Online Tutoring: What Should Schools Consider?
COVID-19 has changed the education landscape. Remote learning has now become common practice in many schools and school policies are being updated to reflect blended learning techniques.
The launch of the DfE’s National Tutoring Programme (NTP) means that many schools will be considering how to effectively implement private tuition into their school routines and develop a strategy that will ensure that those children who are most disadvantaged will benefit the greatest.
It’s important that schools maximise this opportunity to ensure that there isn’t a further widening of any attainment gap and that, combined with a successful catch-up strategy, they can support children to reach their expected levels prior to the disruption caused by school closures.
Why include online tutoring?
As schools develop their plans around private tutoring, they will have to consider that learning may take place online as well as in the classroom. With so many restrictions in place and the need to ensure all children are benefiting from catch-up strategies and increased learning time, delivering lessons online can help to keep children engaged and deliver responsibilities on a wider scale.
Online tuition can also help in one-to-one and smaller group situations. Provided it is structured, focused on curriculum requirements and supports work that is being done in class, it can accelerate learning and have an impact on levels of attainment.
Online tuition and safeguarding
Safeguarding should remain a key priority when developing a plan around both private tuition and online tuition. Much in the same way that the DfE advised on safeguarding measures around remote learning, this also applies to the delivery of private online tuition. This includes advice around ensuring appropriate clothing, suitable backgrounds/learning spaces and adherence with all relevant behaviour and conduct policies.
It’s vitally important that schools continue to adhere to their statutory safeguarding duties under Keeping Children in Safe Education (KCSiE). Online tutoring will be an unsupervised activity that may occur on a daily basis so should be considered a regulated activity.
Safer recruitment processes
The big difference between remote learning through school personnel and through private tuition is the need to work with external tutors. This makes the process of recruitment so important. Schools should follow safer recruitment principles and ensure that the relevant background checks, DBS checks and qualification checks have been completed.
The right fit
Similarly, schools should ensure that tutors are the right fit for their school. They should ensure that they have the same values, ethos and can work confidently with their pupils. Schools should consider if the tutor’s expertise and background show evidence that they can successfully engage and deliver learning requirements towards their targeted demographics.
Codes of practice
Schools should also make sure that tutors abide by their own code of practice and that there is a consistent approach towards implementing online teaching. This ensures that students become familiar with a routine. Schools should highlight which online platform to use and ensure that policy and codes of practice are understood correctly.
Safeguarding training and reporting concerns
Finally, it’s important that schools employ tutors who themselves are trained in safeguarding and have a clear understanding of their own safeguarding obligations. Tutors should be able to recognise any safeguarding concerns through delivering lessons online and know who to and where to report anything that needs to be raised.
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