Action Tutoring News

Back to school – Join our online or in person tutoring programmes!

10 January 2022

Our online tutoring and face to face programmes are operating as normal this term. If you want to become a tutor, you can join our incredible volunteers and help disadvantaged pupils receive the academic support they need in English and maths.

Action Tutoring gives tutors the opportunity to volunteer in schools and meet pupils in person. For those who wish to join our mission but find it difficult due to busy schedules, we offer online tutoring. It’s a great alternative to get involved and make a difference to pupils’ lives.

Online tutoring is the perfect choice if you’re not located near one of our schools or or are limiting your social contact due to the pandemic. Have a watch of our video to hear more about the benefits of volunteering with us:

Your support is needed more than ever. The school closures during lockdown significantly affected pupils from low-income families, increasing the academic attainment gap and, pushing them further behind their classmates.

That’s why we accelerated the development of our online tutoring provision so we could continue supporting pupils who needed our help and reach even more. We wouldn’t be able to achieve this without our inspiring volunteers and collaborative school partners.

All our volunteers receive mandatory induction training, complete the necessary safeguarding checks and receive additional resources and ongoing support from the team to help them develop as tutors.

If you are a primary or secondary school in England, why not consider partnering with us to provide additional support for your disadvantaged pupils and help them succeed.

Read more: How Action Tutoring’s partner schools benefit from our volunteers?

Online tuition provides additional targeted support to the pupils who need it the most.

How does online tutoring work?

Online tutoring can be a valuable resource for young people who need additional support, to help them achieve better results in school. It enabled us to increase our impact and reach more pupils across the country.

online tutoring

With the right tools, online learning can be both engaging and interactive. That’s why we use VEDAMO virtual classroom, a safe digital platform, to deliver online tuition. We can host live tutoring sessions, regardless of the location, create captivating learning experiences and easily manage the tutoring sessions and content.

Our Programme Coordinators are always on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly in our online and in person programmes.

What are the benefits of online tutoring?

ONLINE TUTORING

In our technology-rich 21st century, strong literacy and numeracy skills are necessary for pupils to be successful later in life. The foundations of these skills are laid early on and tutoring can contribute towards raising confident individuals who go on to actively contribute economically and socially to society as adults.

Location is no longer a barrier to involvement online tutoring. We can now recruit volunteer tutors from across the country and support children so that they can reach their full potential.

We want to make sure we provide the academic support disadvantaged pupils need by working with motivated volunteers and offering a safe learning space for young people. The power of technology can be valuable in helping us close the education gap.

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.


Action Tutoring supports schools right across this hilly city, from Oldland Common to Stoke Gifford. This term we are partnering with nine primary schools and six secondary schools delivering twenty-six tutoring programmes. It will come as no surprise that it is our third largest city in terms of programme delivery.

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.

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.

Get on your running shoes – it’s time to make a difference

4 October 2021

After what feels like a long time of being inside our homes, for many, exercise events repopulating our calendars has been truly welcomed. The year 2020 saw the cancellation and postponement of events happening left, right and centre, but in 2021, the Asics London 10K and Hackney Half made a come-back, and all of us at Action Tutoring have been thrilled to incorporate these events back into our annual fundraising campaigns.

London 10K

In the height of summer, on Sunday 25th July 2021, five brilliant runners made up of Action Tutoring staff and members of our volunteer community ran the Asics London 10k, raising over £1,400 for our work and pupils. CJ, one of Action Tutoring’s Training and Quality Coordinators, said:

“Running the Asics 10K for Action Tutoring was great fun for so many reasons! I’ve never been a speedy runner but I do enjoy it as a hobby and de-stressor, and having taken a long hiatus from big runs over lockdowns, it was nice to have a motivation to get going again. I was also very spurred on by my friends and family donating to my campaign, and it was a nice jumping-off point for chats with my network about Action Tutoring. Lastly, the day itself was great fun; I got to enjoy some live music, sightseeing and people-watching along the route (my highlights were a steel band, a bubble machine and a runner dressed as Spartacus) and meet up with some lovely Action Tutoring people after the race to go for some well-deserved chips!”

The pandemic has been challenging for us all, and some turned to trying new things and challenging their comfort zones. Heather Taylor, our Director of Finance and Operations, took up running as a hobby during the pandemic, and like CJ, challenged herself with the London 10K.

Hackney Half

As the weather began to cool down and leaves started to change around us, autumn was in the air. It was time for our staff and supporters to dig out their running shoes and Action Tutoring t-shirts again, in preparation for the Hackney Half, a half marathon which took place Sunday 26th September.

