Reflecting on Tuition During 2021

We’re now in our third year of gathering data from both students and staff as part of our ongoing reflections. This is to ensure that TeachAllAboutIt stays focused on our primary goal of making education accesible & enjoyable to everyone. Writing a public post on how we’re doing never gets any easier, but I maintain that being transparent about our feedback is a positive thing – even when we get things wrong.

Key Performance Indicators

This year, I’ve added in KPIs as we have grown as a company and these help us to focus on what our ethos is and how our work helps everyone to acheive this throughout the year. Feedback has still been evaluated using the formal teaching standards as I believe that these help us to remain focused on tuition as a profession.

Student Outcomes

Maintain our 100% pass rate for all students

2021 Exam Results

Student Attendance

Increase student attendance rate from 92% (2020) to 95% each term

Student Attendance 2020/21

Enrolment Numbers

Increase number of lessons taught to 700 by 01/07/2021

Actual: 1051

Hours Tutored 2021

Turnover

Increase turnover in excess of current year planned budget to fund development of a further GCSE course and additional Home Education session in 2022

Courses Developed Summer 2021

September 2021: iGCSE ICT Course & KS3 Computing Course

Home Education Groups for 2021/22

Reflections on Feedback

Back in our first blog at the end of the 2018/19 year, I talked about the vulnerability that publicly posting our feedback online created, but since then I have had several opportunities to refer back to our data and hold firm that if we’re going to make a claim about our tuition, then we need to be able to back that up! Although we’ve remained relatively small in terms of tuition companies, we were always aware that maintaining the same level of feedback as we grew would be difficult, particularly as we pride ourselves on emotionally investing in the success of our students.

As with previous years, I have divided each section of our reflections into the eight areas of the Teaching Standards which are a key aspect of what we believe makes us professional tutors. Any parent or student can expect the same level of professionalism from us that they would from a school.

Teaching & Learning

1. A teacher (tutor) must set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils

Working independently is one of the ultimate goals for a tutor in our opinion. If our students are able to leave us as independent & confident learners, then we have fulfilled our purpose. Part of this is through challenging students in lessons which isn’t always an entirely comfortable process and as we have moved through one of the most difficult years for our students in a long time, encouraging them to move away from their comfort zone has been more difficult.

Student Survey: I am encouraged to develop independent problem solving / learning skills

2019

I am encouraged to develop independent problem solving / learning skills
66.7% Strongly Agree
33.3% Agree

2021

As part of our staff survey, we also asked staff their opinions on their own motivation and whether they felt well supported. This was an important question to us as we know that staff who do not feel supported and motivated will find it difficult to inspire the same in their students. Despite the difficulties of the past year, I am delighted that we’ve ended this year with an overwhelmingly positive response from both staff and students.

Staff Survey: I am happy with my role & responsibilities

[watupror-poll question_id=”574″]

2. Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils

Progress doesn’t always need to be reflected in exam results, and we are equally thrilled with the personal growth that many of our students have made this year through developing confidence academically and socially. With many of our students spending almost all of their GCSE or A Level courses in unusual circumstances, we’re incredibly proud of the resilience and maturity they’ve shown.

Ali Review

Parents have been generous enough to leave public reviews which reflect the data from our students & tutors. These reviews often comment on some of the key aspects that our parents and students are looking for and it is good to see that many of the reviews focus on the enjoyment of learning and strong relationships that we are able to build with our students.

With that said, tracking progress has been an important part of ensuring that the work that we do is adding value to our students’ education. With exam results released on the 10th and 12th of August, we will be able to formally track one of our main targets for the year – even though we were involved in the teacher assessed grades for a number of our students, we are unable to release any achievement data until these dates.

Student Survey: I am encouraged to challenge myself in lessons

2019

I am encouraged to challenge myself in lessons 
66.7% - strongly agree
33.3% Agree

2021

Staff Survey: I am aware of the expectations of my role and that of others

[watupror-poll question_id=”577″]

3. Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge

Curriculum knowledge comes from a number of aspects of our tuition. Back in 2019, as a single tutor this was easier to track as it was a case of ensuring that I was following knowledge based CPD and was able to support students as a qualified teacher in my subject. In 2021, offering a range of subjects with a team of tutors requires us to look at different aspects to ensure that our curriculum knowledge matches or exceeds that in schools. This year we have focused on the following:

  • Recruitment of qualified teachers
  • Payments to staff based on the formal teacher salary scales
  • Development of e-learning courses in line with formal curriculums
  • Access to tutor specific CPD through the Tutors Learning Network

Student Survey: I feel well supported in my learning

2019

I feel well supported in my learning
Strongly Agree - 100%

2021

Although we asked our staff a number of questions regarding development and knowledge of the curriculum, as some of these are identifiable, we have chosen to publish only anonymized data. One of my targets for this year was to ensure that staff felt valued in the work that they did despite us growing as an organisation. Part of this was to ensure that our pay rates match those that would be found in school and fully reflect the knowledge and expertise of each member of staff, both tutors and admin. In a similar vein, it is important that we are able to justify tuition charges to parents which may appear initially high but ensure that we are able to provide the best possible service without overcharging.

