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The Values and Principles of Vertical Tutoring

In September 2015 the staff and pupils of Bishop Gore School embarked on a cultural transformation from the traditional year group settings to Vertical Tutoring.

Vertical Tutoring is designed to ensure that both the academic and pastoral needs of our pupils are met in a very holistic way. It enhances our parent partnerships and ensures all pupils are supported, mentored and given the opportunities to become responsible and active role models.

How does it work?

The pupils and staff are divided into 5 ‘houses’, with 12 tutor groups within each house.

Within each tutor group there are approximately 20-22 pupils with 2,3 or 4 pupils from each year group, a tutor and a co-tutor.

The tutor and co-tutor take an avid interest and responsibility for supporting their 20-22 pupils within their tutor group.

Parents, carers and families have a regular point of contact in the tutor, who meets with their child on a daily basis and is kept up-to-date with their child’s progress, curriculum and extra-curricula information.

Siblings will be in the same house, but in a different tutor group.

Parents/carers and staff communicate via email, telephone and with regular academic tutorial sessions.

The daily tutor period allows daily contact and guidance, as well as the opportunity to promote peer support, inter-house competitions and to have fun.

Each house is led by a ‘Head of House’ and is supported by their ‘Deputy Head of House’.


Benefits of Vertical Tutoring

  • Tutor/Support Mentoring – as there are reduced numbers of pupils in each tutor group, there is a greater ration of adult support, as well as the peer support available from older pupils.
  • Improved Communication – pupils and their families have the opportunity to develop improved relationships with the tutor through more regular contact. Parents/carers know who to contact and feel happy to do so on a regular basis.
  • Reduces Bullying - Schools that have adopted the vertical tutoring system report drastically reduced incidents of peer disputes and bullying. Pupils feel relaxed in the company of older pupils and older pupils ‘look out’ for their younger tutor group members.
  • Raising Aspirations - Pupils have meaningful conversations about learning and look at each other’s work. The older pupils meet their responsibilities and become effective role models for the younger pupils.

Other benefits include:

  • A greater sense of identity and belonging is created within the tutor group, and also within the ‘house’.
  • Mixed age tutor groups allow personalised attention for the pupils at critical times during the academic calendar. Different ages have different critical times, the fact that there is no more than 4 pupils from each year group allows the tutor and co-tutor the time needed to support and guide the pupils.
  • Academic tutorials put the tutor in a unique position to monitor the academic progress and initiate interventions, in discussions with the pupils and family member - which results in genuine partnership working!!
  • As well as house assemblies, year group assemblies and meetings are held at regular intervals.
  • Pupils have the opportunities to meet and socialise with pupils outside their ‘normal’ peer group.


Tutor Groups

Staff have worked hard to ensure the form groups consist of a balance of age groups, gender and abilities. There are approximately 22 pupils within each tutor group, with no more than 4 pupils from each year group.

House Names

Following lots of suggestions from pupils, staff and parents, a short list was drawn up. All pupils and staff were given the opportunity to vote for their favourite.

The winning theme for the house names was local beaches:






The next steps………

Over the next term new pupils will be informed of their house and tutor group and each pupil will be given the opportunity to meet with their Head of House, Deputy Head of House, Tutor and Co-Tutor.

Parents’ and carers’ guide to secondary school for children aged 11 to 14

Bishop Gore School.

Del-la-Beche Road / Sketty / Swansea / SA2 9AP 01792