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About Vertical Tutoring


I'm Peter Barnard, former high-school teacher, school principal, author, international consultant trainer, researcher, grower of fruit and veg, and school system developer.


For the past 25 years, I have been lucky enough to work with practitioners from international schools, private schools, and public schools of all kinds. These school leaders have reflected on their management systems and concluded that no matter how hard they work, their same-age or year system fails to respond to the effort put in. All are convinced they can do better and feel that the form of organisation they use acts as an obstruction to individual and organisational learning besides damaging participant wellbeing. They are unsure about what is systemically wrong and how to correct it and want answers.

My role is to help schools a) reflect on how their school operates  (deconstruction); b) show how to change their system's organisation (co-construction) so that it functions for all participant players (staff, students, and parents), and c) to show schools how to increase individual and organisational learning. 

The research is clear. Same-age groups not only promote bullying but are out of synch with social psychology, cognition, and child development. In complex western societies, we are witnessing the collateral damage (separation and limitation) caused by an addiction to the same-age hypothesis.  Schools require ever more add-ons and fixes (pro-social programmes) and are reliant on the single idea that all that matters is the teacher in the classroom rather than a fully integrated staff, student, parent learning and support system .

The central purposes of VT are as follows: 

  • Liberate management

  • Distribute and share leadership

  • Create new information pathways and learning networks (complexify)

  • Build an  empathetic culture of learning

  • Improve learning relationships and wellbeing among staff, students, and parents

  • Enable staff, involve parents, and ensure that all children feel they belong and are supported

  • Change the means of assessment and reporting to improve communication

  • Increase individual and organisational learning.

Links to easy-to-read articles

Why schools unknowingly persist in using the wrong system

One national prescription is not the medicine to cure schools

Vertical Tutoring: at last a panacea?

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