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  • Writer's pictureAnna at Jacari

Expanding our peer tutoring project

Our exciting new peer tutoring project is expanding to more Bristol schools this year.

In the 2022/23 academic year we piloted peer tutoring at Montpelier High School in Bristol. A group of A-level students volunteered as "peer tutors" and supported 18 younger pupils at their school. All the pupils used English as an additional language and had recently started at the school, arriving from countries like Ukraine, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The peer tutors were an inspiring group of committed young people, providing twice weekly support to the younger pupils. Many of them use EAL themselves and had experience of moving to the UK and adapting to a new school while learning English so they could really empathise with the recently arrived pupils.

Training and tutoring

We provided the peer tutors with comprehensive training before matching them to individual pupils. Peer tutors supported their younger pupils with English language skills, but also provided them with a mentor and trusted buddy at their school.

We gave the peer tutors lesson plans so they were following a structured programme, which introduced basic English vocabulary topics. The pairs then did a mix of games, speaking activities and curriculum-based content.

Enjoying the sessions

It’s been wonderful to see the special bonds developing between the younger and older students. Sessions were always full of smiles and laughter, and special bonds formed between the younger and older students. Our contact at Montpelier High School told us that the initiative’s positive impacts included “massive enjoyment and a self-confidence boost, so many smiles in the peer-tuition Jacari sessions after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This peer-tuition programme was a massive success and we hope it will continue next year.”

The project helped newly-arrived refugee pupils feel included and welcomed into their school community, as well as providing opportunities for our A-level students to develop key communication and interpersonal skills and grow their confidence. As one young volunteer told us “It has helped me become more confident and be a more effective communicator.”

Expanding the project

Based on the success of this pilot, we are expanding peer tutoring to potentially three other schools in Bristol with the aim to provide language learning support to 60 EAL pupils this academic year. We will continue to work with Montpelier High School and we have already got the project up and running at Bristol Cathedral Choir School, where we'll provide support for at least 12 EAL pupils.

Our Coordinator, Aggie, will be leading the project and working closely with the schools and supporting the peer tutors and pupils during the twice weekly sessions. She will also be providing bespoke training to the A-level students so they can develop their skills in teaching techniques for language acquisition.

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