Bright Heart shines at national tutoring awards

Team Bright Heart


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We were proud to once again be acknowledged in the National Tutoring Awards. Congratulations to all nominees and winners!

Bright Heart shines at the National Tutoring Awards

The National Tutoring Awards were held at a gala dinner in London on 30th June, for the second year running. The Tutors’ Association (TTA) organised and hosted the awards. The TTA is the regulatory body for professional tutors and the supplementary education sector in the UK. It has more than 450 corporate and around 50,000 individual members. The event was held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City on Friday 30th June. We wish all participants and winners congratulations from this evening – it is a positive testament of the tutoring profession.

Bright Heart again showed a strong presence in the nominations and results of these awards

Runners up - Tuition Business of the Year 2023

Judges shortlisted Bright Heart with six other UK tutoring businesses for the headline award. Judges considered various factors to evaluate excellence within the sector and determine the winner. 

After winning this prestigious award in 2022, Bright Heart was proud to be runners up this year. 

Runners up - Tuition Business of the Year

Runners up - Best Tuition Delivery to Private Clients 2023

In this category, tuition companies had to show evidence of outstanding customer service when dealing with parents or other relatives/guardians purchasing tuition for a child. This included the ability to be responsive and flexible to consumer clients, ensuring that their needs are met and, where possible, exceeded.

Factors to be considered were:

Bright Heart was proud to be runners up in this award, indicating our commitment to client service.

Team Bright Heart

Shortlisted - Best Tuition Delivery to Schools

In this category, tuition companies had to demonstrate at least one school / tuition business collaboration that has created a real impact on students (especially disadvantaged students).

Some factors to be considered were:

Bright Heart was proud to be shortlisted in this category in a group of 7 nominees from around the country.

Winner: Best Special Needs Tutor

In this category, the professional tutor had to demonstrate an outstanding impact on at least one student with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) in the last year. They also needed to show how appropriate resources, tools, techniques or strategies have been used to directly address the specific requirements of a student with special educational needs or disabilities. This included consistently high standards of professionalism (e.g. in their relations with tuition companies or clients).

Other factors to be considered were:

Best special needs tutor

After one of our tutors winning this award last year (2022), we were very proud for our very own, Harris, winning it this year!

Get in touch

If you are seeking some award-winning tuition, please feel free to get in touch with us should you have any questions about support for your child. We enjoy talking with parents and helping our students by tailoring learning to their individual needs.

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Tutoring Case Studies – Schools

NTP tutoring - Bright Heart Education - literacy

Bright Heart Education’s tuition offering has been featured in the Jan / Feb 2019 edition of the SEN Magazine. 

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    Bright Heart Education

Having won the prestigious Tuition Business of the Year award (2022), we review some of our recent tutoring success stories – Part 1 of this case study series focuses on school tutoring (we are NTP accredited).

Case studies series - Part 1: Schools

This is the first of our series of case studies blogs. We highlight some of the incredible work our tutors do with students. Bright Heart considers academic and SEMH targets when delivering tuition and evaluating results. SEMH (social, emotional and mental health) targets include engagement, self-esteem and communication. Student achievement was a key factor considered by the judges in awarding Bright Heart the prestigious Tuition Business of the Year award. You can read more about the 2022 National Tutoring Awards here

This first blog focuses on schools. Later case studies will focus on our work with local authorities and private families. As an accredited national tutoring programme (NTP) tuition partner, we ran many successful programmes at schools last academic year. These included:

NTP tutoring - Bright Heart Education
Bright Heart delivers tailored tutoring to schools to help pupils catch up.

Free catch-up tutoring after lockdown

Bright Heart works with students with many different needs. Many of these children, unfortunately, struggle with formal education. We realise that those who struggle the most are often disadvantaged. This includes those with an identified special educational need (SEN), and those with backgrounds less conducive to learning. For example, where the family can offer limited support with formal education.

To help disadvantaged students after COVID-19 learning delays, we offered pro bono catch-up tutoring to a selection of London schools.

Ark Byron case studies: Pro Bono and School-led Tutoring

One school to take up Bright Heart’s free tutoring offer was Ark Byron Primary School. Bright Heart Director and Senior Education Specialist John Salmon visited the school. John is a former head teacher. He, therefore, understands the importance of taking the time to understand a school’s culture and identity. John met with Alison Berry, the SENCo. They discussed Ark’s teaching and learning and the different areas of improvement for pupils. Bright Heart offered support in key areas needing improvement for some of the school’s most disadvantaged pupils. By reviewing baseline assessments, the school determined that the most pressing area of need was literacy, specifically writing. This was because many pupils were performing well below their age level. Thus, the school carefully selected small groups of children with the most significant learning delays in Years 1, 3 and 5. 

