Supporting inclusive teaching and learning through personal tutoring leadership

Paliokosta, Panagiota

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Impact Summary

In the context of my role as the Personal Tutor Scheme (PTS) Lead for the Joint Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education (HSCE) (Kingston and St George's) since September 2019, I shifted the focus of the PTS scheme, by explicitly reinforcing aspects of the institutions’ Access and Participation Plan (APP) to staff and co-developing ways to implement on teaching and learning via personal tutoring. This works in a complementary way to the activity of my SIG on Inclusion and Social Justice. Having led aspects of the 2019 REC application, I have used relevant action planning points to promote awareness and reflection amongst staff at HSCE and interlink activity and initiatives operating across the university. The monthly themed Personal Tutoring Forums I offer featured in the Personalised Learning aspect of the TEF Task and Finish group narrative: ‘they are offered by Paty Paliokosta to support staff on inclusive approaches to personal tutoring. Inclusion auditing of the role, reasonable adjustments, diverse learning styles, supporting students with inclusive practice placements (relevant AdvanceHE Connect Network under development), resilience and mental health are some of the themes covered. Tailored work with particular staff teams is also taking place in order to address particular schools’ needs and enhance dynamic personal tutoring practices.’

Key Achievements

  1. Prioritisation of social justice issues in teaching and learning through my PTS monthly forums for personal tutoring both at Kingston and St George’s sites, attended by personal tutors and school leads.
  2. Development and sustaining of a PTS Canvas CPD resource that constituted good practice across the university.
  3. Improving targeted communication and sharing information with staff on a regular basis, by establishing PTS newsletters with relevant bitesize information.
  4. Co-production of a fit-for-purpose PTS scheme via contribution to the PTS Task and Finish group and the development of a collective narrative with recommendations submitted to the Education Committee (May 2020), ongoing consultation with staff (summer con
  5. Raising visibility for the service for staff and students and connecting it with other university groups and students’ services (Kingston Hub, Employability team).
  6. Creating opportunities for cross-fertilisation – HSCE practice transferred across, example of inclusive practice placements connected with employability community of practice, an Erasmus+ application on inclusive remote learning and the development of an
  7. Outward looking activity through participation in Advance HE EDI conference on inclusive practice placements (moved to March 2021, due to the pandemic).

Key Aims

Since the last RAF (2012) the PTS was adopted across all KU faculties and embedded according to local practice. A Personal Tutor Handbook was developed to support the implementation of the scheme and uploaded onto Wordpress. Acknowledging the diversity of the PTS interpretation across departments and staff (Stuart, Willocks and Browning, 2019) and the lack of staff training (McIntosh and Gray, 2017), my aim through the role of PTSL since 2019 has been: • To influence and support colleagues at the joint faculty to approach personal tutoring as an enabling framework, not following a deficit approach; • To develop the capacity of staff for the role of personal tutoring via CPD events around diversity, taken from different angles of the teaching and learning experience. Lack of training for the role of personal tutor has been identified, as well as the fact that staff learn through experience in the context of PT (Race, 2010) • To identify areas of good practice and share across and beyond the faculty. • To develop a faculty tailored Canvas module that would address the needs of colleagues and facilitate access of information and the development of a hub.


This is an ongoing endeavour connected with my philosophical affiliation to: • Paulo Freire’s (1993) pedagogy of the oppressed and the transformative potential of education • Eraut’s (2004) approaches to professional identities. By reporting to the Faculty Education Committee and KU’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, I link the focus of the PTS with the university’s targets for access, participation, and employability, while addressing aspects of practice that can affect the students’ awarding gap. Through my CPD pack, I create the space to discuss diversity themes in teaching and learning in a non-threatening, developmental way, drawing on existing expertise and expanding staff’s collective repertoire around Social Justice in HE and beyond. Through my participation in KU’s PTS Tasks and Finish group and PTS Advisory group, I have supported cross-fertilisation of knowledge and practice across faculties. Based on multi-disciplinary activity at the faculty (Paliokosta, Valentine, Stanley and Inch) on inclusive practice placements in FHSCE, I have offered insights on employability to the department of Learning and Teaching Enhancement Centre (LTEC) and the newly formed Employability Community of Practice. I have run staff consultations and I am currently leading a KU SADRAS project with the aim to improve students’ belonging through personal tutoring in an online era. Findings will inform further development work with LTEC and the Student Achievement Directorate.

Key Outcomes

In my leadership of PTS in HSCE I have been creating ongoing impact on several aspects of the student experience, supporting knowledge transfer across faculty, institutionally and beyond. The CPD pack I have created that includes a series of themed fora, a canvas module and monthly newsletters (all found in key outputs below) has increased the accessibility of PTS material and have informed KU’s Staff Academic Support (SAS) endeavours by LTEC and the Academic Support centre at SGUL. My CPD offer on flipped tutoring (Steele, 2016), reasonable adjustments and well-being has informed the Faculty Education Plan. I regularly contribute to the Faculty Online Teaching and Learning Forum, share good practice and model strategies to support students from diverse backgrounds with feedback in an interactive way, for example through the use of padlet or e-portfolios, leading to follow-ups with T&L school directors. I have been recycling good practice produced by one school (e.g. school of nursing) fostering communication with other departments and schools. A clear connection between PTS and PDPs has been drawn due to my activity. I was invited by the Associate Dean for external engagement at the faculty practice education group to present the notion of an enhanced role of personal tutor as a conduit between the student, the institution and aspects of professional practice; this led to relevant action points for all schools in the faculty. The progress of this activity has been put on hold by the pandemic, but there were indeed examples of immediate follow-ups, i.e. Paramedic Science and relevant mapping of outcomes in a new programme validation. This approach is shared at Advance HE EDI conference. I also attend departmental meetings across faculty, to embed PTS within day-to-day practice. My reflective approach keeps being enhanced by staff and student consultation to further enhance the PTS offer in my faculty and beyond.

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