Accolades

Young impact makers attend Platinum Jubilee Award reception

8 December 2023

Newcastle volunteer tutor, Eliza Blowes, and Action Tutoring’s fundraising coordinator, Molly Cottrill were part of a special group of volunteers and charity representatives who attended the prestigious reception for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Award recipients. Her Royal Highness Princess Anne was the special guest of honour.

Eliza and Molly were chosen to represent the education charity at the reception last week Tuesday, which offered places for two change agents under age 25 and two staff from the organisation to attend. Founder and CEO, Susannah Hardyman and deputy CEO, Jen Fox, also attended the event at the Fishmongers’ Hall in London.

Guests at the Jubilee Award reception held at the Fishmongers’ Hall in London

Action Tutoring received The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award, in recognition of the significant impact of its volunteer tutors on disadvantaged young pupils across England. This esteemed award, equivalent to an MBE, now known as the King’s Award for Voluntary Service, represents the highest acknowledgment bestowed on local voluntary groups in the UK. The aim is to celebrate fantastic work by national charities and their volunteers to empower young people and provide them with skills and opportunities.

Positive transformation

Eliza, a master’s student at Northumbria University, Newcastle, was chosen for being actively involved in providing additional academic support to disadvantaged young individuals within her local Newcastle communities. Since August 2022, Eliza has tutored primary and Secondary English, in-person and online, in 51 sessions across eight different programmes in local schools.

Eliza tutors a pupil at a primary school in Newcastle

Expressing her passion for language and its transformative potential in diverse and disadvantaged communities, Eliza, who is studying for a postgraduate in Applied Linguistics for TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), emphasised her interest in contributing to better outcomes for pupils in schools.

“Having personally witnessed the positive transformation we have brought about in pupils within my community, I am elated to see the organisation receiving this well-deserved recognition.”

Eliza

Relatively young charity

HRH Princess Anne spent time handing certificates and speaking to representatives of each awarded charity. HRH Princess Anne was particularly interested in the history and impact of Action Tutoring, as a relatively young charity, being awarded alongside established and centuries-old charities, including the British Red Cross and Scouts. With only 12 years since its founding, Action Tutoring said it was delighted to be among the recipients of the award which included renowned and household-name charities for this award.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and also the Department for Business and Trade plus Minister for Equalities, Stuart Andrew, gave a speech and met with charities to appreciate their work.

CEO of Action Tutoring, Susannah Hardyman (left) and deputy CEO, Jen Fox

Increasing life chances

Susannah Hardyman expressed pride in the volunteers’ selfless commitment to supporting disadvantaged young people, highlighting their positive impact on academic progress and the wellbeing of pupils.

“The recognition serves as a reminder of the invaluable contributions made by our volunteers within their local communities across the country. Like Eliza, they are not only helping disadvantaged pupils in academic progress but also fostering their sense of confidence and increasing their life’s chances.”

Susannah

Action Tutoring is proud of its diverse pool of volunteers from different backgrounds and between the ages of 18 to 82,  including university students, full-time or part-time workers from different sectors of business, and retired professionals. Not only do volunteers help pupils achieve better grades, but they also serve as positive role models by creating a supportive environment for learning and mentoring pupils to thrive in school and later in life.

In the 2022-23 academic year alone, 1,744 volunteers supported 5,743 primary and secondary pupils in 25,600 sessions in 140 schools across the country. Volunteers are at the core of Action Tutoring’s work and remain an invaluable resource in driving our purpose and impact.

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Become a volunteer tutor with Action Tutoring and help disadvantaged children improve their academic strength and build a better future. With just one hour a week, you can volunteer to tutor pupils in English or maths at primary or secondary level, online or in-person. No previous teaching experience is required and we will provide you with all the resources you need.

Thank You Day 2023: An Ode to Volunteers

21 June 2023

Thank you to the unsung heroes of charity


When we think of superheroes, our minds often evoke images of capes, masks, and incredible superpowers. The true heroes among us aren’t necessarily blessed with X-ray vision or the ability to fly.

They are extraordinary ordinary people who selflessly give their time and efforts to causes that make a difference. Volunteers are the backbone of charitable organisations. They’re the ones who turn compassion into action, showing up day after day, ready to tackle any challenge. 