-> Writing intervention programme

Bright Heart selected Andy, a highly experienced, qualified primary teacher, to run the writing programme. Andy was selected based on his qualifications and experience. He had previously worked as a youth leader, a lead learning mentor and a primary school teacher. Andy and John worked together to create a targeted and personalised writing programme.

writing intervention for NTP tutoring
A targeted and personalised writing programme was delivered to Ark Byron Primary School.

Careful planning

As a first step, we conducted our own assessment to determine strengths and areas for improvement. These areas ranged from letter formation and the use of phonics for spelling with the younger pupils to aspects such as ideas, sentence fluency, and organisation for the older pupils. We chose narrative writing as the most suitable genre as it allows students to let their imagination flow freely. We identified many gaps in learning. We then formulated a plan to address learning gaps in the programme.


Tutoring commenced in November 2020. It focused on 29 struggling pupils. Of this group, 12 were on pupil premium.

During the first session, Andy built rapport with the students. He created a warm, nurturing learning environment where they could feel at ease. This was in keeping with the Bright Heart Approach. Week by week, Andy focused on improving one skill at a time. This ranged from helping pupils with the basic punctuation rules to implementing strategies to help the students organise their thoughts. The students worked collaboratively at times and independently on other occasions. Andy engaged the different groups with hands-on, practical activities where they could share their imaginative stories. At times, students would use interactive tools such as IXL, which allowed them to work on specific areas such as conventions and spelling. 

The writing programme was unfortunately interrupted by the pandemic at times. As a result, we had to overcome different challenges along the way. For example, absenteeism increased, and working conditions for everyone at the school were more constrained. We were therefore concerned that this would affect the continuity of the programme and hinder student progress. However, with the school’s support, we successfully completed the programme in February 2022. Bright Heart provided 56 hours of free tutoring worth over £4,000. Andy and John also dedicated many more hours to planning and reporting.

Pleasing results

Based on interim testing in July 2021, 10 (33%) of the pupils tutored by Bright Heart had caught up with peers (now met age-expected standards). This included 5 (42%) pupils on pupil premium. Within the control group, 4 (15%) of the pupils had caught up with peers, including 1 (13%) on pupil premium. The control group comprised 26 pupils below standards (8 on pupil premium) who did not receive Bright Heart tutoring. Despite the control group being composed of slightly stronger pupils, Bright Heart’s pupils’ performance was more than double that of the control group. This was a pleasing result demonstrating the effectiveness of our tutoring in driving student achievement. In addition, pupils made significant progress with SEMH targets such as self-confidence.

During the last session in February 2022, the pupils completed another assessment. Despite the programme’s lack of continuity and the pandemic delays, results were encouraging. This was particularly the case as many of the pupils were non-native speakers with SEN who had the lowest scores in writing. Out of 29 pupils completing the programme, had improved their attainment levels (for example, from working below to working at age-related standards). Although we would have preferred this to have been higher, it was a significant improvement compared to the control group. In addition, it was pleasing that the pupils engaged well and, most importantly, enjoyed the programme.

Commenting on the writing programme, Alison Berry, Ark’s SENCo, noted:

The children in KS1 and 2 were engaged in the sessions, and the tutor took time to build a rapport with the children, ensuring sessions were pitched to the correct level for attainment and interest. This is a service we would recommend for others, and we would like to use again in the future.”

-> Numeracy programme

Following the successful writing programme, we sought to help more disadvantaged pupils by developing a numeracy programme. It was delivered through the school-led tutoring pillar of the NTP. We selected Harris as the tutor. Harris is an experienced specialist maths tutor. In addition, he is skilled at engaging and motivating pupils. The programme focused mainly on arithmetic, including word problems. Additionally, Harris provided tuition for reasoning, fractions, decimals, percentages and SATs for pupils in Years 2 and 6. 

NTP tutoring in numeracy - Bright Heart education
Bright Heart delivered a tailored numeracy programme to Ark Byron Primary School.


We provided tuition to 41 pupils in Y2, Y5 and Y6. Tutoring took place from November 2021 to July 2022. Instruction was aligned with teaching and learning practices at the school. In addition, we regularly liaised with the teachers to adjust targets and strategies accordingly. Sessions involved theory and practical applications of maths to make concepts more tangible and meaningful for pupils. The school reported very high levels of pupil engagement. Progress was measured throughout the programme to ensure attainment in each key area.

