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Vertical Tutoring and its role in Deeper Personalised Learning

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Vertical Tutoring and its role in Deeper Personalised Learning Matt Wells, February 2010 'School Pastoral care is a systematic approach to education which seeks to value and develop the young person at every level. It implies caring for the quality of relationships between the partners in the school community. It involves the engagement of all the schools policies, processes and programmes in the development of the appropriate systematic structures, roles and resources to support the development of the emerging adult.' (Hamblin, 1986) My particular focus is on the Vertical Tutoring Model and how it can assist in the development of an individual pupil amongst their peers; 'Vertical Tutoring is not just a 'pastoral reorganisation' as many schools think although this might appear to be the start. Vertical Tutoring is a better and more effective way of running schools as organisations which, if well managed, will ensure that everything improves including outcomes. It requires no extra effort or funding and serves to remind us of why we became teachers. In many ways it is a systems thinking approach to school management.' (Barnard, 2006) The Vertical Tutoring Model, also known as Vertical Mentoring, seems to be a relatively new design in mainstream schooling and is increasingly being introduced to schools all over the country.

Middle

Having never experienced (or in fact heard of) the vertical tutoring model until earlier this academic year, I was sceptical of how it would if at all work. When sent to my first placement school, I was faced with this very model. In its debut year of implementation; it was its virgin month of practice. I must admit it could have been in place for ten years, it seemed to be working seamlessly. I am not aware of how they implemented the transition of moving from a more traditional, horizontal, year group tutoring, but it seemed to be working well, with all pupils interacting within year groups but also across year groups, with very little confusion. However, I still remained with my previous thoughts of the system. I always thought that it would help the year 7 pupils in the transitional period (making the jump from eldest to youngest), as they would have the familiar faces of their form members, to look up to. 'The transition from Primary to Secondary is regarded as one of the most difficult in pupils' educational careers.' (Zeedyk & al, 2003) Within a fairly short period of time, bonds would be made and anxieties maybe relieved by guidance from those elder peers.

Conclusion

I believe that the Vertical Tutoring system can be lent to deep support as demonstrated by peer support as well as tutor support; it allows for a deeper level of leadership through the naturally authoritive figures such as sixth form members or simply the elder members of the form. It would also be an opportunity for younger members with natural leadership qualities to be able to represent and have authority over their elders, which can be a very true reality in outside of school life; this would also encourage an extended learning of opportunities such as Sports Leadership Gold, etc The system can also allow for a louder student voice as all age groups can contribute and bounce ideas for change off of one another, this would not be the case for the vast majority to be involved in, in traditional tutoring systems. I have already touched on the idea of pupils gaining a deeper understanding in learning to learn when pupils naturally lend themselves to helping their peers, not only through homework tasks, but fun group activities that provide important developmental skills needed in life, i.e. social and citizenship skills. I am aware on the other hand that, there are Vertical Tutoring Systems that are in place that are not as successful as the placement experience I have. This could be down to the fact that the nuts and bolts of the system have not been tweaked and set up adequately for the intended environment.

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