We’re two weeks in to the new term and the decision to operate a 3 tower rotation to ease the strain on helper numbers is proving to be a good one. We have the resources to work at full capacity throughout September.
So how does it work? The flagship tower, Tower A (St Paul’s), continues to operate every week, with a combined L1 bell handling and L2 foundation skills session, making good use of the dumb bells for the bell handling. The other 3 towers, B (Handsworth), C (Harborne) and D (Edgbaston) operate a rotation system, where two out of the three towers run each week. The students from the tower not running are then invited and encouraged to be the “helpers” at St Paul’s for that week.
Are there net gains or net losses? Overwhelmingly there are net gains to this system:
- a fairer rotation system means that students at L3 and above get an equal number of sessions per term.
- for the students helping at St Paul’s they get a session where they can revisit and consolidate the foundation skills, whilst getting the satisfaction that they are already sending the elevator back down to students on the ground floor.
- the tutors at St Paul’s get to see the progress made by the students they were teaching, who have since moved on.
- the students at St Paul’s get to meet and interact with other students further up the scheme, which will allow for greater peer support.
- with the students filling the spaces as helpers at St Paul’s, there is less strain on resources as fewer helpers are needed overall.
And the net losses?
- the students at Towers B, C and D get dedicated sessions two weeks out of three, instead of every week resources permitting.
The implications for the future look bright with this system. It has always been the plan that once students graduate from the School they will be encouraged to continue coming as helpers to boost the numbers of helpers. We are just getting them to do this a bit sooner. A long way in the future, the majority of the helpers and many of the tutors may well be graduates of the School. That’s the plan anyway.