Our Teaching Approach
What makes Westminster Tutors really special is that we remain true to our tutorial college origins, either teaching one-to-one or in very small groups. Our maximum group size is six students, while our average group size is two or three students.
We consider each student’s educational history and future goals when deciding whether he or she is most likely to flourish by being taught in a very small group or one-to-one. This means that each student receives the teaching approach that suits him or her best.
We also offer an exceptional degree of flexibility in what we teach. All GCSE/ IGCSE and A level exam boards are taught and, with the guidance of their tutors, students are able to select the syllabus and units that best match their abilities and interests.
For students joining us midway through a course or for retakes we offer a seamless transition continuing them on the same syllabus, and we never put students studying different exam boards or units in the same group.
As well as working hard within lessons, doing sufficient homework and developing independent study habits are vital to success.
GCSE students have supervised study periods incorporated into their timetable, and if GCSE or A level students need assistance with structuring their workload, subject-specific study periods are included in their timetable. When necessary we also monitor homework diaries to help students get into the habit of regular independent study.
The progress of each of our students is closely monitored. Our Directors of Studies are responsible for tracking the attendance, progress and attainment of all students, and they will highlight any areas for concern both to the Principal and the student’s parents or guardians.
Ongoing assessments are conducted by teachers throughout the term, and mock exams are held at the end of the autumn and spring terms. Parents and guardians receive detailed termly reports for each subject, including attendance statistics, test or mock exam results, and individual targets their child needs to work towards.
Teachers complete their teaching by the end of the spring term so that the summer term can be devoted to sustained exam practice with ongoing feedback. This enables students to measure their own progress and increases confidence in the actual examinations.
In a small college such as ours we are able to maintain very close contact with parents and guardians on a day-to-day basis. They are immediately informed if their child is late or absent for a lesson, and we often work closely with parents to co-ordinate work which needs to be done at home.
Parents and guardians are welcome to request feedback on their child’s progress at any point in the academic year, and they are able to telephone or meet with the Principal whenever they have concerns or would like to discuss their child’s progress.
Our parents are always immensely grateful for the individual care and attention we give to their children, and we in turn find clear, regular communication with parents yields impressive results!
Because of our individual approach to each student’s learning, Westminster Tutors is able to meet a diverse range of special educational needs including dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and social communication disorders such as Asperger’s syndrome.
The small size of the college means that communication between staff is clear and timely so that students receive the personal attention and support that they need throughout the school day. Teaching provision is arranged according to individual need and is either one-to-one or in very small well-matched groups.
Our students with special educational needs range from those of average academic ability who have found it difficult to achieve to the best of their ability in large class settings, to students who are academically gifted but also require teaching approaches adapted to their particular needs.
The Principal acts as the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) and is responsible for organising the educational provision for each student with special educational needs. This involves close liaison with parents, tutors, support staff, educational psychologists and other health professionals. We also work in partnership with an educational psychologist’s practice and we are able to draw on a range of specialist support services if these are required.
The SENCO also liaises with the college Examinations Officer and educational psychologists to ensure that students with special educational needs are granted appropriate exam access arrangements, and in the sixth form students and their parents receive individual guidance on how to access appropriate support so that they are able to make a successful transition to university.
Each student is assigned a Personal Tutor who plays a major role in monitoring academic progress as well as providing encouragement and pastoral support.
The Principal acts as Personal Tutor to all students in their A2 year so that she can provide ongoing support with their university applications and ensure they are meeting their academic targets.
For GCSE and AS level students, Personal Tutors liaise both with the students’ subject tutors and with the Principal. In this way, the Principal oversees each student’s progress and she acts as the main point of contact with parents and guardians.
For younger students, and students who need more help with organisation and planning their workload, Personal Tutors and the College Coordinator play an important role in monitoring homework diaries and supervised study sessions. With this support, our students gradually develop the independent study skills which are vital for success in their A levels and at university.