back to blogs

Adapting Your School’s Catch Up Tuition Programme For The Summer Holidays

About 30 days ago By Alex Schulte

I Stock 1297509194 Min

​The summer term is upon us, and with it comes the final stage of this academic year’s edition of the National Tutoring Programme. For the million-plus pupils enrolled on the scheme, this term will wrap up and consolidate many months of intensive work catching up on all the learning disrupted by the last two years’ recurrent lockdowns.

Yet any teacher who’s worked a few Septembers could be forgiven for worrying if it all that effort might just end up lost to the long, languid summer days. Every year, the infamous ‘summer slide’ sees some pupils return to school with noticeable declines in their maths and reading abilities. Given the pandemic’s disproportionate effect on the most disadvantaged pupils’ learning, it is critical that children are given a chance to retain all they have learned in these special sessions.

That’s why Protocol Education welcomes the DfE’s extension of the deadline for schools to use their National Tutoring Programme funding to 31 August. As a prelude to some major reforms to the scheme’s funding structure coming in the next academic year, schools will now be able to run catch up programmes during the summer holidays.

Summer tuition works

When conducted right, summer tuition can be a powerful tool for sustainably raising pupil attainment. The Educational Endowment Foundation has estimated that pupils who attend summer school programmes will make around three months’ worth of extra progress.  

Clearly, summer tuition can lay the groundwork for better performance in the year to come. It just has to be conducted correctly. If your school is one of the many thousands who have run catch up tutoring schemes through the National Tutoring Programme, it’s worth considering how you can most effectively adapting your termtime tutoring approach to the holidays. These eight variables should help you decide how to plan a programme that works for your school and your pupils. 

1.     When it takes place

The question of when you hold your summer tuition programme deserves some careful thought. After several years of disrupted travel, families and teachers alike will be making much anticipated returns to the beaches of foreign shores this summer. To succeed, your catch up programme needs to reach as many of the pupils you deem as most in need of help (more on that in a minute).

Course leaders could benefit from conducting some research into when the greatest number of pupils are most likely to be available during the holidays.

Once you’ve picked a viable time period that as many pupils as possible can be present for, you’ll have to think about how you structure the course. Would it work best as a week-long course, or maybe two days a week over a fortnight?

If you’re concerned about staff availability over the holidays, we will have a large selection of skilled tutors available to take on throughout the summer.

2.     Which pupils you will target

Attending school during the summer is a big ask. Most children will be understandably reluctant to give up their holiday time, so your tuition programme needs to really zero in on those pupils you think really need the most help.

2021’s summer school programme was largely focused on aiding incoming Year 7s’ transition from primary to secondary school. In a similar vein, you might want to direct your attention to a particular year cohort, such as new Year 11s set to take the first public GCSE exams in three years. You may even prefer to pick out individual pupils who have really fallen behind. This requires your careful judgment.

3.     Learning objectives

To keep a group of children engaged during what would otherwise be their free time, any learning taking place outside of normal school hours must have some very clear objectives.

What these objectives are will, of course, depend largely on the pupils you have decided to target. Do you want to consolidate their knowledge of specific exam material? Improve reading comprehension skills? Aid year group transition?

Whatever you choose, your objectives must be clearly explained to pupils at the programme’s outset and reinforced throughout. Don’t allow mission creep to dilute the purpose of your course.

4.     Academic intensity

It’s worth considering how academically strenuous you want your programme to be. Children need time during the holidays to rest and recharge. A ‘boot camp’ ethos might be the wrong tack for pupils already tired after a demanding and stressful year.

In this vein, your catch up programme could involve a range of morale-building enrichment activities that pupils will genuinely enjoy, like storytelling sessions or team sports. Protocol Education will have an eclectic mix of activity leaders on hand all summer to support this.

On the other hand, if you feel your chosen pupils are in a truly parlous state ahead of some crucial examinations or learning stages, a higher-intensity course may seem like the only option.

5.     Wellbeing focus

Children learn best when they’re happy and content, but current figures paint a concerning picture of our young people’s mental health. A recent report showed a near-6% rise in rates of probable mental disorder among 6- to 16-year-olds between 2017 and 2021.

Of the almost 3,000 schools who put on summer schools in 2021, over half reported that they were ‘extremely effective’ for improving pupil wellbeing. If your pupils have been struggling with mental ill-health (and its highly likely that many have been), putting wellbeing at the centre of your catch up programme could prove genuinely ameliorative.


6.     Parental engagement

During termtime, parents will normally trust a school to do what it will, including providing special tuition sessions in school hours. In the holidays, however, getting buy-in from parents or guardians becomes a much more pressing matter.

The degree to which you involve parents in the planning and execution of your summer tuition is entirely up to you. Whatever you choose, you should present the case to them as clearly and early as possible and maintain strong lines of communication with them throughout the programme itself.

