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Anne Jakins

Vertical Tutor Groups

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With the move towards ' mixed age' teaching does a vertically grouped pastoral system have a significant role to play? Does this encourage students to work together more effectively across the academic age groups and break down any barriers?

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Twenty years ago I taught in a very progressive secondary school which was divided into mini-schools and in each of them, pastoral groups were vertical, as were optional units in the afternoons. I have to say that I thought it was one of the best systems I've ever taught in. There were only 100 students in the mini-school with one class for each grade. Basic subjects were taught in grade groups in the morning, but in the afternoon, students could select a 6-week unit in a mixed age grouping. The older ones did provide an example and a steadying influence in pastoral care time, and the units worked well too.

it lasted for about 15 years, but then fell to the onslaught of new fads and fancies, as always happens.

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Guest Toby Cope

At the prep school I just left (I am going onto a senior school) we had a 'vertical tutoring system' in the 4 higher years of the school.

Each pupil had a tutor assigned to them and each tutor had about 7-10 tutees. Each week the tutor and tutees would meet for to discuss the forthcoming week of events at school and look back on the weekly report of the previous week.

Your tutor was an extra means of support to you, which I found very helpful. Someone you can tell if you have troubles at school (for example, bullying.)

In the lower years at that school there were classes with class teachers who have the same role as tutors but for a set of pupils of the same age.

We also had blue monitors, gold monitors and prefects (I was a prefect in my last term at Beachborough) which offer more support for pupils to ask questions that pupils may feel embarassed to ask the teachers (...and for school secrets the teachers don't even know!)

I will be going to Uppingham School in Rutland in September this year. At Uppingham each boy and girl is in a boarding house (even if they are a day pupil,) where they have lunch each day and do prep (homework.) In the house, you would have a housemaster/housemistress, a matron, one resident tutor and around 5 other tutors non-residential but attached to the house, all of these people are means of support as well as the house captain which is a pupil and the prefects, head boy, head girl etc of the school.

I think Pastoral Care is a very important part of school life, especially if you are going to be fully boarding as our parents are not around all the time to support you when you don't know where the maths classrooms are!

I hope this post is interesting for you, apologies for the awful spelling of tutees I think that is the wrong spelling but it is my best guess.

Toby Cope <_<

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