Action Tutoring News

Fundraisers take on the Bristol 10k for disadvantaged pupils

4 July 2024

Five formidable fundraisers completed the Bristol 10k to raise crucial funds for pupils facing disadvantage across England.

Over 15,000 participants took on the route, passing stunning views and famous graffiti murals, whilst pushing their physical limits.

Read on to hear why our fundraisers took on this challenge to support the cause.

Dedicated support team

Our runners enjoyed some fantastic support on the day.

Staff from various departments of our organisation turned up to support, including Senior Bristol Programme Coordinator, Chloe, Senior Engagement Coordinator, Abby and Bristol and Sussex Programme Manager, Rachel.

Chloe reflects on the buzzing atmosphere of the day.

It was brilliant cheering on the runners at the Bristol 10k! There’s always such a great energy on the day, from both runners and supporters. – Chloe

Abby made a race day poster for Freya. It wasn’t just for cheering her on. The poster, which Freya loves, now holds a pride of place on her bedroom wall!

Picture of a poster reading ‘Let’s go Freya, you can do it!’ hanging on Action Tutoring staff member Freya’s wall.
“I loved running past my colleagues who came to support me!
Chloe and Rachel tracked me on the app and found good spots to wave at me
and cheer me on, and Abby made a ‘go Freya go’ poster
which I now have up on my bedroom wall!” – Freya

Dad and daughter duo

Freya, our Senior Bristol Programme Coordinator, teamed up with her dad, David, to conquer the race. It was a fantastic experience they’ll both cherish.

The race was much better than I expected! I was really happy that I achieved my goal of not stopping to walk. It was so good to run with my dad and to see the other fundraisers after the race. – Freya

Picture of Action Tutoring staff fundraiser, Freya, and her dad, David, waving at the camera whilst running.
Freya and her dad, David, wave at the camera whilst running.

Being mindful of the heat, Freya’s advice to future runners is to make sure you keep hydrated!

It was really hot and we didn’t know when we ran past the water station that there wasn’t going to be another one, so my advice to future fundraisers would be to grab two water bottles because you never know if there’s another water station on the route! – Freya

Picture of Action Tutoring staff fundraiser, Freya, and her dad at the Bristol 10k
Freya and her dad, David, pose for a cheerful photo at the end of the race.

Fundraising success!

The team of five raised an incredible £955.17, rising to £1175.93 with Gift Aid!

This amount could provide a year of face-to-face tutoring for 2 pupils. It could also provide 203 high quality workbooks for face-to-face tutors.

Congratulations to our five fantastic fundraisers who worked tirelessly to raise funds for our pupils by running the Bristol 10k. Our vision is a world in which no child’s life chances are limited by their socio-economic background. We couldn’t achieve this vision without you, thank you! – Hannah O’Neill, Head of Philanthropy

Picture of Action Tutoring staff fundraiser Freya and Harrison, Molly, Freya and David
Harrison, Molly, Freya, and David pose for a finish line photo.

Get involved

Do you want to get involved in a fundraising challenge for us? We might just have the opportunity for you!

We’re currently looking for fundraisers to join our team for the London-Brighton Cycle Ride (55 miles) in September. Contact our Fundraising Coordinator, Molly, at molly.cottrill@actiontutoring.org.uk, or sign up via the link below!

Fearless fundraisers take on the Birmingham 10k to raise vital funds!

21 June 2024

Four incredible Action Tutoring fundraisers have taken on the Birmingham 10k to support disadvantaged young people. Pushing their physical limits, the fundraisers showed great dedication to our important cause of closing the education attainment gap.

Read on to hear about Orla, Molly, John, and Justina’s incredible commitment to our cause.

Booming atmosphere

Our Fundraising Coordinator for Campaigns, Events, and Individual Giving, Molly, attended the race to cheer on our incredible team. She highlights how the atmosphere on race day was electric.

The atmosphere was incredible! Supporters cheered all the way along the route, and the start and finish lines had a carnival-like atmosphere. Music was blaring and everyone was in high spirits. – Molly

Molly also shares her pride for our runners’ bravery and dedication by completing this personal challenge for our pupils.

It was amazing to see so many participants for various charities. I was immensely proud to see our runners sporting our Action Tutoring t-shirts through Birmingham’s streets! – Molly

Picture of our fundraising coordinator Molly standing on the sidelines at the Birmingham 10k, cheering our runners on.
Molly stands on the sidelines, cheering our runners on.