Staff Survey: Compared with someone doing a similar role in other organisations, I feel that I am rewarded fairly

[watupror-poll question_id=”590″]

4. Plan and teach well structured lessons

Over the past 18 months, we have implemented our new student portal for booking and feedback. Whilst this has been met with very positive feedback from our parents and students, it has been a difficult transition for tutors whose workload has increased. Over the lockdown period and since schools have reopened, our focus has been primarily on direct support of students rather than the creation of new resources. This is an area which we have once again begun to work on in the summer of 2021.

I am pleased that we remain with positive feedback about the results and support that we offer despite having been through a period of both significant change and growth.

Student Survey: Resources and support are good

2019

Resources and support are good
Strongly Agree - 83.3%
Agree - 16.7%

2021

In order to plan and teach well-structured lessons, it is important that staff have access to the tools and resources that they need. This may be in the form of access to our own resources, booking through our student portal, or simply the provision of equipment where required.

Staff Survey: I have access to the tools & resources needed to complete my role

[watupror-poll question_id=”578″]

5. Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils

Tuition is primarily about adapting to the individual needs of a student, particularly when working one to one. Unfortunately, this often means challenging the student to work in ways that they have not considered before in order to make progress or build confidence. Working outside of your comfort zone is never an easy thing to do and often we ask our students to take risks in our lessons that they may not feel comfortable doing in a standard classroom.

Whilst the student feedback on the choice about how to learn has changed significantly since 2019, this is reflective of us working with students where our primary aim is to build confidence through trying out the “tough stuff” in a low stakes environment. Our student feedback remains primarily positive, but is an indicator to us to consider the involvement of our students in understanding why a particular style of learning will work for them.

Student Survey: I have a choice about how to learn new things

2019

I have a choice about how to learn new things
Strongly Agree - 83.3%
Agree - 16.7%

2021

With the change of our company structure from an individual to a team of tutors by 2021, it was important to ask our staff whether their own contribution to teaching and learning was recognised. It is important to me that every tutor can make a positive contribution and feels that they have autonomy in their tutoring rather than following a strict style.

Because of the relationships that each tutor builds with their students they are best placed to understand the style of learning that their students require – therefore, one of our targets was to foster an environment where tutors had the ability to make decisions on lessons whilst following our policy of ethics.

Staff Survey: I feel recognised for my contribution to TeachAllAboutIt as a Company

[watupror-poll question_id=”592″]

6. Make accurate and productive use of assessment

Assessment within a tuition setting looks very different to a classroom where we are supporting one to one students who also attend a formal course of study. Much of our assessment is discrete and verbally provided within a lesson which our students may not see as assessment (and in our opinion they should not be focusing on identifying feedback, but instead reflecting on their own learning).

Student Survey: I feel well prepared for tests, exams, and coursework

2019

I feel well prepared for tests, exams, and coursework
Strongly Agree - 50%
Agree - 16.7%
Neutral - 33.3%

2021

One area which has been much improved over the past 18 months has been our online testing platform which remains under development for the summer of 2021 enabling us to implement more formal feedback into our e-learning platforms. This coupled with the introduction of our student portal in April of 2021 where students are provided with written feedback after each lesson. This is also emailed to parents each month and has enabled us to improve formal feedback. However, there remains room to utilise this better to help our students feel more prepared for formal assessment.

7. Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment

Creating a safe learning environment for tuition often looks very different to that of a classroom setting. Within both one to one and small group sessions, it is vitally important to us that our students feel respected and encouraged – this includes our core values of active anti-discrimination.

Despite our group lessons expanding, and as such the potential for behaviour management to be more difficult, our student feedback of feeling respected and encouraged has improved since 2019. For us, this is one of the key aspects of attending tuition as many of our students arrive with low confidence and through strong positive relationships with their tutors are able to make better progress.

Student Survey: I feel respected and encouraged in lessons

2019

I feel respected and encouraged in lessons
Strongly Agree - 83.3%
Agree - 16.7%

2021

It is not just our students that we want to feel respected and encouraged. We asked our staff directly how strongly they felt that we promoted an environment which encourages staff and students to respect individual differences and promotes respect for diversity.

Staff Survey: I think that TeachAllAboutIt respects individual differences (e.g. cultures, working styles, backgrounds, ideas, etc.)

[watupror-poll question_id=”585″]

8. Fulfil wider professional responsibilities

The final aspect of the teaching standards document is sometimes difficult to pin down as fulfilling our wider professional responsibilities could technically include anything. For us, this final aspect is all about building strong relationships with our students and ensuring that we are upholding tuition as a professional role in a similar way that we would if we were teaching.

