Spotlight on Bristol: Action Tutoring’s third biggest region

22 October 2021

Continuing our spotlight series on Action Tutoring cities, we come to the brilliant Bristol. We partnered with our first school in Bristol in 2014 and volunteers from across the city have been joining us ever since to support our mission to help disadvantaged pupils in the city to succeed.

A third of children are living in poverty in Bristol – ten school children out of a class of 30 – according to new data. The city has the highest levels of child poverty across the whole South West region. Evidently, even in areas where there are prestigious universities and more options for young people, the residents of cities are not necessarily benefiting. 

Young people from affluent areas are six times more likely to get places at the most selective universities. In Bristol, only one in 60 disadvantaged young people goes to a highly-selective university.

We believe that increased academic performance and good grades can be one of the most effective ways out of poverty for these young people and this will require a more redistributive approach to spreading education. 

Action Tutoring supports schools right across this hilly city, from Oldland Common to Stoke Gifford.

Fun fact about Bristol: Ribena was invented just outside Bristol. The popular blackcurrant soft drink gained popularity during the Second World War as an alternative source of Vitamin C.

With lots of programmes to deliver, we need plenty of budding volunteers to get involved. We are very fortunate that we partner with several businesses in the city, including DAC Beachcroft and Arup, whose employees volunteer with us. All of our volunteers have a positive impact on the education of disadvantaged pupils across the UK’s first cycling city.

Why volunteer with us?

We’re not standing still. We need more volunteers to ensure we can reach as many pupils as possible this year. There are many benefits to volunteering with Action Tutoring, from gaining professional experience and making your CV stand out to meeting other like-minded volunteers who share the same values as you.

Your help is more essential than ever in reducing the attainment gap and making sure pupils from deprived communities have access to quality education. 

Here you can find the schools we work with in Bristol. If one of them is accessible for you, why not get in touch with us so you can help support pupils who need you?

Nimantha is just one of our many volunteers in Bristol who tutored with us last academic year and has joined us again this year. As a university student, he can easily fit his tutoring sessions around his studies. As well as learning new skills, Nimantha is making a real difference to people’s lives:

I would highly recommend tutoring because you’re making a real difference to people’s lives by helping them reach their aspirations. Whatever level you tutor at, the pupils will be extremely grateful to you for devoting some of your time to pass on your knowledge.

Nimantha, Action Tutoring volunteer tutor, Bristol

If you live in this great city and would like to volunteer, our fantastic team in Bristol consists of Gemma, Alice, Lilah, Matt and Chloe. They will support you every step of the way and ensure that you have the best volunteering experience.

How to create a charity video during a pandemic?

29 March 2021

Producing a charity video in a pandemic, who doesn’t love a challenge? This is the story of how we, at Action Tutoring, managed to create our new video.

Click to watch the new Action Tutoring video

Back in September, Action Tutoring started its first online tutoring sessions after trials during the summer months. To encourage more volunteers to apply to tutor online, the marketing team were tasked with producing a video showing the benefits of online tutoring. The team worked with our fantastic videographer, Owen, to create the project.

Top tip 1: Create a detailed brief – formulating a plan for what the video will look like, what it must include and its overall purpose is extremely important. Make this as detailed as possible.

Producing a detailed brief for our videographer was critical, as we really wanted to shine a light on the benefits of our online tutoring. The brief detailed exactly what we were looking for, the main aims of the project and examples of other charity videos we were trying to replicate allowing Owen to have clear direction. Once we had our plan in place, the next step was to find schools that would be a good setting for our video.

Top tip 2: Find a supportive setting in our case a school, that you have great communication with and our supportive of the work you do. We have worked with Prendergast Vale for years and this allowed us to overcome any issues quickly.

In the run up to the day of the shoot at the secondary school, a hiccup arrived. Having returned from a holiday to stay at his parents, our marketing manager’s mum started to feel unwell. A Covid test was needed. Unfortunately, the test came back inconclusive, making it impossible for him to attend the filming as they had to quarantine.

Fortunately, it had already been planned that our marketing assistant, Luc, would join the filming to support. On the day of filming, Luc brilliantly led the way, directing our videographer to ensure we secured the shots that were needed to make the video. Interviews with pupils were completed in a Covid secure way, masks were worn and social distancing was implemented.

Top tip 3: Interview people who are impacted by the work you dointerviewing pupils on camera for the first time allowed us to show the impact of Action Tutoring’s work on those who it supports.

As the plan for the video centred around interviews with our pupils, it was important to get as much content as possible, so that we were able to select the very best soundbites for the final edit. In order to make sure we covered a range of voices, we selected three different interviewees. By liaising with our programme coordinator, Lily, who knows the pupils well, we were able to interview pupils who we felt would be confident in sharing their experience of an Action Tutoring programme.

The results of the filming were great. Engaging interviews with the pupils, a comprehensive interview with the deputy headteacher and some dynamic cutaways to use in our video.

Top tip 4: Get more footage than you think you need – it’s great to have more content to choose from. There will often be issues, whether that is distorted sound or out of focus shots.

Unfortunately, due to lockdown rules, we were unable to get footage of volunteers tutoring from home. So, we made it our aim to secure some footage at a primary school.

Owing to the school closures in January, we had to cancel our planned filming at a primary school. After finding out schools wouldn’t return till March, it was decided to go ahead with producing the video with the footage we had.

Our videographer started to produce the first few drafts of the video. As you may have noticed from the final cut, we used old footage of tutors in the classrooms as we were unable to film in people’s homes – this worked really well.

Top tip 5: Don’t forget the subtitles – your video will be used on social media where people don’t have the sound on. The content should also be made accessible for all.

After much back and forth – we settled on the final version which you can see today. Despite some hiccups along the way, we are proud of the video we have produced and proved creating a charity video in a pandemic can be done.