Finish line celebrations

After the race, Molly met our fundraisers who were all enthusiastic about their experience, calling it both fun and rewarding.

Orla and Molly are colleagues from QBE, of which Action Tutoring is the UK community partner of their Foundation. The two of them had a great time at the race, celebrating afterwards with some well-deserved pizza! Thank you to QBE for matching their donations!

Picture of Molly and Orla at Birmingham 10k
Orla and Molly show off their medals after the race.

During the race’s tougher moments, Justina drew inspiration from a pupil she tutored as an Action Tutoring volunteer. Remembering the positive change she made in their educational journey helped her push forward.

John said he felt humbled by the support he had received. This includes his family and friends with their generous donations, and his daughter, who cheered him on at race day.

Triumphant fundraising

It’s wonderful to see these fundraisers raising money to support Action Tutoring’s nationwide work and representing us in Birmingham, where we have over 170 pupils at 7 schools! Thanks so much!! – Alex Wilson, Midlands Programme Manager

The team of four collectively raised an incredible £5,478.24, rising to £6,485.74 with Gift Aid!

This staggering amount could provide a year of face-to-face tutoring for 13 pupils. It could also provide enhanced DBS checks for 600 volunteer tutors!

Thank you to our team of four that ran in this event in aid of our important work. We sincerely appreciate your effort and commitment to helping us close the attainment gap and tackle education inequality head on! – Hannah O’Neill, Head of Philanthropy

Picture of a tutor pupil in an Action Tutoring session.
One of our tutors and pupils smile during a tutoring session.

Fight education inequality with us!

Inspired by Orla, Molly, John, and Justina’s achievements? You can be a champion for education equality too!

  • Run or cycle for our cause: We have charity spots open at summer sporting events. See the full list on our fundraising page.
  • Dream up your own challenge: Can’t find the perfect event? Contact Molly, our Fundraising Coordinator (molly.cottrill@actiontutoring.org.uk), to discuss your own fundraising ideas – sports or otherwise!

Employees tackle south coast fundraising challenges!

2 May 2024

Showing true team spirit, three exceptional Action Tutoring employees have gone the extra mile for fundraising. Stepping outside their everyday role, Alice, Louisa and Stuart all completed sponsored runs to raise vital funds. Testing their physical resilience, their inspiring efforts support our ongoing mission of closing the education attainment gap.

Read on to find out why they laced up their shoes and kept going to support pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Braving the Brighton Half Marathon

Alice, our former engagement coordinator, daringly achieved her goals at February’s Brighton Half Marathon. She took Brighton’s infamous winds in her stride, sailing through her challenge on the electric seafront.

“My energy matched the event’s atmosphere. Music blasted everywhere and crowds constantly cheered you on!”

Alice

Alice says while initially feeling daunted by the physical challenge, she soon enjoyed her training runs. All her efforts paid off on the day when she had that runners high!

“I really enjoyed pushing beyond my comfort zone. I find running is great at testing both your physical and mental strength. That post-run feeling is always amazing!”

Alice

Alice worked brilliantly on both her training plan and her fundraising too. She raised an incredible amount of £305, with an additional £60 in Gift Aid!

“The most rewarding part for me was fundraising. Seeing every lovely supportive message was such a joy. It made all those practice runs seem worthwhile.”

Alice

Taking on the Brighton 10k

Staying with Brighton, one of our Sussex programme coordinators, Louisa, ran April’s exciting Brighton 10K (BM10K). Brighton’s blustery weather returned, but Louisa battled through to enjoy a great day running for our charity.

“Was a lovely sunny (albeit windy!) day and I was delighted to get my sub hour target! This was my first time completing something like this and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it! “

Louisa

Louisa found having this race as an aspirational goal kept her motivated and active across the colder months.

“It was so helpful having a target during winter. It helped to force me to leave the house and stay active.”

Louisa

Considering a similar challenge for Action Tutoring? Louisa says our staff brilliantly supported her fundraising journey, providing resources and tips to help her reach the target. Louisa raised an incredible £400, rising to £493.75 with Gift Aid!

Southampton 10k success!