One of the more difficult questions to ask our students is if they find their work interesting and enjoy the lessons – it is always difficult to hear that a student is not enjoying their lessons, but this year it has been a learning moment for us as tutors to understand that sometimes lessons are not enjoyable because we are assisting a child through a difficult period of their life. In this case, we will do our utmost to identify how we can make this journey more enjoyable and work on the process of resilience.

Student Survey: I enjoy my lessons and find the work interesting

2019

I enjoy my lessons and found the work interesting
Strongly Agree - 100%

2021

Personal & Professional Conduct

Although the personal and professional conduct section of the teaching standards sometimes feels like an aside to the numbered standards when completing an appraisal, for us the personal and professional conduct as tutors is our number one priority. Over the past 18 months there has been an enormous expansion of the number of tutors offering assistance to students through both private means and the government funded National Tutoring Programme.

Although we were not accepted by the NTP in 2020 as we were unable to support the volume of students that they required as a baseline, this has enabled us to focus our efforts on a smaller number of students and promote our ethos of offering high quality, professional tuition. In the second year of running, we have chosen not to apply to the NTP, but instead apply for voluntary Ofsted registration, something we were unable to do until we were in a position to offer in person “childcare”.

We will also continue to work alongside local education authorities, who have enabled us to ensure that we are matching or exceeding the professional performance of the larger tuition agencies.

Teachers (tutors) uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, by:

  • treating pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position
  • having regard for the need to safeguard pupils’ well-being, in accordance with statutory provisions
  • showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of others
  • not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
  • ensuring that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways, which exploit pupils’ vulnerability or might lead them to break the law.

Our students continued to feedback to us that they have good relationships with their tutors. Our small team has been overwhelmingly employed due to their combination of expertise in their subject and strong ethical beliefs of encouraging students to learn to love the learning process and fostering strong positive relationships to promote educational progress.

Student Survey: I feel that I have a good relationship with my Tutor

2019

I feel that I have a good relationship with Holly
Strongly Agree - 100%

2021

Teachers must have proper and professional regard for the ethos, policies and practices of the school in which they teach, and maintain high standards in their own attendance and punctuality

Our primary ethos remains that education should not have barriers based upon accessibility or learning style and this is reflected in the feedback from both our staff and our students. Although the question regarding equality and diversity may seem like a standard question within every staff survey, this is in fact one of the most important questions that we asked our staff members.

Without the promotion of equality and diversity within our organisation, our ethos of encouraging individual students and promoting positive relationships would simply not happen.

Staff Survey: I believe that TeachAllAboutIt promotes equality, diversity, and human rights in everything that we do

[watupror-poll question_id=”585″]

Asking our students whether the quality of tutoring is good will of course be a subjective question. However, it is important to us that our students and parents feel that the quality of education that we provide is of a high standard. Many education organisations talk about high expectations, but we prefer to see this as a natural consequence of our everyday practise and not simply on a poster.

Student Survey: The quality of tutoring is good

2019

The quality of tutoring is good
Strongly Agree - 100%

2021

Targets

Finally, having requested a good number of quantitative questions we also asked our students for further comments on improvements that they would like to see in the coming academic year. Although there were not many suggestions a few were highlighted that we would like to add to our targets (if these suggestions were from you, thank you and we are listening to your requests).

Staff were also provided with extended comments for every question that we asked and were encouraged to provide feedback as this allows us to facilitate a positive working environment.

FeedbackResponse
Possibly add a way to track what homework has been setWe will talk to the developers at Tutorbird to see if there is a way to add this into the student Study Log
Still don’t love TutorBirdThere are some areas that we are looking to streamline with this – although the system isn’t going away, we’re looking at ways to make this better
More summer clubs to get involved with physically and online for teachers who get bored in the holidays!This feedback was the perfect prompt to get you involved in course development & improvements ready for September. This summer, we’ve launched an in person summer school and we have extra online groups running in the new term.
More in person activity at the Tuition Centre (subject to government restrictions)This is something that we are encouraging more and have more students now attending in person. Both Worthing & Adur Chamber and STAR Team training have booked the space for their own training and we are continuing to advertise the space locally.
More hours for my job, maybe working a full day on a Monday?With the launch of the new Home Education games club on a Monday, this has enabled us to extend Admin / Tuition Centre hours to a Monday afternoon from September 2021.
Becoming an exam centre, but I know that’s something that we’re looking atThis is a difficult process, but we are in regular communication with the Tutors & Exams Centres which has enabled us to offer Functional Skills at the tuition centre and although it doesn’t solve the issue of travel, it allows us to support our students with a well known and respected exams centre.

Following on from the feedback of both students and staff, we have been able to update our KPIs for the next academic year and put in place further targets for the autumn.

Staff Survey: I am proud to be working in this organization

[watupror-poll question_id=”573″]

One thought on “Reflecting on Tuition During 2021

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.