Tutor Trust coupled with the experience of developing and delivering tutoring sessions means that our tutors also develop additional, practical, skills such as organisation and time-management, as well as softer skills such as empathy, communication, patience and encouragement, all of which stand them in good stead when they graduate and move into a career.

The rewards of tutoring

In fact, it seems that our tutors get just as much out of the tutoring sessions as their pupils, as they talk about growing in confidence themselves and building valuable skills for their future careers. 

Tutor Nick Pearce (pictured right), awarded Tutor of the Month in July for his work at a number of schools in Greater Manchester, feels that tutoring has not only helped him, but made him want a similar role in the future. He said: “I didn't anticipate enjoying the job so much! It's been wonderful. It has made me so much more confident and interested in working with and supporting young people in other capacities.”

If you’d like to know more about becoming a tutor with us, the support we give and the benefits of kick-starting your career by tutoring with us, go to our recruitment pages