Finally, our communications officer, Stuart, boldly took on the Southampton 10K. Race day saw few clouds as crowds offered banners and powerful cheering to energise runners.

“The crowds were incredible and gave lovely support. The kids also had very engaging power up and tap for a boost banners which were fun and motivational.”

Stuart

Stuart soon released early race nerves, finding a calm flow. Enjoying a rewarding experience, Stuart raised an amazing £105.00 plus £26.25 in Gift Aid.

“Fundraising for Action Tutoring and making a difference to the lives and learning of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds is fantastic.”

Stuart

For future budding fundraisers out there, Stuart recommends doing something you naturally enjoy. 

“I’d suggest thinking carefully about which challenge will bring out the best in you. This may empower you to complete it and enjoy it better.

Stuart

Get involved to help us tackle education inequality!

Feeling inspired by Alice, Louisa, and Stuart’s extraordinary achievements?
We have several charity spaces available at summer sporting events. Find a full events list on our fundraising page. Alternatively, email our fundraising coordinator, Molly, via molly.cottrill@actiontutoring.org.uk for more events information. You can also contact Molly if you’re considering taking on your own challenge, sports based or not!

Supporting our work

Join our mission to transform the lives of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. You can contribute to their brighter future, including: 

Together, we can cross the finish line of opportunity and bring lasting difference to every pupil.

Action Tutoring transforms lives: Unveiling our Impact Report 2022-23!

17 January 2024

Imagine a world where educational equity unlocks not just individual potential, but also fuels economic prosperity. Today, that vision takes a significant step forward with the release of two reports: Action Tutoring’s seventh Impact Report and Public First‘s research into the Economic Impact of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). These reports showcase the undeniable two-fold impact of tutoring: enriching lives and empowering economies.

Our Impact Report shares our key highlights and draws attention to the attainment gap, which is now at its widest in 12 years, and our robust foundation of evidence that proves we are a meaningful solution to help close it.

Why do these reports matter? 

More than just numbers and data; it’s a testament to the 1,743 passionate volunteers who have poured their hearts into 58,880 hours of transformative tutoring for 5,743 pupils facing disadvantage. It is the tangible proof that investing in tutoring works and tells a remarkable tale of economic impact.

Headlines from Public First’s Economic Impact Modelling Release

  • £4.3 billion: The net benefit to the economy from tutoring in two academic years, demonstrating a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 6.58. This significantly exceeds other programs, such as adult apprenticeships (BCR 4.7).
  • £3.06 billion: The economic contribution of maths tutoring, delivering exceptional value with a BCR of 7.73
  • 430,000 grade improvements: Of these improvements, 26,000 achieved a “pass” (Grade 4) in maths, and 36,000 in English, who otherwise were not expected to. This significantly increases their chances of accessing further education, employment, and higher earnings, highlighting the substantial long-term economic benefit of tutoring.

This isn’t just about boosting numbers on a spreadsheet. It’s about building a stronger, more equitable society where everyone has the chance to contribute and thrive.

The headlines from our Impact Report

  • Closing the achievement gap: National averages for primary school pupils facing disadvantage (or eligible for pupil premium) who received 10 or more tutoring sessions with Action Tutoring saw a 14-percentage point jump in maths and a 7-percentage point gain in reading standards. That’s more than just numbers – it’s lives changed forever.
  • Empowering potential: In secondary schools, our support boosted maths GCSE pass rates by nearly 13 percentage points, giving countless pupils the keys to unlocking their dreams.
  • Building confidence and engagement: Pupils rated their tutors’ clarity at 8.1 out of 10, while teachers acknowledged the overall positive impact of Action Tutoring on pupils with a resounding 8.7 out of 10. This speaks volumes about the positive ripple effect we create.

These achievements aren’t just personal victories – they’re the foundation for a more prosperous future.

How can you join us in building this brighter tomorrow?

Schools: Partner with Action Tutoring and watch your pupils soar, while contributing to a stronger local economy.

Funders: Invest in a solution that delivers both individual and societal rewards.[Website link]

Volunteers: Share your knowledge and passion, become a mentor, and fuel the engine of economic growth.

