Making the Most of 1-2-1 Tuition


What the resource is:
This video is part of a Teachers TV series on 1-2-1 tuition which considers possible ways of implementing this scheme in primary and secondary schools. 








The aims of the resource:
According to the synopsis provided with this video, the main aim of this short film is for teachers, support staff and management at this school to share their ‘top tips' for success in 1-2-1 tutoring, based upon their experiences in running the scheme successfully in this secondary school for the past three years.


Key findings or focus:
Pupils who have taken part in the 1-2-1 scheme report that their self esteem is raised through participation in the tutoring. They explain that the individual tutoring better suits their needs and that they are more confident to work and contribute in class as a result of their individual tutoring.


The following advice is offered by the staff:


  • Excellent communication between the tutor, head of department and class teacher is key to success.
  • A quiet space is required for this work to take place.
  • Effective selection of pupils to participate in the 1-2-1 tutoring is achieved through consultation with class teachers and department heads in Maths and English and also through regular monitoring of APP data to identify pupils who are not making expected progress over time or are behind their expected stage of learning.
  • The learning programme needs to be personalised for each individual pupil. Very specific targets are set by the teacher and agreed with the tutor using APP assessment materials in order to assist pupils in moving up a level or sub-level over the period of time.
  • Carefully considered and bespoke target setting needs to be set and reviewed regularly between the teacher and the tutor. These need to be reviewed at the end of the 10-week block and further recommendations made based on the terminal report written.
  • Learning should start from where the pupil is and proceed at an appropriate pace in small, manageable and pre-planned steps, with regular opportunities for praise and recognition of achievement.
  • A wide variety of approaches to learning are required; these may include drama, kinaesthetic approaches, playing games, using ICT to support learning. The tutor chooses the strategies that they deem most suitable in order to explain something in an engaging way that a particular pupil can understand.
  • For learning to take place, it is fundamental that the tutor has a strong and trusting relationship with the pupil. Pupils work better when they are at ease and relaxed. When pupils are at ease, the learning becomes a by-product of the sessions.
  • It is important for pupils to enjoy themselves. This leads to pupils feeling that they are making progress and achieving. 
  • Pupil success arising from the tutoring needs to be shared and celebrated with the class teacher and within the school.


Although not specifically discussed, the video shows careful use of questioning and probing, use of facial expressions and a variety of other approaches to scaffold pupils learning in order to engage them in the learning process. The staff interviewed in the video state that this scheme has allowed some pupils to become more independent and confident when working back in a whole-class situation. They are often happier to contribute to discussions, tackle situations, ask questions and feel better about their learning, making them more inclined to engage with school.


The quality, authority and credibility of the resource in relation to ITE:
Surprisingly, there is no mention of self-esteem and confidence developed through the Maths and English tutoring helping pupils in other subjects. The video is rather repetitive at times and seems to give the same message in many ways. As with any such programme, a positive light is shone upon the tutoring without discussion of some of the things which have been tried and perhaps should be avoided. It  would be useful to hear 'what doesn't work'; however, the tips provided are useful although lacking in videoed examples of work in progress.


The implications for ITE tutors/mentors - when and how it could have best impact:
ITE tutors and mentors should already have an awareness of 1-2-1 tutoring since it is a national initiative. There is currently limited evidence about the overall success of this scheme, although there is some evidence (e.g. Smyth, 2008) that individual tutoring in some other settings can have a positive effect of attainment in Maths and English. 

The programme is a good starting point for discussing many aspects of learning - for example, the legitimacy of selecting particular pupils over others for tutoring, the benefits and pitfalls of removing pupils from class to learn on their own, personalising learning experiences for all pupils, the use of APP data for tracking pupil progress and the extent to which this form of assessment 'drives' the learning process, and the appropriateness of this over other methods of promoting meaningful and personalised learning. Additionally, the place of assessment of learning and assessment for learning and the relationship between the two could be considered.


The relevance to ITE students - how and why it has importance:
In addition to the discussions above, it is important for ITE students to consider and understand the many reasons which may affect pupils' development and their role in helping to promote pupil learning and wellbeing. There may also be opportunities for ITE students to get involved in 1-2-1 tutoring.


Reviewed by:

Dr Alison Daubney



Related Resources

The following might be useful to read in conjunction with this resource:

Assessment for Learning - One to One Tuition Teachers TV programme

Primary Assessment for Learning - A Whole School Approach Teachers TV programme

One-to-One Tuition: A guide for School Improvement Partners Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009)

One-to-one tuition toolkit Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009)

One-to-one tuition Teachernet


Smyth, E. (2008) The more, the better? Intensity of involvement in private tuition and examination performance. Education Research and Evaluation, 14 (5), 465-476