TUTORING THE MOST DISADVANTAGED

MAKING PROGRESS HAPPEN

Report shows progress but shortage of tutors still a worry.

Comment

In summer 2007 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP was commissioned by DCSF to undertake an independent evaluation of the Making Good Progress (MGP) Pilot. The scheme is about personalised support to improve  individual pupils attainment.

PWC has published the final report of the two year evaluation and provides an update on the experiences of MGP schools and Local Authorities since the interim report (published in December 2008) as well as evaluating the Pilot’s achievements as a whole.

The Pilot began in September 2007, supported by an Local Authority  Pilot Leader in each LA and a School Pilot Leader (SPL) in each school.

The MGP Pilot aims to respond to the challenge of continuing to raise educational achievement by focusing on progression as well as attainment in five key strands. The pilot was designed to look at new ways of improving pupil progress in primary and secondary schools. Along with one-to-one tuition, the programme also focused on assessment for learning, introduced single level tests – taken when a pupil is ready – and trialled an incentive payment for schools whose pupils entered the key stage behind national expectations and went on to make at least two National Curriculum levels of progress.

One key strand of the scheme Progression Tuition aims to offer catch-up help, by March 2011, to 300,000 pupils who have fallen behind. For this, some 100,000 tutors are needed. However, only 37,000 teachers have signed up so far. The study  found that two-thirds of teachers are broadly supportive of the Making Good Progress pilots, but many head teachers have struggled to recruit enough tutors to provide the specialist support needed to help pupils  to catch up. The least popular strand (with teachers) is the Progression Premium which aims to incentivise teachers

The strands to the scheme  are as follows:

Assessment for Learning (AfL) – A focus on assessment for learning supported by the use of the Assessing Pupil Progress (APP) Assessment Criteria and wider formative assessment activities. This is used to inform termly Teacher Assessments (TAs) of pupils (which are submitted to the DCSF

PWC found there was consensus among school and setting interviewees about the potential positive impact of the assessment and tracking strand.

Single Level Tests (SLTs) – Biannual, ‘single National Curriculum level’ tests which pupils sit when their teacher judges them ready in order to confirm their teacher’s assessment of their level.

The report found that the systems and processes related to the administration of SLTs have become more embedded during the second year of the Pilot.

Progression Tuition – Targeted one-to-one tuition for to up to 10% of Key Stage (KS) 2 and KS3 pupils in English and mathematics who either entered the key stage below national expectations or who are not on a trajectory to reach national expectations or to make two levels of progress in their current KS.

The report found that the implementation of one-to-one tuition has quickened and deepened during the second year of the Pilot and  initial concerns around tutor recruitment, highlighted at the interim stage, have reduced somewhat but still remain.

Progression Target – Individual school targets based on the number of pupils making at least two levels of progress across a KS;

Levels of understanding and awareness about the Progression Target have increased during the Pilot

Progression Premium – These are ‘Incentive’ payments for schools based on increases to the proportion of pupils entering the KS below national standards and going on to make at least two levels of progress.

The report found that the Progression Premium remains the least understood and least popular of the strands. Just over half (54%) of teachers surveyed reported being aware of the Progression Premium but most interviewees believed it was antithetical to teacher motivation.

The report says: “The number of pupils receiving one-to-one tuition is still below the allocation of 10% of pupils per pilot local authority.  “Head teachers/school pilot leaders suggested this was partly a consequence of the ongoing challenges around recruitment.”   It adds that although recruitment problems have reduced they have not been resolved. Instead of the bottom 10% of pupils getting help with English or mathematics, only 2.5% and 2.4% of pupils respectively in the pilot schools have been getting help, it says.

A spokesman for the DCSF said this 10% “was not a specific target” and that places had doubled in the second year of the pilot.   Head teachers have also found it easier to recruit tutors as the pilot has progressed, a DCSF spokesman told the BBC. However the report also  confirms that recruitment issues have improved in a majority of schools, with 57% of head teachers being able to recruit enough tutors though this has still  left four out of 10 head teachers struggling to find enough staff to run the schemes. Last January, some seven out of 10 pilot local authorities said there were “major tutor shortages” in their areas.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls announced on 4 January a new guarantee for pupils in Key Stage 1 (KS1) to ensure pupils in their first few years at primary make a flying start in reading and numbers helping them to progress through school.

The KS1 guarantee, which comes into effect in September 2011, means that where a 6-7 year old child is falling behind, the school will notify the parents and inform them of what, they as parents, can do to help their child and what additional support the school will provide, including through small group and one-to-one tuition where appropriate, to help their child catch up.  If any pupil starts to fall behind, this new guarantee means they will be offered support to catch up – teachers will be empowered to decide what support is best for each child, using their knowledge and understanding of the needs of their pupils and the type of support that will help them succeed. This could include specialist reading and number help or support from a dyslexia specialist.

Evaluation of the making good progress pilots

http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/DCSF-RB184.pdf

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