Everyone: Spread the word, advocate for educational equity, and be part of the change. [Website link]

Tutor spotlight: Eleanor Grandchamp – future children’s speech & language therapist

2 October 2023

Today we are shining a spotlight on an Action Tutoring volunteeer, Eleanor Grandchamp. Tutoring has been an instrumental part of Eleanor’s journey to becoming a children’s speech and language therapist. It inspired her choice of career, as well as being valuable experience that helped her land a job in a school and a spot on a competitive language therapy master’s course.

Eleanor Grandchamp

Please tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m Eleanor and I have been a tutor and advocate for Action Tutoring since 2020. I currently work in a primary school delivering speech and language therapy and behavioural support to a named child. I am due to start my master’s in Speech and Language Therapy at Reading University in September. I hope to be qualified as a paediatric SLT (speech and language therapist) with my own clinic one day, delivering free sessions in schools in economically deprived areas of the UK.

I learnt about Action Tutoring at my fresher’s fair at the University of West England, where I joined a local tutoring programme in Bristol in my first year (2019). I chose to help different year groups every time: Year 5, Year 6, Year 7, and Year 11.

Because of this, when I graduated, I found a job in a primary school rather than secondary school as I had already found that my teaching style resonated more with primary school children and I wanted to develop that further. Without Action Tutoring, I would not have been sure what year group I enjoyed teaching the most.

How do you feel your tutoring experience has helped you in your current role and how has it helped you secure a place on a speech and language therapy course?

My current job as a SEN LSA (special educational needs learning support assistant) in a primary school is very similar to tutoring but on a one-to-one basis instead. Action Tutoring taught me how to follow a programme and personalise it for each child. My employer was impressed with how prepared I was to teach and this was due to my time tutoring every week with Action Tutoring. Having tutored on and off for 3 years both in person and online, I had a large amount of contact hours with schools and teaching, which is what I needed to qualify for my job role. 

Through working with Action Tutoring, I developed a passion for speech and language therapy. I saw how it impacted a child’s educational and personal development and researched ways to overcome this, such as becoming a paediatric speech and language therapist. 

When applying for my master’s course, the university was impressed with my dedication to tutoring during my own studies. It showed my dedication to improving the education sector in my local Bristol area.

What are your goals for the future?

My goals for the future have been inspired by Action Tutoring. Once I am a fully qualified paediatric speech and language therapist, I would like to offer free speech and language therapy training for the staff working in schools with children affected by these disabilities, or free speech and language therapy sessions for the children and their families. 

Similarly to tutoring, there is a long wait until resources can be accessed by the children and by then it may be too late or not fully provide what is needed to help them. I would like to be part of the movement Action Tutoring has started to create equal opportunities for all children regardless of economic background. to give them a fighting chance to achieve their goals.

International Week of Happiness at Work: Embracing the Joy of Work

21 September 2023

Happiness and work may seem like an unlikely pair, but our work lives occupy a substantial portion of our daily hours. How we feel during those hours at work has a profound impact on our overall well-being.

The International Week of Happiness at Work, which is celebrated annually in late September, serves as a timely reminder of the significance of happiness in the workplace and the role of supportive policies in shaping a positive workplace culture.

Why happiness at work matters

Research has shown that happy employees are more productive, innovative, and loyal. Crucially, they’re also healthier, both mentally and physically, and less likely to experience burnout. Organisations that prioritise employee happiness tend to attract and retain top talent.

How we build a happy workplace

We create a happy and healthy workplace when we meet the expectations and real needs of our workforce. We regularly check in to find out what employees think of Action Tutoring’s work culture and what we can improve. We’re pleased with their feedback:

100% of our team reported feeling proud to work with us in our latest staff survey.

During our most recent team retreat at the end of August, we asked a few of our employees why they love working at Action Tutoring. Here are some of their responses:

I love working for Action Tutoring because it’s not a place where you are afraid of challenging the status quo. We are there to make a difference. We are brave in tackling different things and trying new things out. I think it’s an even greater team to make all those things happen. I love that in my role I get to see everyone make this happen and just being a great team.

Jasmin Bemmelen, Head of People and Culture

It’s just so powerful to work with a group of people who care so much about the same cause. I feel really proud to be representing that cause and helping to make a difference each day.

Beth Carlow, Curriculum and Quality Manager

Every day I wake up and I feel like I’m making a difference. With school closures and the aftermath of the pandemic, it’s more important now than ever to support the pupils we work with. It’s great to be doing that in a collaborative environment, where we’re working together as part of the bigger picture. 

