We’ve increased the number of Houses we have to 5 and this has meant we now have 30 vertical tutor groups. This has involved finding three new Heads of House (because one of the four who were in post has moved sideways and the other was promoted to Assistant Headteacher after I was made Deputy). We therefore have many non-teaching staff acting as tutors, so it’s interesting to note Margaret’s comments on my post last year about school management structures.

I’m not sure we have fully covered all the bases on this one. Although we did have an extended INSET session at the start of the year looking at the role of the tutor and establishing sound routines, we seem to be relying way too much on the ethos from experienced tutors and Heads of House to lead the way.

Non-teaching professionals

We’ve also run into some, as yet unresolved, issues about pay scales. Up until this year anybody working as tutor was classroom based and used to working with pupils in this way. We’d had mostly teachers, as you’d expect, some teaching assistants and one cover supervisor. We now have one tutor group which for one day a week is tutored by the ICT technician. He’s very keen, a former pupil and seems to be doing a good job BUT he wasn’t employed to work with the pupils in this way and our Bursar has raised an eyebrow (and some serious questions) over whether this practice can continue. The fact of the matter is that as we’re a small school with over our fair share of part-time staff, we’ve run out of options.

To cap it all, one of the new Heads of House is off with an Achilles’ injury. …. that’s an incredibly long story that starts with a fated game of tug of war at the end of the summer term and winds its way through crutches, another fall, the Bursar putting her foot down (AGAIN), somebody taking over the House only to have to go abroad for a family funeral and my pastoral deputy colleague having to step in.

I’ve a feeling that as the year unfolds, inexperienced tutors led by equally inexperienced Heads of House may lead to a drop in standards and we’re going to have to keep the training program going.

I don’t know that it would make any difference if we have ‘normal’ tutor groups except that you could put less experienced colleagues with a particular year group instead of the situation we find ourselves in where the small groups of Year 11 in each group are being led through their final year of school by inexperienced, non-teaching staff.