The Hackney Half takes runners through some key London sights, ranging from the Town Hall to the historic Broadway Market and Hackney Wick, with music and celebrations coined the ‘carnival of sound’ taking place across the running route’… just what the Doctor ordered after over a year of uncertainty and four walls! The team again consisted of Action Tutoring staff, including Adam, Director of Delivery, and a variety of Action Tutoring volunteers, with some even travelling from the Isle of Wight and Lancashire to support us! The event raised over £1,500, helping us to support even more pupils in need.

Mollie, one of our Partnership Coordinators, said:

“I got into running in the first lockdown in 2020. Only being able to leave the house once a day, I found running became a staple part of my routine and has now become crucial for my mental health. When the option for running the Hackney Half came up, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put my running to good use for an achievable challenge, whilst raising money for something I’m passionate about!”

Combined, our fantastic runners and fundraisers raised over £2,900, with each donation contributing towards supporting our work to close the attainment gap and help pupils catch up with lost learning through the pandemic. Did you know that £2,900 has the potential to provide 116 pupils with access to our online classroom for an entire academic year? It could also provide 290 pairs of workbooks for pupils and tutors for in-school programmes!

We’d like to thank all of our London 10K and Hackney Half runners for their dedication, training, perseverance and fundraising, in addition to all their generous donors who supported them, and us, through these inspiring events. Thanks also to Limelight Sports for their organisation of these runs.

Do you fancy a challenge for 2022? Get in touch with our Partnerships and Fundraising Manager, Hannah O’Neill, to secure your place at these two key events next year. Don’t fancy the run but you’re interested in making a donation to help our pupils? Contact Hannah: hannahoneill@actiontutoring.org.uk.

Together, we can all be the difference that makes the difference.

Spotlight on Chester: Going from strength to strength in one of Action Tutoring’s newer cities

30 September 2021

We want to reach as many pupils as possible to progress academically and so we were thrilled to expand into Chester earlier this year.

Chester is a vibrant city with important history (the best surviving Roman wall in Northern Europe), entertainment (Chester Zoo is the most visited wildlife attraction in the UK) and the oldest racecourse in the country and Britain’s oldest sporting venue in continual use.

As one of our newer regions, we started supporting young people in the area in early 2021 during the midst of the second Covid lockdown. It wasn’t an easy start as all the programmes had to begin online and with pupils logging in from home, while schools were such. However, delivery has gone from strength to strength since then.

The first schools we supported were in Helsby and Leftwich rather than in Chester city centre and because the programmes were online, it allowed pupils in these slightly more remote locations to experience the benefits of tutoring.

Fun fact: James Bond was born in Chester, well the current one was, Daniel Craig was born on 2nd March 1968.

We are delighted that this academic year we will be working with seven schools in the Chester area. Four of these are primary and three are secondary schools.

As one of our newer regions, we are working hard to grow our volunteer tutor community in the area and are keen to engage more volunteers locally to support on our face-to-face programmes.

We are well represented in the region by our programme coordinators in Chester, the excellent Cathy, who has been with Action Tutoring since August 2020 and the awesome Anna, who also joined us in 2020. Cathy grew up in the North West and is a fully qualified teacher whilst Anna was previously a trainer in safeguarding.

Always welcoming, Cathy and Anna need your support. So, if you live in Chester, are passionate about supporting young people and looking for a new and rewarding volunteering opportunity, sign up to tutor in our schools today.

Spotlight on Nottingham: The birthplace of Torvill and Dean and where Action Tutoring has been supporting disadvantaged pupils since 2019

27 September 2021

Nottingham. Birthplace of Torvill and Dean. Home to Raleigh Bikes. And since autumn 2019, where Action Tutoring has been supporting disadvantaged pupils to reach their potential.

Over the past two years, we have been working with schools in Nottingham to support the city’s disadvantaged pupils. Sadly, Nottingham has high levels of deprivation. It ranks eleventh out of the 317 districts in England – we wanted to help tackle this issue.

Our volunteer tutors have been going into schools and working directly with pupils from a range of backgrounds, who have greatly benefited from small group tuition.

Fun fact about Nottingham: The UK’s first radio phone-in took place on Radio Nottingham in 1968. It’s ‘thought topic’ was on pest control. 

Those who have been joining us for face-to-face tutoring have expressed not only how much they have enjoyed supporting our pupils, but also how much they have also benefited from volunteering with Action Tutoring. Tutors have learned new skills, gained tutoring experience and had the opportunity to give back to their local community.

