Action Tutoring News

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.”


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.”


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.”


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


Contact our friendly team at

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.”


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.”


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.”


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!”


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”


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.

Deputy CEO shortlisted for prestigious Charity Times Awards

29 June 2023

Action Tutoring’s deputy CEO, Jen Fox, has been shortlisted in the Supporting Leader of the Year category for the Charity Times Awards. In its 24th year, the Charity Times Awards recognises and celebrates outstanding leaders and professionals in the charity sector.

Since joining Action Tutoring in 2015, Jen has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to making high-quality education accessible for all. Susannah Hardyman, founder and CEO of Action Tutoring, said the nomination is a clear testament to Jen’s phenomenal leadership skills, resilient spirit, and drive for transformational positive change.

“We couldn’t be more delighted to have Jen’s skills and contributions recognised publicly in this way. Jen has transformed the delivery of our programmes, in particular developing our curriculum and tutoring resources, driving improvements in tutor training and ensuring impact remains at the heart of all we do.”

Susannah Hardyman

Rose to the challenge

Having worked across a multitude of roles in the last seven years at the education charity, ranging from Programme and Curriculum Director to Director of Transformation, Quality, and Impact, Jen has consistently modelled excellence in all of her work and relationships.

Appointed interim CEO twice before being promoted to Deputy CEO in 2022, Jen navigated the charity through one of its most turbulent academic years to date. During the Covid-19 pandemic with multiple school closures,  Jen rose to the challenge and was at the forefront of launching the online tutoring delivery in record time.

Jen and Susannah Hardyman at No. 10
Jen Fox and Susannah Hardyman at No. 10

Bedrock of support

Jen’s undeterred leadership and love for innovation and quality improvement have enabled us to make online tutoring delivery a permanent feature, build impact evidence, and support more disadvantaged young people in new geographies.

As a bedrock of support to our CEO in a fulfilling but tough sector, Jen has constantly maintained a laser-sharp focus on our mission to unlock the full potential of the young people we support.

“Jen is an inspiration for all of us to work with – always looking to challenge herself and the team to drive improvements and make a profound difference in the lives of disadvantaged young people and communities we serve.”

Susannah Hardyman

The 24th Charity Times Awards is set for 20th September 2023 at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, where the winners selected by an expert independent judging panel will be publicly announced.

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.

‘Thank You’ notes from pupils that warmed our hearts in spring term

26 April 2023

We can think of thousands of reasons why working with children brings us joy, purpose, and fulfilment. But what’s even more heart warming is when the children you support recognise your impact on their lives and share inspiring thank-you notes of appreciation. Thank you, tutors!

Despite the odd challenge of managing children during sessions, their boundless energy, honesty and humour keep us all going.

Watching pupils grow in subject knowledge and confidence is even more motivating for our volunteers who spend an hour each week to help them improve their English and maths skills.

With summer term just beginning, let’s throwback to some of the remarkable words and notes of gratitude some pupils shared with our volunteers and programme team in schools last term.

1. Being a child’s favourite grey-haired person is indeed a compliment!

2. Sometimes, playing is learning and learning is playing. Finding the best approach for every child is essential.

3. Appreciation in poetry

Aww! Now, who’s cutting onions?

4. Group high-5 for Brenda

5. World’s best!

6. The best tutor award goes to…

7. Is there anything like positive anger?

8. Tutoring goes beyond knowledge. Changes behaviours and attitudes too.

9. Levelling up

10. Certainly a good use of time!

Why we do what we do

These words of appreciation and witnessing a pupil grow from strength to strength are why we do what we do.

Why not join us and shape a child’s future by volunteering an hour a week to help them improve their academic performance in English or maths?

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