Tutoring in Schools



For too long now the teaching and tutoring sector have been two distinct, separate industries, which have attracted friction between one another. The National Tutoring Programme offers the opportunity to redefine tutoring standards and refocus on communication working with schools, not against them.

The NTP Tuition Partners pillar calls for tutors to support and participate with a large numbers of schools. For this to be an effective and smooth partnership, communication with school colleagues is going be vital. "School liaison will be a critical part of any tutoring model" - NTP

This blog covers: 

  • Teaching vs Tutoring: What are the differences?
  • Differentiation techniques: Methods of achieving differentiation in your lessons 
  • The importance of colleagues: A Who's Who? of important school personnel, including school policy and procedure that will impact your planning and teaching



How does tuition differ to teaching in a school?

  • Teachers are responsible for whole classes, as a tutor the likelihood is you'll be working with much smaller cohorts or individuals. For a comparison of pros and cons of 121 tuition vs small groups, see blog 'Adapting to tutoring in a post COVID world'
  • Typically, as a tutor you don't teach the entire curriculum, you support individuals with aspects of it
  • You're no longer a lone ranger, you'll be part of a team in the school
  • School life requires strict adherence to school-wide policies & procedures
  • Working with more than one individuals requires much greater differentiation in order to meet all learner needs



The school you're placed into will keep a detailed record of the learning needs for each student. This information should be made available for you to access either via your register system (eg. 'Sims'), the SENCo, or Departmental Head. If for some reason it's not, be sure to enquire about it.

You should be able to see their past academic performance, their current working grades and expected grade predictions; all of which will influence your planning and the pitch of your lesson. 

As you are likely to be working with small groups, your lesson resources and activities will need to be differentiated around the individual learners needs. 

This means teaching the same content using a variety of instructional and scaffolding techniques based on the ability of each individual student in your class. This applies to all students regardless if they have any additional SEND requirements.

Alongside Bloom's Taxonomy as a tool for this, teachers can differentiate their instruction in accordance to meet the needs of their learners.

Match questioning and learning objectives to appropriate tiers of Bloom's Taxonomy for a student's ability. For example lower ability students might be required to 'identify' and 'describe', where as higher ability might be challenged to 'compare' and 'discuss'. Lower level might need this modelled or help from a pro-forma template, where as higher ability students might only need some specific or general interventions. Review their individualised educational programme if they have one.

  • Consult our PRESET Unit 1 PRESET Tutor Training: Educational Techniques for Blooms & Scaffolding interventions
  • Followed by Unit 3 PRESET Tutor Training: Executive Skills Intervention Methods Toolkit for a full and comprehensive breakdown of these adaptions.

Adapt teaching to fit the students learning style including Visual (imagery, graphics, video); Auditory (oral, listening speaking, mnemonic strategies); Kinaesthetic (modelling, practical work, tactile representation); Read & Write (note taking, reading, writing, essays)

  • Consult Unit 2 PRESET Tutor Training: Psychological Research

Allow students to demonstrate their mastery using activities that favours their learning style. For example, visual learners can summarise key points in labelled diagram. Kinaesthetic leaners can construct a model that illustrates the key concept. Auditory learners can provide an oral report on the topic, whilst read and write learns could produce a report.

Facilitate environments where students work most effectively, optimising the physical and psychological elements of learning. For example, create a calm distraction-free environment for students to work solo if they prefer, allow others to participate in pairs or read in a group to discuss the assignments. Consider assigning student who work well together.

  • Consult Unit 3 PRESET Tutor Training: Executive Skills Intervention Methods Toolkit for a full and comprehensive breakdown of these adaptions.

To learn more about differentiation gain access to the units in PRESET Tutor Training create a training account now



Is your student ready to receive instruction and learn new material, are they receptive to learning? Identify the benchmark of their current knowledge and aim to pick up from here. Factors that influence this can be external / internal, physical / psychological. A good task will stretch a student from what they already know out of their comfort zone past what they can do independently. Consider varying instruction, altering the task difficulty to match learner readiness, adjust scaffolding, provide tiered / levelled assignments as well as creating a positive & safe space for learning.