Our work has even drawn the interest of local Nottingham MPs. Year 6 pupils at a local primary school were awash with excitement when Alex Norris, MP for Nottingham North, visited their programme last year. Being able to demonstrate the progress they had made in subject knowledge; study skills and confidence was a fantastic opportunity.

(L- R) Alex Norris, MP for Nottingham North, pictured alongside Jen Fox, Interim CEO of education charity Action Tutoring, during his visit to Heathfield Primary School in Kersall Drive, Nottingham. Photo: Friday 2nd July 2021. (Photo: Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post)

In 2021-22, we will be continuing our work, supporting young people across eight schools over 15 programmes. Coordinating this work are our passionate programme coordinators, the delightful Roxanne and Sam. Roxanne worked as a primary school teacher before joining Action Tutoring in 2020 and Sam recently graduated from University of Nottingham before also joining us last year.

“We can’t wait to get started. As programme coordinators, we love seeing the progression pupils make throughout the year – our end of programme celebrations are always a highlight. We come together – pupils, staff and tutors – to celebrate everything that has been achieved.”
Sam Paterson, Programme Coordinator for Nottingham

And we need your help to make all this possible. The pandemic has had a massive impact on young people’s education and here in Nottingham, we need your support with face-to-face tutoring.

Sign up today to be an in-person tutor and be part of something special or recommend us to a friend.

Action Tutoring confirmed as National Tutoring Programme Tuition Partner for a further three years

21 September 2021

Action Tutoring is thrilled to have been successful in its application to continue as a National Tutoring Programme (NTP) Tuition Partner for the next three years.

The charity has been proud to play its part in the catch up drive, and the support from the National Tutoring Programme in 2020-21 enabled the organisation to double its delivery, benefiting more pupils than ever before.

Following a successful pilot year of the National Tutoring Programme, the Government committed to a further three years of funding and appointed Randstad as its supplier. The process then began to recruit the approved Tuition Partners to deliver over this period.

With the support of the NTP, Action Tutoring hopes to increase its reach by an additional 60% this academic year and provide vital tutoring support for nearly 8,500 pupils. The charity aims to help those pupils who have been the hardest hit by the crisis, building their confidence and academic knowledge to enable them to reach their potential.

Action Tutoring can’t achieve these goals by itself, it needs the support of over 3,500 volunteer tutors to deliver the sessions.

With hundreds of opportunities to get involved across the country and online, it’s never been easier to give back. Just an hour a week of tutoring will help support a pupil to progress academically and make up for the time they have lost through the pandemic.

Apply now to become a volunteer tutor to start tutoring this academic year. Similarly, if you are interested in partnering with us as a school, please complete our initial enquiry form.

DAC Beachcroft strengthens support to Action Tutoring through a grant to fund our expansion across northern regions

6 September 2021

International law firm DAC Beachcroft announced it is providing Action Tutoring with a multi-year grant to fund a national expansion project.

The grant will support a ‘northern-belt’ programme, which will help us expand the offer of tutoring support to more disadvantaged school pupils across the north of England.

DACB first formed a corporate partnership with Action Tutoring two years ago, to provide English and Maths tutoring support to disadvantaged pupils in primary and secondary schools.

When we were named as one of the government’s National Tutoring Programme Tuition Partners to help disadvantaged school children to continue learning during lockdown, DACB expanded its support and today has 100 Action Tutoring volunteers in Bristol, London, Birmingham and Newcastle.

This constitutes five per cent of Action Tutoring’s UK-wide volunteering pool and makes DACB one of our largest corporate volunteering partners. In addition, the firm took proactive steps to donate laptops to schools for children without access to computers for home-learning.

Jen Fox, interim-CEO at Action Tutoring, says: “Throughout the pandemic it has been especially difficult for children who have not had the means to continue learning from home. During this time there has been a clear gap across the ‘northern belt’ of the UK, so we are keen to increase the number of tutoring programmes we’re delivering in this area to support more of the pupils who’ve been impacted. This grant is vital in helping us to realise our strategy of increasing the number of schools we work with by 60%, and will provide funding security as we move closer towards our vision of a world in which no child’s life chances are limited by their socio-economic background.

“DAC Beachcroft already has a large number of colleagues volunteering with us, ranging from recent graduates to members of the firm’s senior management team, who have delivered hours of invaluable support to disadvantaged pupils across our regions, and we would like to thank the firm for its ongoing support. Corporate partnerships are an important part of what allows us at Action Tutoring to make our programmes work effectively.”