From feeding the homeless to cleaning up parks, from tutoring underprivileged children to rescuing adorable furry friends, these wonderful individuals are everywhere, making an impact, one selfless act at a time.

That is why we are joining the rest of the UK to mark the third annual Thank You Day on Sunday 2nd July. 

What is Thank You Day?

Thank You Day began with a handful of organisations looking for a way to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who helped the nation through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then the campaign has grown and an astounding 15 million people have taken part in Thank You Day celebrations. Last year, 61% said that taking part had made their communities feel more united.

The impact of small actions

It’s easy to get caught up in the notion that changing the world requires grand gestures or infinite resources. But small actions can create profound ripples of positive change.  Even the tiniest effort can make someone’s day a little brighter. 

Whether it’s a heartfelt smile, a warm hug, spending an hour to support a young person or a simple “How can I help?”, these unsung heroes understand that the impact of their actions extends far beyond what meets the eye. Their dedication, combined with their unwavering belief in the power of compassion, transforms communities and touches lives in truly immeasurable ways.

Volunteer tutors

The timeless gift of time

Imagine a world where everyone was too busy for kindness. Luckily, volunteers graciously donate their most precious resource – their time – to make a difference. Amidst their responsibilities and commitments, these extraordinary individuals carve out moments to lend a helping hand, becoming the living embodiment of the saying, “time is the most valuable gift.”

From organising food drives to planting trees, from tutoring pupils to comforting the lonely, volunteers invest their time to improve the lives of others. They are like time travellers, moving between the past, present, and future to create a better world for all. Their acts of kindness ripple through time, leaving a lasting impact that resonates with the souls they touch.

The magic of connection

Volunteers possess an uncanny ability to forge connections. They are the bridge builders who effortlessly bring people together, fostering a sense of community and belonging. In a world that sometimes feels disconnected, these unsung heroes have the power to create bonds that transcend barriers and unite us all.

Through their compassion, volunteers ignite a spark of hope in the hearts of those they serve. Whether it’s sharing stories, helping to solve difficult study questions, offering a listening ear, or simply offering a warm smile, they make everyone feel seen, heard, and valued. 

In an era dominated by screens, volunteers remind us of the magic that unfolds when we connect with our fellow human beings on a deeper, more meaningful level.

Tutoring session

A heartfelt thank you

So, here’s to the volunteers who keep the gears of kindness turning. Today, we express our sincerest gratitude for your unwavering spirit, your boundless energy, and your refusal to let obstacles dim your commitment to making a difference.

Thank you for donning your superhero capes without expecting recognition or applause. For reminding us that there’s always room for kindness and that we, too, can be part of something greater than ourselves. For being the quiet catalysts of change, selflessly working behind the scenes to create a better world.

To our extraordinary volunteer tutors, thank you for showing up at every session, even when the economic climate is now more challenging than ever. Thank you for spending an hour of kindness each week to support young people facing disadvantage to build a better future and brighten their lives.

As we mark Thank You Day nationally, let’s all reach out to these everyday heroes – volunteers, supportive friends, family, and colleagues to shower them with appreciation, and let them know that their efforts are noticed, valued, and cherished.

Action Tutoring’s Board shortlisted for Charity Governance Awards 2023

12 May 2023

The transformational leadership by Action Tutoring’s Board of Trustees amid the Covid-19 pandemic’s challenges to education has been recognised by the Charity Governance Awards this year.

The education charity has been shortlisted alongside two other charities in the ‘Transforming with Digital’ category, one of the five awards announced this week.

The ‘Transforming with Digital’ category aims to recognise boards that have enabled digital transformation to help their charities grow, deliver increased impact and quality support for beneficiaries.

The nomination applauds Action Tutoring’s adaptability and innovation in pivoting swiftly to online delivery of tutoring when a national lockdown was announced and schools were indefinitely closed in March 2020.

Expanding reach and impact

By the autumn term of 2020/2021, the charity rolled out online tutoring across all eight regions of operation, expanding markedly its reach and impact to more disadvantaged young people. Online delivery constituted up to 86% of tutoring delivery by the charity in that academic year.

