Case Study: How to Work with Others in a Specific Context to Support Learners

Last Updated on 19/06/2022 by James Barron


Shirley wants to do a Health and Social course. She is from Brazil and is aged 30. She wants financial support with the fees. She would like to know if the teaching establishment can pay for her to study an ESOL course in order for her to be able to study here.

While Shirley is not a typical student applying for a course, she does represent some of the more complex financial queries that are beyond the scope of what a tutor is expected to know.  In this instant it is best to refer the student to Student Advice. As Shirley is over 19, she may be entitled to a 19+ bursary if she has lived in the EU for more than 3 years. While she says she is from Brazil, she doesn’t mention when she arrived in the UK/EU. Non-EU international students will be offered a foundation year to assist with academic issues, nothing will be provided to assist financially unless they are entitled to funding within a specific scheme, such as a funding for refugees.


Polly needs a special support chair to help her spine when she is in class. She comes from a low-income household. Who will pay for it?

In this example it would be extremely unprofessional for a tutor to offer specific advice to a student relating to the financial arrangements regarding a support chair. It is highly likely that this would be considered a reasonable adjustment and I have taught students in the past that have received specialist seating arrangements. This student needs to be referred to the Student Advice team who will be able to offer specific advice. A second referral to the inclusion team would be beneficial as there may be a requirement within the EHCP, greatly enhancing the likelihood of a chair being purchased.

A specific example I have been involved with in the past was when teaching a level 2 group and found a student was unable to concentrate within classes for even short periods of time. After speaking with the student, it was clear he was extremely exasperated by his poor written English ability and his inability to remain seated, he described it as “can’t sit still”. I spoke to a colleague who also taught the student and was experiencing the same thing in her lessons. As his tutor I spoke to another colleague, who has become my “go to person” as he is the Learning Skills Specialist Tutor in the Inclusion Department. He arranged for feedback from his previous school which highlighted very poor Maths and English and suspected ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The Learning Skills Specialist Tutor advised the Level 2 course was too strenuous for him, causing his ADHD symptoms to worsen, my colleague advised changing from the Level 2 over to a Level 1 and this was arranged quickly, meaning the student could continue studying at a more suitable level.

Author Profile

James Barron
My first experience of teaching was in 2016, when I was asked to
deliver a talk to a group of 16-year-olds on what it was like to start
your own business. I immediately knew I wanted to become more
involved in teaching but I didn’t know where to start as I had not
previously considered a career in education. A few weeks later I
agreed to teach a class of Chinese students from the Shanghai
Technical Institute of Electronics and Information, who had travelled
to the UK to learn English and Software Engineering, after that I was
hooked. Within the next few years, I taught hundreds of students of
many different nationalities, aged from 16 to 60, and from
levels 2 to 6. I focused my time teaching with Bath University and
Bath College for several more years until I felt a change was in order.
For the last few years, I have taught remotely with several private
training organisations, provided dedicated one to one coaching
sessions, provided consultancy on teaching and assessment practices
and written about my experiences as a teacher. I plan to continue
with my current activities for the foreseeable future but I’m always
open to new teaching experiences.

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