Molly Cottrill, Fundraising Coordinator for events, campaigns, and individual giving

There are a billion reasons why I love working at Action Tutoring. My colleagues are amazing and everyone is super welcoming but one of the biggest reasons is that we are a charity that really cares about impact and measuring the change we can make to close the attainment gap between the disadvantaged and the advantaged young people in English and maths.

Nich Bull, Director of Finance and Operations
Staff of ActionTutoring
Action Tutoring team

A quick guide to our supportive policies

Here are some of our supportive workplace policies that we believe help to create a positive and healthy work environment:

  • Flexible work arrangement: We support employees to work on a flexible basis and tailor their work arrangements to their individual needs to reduce stress and increase job satisfaction. Flexible work arrangements include compressed hours (four working days), part-time compressed hours, access to co-working spaces in our hubs across the country, and remote or hybrid working.
  • Mental health support: We understand the importance of self-care, counselling, mindfulness, and meditation therefore we offer free Headspace app memberships for staff to access these services and share it with friends and family. Our Mental Health and Wellbeing working group also promotes mental health awareness through learning sessions and regular check-ins to create a more supportive work environment.
  • Recognition and appreciation: We encourage open appreciation and gratitude among staff to pat the back of any employee who has supported them or collaborated to achieve any goal, no matter the scope or value. Our Hero of the Month award is given to an employee(s) nominated by staff members for exceptional performance and recognition. The Hero of the Month is announced to all staff and receives a gift voucher as a reward of appreciation.
  • Work-life balance: We encourage employees to disconnect from work during non-working hours is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and happiness.
  • Inclusive and diverse culture: Fostering a workplace culture that celebrates diversity and inclusion also contributes to a happier workforce. We ensure all employees feel a sense of belonging and valued for their unique perspectives. The diversity, equity, and inclusion working group leads termly sessions to grow our consciousness of inclusivity and awareness of best practices.

Finding joy in work

We believe happiness in the workplace is achievable and worth pursuing. By creating an environment where employees can thrive and find joy in their roles and organisations can reap the benefits of increased productivity, talent retention, and overall success. 

So, let’s celebrate happiness at work not just for a week but as an ongoing commitment to the well-being and success of everyone.

‘Thank You’ notes that melted our hearts last term

15 September 2023

One of the reasons why working with children is fulfilling is that you get to see them grow, learn and develop every single time. The endless energy, creativity and playfulness they exude always brings joy and excitement.

However, working with children isn’t all rosy. Sometimes we have to manage their energy, brutal honesty, and humour. But these challenges are outweighed by the rewards of watching pupils grow in subject knowledge and confidence.

At the end of each term or school programme, a heart-warming moment for many of our volunteers and staff is when pupils share inspiring and engaging thank-you notes of appreciation.

Here are ten of the remarkable notes of gratitude from pupils who were supported by our volunteers and programme team last term:

1. What a blast!

Thank you note from pupil

2. Experience the magic 24/7

Thank you note from pupil

3. Who wouldn’t like a PS5 as a reward?

Thank you note from pupil

4. Missing Kitty

Thank you note from pupil

A tell-all with express permission

Thank you note from pupil

6. Cheers to behavioural change!

Thank you note from pupil

7. They who laughs last, laughs best?

Thank you note from pupil

8. Choosing to learn over biscuits

Thank you note from pupil

9. The heart emoji keeps filling up

Thank you note from pupil

10. Football rivalry knows no boundaries!

Thank you note from pupil

Another amazing year together ahead

These words of appreciation and witnessing a pupil progress from strength to strength are why we do what we do. To all of our volunteer tutors, we want to say thank you for your selflessness and dedication. You make a real difference in the lives of children, and we are so grateful for your service.

With the 2023-24 new academic year starting in earnest, we look forward to another great year of supporting pupils together and some fun thank you notes.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer tutor, find out more in the link below.

Curiosity, Connections & Cause: Inside our three-day offsite retreat

4 September 2023

After a year of working from far-flung locations across the UK, the staff of Action Tutoring converged in the heart of London for three days as part of our annual offsite team retreat at the end of each academic year. 

During the period, we strengthened our bonds, reflected on the outgoing year’s experiences, reaffirmed the importance of our work to give children from disadvantaged backgrounds a better future, and discussed our strategy for the incoming academic year.