Excellent results

Unlike the writing programme, pupils benefited from a lack of disruptions. This meant the programme was delivered as planned. As a result, the pupils tutored made excellent progress. For example, the results of SAT testing for Y6 demonstrated the programme’s effectiveness. Initially only 1 of the 11 Year 6 pupils selected for the numeracy programme met the expected standard. The mean scaled score for the pupils was 93.6 (100 being the expected standard). However, by the end of the programme, 10 of the 11 students had exceeded the expected standard (with a mean score of 105.6). One Year 6 pupil narrowly fell short with a score of 99. However, this was a big improvement compared to the pupil’s initial score of 89.

Southmead Primary School Case Study – NTP Tuition Partners tutoring

Southmead Primary School approached Bright Heart in April 2022. They wanted a Key Stage 1 phonics programme using the Tuition Partners pillar of the NTP. 

Bright Heart was selected due to its holistic approach, which increases engagement, and its SEN expertise.

-> Phonics programme

Literacy was, unfortunately, a key area affected by the pandemic. Therefore, the school sought a focused phonics programme to help student attainment.

John Salmon met with the school and key teachers in person. He carefully discussed their objectives and the specific levels and needs of the 25 pupils selected for tutoring.

Lee, a qualified teacher with 30 years of primary teaching experience, was selected as the tutor. She was given a detailed briefing about the school and the pupils. In addition, she received NTP training, which includes safeguarding training. She also spent an orientation day with the different groups at the school.

NTP tutoring - Bright Heart education
Younger pupils can especially benefit from targeted phonics programmes.

Individual learning plans

The school selected 13 Year 1 and 12 Year 2 pupils who had not met the expected age-related phonics standard for the programme. To help plan the sessions, Bright Heart and Lee worked together to produce an individual learning plan (ILP) for each pupil. The ILP sets out a pupil’s strengths and areas for improvement based on their own assessment and that of the tutor. It then outlines a series of academic and SEMH targets to be achieved during the programme. Academic targets were based on SMART goals – being specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. SEMH targets include communication, confidence, self-esteem and considered study skills.


Lee delivered the programme over two months from early May. Tuition was mainly given to small groups of four or five pupils. However, one pupil received one-to-one tuition. The tutor assessed the students’ progress at the programme’s start, middle and end. Lessons were adjusted accordingly to ensure engagement and progress towards targets.  

Good results

The programme achieved solid results considering its relatively short duration, with great engagement for most of the 25 pupils. The phonics programme focused on hearing sounds, segmenting and blending, and reading longer words and adjacent consonants.

Following the programme, 9 of the 13 Year 1 pupils (69%) and 5 of the 12 Year 2 pupils (42%) had achieved the expected standard. All 25 pupils had improved their phonics.

In addition to the pupils’ academic progress, the tutor built rapport, made the sessions enjoyable, and helped the children improve their confidence. 

Commenting on the programme, Tara McBride, Southmead’s Reading Lead and Early Years Phase Leader, noted:

The tutor was lovely, and the children thoroughly enjoyed their phonics intervention sessions.”

NTP tutoring - Bright Heart Education - literacy
Bright Heart not only improved KS1 literacy but also pupils' confidence.

If you think your school or child could benefit from our nurturing approach, please get in touch. We will be more than happy to discuss your requirements.

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Bright Heart wins Tuition Business of the Year award

Bright Heart's co-founders collecting Tuition Business of the Year award

Bright Heart Education’s tuition offering has been featured in the Jan / Feb 2019 edition of the SEN Magazine. 

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    Bright Heart Education

Bright Heart won the prestigious Tuition Business of the Year award at the inaugural National Tutoring Awards. Wilma, a Bright Heart tutor, won the award for Best Special Needs Tutor.

Bright Heart wins Tuition Business of the Year

The inaugural National Tutoring Awards were held at a gala dinner in London on 8th July. The Tutors’ Association (TTA) organised and hosted the awards. The TTA is the regulatory body for professional tutors and the supplementary education sector in the UK. It has nearly 400 corporate and around 50,000 individual members. The event was held at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Tower of London. 140 TTA members attended it – see a photo gallery here.

2022 National Tutoring Awards - London
Gala dinner at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Tower of London

The awards aimed to highlight excellence in the UK tuition sector. Judges shortlisted organisations and individuals that had made a transformative difference to students’ academic careers and life chances.

