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How to be a form tutor

Being a form tutor is a great leveller in secondary schools, but is usually the first thing new members of the leadership group cast off. This can be a mistake as being a form tutor is a good way of keeping in touch with what's going on in the whole school.

So how do you make the role enjoyable and rewarding? The most important part is to plan daily tutor time as if it were a lesson. Don't let students drift about while you catch up on admin; you'll pay a price in missed opportunities. To keep the time with your form group focused, have a weekly timetable. For example, on Mondays they split into teams for a quiz (with an updated league table on the wall); on Tuesdays, homework planners are checked and signed; Wednesdays might be assembly (which your group may take from time to time); Thursdays are for silent reading and students telling the rest of the form about the book they are reading; Fridays are when students nominate a student of the week.

Other ideas are to create a vibrant noticeboard, encourage your group to enter inter-form competitions (start them if your school does not have them), run the odd form trip in the evening, and start a class newsletter (written and edited by students).

And when giving out letters for parents, put the initials of each child who is away at the top of a copy.

Jeremy Rowe is deputy head at Bishops Park college, Essex. Have you any useful tips for new teachers? We pay pound;50 for all tips published. Send yours to

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