One team, one dream

Day 1 of the team retreat was hosted at the Westminster Foundation’s office and the sessions were dedicated to reflecting on the data and lessons of the past year, renewing and building new connections with teammates, and shattering the digital barriers that had defined a lot of our interactions all year.

In the welcome address, the CEO and founder of Action Tutoring, Susannah Hardyman, asked us to focus on three key themes during the team days: cultivating curiosity, building connections, and understanding our cause.

Reviewing the data for the outgoing year 2022-23, Action Tutoring has supported 5,743 pupils from 140 schools across the UK. Susannah emphasised the need to keep the right balance between recruiting volunteers and the demand for tutoring from schools, in sync with the charity’s strategy of expanding reach, impact, growth, and advocacy over the next year.

“Let’s continue to work together as a collective to be that ray of light for disadvantaged pupils and the schools we work with.”

Susannah

The ‘Pitch & Present’ session sharpened the pitching skills of staff who are the best advocates for our cause. The practical session focused on improving the way we speak about our work and its impact when interacting with potential volunteers, partners, and funders, as everyone learned ‘the power pose.’

Throughout the day, there was teambuilding and camaraderie through engaging activities, hilarious icebreakers, and breakout sessions where we laughed, learned, and shared experiences. The rapport that had developed virtually over the year became all the more genuine when we could high-five each other in person.

Building a safe space for all

In the warm ambiance of the Netley Primary School and Centre for Autism,  the second day of team retreat was marked by introspection and learning more about improving our diversity, equity, and inclusion strengths plus a heartfelt conversation with members of the charity’s Board of Governance.

Hannah Wilson of Diverse Educators facilitates session
Hannah Wilson of Diverse Educators facilitates session

Hannah Wilson of Diverse Educators brilliantly facilitated the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) workshop to grow the consciousness of our own identities, build our confidence on key issues, and develop our competence in showing up, standing up, and speaking out when it matters. The training was engaging, reflective, and resourceful in helping to understand protective identities, existing gaps, intersectionality, and simple actions anyone can take as an ally of inclusion.

Out of outer margins

The Board Member Roulette saw six members of Action Tutoring’s Board –  Mark Shadrack, Peter Baines, Anna Paige, Jo Conduit-Smith, Sara Selvajarah, and Andy Ratcliffe – answering questions from staff, sharing their life stories and digging deeper into the motivations beneath their leadership roles, in two rounds of breakout group sessions.

“Without tutors, I would not have the life I have today. It’s really important the impact you have. Taking disadvantaged young people out of outer margins and giving them the best positive outcome. You make a difference.”

Sara addressing staff in a breakout group during the board chat roulette
Board members speak to staff ahead of the chat roulette

The team also had a taste of policymaking as the Policy working group members led the manifesto development session. Staff brainstormed concrete solutions to the challenges in the education sector and suggestions for policy proposals that can transform education. From early years through post-16 education to colleges, staff shared interesting policy proposals that will certainly get leaders in Westminster talking when published on our website and social media channels in the coming weeks.

In memory of Adan

The second day ended with a ‘very fun teambuilding activity’ – Lego brick building. The teams had one goal: reimagine and build an ideal school out of Lego, with each incorporating a part of their school life they enjoyed most. The blueprint of school structures we constructed in teams will blow your mind. 

The Lego bricks were originally purchased by one of Action Tutoring’s volunteer tutors, Adan, for his professional coaching and team-building work. Adan had offered to run a pro bono session with the Action Tutoring team, but sadly died before the activity took place. Following his death, Adan’s family got in touch to see if we could make use of the Lego or donate them to a school. We were delighted to have the chance to remember and honour Adan by using his Lego for the teambuilding activity and it will now be donated to Netley Primary School, which hosted us for the second day.

A team's Lego school blueprint
A team’s Lego school blueprint

Fine-tuning the team’s rhythm

On the final day of the offsite retreat, we were back at the offices of the Westminster Foundation to understand each other’s roles better, refine sub-team strategies for the year, upgrade our safeguarding knowledge, and fortify our mental health and well-being for the year ahead.

Our ‘A Day in the Life…’ breakout sessions allowed selected staff to share insights about their roles, and daily routines and answer questions from the team. The safeguarding team followed with an engaging practical demonstration of good practice in handling related issues that crop up during tutoring sessions.

