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Resources for personal tutors

Further training, resources, and guidance for personal tutors from UCL to external providers. 

Along with the workshops and online course offered by the UCL Arena Centre, there are a range of additional resources for new and experienced staff working in personal tutoring roles – including summaries of support provisions, toolkits, case studies, and offerings from external organisations (e.g., UKAT, MHFA England, Charlie Waller Memorial Trust).  

Click on an option below to learn more. 

Guidance for remote personal tutoring

This set of recommendations was provided to support both individual personal tutors and department / programme teams to provide a consistent approach to personal tutoring during Connected Learning and the pandemic. It may continue to be relevant as we transition into the Blended by Design context and return to campus – particularly (2) the role of personal tutoring support within the wider student support framework. 

It is not intended to replace local practice where this is effective, but it does provide clear steps that can help manage student and staff expectations. 

This guidance is made up of three elements: 

  1. Best practice recommendations for tutoring in a remote learning context. Some departments will have their own particular models of tutoring. In current circumstances, these should continue if they are effective for their learners, taking account of the guidance below and adapting as necessary and appropriate.
  2. A summary of ‘Things to Talk About’ to facilitate and enhance student-tutor interactions. 
  3. The role of personal tutoring support within the wider student support framework.  A matrix mapping to which Departments and Programmes are encouraged to add their own local arrangements and share it with their staff and students. 
Student resources for personal tutoring

Student facing summary of personal tutoring at UCL. Summarises the role and use of a personal tutor with two useful documents. 

  • What you need to succeed’ – personal tutoring student guide. 
  • Things to talk about…’ – guide to conversations with your tutor (suggested topics/questions for tutors and tutees at different times in their academic journey at UCL).  

Student support and wellbeing webpages for students – signposts the UCL team of expert wellbeing, disability and mental health staff who provide a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space in which students can discuss any issues that may be affecting their ability to study. All support services are free of charge and open to all UCL students of all levels. 

United Kingdom Advising and Tutoring (UKAT) association events and resources 

The United Kingdom Advising and Tutoring association (UKAT) is a body of professional practitioners and researchers interested in all aspects of student advising and personal tutoring in Higher Education in the UK. 

UKAT offers a range of eventsresources, and Special Interest Groups to support staff in their tutoring and advising roles. Many can be accessed for free. Individuals can join UKAT and gain access to additional resources. UCL is currently exploring the option to join UKAT as an Institutional Member, one of the benefits will be giving all UCL staff the ability to join UKAT for free as Affiliate Members (information will be shared with colleagues in due course). 

UKAT offers professional recognition for personal tutors, academic advisors and other staff involved in personal tutoring in Higher Education. The UKAT Professional Recognition Scheme is referenced against the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring. It provides independent recognition of effective practice and a measurable way to evidence the valuable work of tutors and advisors’ in supporting student success and makes them feel valued and recognised for performing this role effectively. 

Mental Health training and staff wellbeing support

Looking after your own mental health and wellbeing 

The personal tutoring role can, on occasion, feel hard to manage. This can depend as much on you as your students: how easy or hard you find it to remain detached from your tutees' challenges, and whether you might be more prone to sharing your tutees' feelings of distress or frustration. 

In either case, you should try to be mindful of the effects of your work on your health, and of your health on your work: sometimes, aspects of your job can have a negative effect on your health and wellbeing, and poor health can diminish the quality of your work and the pleasure you take in it. 

Wellbeing support options for UCL staff

Mental Health First Aid training

If you would like to increase your mental health awareness or to enhance your skills in supporting others with their mental health you might find UCL Human Resources’ Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training options of interest. MHFA England offer three courses they can deliver to departments:  

  • Adult Mental Health First Aid – two-day course to qualify as a mental health first aider.  
  • Mental Health First Aid for Higher Education – intensive one day course to qualify as a Higher Education MHFA champion.  
  • Mental Health Aware – four-hour session raising awareness of mental health. 

Mental Health First Aid is an online version of the MHFA England course, endorsed by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Royal Society of Public Health. This course is designed to develop mental health awareness and improve knowledge of common mental health conditions so that we can provide the best support to our students. 

Charlie Waller Memorial Trust resources 

The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust was created in 1997 in response to the loss of son and brother Charlie to suicide after suffering from depression. They are now one of the UK’s most respected mental health charities, which has offered high-quality, evidence-based mental health training and advice for colleges and universities for many years.  

Their resoures include: 

Teaching Toolkits

UCL Teaching Toolkits that might be of interest to staff in personal tutoring roles include: 

Personal tutoring case studies

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Student Triage and Referral Tool (STaRT)

Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) have developed a digital tool, the Student Triage and Referral Tool (STaRT) [UCL sign-in required], to help UCL staff members worried about the wellbeing of a current UCL student.  

Students come to us with a range of difficulties or personal problems and it's not always clear what the best way to support them is. SSW have developed STaRT as a guidance tool designed to help you if you're worried about the wellbeing of your students, to help them address these challenging situations. 

STaRT provides tailored guidance and signposting, allowing staff to direct students to the most appropriate information and services depending on their individual situation.