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Vertical Tutor Groups - Yes or No?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by headflower, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. headflower

    headflower New commenter

    Rumour has it that our school might be adopting vertical tutoring in September. Does anybody have experience of this? Love it or loathe it?

    I had thought - maybe mistakenly - that this was a fad years ago but that it had largely been abandoned.
    Thanks in advance

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    Depends on your school. If you have really nice students it works well and I still have year 11s who drop by to see their old form.

    But mostly - no, **** idea. They rarely mix and you loose them all the time because they have to go to year assemblies. Far better to have a nice form you start with as year 7s and say goodbye to as year 11s.
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Better still in my view to have tutor teams who specialise in specific year groups, for instance Y10 and Y11, who have very different needs to Y7 or Y8. You lose a bit of continuity but get better support for the pupils.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. freckle06

    freckle06 Lead commenter

    I didn’t enjoy having a vertical tutor group. I took it over so had no relationship with the older ones. When most of them decided to take the day off after break on the last day of the autumn term, I could see the younger pupils wondering why they’d stayed. They didn’t next time. Surprise surprise.
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    The school I attended myself had the vertical system and even - to my 11 year old horror - put siblings together! I didn't enjoy it as a student (generally loved school otherwise) and haven't enjoyed being a tutor in this system.

    In my experience, it makes it difficult for tutor time to be genuinely productive. It is fine when doing things such as discussing the news and the age gap can be interesting. But at other times, it's really useful to have a full group of Year 11 to help with revision, and for all years to get specialist sessions arranged between departments, age appropriate PSHE sessions etc.

    On the social side, the idea is that older students 'buddy up' and help, guide, look out for the younger ones. Unfortunately, it usually ends up with the 'challenging' students across the years ganging up and this is not good for the younger ones! I have also seen younger students being influenced by the more pessimistic attitude towards school that sadly seems prevalent from year 9 onward. You earlier lose the lovely enthusiasm of KS3.

    Does anyone have any more positive takes on this issue?

    Is there any sort of consultation on the issue for your school @headflower
  6. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    I was really sceptical when the school I taught at changed to vertical tutor groups, but ended up really enjoying it.
    Of course there are some downsides, but here are a few positives:

    - you can really focus on the few students who need attention at different times of the year, e.g. year 7 in September, year 11 revision planning, year 8/9 choosing options
    - it helped to break up 'gangs' in year groups and made for a much calmer atmosphere
    - older students could advise younger ones on GCSE options, do some mentoring, etc
    - we had smaller tutor groups with two tutor groups meeting together, which was supportive for tutors and meant you could spend time with small groups without feeling everyone else was unsupervised
    - it did help students in different year groups to build relationships more effectively

    It was more difficult to do whole--group activities as their needs and what they think is fun varies so much in those years. So it meant re-thinking what tutor time was - it felt more pastoral rather than activity-driven. Some younger students did copy less positive behaviour of some older ones.
    But on the whole I'd say it worked really well.

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