The brainstorming period that followed was for departments and subteams to finalise their objectives and strategy for the new year, enriched by the insights and lessons of the previous years. 

The final session by the mental health and well-being team underscored the relevance of talking to someone when necessary, using well-being tools to improve focus and reduce stress, cultivating the culture of daily reflection and showing gratitude. The activity framed the team’s dynamic and positive energy and brought our team days to an inspiring end.

Grown stronger

Sam Alexander is our senior data and evaluation officer based in Liverpool. He said connecting with colleagues face-to-face for the three day team retreat has been exciting and enjoyable.

“I found true value in the sessions and there was a hundred percent engagement from everyone. For me in an I.T. role, connecting to people face to face is really great and also helpful for the new starters as well.”

Sam

As we boarded trains to return to our far-off locations, we knew we were taking much more than memories with us. We carried a renewed sense of unity and purpose, a vivid reminder that personal connections and shared experiences are the lifeblood of a thriving team fighting for the worthy cause of supporting disadvantaged young people in education.

For Rachel Taylor, a Programme Coordinator in Sheffield, the team days have been helpful for her personal development and understanding of the charity’s wider goals.

“Everything has been well delivered and with targeted learning. The mental health conversations and breakout sessions showed how everyone on the team is open, kind, and honest.”

Rachel

We returned to our hubs with a newfound zeal, ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities of the year ahead, fortified by the bonds we had solidified in the vibrant heart of London.

Whole team
Whole team

Volunteer in Coventry school for one hour a week

10 August 2023

Action Tutoring is delighted to announce its first face-to-face programme in Coventry!

This academic year we’re partnering with Whitmore Park Primary School to provide disadvantaged pupils with support in maths and English.

We’re looking for four English tutors and four maths tutors to volunteer at Whitmore Park Primary School for one hour a week. Read on to find out what your support would mean, and how to get involved. 

Why volunteer in Coventry?

Approximately 31% of Coventry children live in low income families (after housing costs). Children from low-income families are statistically less likely to achieve a passing grade in their maths and English GCSEs. They’re also less likely to achieve the grades at the end of primary school that will help them stand a fighting chance of keeping up in secondary school.

Action Tutoring first expanded its reach to Coventry in 2021 as part of its strategy to support children outside of bigger urban centres, like London and Birmingham. 

We have an ambition for 30% of our delivery to be happening in these locations through our online model in three years’ time. To be able to provide face-to-face tutoring opportunities for these children, we need to engage local volunteers.

What difference can I make? 

That’s where Action Tutoring volunteers come in. Disadvantaged pupils supported by our volunteers consistently outperform the national percentage of this group achieving expected standards in their SATs exams.

In 2021-22, pupils supported by Action Tutoring were 8 percentage points more likely to achieve expected standards in maths and 8 percentage points more in English, too.

“Our children have gained so much confidence and enjoyment of maths thanks to Action Tutoring. Children talk so positively about their sessions and we have had very positive feedback from parents. We can see the children making progress in their sessions and the impact it has on their work in the classroom.”

Deputy Headteacher, London primary school
Pupil gives thumbs up

How do the volunteer programmes work?

Our volunteer tutors support between one and three pupils for one hour a week. Usually the sessions take place before, during or after school. 

Action Tutoring provides tutor workbooks, which contain everything you need to plan and tutor each session. For in-school programmes like Whitmore Park, a staff member (Programme Coordinator) will be there to oversee the session and provide any support needed.

What kind of volunteer community would I be joining?

We’re proud that our diverse group of volunteers range in age from 18 to 82, and are a mix of university students, retired professionals, working professionals and many others. 

As well as having access to our tutor workbooks, you’d have access to our ongoing training sessions, called “Bright Ideas”. We want to foster a community of volunteers where we learn from and grow with each other.

“Since starting my volunteering, I have learnt that you are never too old to learn new skills. I now have greater confidence with technology and a greater understanding of how to communicate with children and young people in an academic environment.”

Elaine Mitchell, retired volunteer from Wolverhampton
volunteers in coventry

How can I sign up to volunteer in Coventry, or elsewhere?