7.     Combating holiday hunger

In the absence of Free School Meals, hunger and food insecurity can become much more of a pressing issue for many families over the summer holidays.

You don’t need the reach of a Marcus Rashford to do something substantive to help. Your summer tuition programme can ensure that children are well-fed, whether through the school catering team, partnering with a local shop or restaurant or providing packed lunches.

8.     Staffing

Recruiting from among your own permanent members of staff can prove tricky during holiday times. Your teachers may well have their own holiday plans drawn up and booked, which may end up being hard to square with the most accessible time period for pupils.

To give yourself as much as flexibility as possible, you might want to consider sourcing staff to run your summer catch up programme from third parties.

Protocol Education will be providing a full suite of vetted educators throughout the summer, from experienced tutors to enrichment leads and mentors. For the freedom to design a holiday NTP programme that will prevent your most at-risk pupils from slipping behind, get in touch with our specialist consultants today.

This Teaching Assistant CV will help you land your next job
23 May 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

This Example Teaching Assistant CV Will Help You Land Your Next Job

Download example teaching assistant CV here​When it comes to job hunting, a great CV is your best friend. With just...

Read More
The Top Traits of an Effective SEN Teacher
16 May 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

The Top Traits of an Effective SEN Teacher

​Effective Special Educational Needs teachers are a special type of person. You will be teaching and supporting some of society’s...

Read More
Microsoft Teams Image (28)
12 May 22, by Scott Owen

Protocol Education's Educator Festival

​Come to our Educator Festival! This term, Protocol Education is holding an Educator Festival, a series of events that will...

Read More
How Teachers Can Manage and Reduce their Workload
10 May 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

How Teachers Can Manage and Reduce their Workload

​As every educator finds out in their own time, teaching can be exhausting. A teacher’s to-do list is rarely complete,...

Read More
I Stock 181086033 Min
04 May 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

What Is the Average Salary For A UK Teacher?

​Are you about to make a whole new move into the world of education? Or perhaps you’re currently working as...

Read More
I Stock 1297509194 Min
25 Apr 22, by Alex Schulte

Adapting Your School’s Catch Up Tuition Programme For The Summer Holidays

​The summer term is upon us, and with it comes the final stage of this academic year’s edition of the...

Read More
I Stock 1007214476 Min
20 Apr 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

4 Behaviour Management Strategies Every Teacher Should Know

​Remember your first day as a teacher. Was it the curriculum material itself that seemed most daunting? Or was it...

Read More
Tutor Working With Middle School Student Picture Id1130407049 (1) Min
19 Apr 22, by Alex Schulte

The NTP’s Funding Model is About to Change: Here’s Why That Matters For Your School

​The Education Secretary has announced a major overhaul of the funding structure for its flagship catch up tuition scheme, the...

Read More
I Stock 679417234 Min
12 Apr 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

How To Gain Experience as a Teaching Assistant

​Do you love spending time helping children succeed? Do you feel an abiding passion for education and learning but don’t...

Read More
Protocol Education Win Investors in People Silver Award for Strong Culture of Professional Support
11 Apr 22, by Alex Schulte

Protocol Education Win Investors in People Silver Award for Strong Culture of Professional Support

​Protocol Education is proud to announce that we have been awarded Investors in People’s Silver ‘We invest in people’ award....

Read More
I Stock 1387531789 (2)
04 Apr 22, by Alex Schulte

Join Us at our Easter Educator Events

Over the Easter holiday, we're running a series of in-person and online events for our educators in our network of...

Read More
Summer wellbeing tips for teachers: 5 ways for healthy and happy holidays
04 Apr 22, by Ruth Bell

Easter Wellbeing Tips for Teachers: 6 Ways for Healthy and Happy Holidays

Just like everyone, teachers need to relax and recuperate. Whether we call it switching off, relaxing or resting, taking time...

Read More
I Stock 1267280072 Min
01 Apr 22, by Alex Schulte

The Big Changes You Need to Know from the DfE's SEND Review Green Paper

This week, the Department for Education released their long-awaited SEND and alternative provision Green Paper. Titled ‘Right support, right place,...

Read More
Inclusive practice in a classroom: a teacher helps a boy with Downs syndrome use a microscope
28 Mar 22, by Alex Schulte

How Supply Teachers Can Use Inclusive Practice to Make Lessons More Accessible

​Today marks the start of World Autism Acceptance Week. Educators and school leaders alike should use the next seven days...

Read More
How to Plan for your First Term as an Early Career Teacher
21 Mar 22, by Alex Schulte

How to Plan for your First Term as an Early Career Teacher

Your ECT induction period is your chance to get to grips with the world of teaching. You have two whole...

Read More