One-to-One - Getting down to basics

26th March 2010 at 00:00
One-to-one uses individual tuition to support pupils falling behind in English and maths - and is improving motivation and behaviour, too

The one-to-one tuition programme is funded by the Government to provide additional support in mathematics and English for children who have fallen behind. It is delivered as an extension of classroom teaching, either inside or outside the school day and will help 300,000 pupils this year. By 2011, it is intended to provide extra help to at least 600,000 pupils throughout England.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families says some children, especially those from vulnerable groups, do not make the progress they need when they are in small group or whole-class settings and learn core skills much better with individualised tuition. Evidence from Australia, New Zealand and the USA backs this up and the UK model draws on some of the best practice identified from these international examples.

Making Good Progress, a two-year DCSF pilot for pupils in 10 contrasting areas of England, showed, in general, children receiving one-to-one tuition made faster academic advancements than their peers, despite the fact many had made slow progress before the intervention. Of the headteachers surveyed, 86 per cent thought one-to-one tuition contributed to increased rates of progression in their schools.

In the pilot, early intervention was found to be especially important although pupils made progress in all key stages. For example, for key stage 2 English and maths and key stage 3 English, a significantly higher proportion of pupils receiving tuition progressed at least one sub-level compared to those pupils not receiving tuition. In KS3 maths, progress was less marked but still substantial. Overall, teachers reported increased motivation, better behaviour and improved attendance.

"There has been a phenomenal increase in confidence in the tutored students and the impact has been significant," says one secondary school headteacher. One primary teacher saw a real change in attitude from their Year 5 pupils being tutored.

Parents were largely supportive of the scheme. They saw it as helping rather than stigmatising their children. More than two-thirds of those surveyed said their children enjoyed one-to-one tuition. Nearly half said they felt more involved in their children's learning.

Pupils are selected for tuition on the basis of nationally set criteria. Pupils are eligible for one-to-one tuition if they start KS2, KS3 and, in National Challenge schools, KS4 behind the expected level, or are judged to be off-course to reach national expectations or make two levels of progress. Schools are encouraged to prioritise pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds when they make their selections. Children in the care of the local authority, for example, may qualify for additional support. Many special educational needs (SEN) pupils are eligible for one-to-one tuition, but this is an addition to the school's existing intervention strategies, not a replacement for them.

Learning gaps are identified, generally using Assessing Pupil Progress, and personalised targets set for the tuition. Tutors are free to tailor their teaching to each child, rooting out the pupil's misconceptions about maths, reading or writing and working out strategies to overcome that individual's difficulties. Such insights may improve the tutor's whole-class techniques, especially when other pupils are identified as having similar misconceptions. Schools and tutors enlist the support of parents where possible, forming a partnership and using a "tuition passport" that ensures a continuous dialogue between the tutor, child and parent, and allows them to add their own comments about progress.

The Children, Schools and Families Bill has set out to ensure that, from September 2010, under the Pupil Guarantee, children in England have the legal right to individualised tuition if they enter KS2 behind national expectations and are not making good progress. Year 7 pupils who start secondary school below national expectations will be entitled to one-to-one or small group support and their learning will be assessed through a progress check. Secondary schools decide which intervention will be most effective in the context of their existing strategies.


- All tutors must have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or be overseas qualified teachers eligible to teach in schools in England, or have teaching and subject-specific qualifications from the higher or further education sectors. Trainee teachers may become tutors in the summer before they attain QTS.

- Classroom teachers outside London are paid #163;25 an hour for 10 hours of one-to-one after-school tuition. Those in outer London get #163;28 an hour and those in inner London get #163;29 an hour. All tutors receive payment for an additional two hours for planning and teacher-tutor liaison.

Tutors operating within the school day are paid in accordance with the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions document. There is also #163;4 an hour to cover the administrative costs of each tutor and a per pupil allowance for the school to cover extra administration and teacher-tutor liaison. In inner London this amounts to #163;24, in outer London #163;23 and in the rest of England #163;20.

- Schools employ tutors directly and can receive additional support from their local authority.

- Local authorities work with schools to ensure tuition is targeted at the pupils who need it most. In 200910, each authority gets an allocation based on 3.5 per cent of the cohort of pupils in each key stage for English and maths.

Nationally this equates to up to 300,000 pupils. In 201011, funding will be available for 600,000 pupils - around 7.5 per cent of each pupil cohort locally at key stage 2, key stage 3 and in National Challenge schools at key stage 4 for English and maths.



- There is no single model for delivering one-to-one tuition; schools and local authorities select tutors, locations and timings to suit the needs of the pupils. Individualised tuition should also fit in with each school's existing intervention strategies.

- Tutors can be the school's own teachers (both full-time and part-time), teachers from other local schools, retired teachers, supply teachers or agency teachers known to the school. Other key recruitment channels include the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) database, tuition agencies or supply agencies.

- Tuition can take place before school, after school, during the school day, at weekends or during holidays.

- Pupils get 10 hours of tuition in total. Sessions are usually an hour but can be longer depending on local needs. One ran five two-hour sessions after school. Another ran holiday tuition, offering the sessions over five days.

- Tuition can take place at the pupil's own school, at a neighbouring school, in the local library or leisure centre, in a football ground, hotel, business centre or in the child's home. Some creative examples are emerging. For example, at Bexleyheath in Kent, the local Asda supermarket provides a space for one-to-one tuition on Saturday mornings, allowing eligible pupils the chance to catch up on their learning while their parents shop.

TES editor: Gerard Kelly

Supplement editor: Fiona Salvage

Produced by TSL Education Limited to a brief agreed with the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

All editorial content commissioned by TSL Education Limited.

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