Explaining bespoke online tutorials

Explaining bespoke online tutorials

David Ryan, Deputy Head (Pastoral), sets out how bespoke online tutorials are being used to maintain the School’s pastoral support for boys in these difficult times.

‘Keep in touch!’ It is a phrase we use frequently in our everyday lives, yet in the current situation when we have lost regular face-to-face contact with everyone except our immediate family, doing so is a considerable challenge. For our part, we are very keen to keep touch with all our students, firstly by using our established ways of working, and then by enhancing those with new lines of communication. This will allow us to discuss how your sons are and how their studies are progressing, to celebrate their achievements, and to consider any concerns they might have that we can help them with.

We are already doing this in a number of ways and will seek to expand our provision for the period of the School’s closure as we go through the next few weeks. Primarily, in their online bespoke tutorials, students have an opportunity to give answers to a number of questions. Their form tutors read these answers and respond to them when issues arise. We are now confident that online platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams pass the ‘fit for purpose’ test both in terms of how we provide pastoral support for your son, but also with regard to his online safety. Therefore, we will use those platforms more in meeting virtually with our students in the weeks to come.

Normally it will be your son’s form tutor who meets with him in this way, but he may also be contacted by his Head of Year or another member of the pastoral team. Our normal procedure will be to set a date and time for an online tutorial in advance. This allows for the staff member to be notified if your son is unable to attend the meeting. Please be assured that there will be procedures that School staff will keep to in order to ensure outstanding online safety at all times.

We understand that, for some families, access to IT devices may be very limited and/or shared between family members, and that it might prove difficult for a student to take part in an online meeting. If this is the case, we ask that you contact your son’s form tutor: we will always find alternative ways to stay in touch with your son.

For some of our students, the School closure seems to be providing an opportunity to learn in a different way, to learn new skills and to do so from home as summer starts. But for others, there may be challenges: their family’s well-being; their access to IT; or, just feeling anxious – either about the circumstances we are currently in, or about an issue they have been facing for some time. Whatever the situation, we hope to able to work closely with your sons to provide them with the outstanding pastoral support that helps them to thrive and continue to develop.