Events

Celebrating Volunteers’ Week

7 June 2024

Picture of the Volunteers' Week logo.

This week, we’re celebrating 40 years of Volunteers’ Week to inspire more people to make a difference in their communities.

Be part of the week and join The Big Help Out

This year Volunteers’ Week will also lead up to The Big Help Out, from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th June. The event will give people the chance to experience a range of volunteer taster sessions. 

Picture of our Action Tutoring volunteer group.

Find out more about volunteering as a tutor by signing up to our Big Help Out online information session, below. 

Meet our vital volunteer tutors

We chatted to some of this year’s Action Tutoring volunteer award winners to find out more about why they value volunteering.

Picture of Action Tutoring volunteer Steve Hackett.

Action Tutoring volunteer, Steve.

Steve is one of our many invaluable volunteer tutors. As an Action Tutoring Volunteer Awards 2024 winner, he knows first-hand the power of giving back. 

“I love the occasions when a pupil makes a connection or suddenly understands a concept,” Steve says. 

Picture of Action Tutoring volunteer Laura Shepherd.

Action Tutoring volunteer tutor, Laura.

Laura feels similarly. A fellow volunteer award winner, Laura’s desire to become a teacher led her to join Action Tutoring as a volunteer tutor. 

A charity which supports pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds with their English and maths education, Laura was eager to sign up. 

“Action Tutoring’s values really align with mine as they aim to help every pupil who needs support,” Laura says.

“By volunteering, I enjoy knowing how much of a difference being a tutor can make for pupils.”

Picture of Action Tutoring volunteer Claire Gregson.

Action Tutoring volunteer tutor, Claire.

Claire certainly recognises the need to give pupils “a bit of extra support”, particularly during times of global change. Retiring early from banking just as Covid arrived, she was inspired to become a volunteer tutor to support children affected.

“I felt some children were disadvantaged by the lockdown and I wanted to do something to help,” Claire says.

“Volunteering with Action Tutoring was the perfect opportunity.”

Picture of Action Tutoring volunteer tutor Heather Halls.

Action Tutoring volunteer, Heather.

Heather also knows how volunteering as a tutor really matters. Currently a medical research scientist, her maths and literacy passion was also another motivating factor in her joining Action Tutoring. 

“The small skills learnt and continued practice soon add up to increase pupils’ knowledge enormously,” Heather says. 

“By volunteering, pupils benefit from this special session time to focus on learning in a way which works for them.”

Steve, Laura, Claire and Heather were chosen as Action Tutoring Volunteer Awards 2024 winners for going above and beyond. Put forward by our programme coordinators, they have completed more than 300 tutoring sessions between them since 2022. 

So what keeps them motivated to volunteer so often and for so long?

Steve, who recently retired from being a manager in engineering, adds: “It seems harder than ever for young people to find their way in life. 

“So I wanted to continue helping in some way and by volunteering, seeing the light of understanding in a pupil’s eyes is the most rewarding feeling of all.” 

Laura, who enjoys reading, walking and music in her spare time, adds: “I’ve had many volunteer tutor highlights. 

“I love making the sessions as enjoyable as possible for all. 

“Seeing the pupils get involved in sessions after they’d sometimes initially doubted themselves, makes me smile and want to volunteer.”

Heather, who is currently based in Oxford, adds: “I have a passion for supporting children to fulfil their potential in life. 

“By volunteering, you see how the children develop in confidence over time and work together in a supportive team.” 

And what about Claire, who has tutored more than 100 sessions since volunteering with Action Tutoring last year? 

“I love getting to know the children and showing them learning can be fun,” Claire says. 

“I love volunteering because if I can give young people that bit of extra support, it feels very satisfying; win win.

Picture of our Action Tutoring volunteer group.

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.

Volunteers Week 2024 – three ways you can get involved

12 January 2024

Every year in June the UK comes together to celebrate the incredible contribution of volunteers in our communities. Volunteers’ Week 2024 takes place from 1st to 7th June. Among other things, it’s a fantastic opportunity to say thank you to the amazing people who give their time and energy to make a difference.