Virginia Clegg, Senior Partner at DAC Beachcroft, volunteers as a tutor on one of our English programmes, delivering online sessions to pupils in London. She says: “Our work with Action Tutoring is an important part of our commitment to Corporate Responsibility and Inclusion and is enabling us to directly support our communities by helping disadvantaged children across the UK.

“We are delighted to extend our support for Action Tutoring through long term funding. We are providing the charity with the certainty needed to enable it to continue to grow.”

If you are interested in getting involved as a corporate partner, please contact our Partnerships and Fundraising Manager, Hannah O’Neill hannahoneill@actiontutoring.org.uk

Seven connections to help us create change

22 July 2021

Learn about Action Tutoring’s conversations with local MPs this summer.

We know that what happens on programmes is important. But in an average session, do the pupils and their tutors feel how significant their actions truly are?

Extra marks are gained, concepts are grasped for the first time, new future chances open up slightly more each time a pupil turns up and tries. But beyond individual growth, what happens matters on a greater scale. Everyone involved in our programmes is part of a nationwide movement, where people show up in the belief that a great education can make a more equal society.

Sometimes an opportunity arrives to show pupils and tutors that their efforts are being noticed. At 12pm on Friday 2nd July our Programme Coordinator, Sam, was about to set up for the usual afternoon session at Heathfield Primary School in Nottingham. Things felt a little different, though; two journalists and a camera person were expected at the school reception. The Member of Parliament for Nottingham North, Alex Norris, and our Interim CEO, Jen, would soon be arriving.

Not long after our first programme launched in Nottingham in 2019, Alex agreed to visit an Action Tutoring partner school to see the work being done. When the pandemic closed school doors, the visit couldn’t go ahead. Alex still helped us to get the word out to others at a crucial time via his newsletter.

It was an exciting moment, then, to finally welcome Alex to a session at Heathfield Primary School in July this year. Sam told us about the atmosphere on the day. “The pupils buzzed with a mixture of excitement and nervousness at the opportunity. Their heads were down and focused despite copious distractions. Some were even more studious than usual in a bid to impress their local representative!”

This was a chance for everyone to celebrate the admirable effort pupils had made since November. Sam could see how motivated they were to show off their work and quiz the MP. “The challenging questions they posed to Alex were certainly testament of this, as well as their working-strewn whiteboards which they returned to me at the end of the session.”

Less than a week later, a similar moment was about to happen at Ark Victoria Primary Academy in Birmingham. The committed MP for Yardley, Jess Phillips, had already witnessed local tutors working with pupils at another partner school back in 2018. But this time, circumstances were quite different. At 8am on Thursday 8th July, just before Jess arrived, tutors were logging in from Birmingham, Cambridgeshire, Exeter and beyond, ready to lead a productive and joyful final session with the Year 6s at Ark Victoria.

Justina has been tutoring at the school since last November and helped her pupils formulate questions to ask Jess Phillips during the visit. “It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to volunteer and support the learning of year six pupils remotely, at a primary school local to me in Birmingham.

“Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic over the last year, my pupils have shown enthusiasm, been willing to learn and have continued to make progress. I’m really looking forward to next year.”

This was the last session for Year 6 at Ark Vitoria after a big year. Another exceptional tutor, Elaine, has been on this journey with the pupils whilst living elsewhere in the country. “As the school year draws to a close, I am really reflecting on how lucky I have been to be able to work with the pupils at Ark Victoria Primary. They have been so cheerful and worked so hard – a great reminder to try our best when sometimes things seem too difficult. I work with Action Tutoring because I want to help young people achieve their best and am always amazed by how receptive the pupils are to the tuition – they always make me want to do more.”

Action Tutoring is hugely grateful to Alex Norris and Jess Phillips for their time and support for these pupils. Their active interest in our work locally has provided a special end to a year of hard work by all involved in our programmes. It has also already helped Action Tutoring forge new connections in the wider community.

Action Tutoring reaches out to local leaders each year, to highlight the benefits of our work and seek support in raising awareness of what we do. This summer, Action Tutoring has met with seven MPs nation-wide to share the progress its pupils are making in their constituency, despite the additional barriers these pupils face. This seven includes two members of the House of Commons Education Select Committee. Programmes succeed because of the hard work of people in the community – whether that’s the young people themselves, volunteer tutors or the essential school team. These conversations have helped us celebrate and showcase these efforts. Going forward, we hope that deepening these connections will help us to sustain and grow the impact of our work for the unique and vibrant children and young people on our programmes.

