Training Programme for Volunteers, Tutors and Organizers in Supplementary Schools
Evaluation Report, January 2004
In the autumn of 2002, the Supplementary Schools Support Service, managed by CfBT and funded by the DfES, commissioned two consultants experienced in working with supplementary schools to prepare a training course for workers in the schools. The first unit of the course (titled “Supporting Supplementary School Tutors”) was to be accredited by the Open College Network leading to the award of one credit at NVQ equivalent Credit Level 2.
Education Leeds took up the opportunity to deliver the first unit in a pilot form, using funding which required completion of delivery by the end of the financial year (i.e. 31st March, 2003).
The writers delivered the course to three trainers and assistants on 8th March, 2003. The course was then presented to 29 workers in supplementary schools over the three subsequent Saturdays.
The course was written to be presented in seven taught sessions, each of two hours, with an eighth session of one hour set aside for consultation with tutors. A further fifteen hours of private study was built in, allowing a total of thirty hours study in all for the participants.
Outline of the course content
Supporting Supplementary School Tutors
Session 1 (2h)
What is the range of supplementary schools? What are their aims and purposes? What functions do they perform for their organisers and their students? What are the issues that drive their founding and development?
Session 2 (2h)
What needs to be known about the population served by a supplementary school? What are the ‘typical’ demographic, social, cultural, educational issues? How do these impact on the conduct of a school?
Session 3 (2h)
The range of learning styles used by students; the nature of learning relationships; providing a learning environment.
Session 4 (2h)
The rationale and the requirements of legislation: health and safety, child protection, equal opportunities.
Session 5 (2h)
Providing a strategic framework: Policies and procedures for successful management; Planning.
Session 6 (2h)
Other players: The DfES, funders, mainstream schools, parents, other providers, the community, the media; creating and sustaining partnerships. Where can we find information and support?
Session 7 (2h)
Identifying success: Monitoring and evaluating student and school performance; Self-evaluation.
Session 8 (1h)
Tutorial support session
The course assumes a further 15 hours of private study.
The course was designed to be presented in a number of different ways – for example, over 8 consecutive weekday evenings; over consecutive weekend days; over two weekends. In the event, and to meet with funding requirements, the trainers were trained on the second Saturday in March, and the unit delivered to students over the three subsequent Saturdays at the Metropolitan University of Leeds. This left little time for the tutors to familiarise themselves with some complex material covering a wide range of knowledge and skills. Nevertheless, the three tutors and their assistants did an excellent job, as can be seen.
Percentage of attenders:
Chart 1: to be added
Comments on the course:
By far the issue most frequently commented upon negatively was that of shortage of time:
“A lot of information to cover in little time”
“Course delivery too much for timescale”
“Too much to take in”
Generally, though, students were highly complementary about the contents:
“Huge amount of useful information”
“The ‘intelligences’ topic is really helpful”
“The (learning styles) quiz is excellent”
The social aspects of groupwork may have been neglected in one group – especially as there is such an mix of people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds:
“Session should have started with an introduction of the group to break the ice and everyone being comfortable.”
Although students appreciated the social and ethnic mix (an issue which had been raised in formulating the groups):
“Varied group with lots of ideas to share. Good to hear views from other schools.”
Presentation by the tutors was widely appreciated:
“The presentation was very good and educative”
“The lecturer is very good and speaks very clearly”
“Very good teacher-pupil interaction”
On learning resources in Session 1:
“Excellent, but due to tight time, they couldn’t be explained well enough”
On the student presentations:
“Talkers should have more time to prepare the presentation.”
“A little rushed”
“The information from the group and video was very interesting”
Many students requested that the folder pages be numbered:
“The folder is great but it’s a bit hard to get around.”
There was general agreement that the course is practical and likely to have an impact on school practice:
“Will be able to use information in my supplementary school.”
“Will be very good because I feel it will help the school”
The venue was well regarded:
“Good location and refreshments and lunch much appreciated”
“LMU one of the best venues”
There would be extra benefits from ensuring that tutors are familiar with the supplementary school profile of the area from which students are drawn:
“More case studies will be more helpful to us – especially Leeds-based supplementary schools need to be examined.”
“I think the discussion needs to be more relevant.”
Nevertheless, general comments tended to refer to the great benefits of meeting people from other backgrounds and schools. It is clear that many of the students feel isolated and were unaware of the enormous range and variety of supplementary school provision even within Leeds:
“I have learned a lot of new things about supplementary schools
“It kept me wanting to learn more about supplementary schools”
“It is greatly going to improve me.”
“Gained new knowledge and skills which I can put into practice.”
In all, the course received an extremely positive response from students and tutors. The consultants are addressing the few issues raised in a final formatting of the unit materials.