Last term we started tutoring some of our Oxford-based pupils in their schools, rather than at home. This is something Jacari has been doing successfully in Bristol for a number of years and we’ve decided this was the right time to trial this in Oxford.
We have been able to set up routines for pupils and volunteers to meet at school every week at the end of the school day. Groups of volunteers travel to our partner schools to provide one-to-one tuition and small group activities. This means that volunteers get to know each other and can share their experience, ideas and learning resources. They also have a more regular opportunity to meet the EAL lead and teachers at the school, which means they can better understand the needs of their pupils and ask for advice. One other benefit of tutoring in-school is the range of learning resources available in the classroom.
How we set up in-school tutoring
Initially, we set up in-school tutoring sessions at five primary schools and one secondary school in Oxford. Our Coordinator, Ben, has been working closely with the EAL leads at each school to set up the sessions and communicate with the parents of the pupils to explain how it works and ensure attendance. He regularly attends lessons at schools to support volunteers, chat to teachers and catch up with the EAL lead.
Volunteers have been working with their pupils either one-to-one or in small groups. We’ve found this can work well if we group pupils who are a similar age and level of English as they can do language learning activities together. Some games and activities can also be done with the whole group of EAL pupils in the school, for example a fun warm-up activity in a circle. Using language socially in this way helps pupils progress with their speaking skills and builds confidence.
Benefits of in-school tutoring
One really positive aspect of in-school tuition is that the EAL pupils in the school get to know each other and there's been evidence of older pupils helping out younger pupils through translation, writing support and helping out the volunteers. We’ve also had great feedback from teachers and EAL leads who are directly seeing the impact of Jacari tuition.
One of the benefits for Jacari is that we are building a closer relationship with our school partners, gaining a better understanding of the needs of the EAL pupils in the schools and we are able to attend the sessions and support our volunteers. It's also offered flexibility, for example when many students went home for the holidays in early December, Ben and a few of the Oxford-based volunteers continued supporting their EAL pupils with some fun group activities for the last few weeks of term.
We are planning to offer in-school tuition in another four Oxford schools this term. Alongside this, we will continue to provide tutoring at children’s homes as this arrangement works really well for many of our pupils, their families and volunteers. Our aim is to be as flexible as possible in order to maximise the impact of Jacari tuition.