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Action Tutoring warmly welcomes Randstad as the new NTP delivery partner and reflects on the year so far

2 June 2021

Action Tutoring would like to extend a warm welcome to Randstad as the new National Tutoring Programme (NTP) supplier for the next three years. 

The NTP is a positive initiative that is helping disadvantaged young people recover from the educational disruption caused by the pandemic and Action Tutoring is pleased that this support will be continuing. The charity hopes many more disadvantaged pupils across the country can benefit from this academic support and stand a strong chance of reaching their full potential.  

Action Tutoring would like to thank the EEF, Sutton Trust, Nesta, Impetus and Teach First for leading the NTP in its pilot year, in the face of many challenges.  There have been plenty of positive learnings from this year which will help develop an even stronger programme to reach many more young people next year.  

Action Tutoring has been proud to play its part in the catch up drive, working with the NTP, and we look forward to submitting our application to continue as an NTP Tuition Partner over the next three years. 

Thanks to the NTP’s support this year, we have been able to grow more than ever before. This has enabled us to reach many more disadvantaged pupils, those who have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. 

There’s still half a term left of this academic year and we have already been able to reach 4,804 pupils, since October, with our tutoring support. That’s over double the number of pupils we supported last year.

This simply would not have been possible without our incredible volunteer tutors.  2,515 tutors have given their time for free to help our pupils this year, ensuring they are able to make up for the time they lost during the pandemic.  Again, that’s over twice the number of volunteers who supported us last year and we are so grateful to each one.  

Together they have been able to deliver an astonishing 23,573 tutoring sessions, both face to face and online while schools were open and to pupils at home when the schools were shut.

We’re looking forward to working with our partner schools for the rest of the term and seeing our pupils continue to succeed!

To get involved as a volunteer tutor, or to partner as a school, please visit the links below.

Action Tutoring launches programmes in new cities across England

23 April 2021

At Action Tutoring, our vision is a world in which no child’s life chances are limited by their socio-economic background. We wish to support as many disadvantaged pupils as we can, across as many regions as possible, to close the attainment gap and help these pupils fulfil their potential.

That’s why we’re delighted to announce the expansion of our current reach to new cities across the Midlands, North West and North East of England.

This means that with the help of our dedicated volunteer tutors, we will be able to deliver more sessions across the country, helping more disadvantaged pupils catch up on the learning they have missed as a result of the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Become a volunteer

The story so far

Action Tutoring began in London in 2011 and in 2014, we expanded to partner with schools in Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Sheffield and Sussex, before reaching Newcastle in 2017 and Nottingham in 2019.

During our time in these cities, we have made valuable relationships with schools, volunteer centres and other local organisations, in order to spread the word about the work that we do, with aims of having a positive impact on the local community.

Now, 10 years after our very first sessions took place, we are excited to be expanding further, reaching schools in Coventry and Derby in the Midlands, Chester and Southport in the North West and Durham in the North East.

Head of Delivery, Adam Geach, said, “It’s fantastic that we have been able to expand the work we are doing and partner with schools that we have previously been unable to support.

Previously we have been limited to working in large cities due to the restraints of our volunteers, however with the development of our online model, we are now able to support schools further afield. This means we are able to reach and support disadvantaged pupils from different communities, where the inequality gap is stark.”

Adam added, ‘It’s fantastic to see our programme coordinators work so closely with the schools and to have tutors from across the country support pupils from these areas.”

For more information about the schools we are working with, please visit our Where We Work pages.

The benefits of online tutoring

Programmes in these new cities are currently all online, with pupils entering virtual classrooms from school, while tutors join remotely from across the country, as we build our pool of amazing volunteers in these areas to support pupils at local schools.

Programme Coordinator for Chester, Cathy Cartwright, said, “Since January we have launched six programmes in five different schools across Cheshire West and Cheshire, supporting pupils in Years 5,7,10 and 11.

“With these being online programmes, tutors from all across the country have been able to support pupils in Chester develop their confidence and subject knowledge in their English and/or maths.”

Partner as a school 

Get Involved

If you live in one of these cities and would like to help disadvantaged pupils in your community catch up on the learning they have missed, please apply now using our application form.

Similarly, if you are a school in one of these cities and would like to get involved, please enquire via our school inquiry form.

We are also always looking to expand further, so please get in touch even if we aren’t currently running programmes in your region.

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