Steve coordinates the pupils in one of our programmes at the fantastic Shoreham Academy School. He originally came to the school and a half years ago to get experience because he was considering applying for a PGCE, but an opportunity in the pastoral system came up and Steve took to it so much that he has been there ever since! Now he splits his time between his role as a Pastoral Manager and his role as the Pupil Premium Progress and Attainment Coordinator, which means he is very familiar with the pupils and all their individual aspirations.
Steve’s job is all about supporting vulnerable or disadvantaged pupils who need a bit of extra help to realise their potential. He believes it’s unfair that people who are struggling through no fault of their own often do not get the same opportunities as the rest of their peers. One of the biggest challenges of his job is giving the pupils more confidence, and encouraging them to reach beyond the aspirations they have given themselves. He says that many pupils he works with have never had the opportunity to see places outside of where they live, and don’t believe that they can get the grades to go to university.
This is one of the main reasons Shoreham Academy decided to partner with Action Tutoring. Steve says that the school wanted to do everything they could to make pupilsrecognise and work with their own abilities, and to encourage them to do their very best – whether that means reaching for a C grade or even beyond.
Shoreham Academy had a positive recommendation from another school working with us, and thought it was great value for money. Something else that appealed to Steve, he says, was that the tutors were volunteers who would work with the pupils because they actually wanted to be there. He thinks that this has helped encourage the pupils to engage with the sessions; they feel that they can be more relaxed and on a level with the tutors because they come from outside the school and have no obligation to be there – they’re there because they want to be.
Steve can see this attitude rubbing off on the pupils, and says that – although they were nervous about the programme at first – the pupils are now enthusiastic about the sessions and look forward to turning up to see their tutor. Steve has noticed a significant growth in confidence that has come from the individual attention and tailored sessions, so that pupils who used to believe they would fail their GCSE now know they can attain a C grade, with some aspiring further than that. The sessions have been such a success at Shoreham that many of the pupils have asked to make the sessions an hour and a half so they can spend longer with their tutor, and we will be extending the programme to take them right up to their final GCSE exams.
Steve works hard to support the pupils at Shoreham Academy, and attends every tutoring session to make sure the pupils are there (although, he adds, he knows they would turn up anyway) and to keep an eye on their progress. He says he would definitely recommend an Action Tutoring programme to other schools with pupils who just need that little bit more focus to challenge their own expectations of themselves.