The PAT role is essential in creating a sense of belonging, building resilience and ensuring that academic and non-academic success is achieved through engagement.  In Lochtie’s recent study (2016), the personal tutor was cited as one of the main reasons students chose to remain on their course - therefore it is important that there is effective and constructive dialogue (Laurillard, 2002) and a positive relationship (Thomas, 2012).  

Students are allocated a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) at the start of their course. It is the role of the PAT to support and guide the student’s academic, personal and professional development throughout their university journey.  

Further information can be found here.

The main focus of the Personal Academic Tutor role is to support students in relation to their course and studies as follows:

  • Support all students in becoming a member of the University and making the transition to studying in, and between the different levels of, higher education
  • Help students to understand the requirements of their course in terms of knowledge and understanding, skills development and assessment requirements
  • Support students to take responsibility for their own learning through helping them to reflect on their progress, identify their learning needs and develop appropriate strategies to achieve them
  • Help students to make the most of the learning resources and other forms of learning support available to them
  • Support students in academic, professional and career related planning and development, and the appropriate recording of this
  • Advise and guide students on issues or problems arising whilst they are at the University and, where appropriate, direct them to the broader range of services provided by the University
  • Support students for whom there may be particular challenges when entering higher education.

As a student, it's important to get the most of the Personal Academic Tutoring scheme.

During your studies, students are expected to:

  • Attend scheduled personal academic tutoring sessions
  • Prepare for personal academic tutoring sessions as guided by your tutor
  • Take responsibility for your learning through reflecting on your progress
  • Respond to advice and guidance from your Personal Academic Tutor
  • Take the initiative in contacting your Personal Academic Tutor in relation to problems or if in need of advice outside the normal schedule of meetings
  • Keep a record of learning from meetings with your Personal Academic Tutor
  • Ensure your personal details on the SOLE page are current and correct.


Your Personal Academic Tutor will write your University reference, so it is also useful to discuss your career intentions, ambitions and work experience with him/her throughout your studies. Many employability skills are developed through extra-curricular activity while at University and it is also helpful to discuss this with your Personal Academic Tutor. The better informed you keep your Personal Academic Tutor of your development, the more able your tutor will be to provide you with an effective reference.

Personalised Learning:

  • Adapted to suit course requirements but with a focus on the individual student
  • Focused on the student's career development and employability
  • Clear expectations for students and tutors and a consistent approach
  • Focus and ability to identify potential issues as well as stretch and challenge at an early stage

Cohort Cohesion:

  • Engaging students with course management – working with course reps
  • Vertical mentoring

Sense of Community/Belonging:

  • Student as Academic Partners projects
  • Presentations at University annual Learning and Teaching Conference
  • Building communities of learners
  • Cross year group collaboration

Cohort Identity:

  • Course magazines – developing these with students
  • Writing retreats - positive qualitative comments from students
The Working in Partnership (WiP) model was developed by colleagues in the School of Education 2013 led by Principal Lecturer, Rachel Barrell .

WiP is a multidimensional approach to support and enhance student engagement consisting of:

  • Personal Academic tutorials - student ownership of their academic and non-academic journey
  • Cross-Year Group collaboration
  • Vertical tutoring
  • Peer mentoring
  • Writing retreats
  • Tailored interventions
  • Student governance (WiP) projects
  • Student-led course magazine

WiP Model of Personal Academic Tutoring

  • Works in conjunction with the University’s Personal Academic Tutoring Policy regarding the number of tutorials per year, the purpose of tutorials and the responsibilities of those involved.
  • Provides a framework to facilitate student ownership of their academic and non-academic journey through personal academic tutoring:
    • Structured
    • Mandatory
    • Student-led
    • Linked to both academic and personal development
    • Leads up to final reference through creation of a pen portrait and enhances employability
  • Framework enables students and academics to focus on key areas which are pertinent to individual and groups of students at particular points in the student journey.
  • Students prepare for their tutorial by reflecting on achievement, progress and aspirations.