You can sign up on our volunteer page. Once you’ve expressed your interest, you can get started in three simple steps:

  1. Complete the application form (this should take around 15 minutes)
  2. If accepted, we’ll invite you to an online training session to share all the introductory information you need
  3. We’ll then process a DBS check for you (you need this to work with children in the UK). 

Once that’s processed, you’ll be all set to sign up to a programme of your choice. We also partner with schools in London, Bristol, Sussex, Birmingham, Nottingham, Merseyside and Cheshire, Sheffield, Newcastle and County Durham. If you’re not based in any of these locations, you can volunteer as a tutor online

Questions?

Contact our friendly team at hello@actiontutoring.org.uk.

Going the extra mile: Employees run for a cause

20 July 2023

In a remarkable display of spirit, three extraordinary employees of Action Tutoring stepped up to the challenge to run for fundraising. Going beyond their day-to-day roles at our charity, Rachel, Beth, and Georgia embarked on sponsored runs, pushing their physical limits to raise funds to support tutoring disadvantaged young people. 

Let’s dive into their inspiring stories to find out what fuelled their motivations to conquer the challenge.

Conquering the Great Bristol Run

Rachel Roberts, our Bristol and Sussex Programme Manager, fearlessly tackled the renowned 2023 Great Bristol Run. With perfect weather conditions and an atmosphere charged with excitement, Rachel soared through the course, leaving her challenges in the dust.

“The running conditions were perfect, the weather was warm and windless, and the atmosphere was fantastic.”

Rachel

After the intense physical effort and fundraising effort of £165 which increases to £201 with Gift Aid, Rachel deservedly relaxed under the sun, sharing a well-earned celebratory drink with friends.

Rachel runs in Action Tutoring T-shirt

Reflecting on her experience, Rachel’s key piece of advice for future fundraisers undertaking a similar journey, is to make sure you tell your friends and family your estimated running time.

“Tell your spectators your estimated running time or they may miss you on the route.”

Rachel

Thriving in the heat of the Great Manchester Run

For Beth Carlow, the scorching heat on the day of the Great Manchester Run didn’t deter her from embracing the challenge. Our training and quality coordinator plunged into the race with an unwavering spirit. Live music, enthusiastic crowds, and bustling streets added an extra layer of excitement to the thrilling event.

The heat presented an additional physical hurdle for Beth.

“The toughest part was running in the heat, especially having completed most of the training in the more typical Manchester conditions of grey skies and drizzle.”

Beth

She proudly wore her hard-earned medal throughout the day, showcasing her achievement to the world. For those contemplating a similar challenge, Beth emphasized that participating in a race for charity is not only a fantastic way to raise funds for Action Tutoring but also serves as a powerful motivator during training and on race day. Beth raised £360 plus £56 through Gift Aid.

Trailblazing at the Wimbledon Common Half Marathon

Away from the loud cheers of other races, Georgia Pearson, the London Programme Coordinator embarked on the Wimbledon Common Half Marathon. With each stride,  Georgia relished the breathtaking experience of running amidst picturesque trails rather than the usual humdrum of city roads. 

Georgia said she found solace and strength in the run-through trails, a welcome distraction during challenging moments of the run.

“I really enjoyed the challenge of running a half-marathon and the fact that it was on trails rather than road running because it meant I could focus on the lovely surroundings when it got tough!”

Georgia

Beyond running along the scenic route, another highlight for Georgia was spotting The Wombles!

With the race behind her, Georgia was thrilled to witness the donations pouring in amounting to £625 plus £136 through Gift Aid – knowing that every contribution would support Action Tutoring’s impactful work.

“It was great to see the donations rolling in after I had completed the race and know that the money will support Action Tutoring’s work. It has definitely inspired me to take on bigger and more difficult challenges in the future”

Georgia

For aspiring runners, take note of Georgia’s advice: Just go for it and you won’t regret it.

Get involved to make a difference

Feeling inspired by the extraordinary achievements of Rachel, Beth, and Georgia?

Visit our fundraising page to learn more about how you can lace up your running shoes, take on a sponsored run to harness the power of your strides and become a hero for those in need.

Be a part of our mission to transform lives in many other ways – volunteer for an hour a week to support children, donate to our work or advocate to contribute to a brighter future for disadvantaged young people. 

Together, we can cross the finish line of opportunity and build brighter futures for every child.

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