Tuition Business of the Year award

Judges shortlisted Bright Heart with seven other UK tutoring businesses for the headline award. The expert judging panel included Melanie Sanderson from the Good Schools Guide and Tim Morris from Cymphony, the award sponsor. Judges considered various factors to evaluate excellence within the sector and determine the winner. These included:

John Nichols, the TTA’s president, announced Bright Heart as the winner. Bright Heart’s co-founders – Ryan Stevenson and Simon McQueen – proudly collected the award.

Tuition Business of the Year Award - Bright Heart Education - National Tutoring Awards 2022
Ryan and Simon collecting the Tuition Business of the Year award for Bright Heart

Reflecting on Bright Heart’s award, Simon commented:

The Bright Heart team is honoured to have its nurturing, person-centred approach and excellent tutors recognised by this prestigious award.

A big thank you to our clients who shared their success stories with the judges – we are extremely proud of our students’ progress this year. We are also grateful to The Tutors’ Association for recognising excellence in the UK tuition sector through these inaugural awards. Finally, congratulations to all winners and award nominees, who have helped many pupils catch up and progress following the pandemic.”  

In addition to Simon’s comments, John Nichols and Tim Morris were quoted in the press discussing the importance of the awards and the significant impact the tuition industry has for so many young people.

Best Special Needs Tutor

This category recognised tutors who had outstandingly impacted students with special educational needs (SEN). Bright Heart sponsored the award. Wilma, a Bright Heart tutor, was shortlisted with two other tutors.

The independent judges considered tutors’ use of resources, tools, techniques, and strategies that specifically addressed the requirements of their students with SEN.

Wilma was pleasantly surprised to win this award. However, it was certainly not surprising for Bright Heart, based on Wilma’s exceptional work with her students and the fantastic feedback we hear from parents.

Bright Heart tutor, Wilma, proudly displaying her Best Special Needs Tutor award.
Wilma with her Best Special Needs Tutor award

Wilma commented after receiving the award:

I’d like to thank Bright Heart for all of their support. Thanks to my students for working with me – without you, I’d not have been honoured and acknowledged by this special award.”

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Bright Heart Education wins nasen award

Bright Heart wins 2020 nasen Award

We are proud winners of a nasen award for Co-Production with Children and Young People and their Families.                                     

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Our nurturing and person-centred approach with students, families and organisations has been validated with a 2020 nasen Award!

Bright Heart Education wins nasen award

Bright Heart has won a 2020 nasen Award! This was awarded for Co-Production with Children and Young People and their Families.

nasen award Bright Heart Education winner
Bright Heart Education is a proud recipient of a nasen award.

The nasen awards

The annual nasen awards celebrate achievements within the global SEND sector. Nasen (the National Association of Special Educational Needs) is a UK charity that has been supporting SEND practitioners for over 25 years.

The awards are typically presented at an awards dinner in central London. Due to COVID-19, the ceremony was postponed this year and the awards were announced virtually – see from 5:26 in video.

This year, nasen received a record number of nominations from across the world.

How does nasen judge its winners?

Nasen expects to see evidence of common features of practice across all 13 award categories. Award categories include awards for individuals as well as organisations from the UK and globally.

Common features are:

Validating our mission

Bright Heart was established to be the UK’s leading provider of tuition for students who would benefit from a more nurturing approach to learning. We strive to serve students as well as other stakeholders involved in the holistic learning process. This includes family members, tutors and local authorities.

On receiving this award, Bright Heart’s Co-founder, Dr Ryan Stevenson, noted:

We are extremely proud to have won this nasen award. It is great to see our nurturing, person-centred approach being acknowledged with this award. This is inspiring for the Bright Heart team and its dedicated tutors. We look forward to continuing to provide exceptional service to all of our students and their families.”

Bright Heart wins 2020 nasen Award
Co-founders Simon and Ryan with the nasen 2020 award for Co-Production with Children and Young People and their Families.

Bright Heart’s success working with families

Three examples of our work with families were cited for consideration by nasen in support of Bright Heart’s nomination:

Bright Heart is very appreciative of the families that offered their time to share their positive experiences of working with us as part of the awards adjudication process.

Learn more about Bright Heart’s award-winning tuition

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss your tuition needs. Learn how one of our experienced, caring tutors could be the perfect fit for your child. We specialise in helping students with SEN, those that have fallen behind at school (possibly lacking confidence or motivation) and those being homeschooled. We currently offer a 10% discount on all online tuition due to COVID-19.

Please have a look at our Facebook page for current events, or feel free to get in touch directly to chat.

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