  • Consult Course Introduction PRESET Tutor Training: Making an Initial Assessment for guidance on how to establish a baseline and interpret this assessment
  • Consult Unit 1 PRESET Tutor Training: Educational Techniques for Scaffolding Interventions & Zone of Proximal Development
  • Consult Unit 3 PRESET Tutor Training: Executive Skills Intervention Methods Toolkit for how to modify internal and external distractions to prepare students for learning
  • Consult Unit 4 PRESET Tutor Training: Good Practice for creating a positive approach to learning

Adapt teaching to resonate with interests of your students and use this 'hook' or metaphors to build upon the existing framework of knowledge they have so the student can draw conclusions between previously learnt information and similar concepts. Consider grouping students based on shared interests or ability. Consider methods of making the material relevant to your audience.

  • Consult Unit 2 PRESET Tutor Training: Psychological Research for methods to achieve deep processing.

Learners vary in how they prefer to process content that best suits their needs. Most people prefer a combination of methods, and there are many factors that can impact and individuals learning including environment, cultural influences, visual, auditory, kinaesthetic.

To access to the units in PRESET Tutor Training create your account now



As you're now part of a team, colleagues are your team mates. They an important source of support, expertise and experience, so take the time to know them and how to work alongside them. Make sure you know the Who's Who? of key staff members.

  • Faculty Line Managers: Faculty mangers oversees a collection of subjects (eg. Sciences / Humanities) and ensure continuity of school policy and good practice within the faculty. They have close relations with the school Heads and represent a unified voice from their faculty. 
  • Head of Departments (HOD): In contrast, HODs are typically are in charge of one subject within the faculty (eg. Chemistry / History) and are subject specialists. They will likely manage a small team of other subject staff and are responsible for overseeing everything that is specific to that subject. 
  • Other relevant departmental staff, eg. Science Technicians: They work inside a faculty often helping to prepare practical work. 
  • Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL): This is the individual you report any safeguarding concerns with and is responsible for overseeing child protection issues in school. This is a very important person to know, they are your go to for any concerns regarding and welfare of your students and all safeguarding issues. 
  • Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo): The school SENCo coordinates the provision for children with special educational needs or disabilities. They work alongside the Local Authority to develop Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). A SENCo will develop interventions to provide support in order to meet a child’s needs and work with teaching assistants to make sure these are implemented. Be sure to check each of your student's profiles so you can plan to accommodate these requirements into your lessons. 
  • First Aiders: They are often regular teaching staff but are appointed and trained to provide immediate assistance in the event of mild injury.



Ask faculty leaders for a copy of school and departmental policies. These will be school-wide policies that you will need to teach in accordance with. Especially relevant ones will include the schemes of work, behavioural policy, marking & feedback policies, teaching & learning formats.

  • Schemes of Work (SOW's): These documents are created for every subject and provide a detailed plan of teaching for the year ahead. They vary greatly in their depth and quality. However, as a rule of thumb, they break down the curriculum into weekly and often lesson targets by unit and topic, with suggested teaching activities and resources for each of these. They should include methods of implementing the school wide vision such as teaching ethos. They are the blueprints to all lessons. Seek them out!
  • Marking & Feedback policy: Is there a colour grading system? Do they allow use of use red pens, or preference for green ink for formative feedback. Some schools encourage you to write a question as part of the student feedback. Do they use stamps, stars, stickers? What is the frequency these should be given or awarded?
  • Teaching & learning formats: Do they teach certain topics using a pro-forma of templates like ‘PEE’ (Point, Explain Elaborate)? Is there a homework policy? Do they adhere to certain rules for classwork?
  • Tracking progress: How do they monitor and log student progress? Do they use Google Classroom, is it on a shared excel doc on the staff intranet, for example?
  • Behaviour policy: This will detail how to sanction and award praise; how to issue behavioural warnings, report lateness and log detentions etc. What is their internal commendations / point system the school employs? Do they work to a 3:1 ratio of praise to sanctions?

For any concerns regarding your school placements always get in touch with your departmental head, as well as your tuition agency. 


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