Since then, online tutoring has become a key component of the charity’s service delivery model, and it continuously invests in further digital transformation in other areas including volunteer recruitment, staff and volunteer training, and pupil assessments to provide high-quality tutoring support to disadvantaged pupils in schools almost anywhere across England.

Best interest of young people

This nomination is a testament to the commitment of the Board, staff, and tireless volunteers of Action Tutoring who devote their time and resources to ensuring every child, irrespective of their socio-economic background, gets a better education to improve their life chances. We will continue to work in the best interest and for the best outcomes of disadvantaged young people.

Peter Baines, Chair of Action Tutoring’s Board of Trustees

Nomination benefits

Action Tutoring received £1,000 as an unrestricted grant for making it onto the shortlist, and is in the running for a prize of a £5,000 unrestricted grant to be announced at a live ceremony at Drapers’ Hall, London on the 8th June.

Shortlisted charities have also secured a paid one-year membership of the Association of Chairs for their board, and a complimentary place on a Cause4 Trustee Leadership Programme for a new member of their board.

The Charity Governance Awards is organised by The Clothworkers’ Company – a City of London livery company that supports trusteeship initiatives – in partnership with the not-for-profit consultancy NPC (New Philanthropy Capital), third sector recruitment specialists Prospectus, and the trustee-matching charity Reach Volunteering.

Retiree volunteer joins King Charles’ first garden party

4 May 2023

As a recipient of The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award in December, Action Tutoring was invited to select two tutor volunteers to join several distinguished guests for King Charles’ first garden party at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, ahead of the Coronation this weekend.

Retiree Frank Plater, our volunteer tutor with the most sessions delivered in the last academic year, together with Peter Baines, the Chair of the Board of Trustees and long-time tutor volunteer, were nominated by founder and CEO, Susannah Hardyman to represent the education charity at the garden party.

I was really quite staggered for being nominated to attend the garden party. Supporting children keeps me young, and keeps my brain ticking over.

Frank said, with a beaming smile as he stood outside the gates to the Palace.

Ever the committed tutor, Frank delivered a Year 10 maths session at St Bede’s Catholic College, Bristol in the morning before catching the train to London for the King’s garden party.

Retiree volunteer, Frank Plater (left) with Chair of Board of Trustees and long-time volunteer, Peter Baines outside the Buckingham Palace ahead of King’s garden party.

Making a difference

Frank Plater drives over forty minutes from Chepstow, Wales to three schools in Bristol each week to give additional academic support to pupils in maths. He tutors at the Badocks Wood E-ACT Academy, St. Bede’s Catholic College, and Greenfield E-ACT Primary Academy.

The retired aircraft industry professional has embarked on this journey over the last five years since he began volunteering with Action Tutoring.

I first heard about Action Tutoring when surfing the internet. I really wanted any tutoring to be voluntary, but too many sites were focused on the financial reward. I wanted to give something back and try to make a difference. Voluntary maths tutoring seemed to be something I could do.

Frank recounted

Since 2018, Frank has delivered over 430 maths support sessions for pupils in Bristol.

Having worked specifically in aerodynamics and flight physics for 30 years, Frank said he gets the most satisfaction from feeling useful.

I’m currently taking action to pass on my knowledge and experience and this has made me think about helping even younger people develop themselves.

Giving heart

Beyond volunteering, Frank has donated to several fundraising campaigns run by Action Tutoring to expand academic support to more disadvantaged pupils in hard-to-reach areas across the country. 

Through his contributions to our Big Give Christmas Challenge, Champions for Children campaign, and 10th-anniversary impact celebrations among others, Frank is making a lasting difference in the lives of young people from low-income families.

Play to learn

The pupils Frank supports every week in face-to-face tutoring sessions have described him as a great and humble tutor who brings in lots of games to play during tutoring sessions. 

His approach to tutoring has garnered a lot of love from pupils in schools in Bristol.

Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award

The King’s Garden Party invitation comes on the heels of Action Tutoring receiving The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award. It recognised the service and impact of its inspiring volunteer tutors on disadvantaged young people across England in empowering young people and providing them with skills and opportunities.

