A pupil's journey with Action Tutoring

As thousands of teens eagerly awaited the results that would determine the next stage of their educational path, yesterday morning Action Tutoring were out and about in our partner schools celebrating the fantastic progress made by our dedicated #ATClassof2016.

Since September we have been working with a select group of 20 pupils at Conisborough College in South-East London on Saturday mornings. It’s hard to imagine that the pupils (and their tutors!) would forsake a lie-in and voluntarily spend their morning in maths tuition, but their appreciation of the benefit and their dedication to succeed was apparent throughout. Yesterday morning I met again with the pupils to see whether their hard work had paid off.

Esmerelda started working with us in September and remained committed throughout- she received a total of 35 hours of tutoring over the course of the school year. When we met she was working at a D, and despite her best efforts was finding it difficult to gain the extra marks that would make her transition to college that much easier.

In March I spoke to Esmerelda about her involvement in the programme and what a successful maths GCSE result would mean for her. She told me that she had already started to make gains, and had recently got a B in her class test. Once she started noticing these improvements there was no question as to whether she would continue on the programme. She put these down to the relaxed nature of 1:1 tuition. ‘There’s less pressure than in a classroom’, she explained, ‘you don’t have to worry about putting your hand up and getting it wrong’. In a more comfortable environment Esmerelda was able to address the issues that had been stubbornly stopping her from reaching that C by working through examples with her tutor. When she struggled to apply a method, her tutor had the time to teach her an alternative way – something that she found particularly helpful.

I learnt that she wanted to go on to college when she left Conisborough, and getting a C in maths and the other core subjects was necessary to pursue this goal. She wasn’t sure exactly what path she would take but enjoyed working with children and liked the idea of a career in psychology.

Yesterday we spoke again. As I rounded the corner to Conisborough College, there were a group of three former Action Tutoring pupils gathered, anxiously awaiting the arrival of a fourth so that they could open their envelopes together. ‘I’m exhausted’, Esmerelda told me. She had been to visit her family in Albania and only arrived back in England at 4am! However, she didn’t want to wait any longer than necessary to find out her results, and was out and about after only a few hours’ sleep.

 ‘Time to see whether all those Saturdays paid off,’ she teased as she collected her envelope, and after seeing all the hard work she put in over the year I was thrilled, but not at all surprised, to see that Esmerelda secured that all-important C grade in her maths GCSE, plus a number of passes across the board. Back in March when I asked Esmerelda what she would say to pupils thinking about taking part in the programme, her belief in its benefit was obvious – ‘Do it! It WILL help you if you make the effort to come,’ she told me, and I was pleased to see that she was right.

Thanks to these fantastic results in September she will be attending a local Sixth Form college, where she will be able to take the next steps on her journey to a career in child psychology by studying English Literature, Sociology and Psychology at A-Level. I asked if I could share a photo to celebrate her results but she wasn’t sure. ‘You can tell everyone this though’, she told me, ‘Maths tutoring helped me SO much.’

We’re so proud of all our pupils at Conisborough, and as we move into a new academic year we will be once again taking in a team of dedicated and inspirational tutors to support them as they work towards those vital grades. I’m already looking forward to another set of fantastic results this time next year!

Elly Turnbull, London Programme Coordinator