High standards, high expectations, high aspirations

Vertical tutoring

Pastoral care at Bristol Metropolitan Academy is central to our personalised approach to education. From the first day in school, students become a member of a Learning Family, looked after by a tutor. The tutor supports each student in their Learning Family and will monitor their academic and personal development.

Tutors are supported by a Head of House (HoH), who oversees the progress and care of all students in their zone. Each House has a House Captain and Vice-Captain normally selected from Year 11. There are 5 Houses for our year 7 to Year 11 students, each with their own HoH:


In order to support a personalised approach to education, we use Vertical Tutoring within Houses. Vertical Tutoring is supported by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) as a strategy which has a strong impact on supporting learning and raising achievement.

Vertical Tutoring is a way of organising Learning Family groups so that they include a range of ages, making them more like an actual family. It also creates a strong sense of belonging as students look to older and younger members of their group for support and advice. A tutor keeps the same students in their group from year to year; each September, the Year 11 students are replaced by Year 7s, but the rest will remain the same. Learning Families belong to a House, and the Student Achievement Coordinators lead the pastoral care of these students. In effect, our Academy becomes a smaller group of units, with strong relationships and effective leadership.

Learning Family time takes place directly before morning break from Mondays to Thursdays. Each week there is a planned focus – personal, social, health or economic education; local events or current affairs. On Fridays, students celebrate talents and achievements at Breaktime Live.

A Vertical Tutoring system enables the partnership between school and home to be stronger. The tutor is the first contact point for any concerns students/parents may have. The tutor has the overview of assessments and reports, rewards and sanctions, the daily interactions and progress over time, for all students in their Learning Families.

Some benefits of Vertical Tutoring for our academy:

  • A stronger, more cohesive community- an “extended family”
  • An even friendlier academy where students know students in all year groups
  • An even safer academy where younger students are less likely to feel intimidated by older students
  • Students have more dedicated personal time with their tutor, particularly at ‘key points’; the tutor leads academic tutorials, “checks in” with students and reviews targets and progress regularly.
  • Increased leadership opportunities for older students
  • Improved understanding among students of their own journey through school and its purpose
  • Student to student support in mixed age groups is very powerful, and promotes active citizenship

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