Commenting on how he felt being selected to attend the garden party, Frank said: “It was a bolt out of the blue and I chuckled a bit.

Action Tutoring honoured with Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award

21 December 2022

Action Tutoring has been honoured with The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award, recognising the service and impact of our inspiring volunteer tutors on disadvantaged young people across England. This one-off service award was created to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee and 20 years of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS). The aim is to celebrate fantastic work by national charities and their volunteers to empower young people and provide them with skills and opportunities.

Over the last decade,  Action Tutoring has been delivering academic support to disadvantaged young people through the dedication of our volunteer tutors and in partnership with schools. Since 2012, we’ve supported over 26,000 primary and secondary school pupils, with the support of over 11,500 dedicated volunteer tutors.

We are thrilled to have our work recognised by this award, particularly for the incredible service of our volunteers and the impact they have on the young people we support. We simply could not do what we do without them.

Susannah Hardyman, founder and CEO of Action Tutoring

The Jubilee Award recognises 20 national charities whose work empowers young people aged 16-25, with volunteers playing a pivotal role in delivering this. The award submissions were judged over the summer by an expert panel chaired by Sir Martyn Lewis CBE (Chair of QAVS). It included members from each UK nation as well as two youth representatives. His Majesty The King personally approved the 20 awardees, following the panel’s selection.

These awards highlight the indispensable role that the voluntary sector plays in targeting help, advice, and guidance where it is needed most. These awards should also be seen as a tribute to the millions of volunteers and donors who, in difficult times, provide the resources of time and money which contribute so powerfully to the social fabric of our country.

Sir Martyn Lewis CBE, the QAVS Chair

Volunteers are at the core of Action Tutoring’s work and remain an invaluable resource in driving our purpose and impact. We are tackling the stark academic attainment gap by optimising the power of our passionate volunteer tutors to specifically support disadvantaged young people across the country.

Action Tutoring is proud of its diverse pool of volunteers from different backgrounds and between the ages of 18 to 82,  including university students, full-time or part-time workers from different sectors of business, and retired professionals. The varied range of volunteer tutors, motivated by their selfless devotion to our mission, bring unique perspectives and experiences to improve the subject knowledge, confidence, and tolerance of the disadvantaged young people they support.

I never expected the sense of pride and accomplishment I would be feeling, not just for myself, but for the pupils experiencing academic progress. This volunteering opportunity has allowed me to contribute meaningfully to the education of young people, which has been so rewarding that I can’t even begin to express my gratitude.

Eve, a university student and Action Tutoring volunteer in Liverpool, said in a recent blog, sharing her tutoring experience.

In spite of the challenging backdrop of Covid-19, Year 6 children eligible for the Pupil Premium supported by Action Tutoring were more likely to achieve the expected standards in their SATs than other disadvantaged pupils across the country — by eight percentage points in both maths and reading — despite being considered at risk of not reaching these standards. This year’s GCSE results showed that 61% of disadvantaged pupils passed their English and 72% of disadvantaged pupils passed maths, after attending at least 10 tutoring sessions with Action Tutoring – notwithstanding being considered at risk of not achieving a passing grade and two challenging years of pandemic disruption.

From Action Tutoring to StreetGames, these 20 charities deliver outstanding work to help give young people the skills they need to grow and succeed.  Ensuring young people get the best possible start in life is a priority for me and the Government, and there is no more fitting way to celebrate these brilliant charities than a unique edition of the highest award for voluntary service.

Culture Secretary, Michelle Donelan

Action Tutoring has been working to help narrow the academic attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers at both primary and secondary levels – which is at its widest for ten years. Tutoring is an intervention with proven impact to help narrow the gap and give disadvantaged young people a stronger head-start in life.

This award and recognition will help us to reach new audiences and encourage more people to come forward and volunteer their time to help change the future prospects of thousands of young people across the country.”

Susannah Hardyman

Become a volunteer tutor with Action Tutoring and help disadvantaged children improve their academic strength and build a better future. With just one hour a week, you can volunteer to tutor pupils in English or maths at primary or secondary level, online or in-person. No previous teaching experience is required and we will provide you with all the resources you need.