All my questions answered! Online bespoke tutorials are a hit

All my questions answered! Online bespoke tutorials are a hit

Regular meetings on academic progress and all-round wellbeing involving boys and their form tutors have long been an important part of the School’s pastoral programme.

This half-term conducting the bespoke tutorials online using video-conferencing technology was first trialled and then rolled out across all year groups. The aim has been to replicate, so far as possible, the benefits of the tutorials the boys enjoy when physically in School.

The tutorials will now be continued in order to keep up good communications between tutors and the boys, to aid collaboration, to enable social interaction with a pastoral focus, and to help identify where boys might need more intervention and support.

They have been adapted, where necessary, to fit the circumstances. For example, generally a number of boys are involved at the same time, so that they can have some social interaction among themselves and can share ideas, advice and what they are finding challenging.

Boys across the School say they have found the tutorials rewarding and enjoyable, while Head of Year 9 Rosemary Hall reports that boys, parents and teachers alike have stated how great it has been to see each other. “Akshaj Pawar, of 9H, even said that all of his questions had been answered!”

The use of video technology has been widely appreciated by teachers who had been eager to ‘check in’ with those in their charge. Oliver O’Gorman, who is form tutor of 9U, said: “It is much nicer to have a conversation with the boys via Zoom rather than in an online forum; you can really see how they are getting on and it was really obvious that they all enjoyed the experience and were looking forward to our next chat already.” Ugan Pretheshan, a member of that form, said: “It definitely makes it feel like a more normal morning – getting to see my classmates and my form tutor and just having a chat.”

Tom Batchelor, who is 7L’s form tutor, concurs with Mr O’Gorman: “The group bespoke Zoom meetings have a been a welcome opportunity for students to share their worries and concerns during this lockdown period. Students have benefited from listening to others’ experiences, and having structured discussions on strategies has allowed them to evaluate their own current method. It has also allowed them to reflect on their personal long-term targets, celebrate their successes and to set exciting targets for the challenging term ahead.” Mr Batchelor has also introduced some fun group activities, including a form quiz.

Danyal Talha and Yash Kedia are both in his form group. “During my online bespoke tutorial, I really enjoyed seeing some of my classmates and my form tutor, because we have not been able to see each other for a fairly long time,” said Danyal. “I feel that the ‘bespokes’ are a very good way of supporting us during these tough times by allowing us to speak to our form tutors and discuss any possible difficulties we are facing, or just to catch up with what we are finding useful. Overall, they are very useful, and I look forward to my next one”.

Yash said: “I have found them extremely helpful as they are ways of communicating to others while still separated. They are a way of socialising and still keeping in touch while in lockdown. I feel supported when we have these as we have someone to talk to, other than people at home. I have enjoyed these interactions as we are still able to talk to our classmates even if it might not be face to face.”

Year 10 form tutor Rebecca Grundy said: “It’s been really great to hear how the boys have been getting on with online learning, as well as how they’ve been keeping in touch with each other. Some of them have shown me drawings they have done and the baked goods they have made in their spare time. Mostly it’s just been lovely to hear their voices again!”

While both learning and friendships have continued to flourish during lockdown, the introduction of the video bespoke tutorials has, though, revealed one break with the recent past among young Elizabethans. “It’s been funny to see the hairstyles some of the boys are now ‘cultivating’ since the barbers have shut, taking advantage of not having to comply with the School hair regulations with regards to length and colour!” Miss Hall said.