Research School Network: Making a Difference with Effective Tutoring: A summary A brief summary of the EEF Toolkit on Making a Difference with Effective Tutoring

Making a Difference with Effective Tutoring: A summary

A brief summary of the EEF Toolkit on Making a Difference with Effective Tutoring

by Durrington Research School
on the

As we move towards the second half of the academic year schools are beginning to consider how they can best serve those students in their settings that may need that little bit of extra support, whether that is in the build-up to them transitioning from primary to secondary schools or as their summer exams loom ever closer. Add to this the extra support some students may need following the disruption they experienced during the pandemic, many schools may be looking at how tutoring may be beneficial for them and their students. The recent EEF short booklet on Effective Tutoring indicates that if tuition is of high quality and aligned to class teaching, pupils can make up to 5 months additional progress when receiving 1:1 tuition, and up to 4 months additional progress with small group sessions. The EEF define tutoring as one teacher, trained teaching assistant or tutor working either 1;1 or with a small group (generally between 2 – 5 pupils) that enables teaching to focus exclusively on a small number of learners and their specific needs.

It is important to note that the positive impacts of tutoring reported in the booklet is an average impact, and therefore this positive impact (or the extent of it) is not true for all studies, with tentative evidence suggesting that tutoring is likely to be more beneficial when targeted at younger students and the development of literacy.

We must also remember that high quality teaching is and should always remains the most powerful lever for improving pupil outcomes, however especially post pandemic certain students may need additional support. To ensure the potential for tutoring is maximised the booklet recommends following 3 key principles, with guiding questions for leaders to consider attached to each

1. Selecting pupils and scheduling sessions effectively

When considering who should receive tutoring and when these sessions should occur, leaders should consider the following:

a) Have we focused our tutoring provision on students eligible for pupil premium funding?

b) How frequent should sessions be?

c) How long should the tuition last for?

The toolkit found that frequent sessions (up to 3 times per week), lasting up to an hour each over a period of 6 – 8 weeks typically showed the greatest impacts, particularly with younger pupils. In addition to this the evidence indicates that when group tutoring is used, the smaller the group size the better, with their being a noticeable reduction in effectiveness once groups sizes exceed 6 or 7 students. Group tutoring however may come with the benefit of reducing the potentially stigma of being identified for extra support.

2. Aligning tutoring with curriculum and assessment

Unsurprisingly the toolkit reports that tutoring is likely to most effective when it is targeted, makes use of diagnostic assessment to identify specific need and involves timely feedback between all stakeholders. It should also be matched to a pupil’s current curriculum and classroom learning so that both act to reinforce each other. Leaders should consider the following key questions:

a) Which staff are most appropriate for tutoring? What support and training is in place for them?
b) How do we align tutoring content with the rest of the curriculum?
c) How do we support transition out of the tutoring sessions?

Schools often report that one of the main barriers to effective tutoring is finding the time to communicate between stakeholders (i.e. the student’s teacher and their tutor) so that the afore mentioned alignment can occur. It is vital therefore that schools consider this in their planning and tutoring approach.

3. Create a sustainable model

As with anything new it is important that plans are made about how the effectiveness and impact of any tutoring will be monitored. There will naturally be challenges such as poor alignment with the curriculum, limited communication between stake holders due to time pressures and other factors such as poor pupil attendance/​engagement, therefore leaders should consider the following questions:

a) What evidence can I gather to ensure we understand whether our approach to tutoring is having a positive impact?
b) Is there a check in process in place with tutors so that they can identify any issues with attendance, groupings and progress?
c) How can we establish and maintain positive relationships between tutors and pupils?

In addition to the above schools should think about how they can best foster positive relationships with parents of pupils involved in tutoring. This is best achieved through strong and frequent communication with parents around the following:

- The reasons for this child receiving the tutoring – why their child and how will help?
- The logistics of the tutoring – there where and when etc.
- Regular check-ins and reminders of sessions
- Celebration of successes such as attendance milestones and progress.

More from the Durrington Research School

Show all news

This website collects a number of cookies from its users for improving your overall experience of the site.Read more