The current crisis is affecting disadvantaged pupils the most, particularly those who are underachieving.
At Team Up we're working to respond to current challenges, meet the needs of these pupils and share our experiences with policymakers.
We've been working with partners to see what we can deliver and are delighted to be working with long-term partners West London Zone.
On 27 April 2020 we started delivering online to younger pupils in years 4,5,6 and 7 with seven schools in West London. We are working closely with WLZ link workers to support over 40 children with their school work in small groups, usually of two pupils per tutor. We are grateful to WLZ for working closely with us to identify and resolve issues including consent, parental engagement and tech functionality and availability.
Last week we were able to work with half the pupils, this week it was over 75%. Feedback so far has been positive and pupils are engaging with their work.
We are immensely grateful to the many experienced tutors who have responded so quickly. Our Head of Programmes has been training tutors in online delivery. We are providing virtual programme manager support for every session so tutors are supported and sessions monitored.
We are keen to roll this pilot out further in the coming weeks and are speaking to other schools and partners.
We're grateful to our funders at this challenging time and particularly to The Fore who awarded us a RAFT grant to develop our online pilot and help us prepare for the future.
We've also been identifying an online tutoring platform that can meet the needs of our programme and believe the best fit is Bramble which automatically records sessions and allows for links to be sent to tutors and pupils so personal information isn't shared. We've been testing this to see how well it works and speaking directly to them to check functionality we need. Please feel free to have a look https://about.bramble.io/index.html
We've been working hard and sharing good practice with other tutoring organisations, updating safeguarding policies and online tutoring advice for tutors. We are grateful to these organisations for sharing their expertise and we've shared our own documents with them to ensure online tutoring is safe and effective.
We are also looking ahead and developing a remote tutoring offer so tutoring can be delivered to pupils in school whilst tutors are on screen, to overcome ongoing social distancing requirements.
We've learned a lot in a short time.
We're using these lessons to help inform the policy debate and highlight the significant impact of school closure on disadvantaged pupils who may not have access to the appropriate tech when 38% of Free School Meal pupils live in mobile only households.
We've also been contributing as a member of Fair Education Alliance to their response to the Education Select Committee on the Impact on Education of Coronavirus - particularly on the need for Catch Up support for disadvantaged pupils, without which the attainment gap, already growing, may become even wider.
We've also been engaging with think tanks and MPs to share our experience on how we might help address this and where support is most needed.
We are committed to playing our full part to help disadvantaged pupils get the support they need so that the impact of this crisis on their future is not a permanent one.