Vertical tutoring(17 Posts)
A question for teachers; does anyone do vertical tutoring and how does it work in your school? Thanks.
We had vertical tutor groups at my high school back in the 1970s. We only met at regsitration, but didn't have any lessons together. Our local high school has vertical tutor groups, but I'm not sure exactly what that entails.
The school I teach at does it (I'm not a tutor though). Seems to work pretty well. It seems to be good on a social level for the students, just a bit more difficult logistically in terms of messages and asssemblies, that sort of thing. The tutors basically have to be super-efficient.
My husband (a teacher) has asked me to research what staff and parents think of the concept as they are looking at it for their school.
I like it as a tutor. The students weren't sure at first and it took a lot of getting to know you activities. Now they like it and get on well together. The older ones act as mentors for the younger ones and the older ones have jobs eg checking planners and uniform every day to give them more responsability.
I have three DC. The first two had non-vertical tutoring for Y7. Vertical tutoring is in its second year at school.
I have a DS in Y7. It seems to me that the Y7 doesn't gel so well as they are not in forms together.
It probably could work well if the form tutor is dedicated, but it seems to me that form time is just chat time and so the DC don't mix very much. Having said that, they did have one special PDW hour where the form had to carry out certain tasks and that worked well in the forms where the form tutor was eager and knew what they were doing.
As with anything, I think it depends on how good the tutor is, but if it's just same age groups together then that works without much tutor input.
My older DS (Y11) is not that fussed about the others in his form. It also seems that none of them seem to know exactly who are in their form whereas when they were in same age group forms they knew practically everyone in their form.
We have vertical tutor groups at the school where I work.
They just get together for 20 mins each day at tutor time.
When it is well run I think it works well. I am a cover supervisor so I don't have a tutor group as such, but I think it's a good way a) for studnets from different years to mix/discuss things/maybe have a contact elsewhere in the school (eg a yr9 worried about options can ask advice from a yr11) can and b) for the tutors to hav etutees from a range of years instead of all yr 7 (or whatever).
My Ds joined his current school in year 9, when vertical tutoring was first introduced to the school. It hasn't worked for him, but he has Asperger's Syndrome, which makes school life very tough at the best of times.
It has been disastrous for him as far as bonding with the rest of his year group has been concerned. There were only 4 year 9 boys in his tutor group. He only sees the few boys he is friendly with in subject lessons, so might only see them once or twice a week, instead of every day at registration and break-times. He simply doesn't spend enough time with boys the same age outside of his lessons to make friends because friendship groups were already established within the old tutor groups in years 7 and 8. He has no-one to hang around with at lunchtimes etc.
He is now in year 10, and is very lonely and isolated.
I don't really understand the point of VT .
IMO it takes more effort/expertise for it to work ( as opposed to year groups ) and I don't know what the perceived benefits are .
Is it to weaken friendship groups amongst peers ? With a view to reducing cliques ,bullying ?
DC's school introduced this three years ago and his experience has not been positive . Certainly I sympathise with Mrs Flitter ,DS has never had any particular friends and has seemed even more isolated since VT came in .
He is year 13 and says that he finds it embarrasing to discuss feelings in the company of year 7's.
He doesn't mind helping with younger ones ,though my own view is that using older students to mentor/help younger ones needs support and supervision .
At DS's school there seems to be the assumption that if the student is older they'll know what to do ,have the skills to be a mentor .
And actually this isn't always the case ,and older students may have quite a lot on their plate with A levels ,university applications .
And possibly introducing a system where sixth formers have to spend 20 mins each day on something whose main feature seems to be embarrasement for them while simultaneously removing a sixth form common room and the freedom to wear their own clothes is not the best way to do it .
Oh and changing the tutor twice in three years and making the tutor responsible for help with university applications and personal statements hasn't been a big succes either .I personally think uni advice best dealt with by someone with experience of system /knowledge of applicant ,or at least the understanding to say " I'm an English teacher ,I've only just met you ,only just joined the school - I'll see if your (science ) subject teachers could find time to sit down with you .
So those would be things to think about if introducing VT .
But I'd still love to know what the benefits are thought to be ...
Though I guess it all looks good on paper - family atmosphere ,experience of mentoring /leadership skills ,personal tutors for UCAS process .
Ofsted are certainly fooled ,rating the school as outstanding .
( outstandingly hard work for teachers with all the boxes they have to tick ,outstanding exercise in spinning for everyone else )
DH had virtual tutor groups in 70s and always says how good it was for him. He had a lot of problems with school through bullying and this is the positive thing he has to say about schhol.
Also have friends with children in virtual tutor groups and they again says it works well.
We had it at our old school: I was a bit sceptical tbh. But now I'm in a school (11-16) with regular form groups, I hanker after Vertical ones!
cons - Can be negative learned behaviour from older students.
- it's a nightmare for assemblies and getting the right messages to all students. As all tutors have to give out messages for all year groups.
pros - ideal for peer mentoring
- encouraging students to support one another and being good role models etc.
- it's a bit more 'real world', to have cross-age relationships
- each tutor just has half a dozen students to deal with at the crucial moments, so can support them better, rather than a whole class full. So yr7s settling-in in September; yr9s choosing options in Jan/Feb; yr11s doing revision and preparing for exams in April/May. Similar applies to reviewing reports with students as each year group has reports at a different time.
Gingeroots - I think in an 11-18 school it would probably be more appropriate to have the sixth form separate from VT groups, and still have their own common room and access to someone with university applications procedure expertise.
We've ditched it this year. I hated it with a passion. It wasn't well run, IMO, which didn't help. It didn't help socially - the three or four kids from each year group just talked to each other. It made it more difficult to track individual or groups of kids down too, as a subject teacher, and we didn't have heads of year, which I think was a huge mistake.
I was always a sixth form tutor, so didn't have to deal directly with it very often, but I am very very glad it's gone.
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Ds school has VT from year 9 through 13 . Having been a sceptical parent I am now on second ds in system and am a big fan . By the time ds1 left he had been with the same tutor for five years and his tutor really did know his strengths and weaknesses and we had developed a good relationship with the tutor too. Ds2 is now enjoying developing friendships across the year groups as well , although generally his school is strong on this anyway.
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