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VERTICAL TUTOR GROUPS

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by BrummieResearcher, May 14, 2007.

  1. Have you got one? A mix of Yr7-Y13? How does it work? Do you find it socially effective? Any probs? Assemblies?! Student progress leaders?????

    Any thoughts/comments/criticisms would be fab! Many, many thanks!
     
  2. Have you got one? A mix of Yr7-Y13? How does it work? Do you find it socially effective? Any probs? Assemblies?! Student progress leaders?????

    Any thoughts/comments/criticisms would be fab! Many, many thanks!
     
  3. I've got one, although it's Y9 to 13 as we are an Upper school. I really like it. Although they tend to sit in year groups by default, they are happy to mix and work well with each other, big ones supporting little ones etc. They have first hand opinions on how to tackle GCSEs etc which help them and they are good at helping new year nines settle in. Also, you don't have the behaviour problems you might have with a one year group. No real issues with conversation or anything, although I guess you might have with even smaller people around
     
  4. I had one at my last school and loved it - really miss having one now. It was a mix of yr7-11 since we had no 6th form and the older ones looked out for the younger ones and helped them settle in. We had a house system so all assemblies were either full schol or house assemblies. And it made it easier come SAT or exam time because you could give personalised attention to those few pupils rather than having to deal with a whole class.
     
  5. puffin

    puffin New commenter

    We moved to them three years ago. We are a secondary school of just over 1000 pupils Y7-Y11. In my form I have approx 5 of each year group.

    How does it work?

    We register together in the morning for 20 mins and afternoon for five. As a form we get planner signed and general admin. We also do form quizzes and can do silent/paired reading.
    Each form belongs to one of five 'houses'. Three days a week we go to assemblies. Two assemblies are lead by SMT and involve pupils from two or three houses. The third assembly is a 'house' assembly, with our seven form groups in it. These are run by our Head of House and by each form on rotation doing an assembly presentation.
    PSHE/Citizenship is taught as a separate lesson on the timetable.
    We have a system of elected Head boy/head girl then boy/girl house captains. Sports captains for each house are also elected. Throughout the year, the houses compete for credits (earned in lessons) and points from the inter-house sports events for a 'House cup' at the end of the year.

    Is it socially effective?

    Compared to old style year groups YES! Problems experienced in the past include inability to move inappropriate social groups apart due to the fact that there were only 7 other forms to split the kids over. Now there are 35!!
    Another problem I used to face was the fact that the pupils were all going through the same traumas at the same time, a Y9/Y11 form was hellish when they all got hormonal at the same time. Now there are a mix of different age groups, I only have a max 6 pupils with stroppy y9 syndrome. Most are soon prevented from going too far by the sneers of their older classmates.
    With some of the difficult Y11 pupils, they are able to sit down and chill without too much 'stressing them out' as the room is mostly filled with children younger than them that aren't involved in the massive social crisis they are going through.
    Mentoring for exams/college interviews was pretty ineffective since you had to squeeze 30 kids into your diary. Now with only 5 Y9 pupils sitting their SATs last week, I was able to sit down with each of them and come up with an appropriate revision timetable, some of my more responsible Y10/11s also helped out.
    Y7s used to roam the school in herds when they got lost. Now each y7 has an older form buddy taking them from lesson to lesson and generally looking after them until they find their way.

    Any probs?

    Well, they do tend to sit in their year groups, with pockets of Y7s in one area and the Y11's sitting slumped at the back. We have started to mix up a bit now we are in our third year, through the use of form quizzes and assembly prep.
    Some of the Y7s do try to copy the bad behaviour of the older form members and sometimes see/hear more than is good for them (like when a Y11 in my form brought her positive preg. test in and passed it around my new Y7 bunch eeek!)
    There is also a wider problem of discipline. If a group of Y8 boys are fighting and it turns out to be a pastoral rather than subject problem, you could have several different form teachers and three or four heads of year potentially involved. In the past it would be down to one head of year. There has been a problem with consistency across heads of house, which was addressed through a new behaviour policy.

    Overall, with proper planning and organisation and a willingness for SMT and HOY to look again at their roles, it appears from my POV to be a very effective way of making the school to be a better community. I would recommend it!
     
  6. we move to vertical tutoring this summer but will be split. year 7 & 8 together. then year 9-11 with a maximum 10 students per tutor group. really looking forward to it although not so sure the kids are!
     
  7. We started a house system and vertical tutor group system in september (we are a 13-16 school). i agree that socially it has allowed the year 9s to settle in a lot easier and it allows even the badly behaved older pupils to take some form of responisibilty.

    we are encountering issues with our 'tutorial programme'. ie coming up with material which is accessible to years 9, 10 and 11 which can be recycled on a 3 yearly basis. if anyone has any suggestions....!
     
  8. studentleader

    studentleader New commenter

    I would say if you are transferring to vertical tutoring you should firstly visit other schools and have a staff meeting with all of your staff both teaching and non-teaching. You should also run assemblies and consult with your school council.

    Secondly you have to think of staff deployment if you have teaching heads of year at present then they should transfer over and become heads of house, but normally houses have a bigger number of students than what year groups have so in larger schools you may wish to have two heads of house if they are teachers and one if they are non-teachers. You should also attach a member of the leadership team to each house with the SLT member responsible for Pastoral Care Systems not to oversee a house and to oversee all of the houses and the effectiveness of house system.

    For your Head of Year 7 and Head of Sixth Form I would also suggest they do not become heads of house and become your Transition and KS3 Coordinator and your Director of Sixth Form with a member of the SLT attached to each of them. They would not be attached to a house but with the DHT/AHT responsible for Pastoral would oversee the progress and effectiveness of all houses.

    Also then ALL other staff (apart from Headteacher, SBM, Cover Supervisors, SENCo etc) should be attached to houses including support staff, I would then suggest if you have too many tutor groups to form tutors then you pair up support staff to become joint form tutors which will be good for career development.

    Assemblies done in houses with year assemblies as and when required e.g. Options, Sixth Form/FE Pathways, Prom etc.

    Bullying is normally reduced and provides endless opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills through peer mentoring etc.
     
  9. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    I can't comment on it from a teachers' point of view, but I can offer some insight from students.
    I am head of Y7 in a middle school and visit our Y8s after their first few weeks in high school. In each case, the students in schools with vertical form groups have found Y11s far less intimidating, and feel more welcomed into the school than those in traditional year forms. They spoke very highly of the opportunity to become more familiar with older students, even thought they didn't think for a second that they'd end up as close friends. It just gave both parties an opportunity to see the other as real people, I think!
     
  10. Much better from a form tutors point of view, but the heads of year/house are not that effective as they push the issues around and don't seem to tackle anything that might be best addressed to the whole year group. The inconsistencies make it difficult as a subject teacher. If you have strong key stage leaders then this might not be an issue.
     
  11. phlogiston

    phlogiston Lead commenter

    We've recently gone vertical. Lots of good things with older students working with and supporting younger ones. We've managed to reduce the size of tutor groups.
    Year groups sometimes go off for special assemblies about things like post 16 options, proms, work experience. The problem is that mentors don't know what's said at these assemblies (because we're with the rest of the group) so are not always able to follow up as effectively as we might.
    Other problem can be if a little group from a year are a bit silly, then several heads of house need to be involved in the discussion.
    Solstitial greetings,
    P
     

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