Who are volunteers?

Volunteers are our neighbours, friends, and family members who give their time to causes they care about. They come from all walks of life and all ages, and they contribute to our communities in countless ways. Here’s a breakdown of Action Tutoring volunteers occupations out of those who applied in 2023:

Surprised to see such a mix? You’re not alone. Many see volunteering as something you do as a student to build your CV, or in retirement to get involved with your community. But many from other occupations volunteer, too. Employers value volunteering for a multitude of reasons, as it benefits both the employee and the organisation in terms of skills development, and it shows the company as being socially responsible and caring of the community in which they operate.

tutor with two secondary school pupils
Joanna Ball, tutor at Dalmain Primary School, Forest Hill, London

Why is Volunteers’ Week important?

Volunteers’ Week is important because it gives us a chance to:

  • Say thank you: It’s a chance to say a big thank you to all the volunteers who give their time so generously. 
  • Raise awareness: It’s a chance to raise awareness of the vital role that volunteers play in our communities.
  • Inspire others: It’s a chance to inspire more people to get involved in volunteering. There are so many ways to make a difference in your community, or further afield, and Volunteers’ Week is a great time to start.

So, how can I get involved?

There are many ways to get involved in Volunteers’ Week, whether you’re a seasoned volunteer or you’re thinking about volunteering for the first time. Here are our top three:

  1. Share your volunteering story.

If you’re a volunteer, share your story on social media using the hashtag #VolunteersWeek and tag the charity. Social media is an important tool for charities to reach new volunteers and spread awareness. Your story could inspire someone else to volunteer, donate or fundraise. 

  1. Attend a Volunteers’ Week event: 

There are hundreds of events happening across the UK throughout Volunteers’ Week, from volunteer recruitment fairs to celebration events. Closer to the time, search for events near you to find out how you can get involved.

  1. Find a volunteering opportunity: 

If you’re interested in volunteering, there are many websites and organisations that can help you find an opportunity that’s right for you, like Do-It or Charity Job. You could also find your local volunteer centre.

If you’re interested in volunteering as a tutor for an hour a week, click the button below to find out more.

Our volunteer stories

“Tutoring is one of the few things I do that gives me real satisfaction, enjoyment, and self-fulfilment. It’s very rewarding to be able to give something back to your community.”

Youcef, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at TFL

Read Youcef’s story.

“Online tutoring is great because it enables so many more tutors to help – you literally can give one hour a week. And if you’re doing other exciting things in your life, you can actually do it from different places, as long as you’ve got a laptop with you.”

Sally, retired optometrist

Read Sally’s story

“In terms of resources for classes, I had never written a class resource, I had no idea where to start. So having the workbooks that we’re all working with, and having them all every week with the templates was great, because it meant I was able to participate [alongside my studies]. In terms of time consumption, it would just take me half an hour to read over answers and read over the lesson plan before going into the session.”

Eilidh, student at the University of Aberdeen

Read Eilidh’s story

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and learn more about Volunteers’ Week. We hope we’ve inspired you to get involved in some way!

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

Donate to our Big Give Christmas Challenge this Giving Tuesday

28 November 2023

In 2012, in the heart of New York City, the seeds of Giving Tuesday were sown with a vision to inspire a wave of radical generosity and celebrate the act of giving. Since then, it has grown into a global movement, motivating millions to contribute their time and resources to charities and communities in need.

Each year, on November 28th, following the Thanksgiving festivities and the shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is commemorated with the hope that the spirit of giving will capture the attention of people who’ve just enjoyed a shopping spree, encouraging them to donate and volunteer.

Giving Tuesday marks the start of The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2023, which will run for one week until the 5th of December. Action Tutoring is taking part in the challenge for the fourth time, with our biggest target yet!

Our Big Give Christmas Challenge 2023

The Big Give Christmas Challenge is the UK’s largest match-funding campaign. A match-funded campaign consists of a “match-fund” pot that is used to double online donations made during campaign week. This means that one donation has twice the impact! 

Our target this year is bigger than ever – £6,000. From 28th November – 5th December, any amount we raise will be doubled from our pledge fund, generously added to by our pledgers and champion funders, the Scouloudi Foundation.

The raised amount will go towards vital programme delivery, providing pupils with high-quality workbooks and noise-cancelling headphones, and tutors with enhanced DBS checks.

#YouInspiredMe: The power of educators

Our 2023 Big Give Christmas Challenge is on the theme #YouInspiredMe, spotlighting the remarkable influence of teachers and tutors on the lives of young individuals and the enduring impact of their efforts well into adulthood. We want to thank these exceptional educators whilst recognising the importance of education during this festive time of giving.

We firmly believe that everyone possesses something unique to give, whether it’s their skills, knowledge, money, time, or simply their voice to champion a cause close to their heart.

A pupil receiving tutoring

The recent challenges with giving against the growing need

We all recognise that the past year has brought its own set of challenges. A global pandemic, rising inflation, and the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza have all put a strain on people’s capacity to give. According to the CAF’s 2023 UK Giving Report, giving has still not recovered to pre-pandemic levels and the cost-of-living crisis has led a quarter of people to alter their charitable behaviours or are planning on doing so. 

Volunteering levels have also declined, with 1.6 million fewer volunteers than five years ago.

Despite these challenges, our pupils need support more than ever. The academic attainment gap is at its widest in a decade and the demand for tutoring in schools continues to rise. We cannot stand idly by as disadvantaged children struggle to meet expected performance standards and face limited opportunities for future careers.

Your contribution, no matter how big or small, can make a lasting impact. This Giving Tuesday and for the Big Give Christmas Challenge, support us to ensure more children receive necessary academic support.

A pupil excited about tutoring

How to give and support our work

Donate to our Big Give Christmas Challenge on our campaign page from November 28th to December 5th. Don’t forget that your donation will be doubled! One donation equals twice the impact.

Volunteer as a tutor – You can tutor students in English or maths at primary or secondary levels, either online or in-person, dedicating just one hour per week.

If you’re unable to give your time or make a donation, you can still support our cause by spreading the word. Share this blog with friends, family, and on your social media platforms, using our hashtag #YouInspiredMe

As we celebrate Giving Tuesday, let’s continue to support the causes close to our hearts. Kindness and acts of generosity are essential to empowering children and young people to unlock their academic potential. Together, we can make a difference and inspire change.

Our Big Give campaign video

Black History Month: Breaking barriers in education for better outcomes

26 October 2023

October is Black History Month in the UK – a time to celebrate the historic achievements and contributions of the Black community. For us, it’s also a prime opportunity to take a closer look at the state of education for young Black people and explore ways to make it more fair and inclusive for the future.

Before the pandemic’s disruption to learning, pupils from Black ethnic backgrounds, on average, scored the lowest GCSE pass rates among all major ethnic groups. However, the most recent GCSE results show remarkable progress, as Black students achieved English and math pass rates similar to their peers from other ethnic backgrounds.

How can we ensure this positive trajectory continues to enable even better outcomes for young Black people in education and as they progress into employment or training?

As part of our Black History Month activities at Action Tutoring, our PR, Media and Policy manager, Henry Derben had a thought-provoking chat with Hannah Wilson, co-founder of Diverse Educators, development consultant, coach, and trainer of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practice. With Hannah’s extensive background in education, including roles such as head of secondary teacher training, executive headteacher, and vice-chair of a trust board, the conversation delved into the critical issue of enhancing educational outcomes for young Black students.

Here are highlights of the dialogue:

Do you think the UK curriculum adequately covers and teaches Black History extensively today?

Many schools are trying to improve, but they are also longstanding gaps. The issue of focusing too much on celebrating Black Americanness during Black History Month often comes up. We tend to emphasize the American civil rights movement and well-known Black figures. But many schools miss the mark by neglecting the rich history of UK Black identities. While it’s encouraging that schools are making more efforts, we should aim for a future where Black culture and identity are integrated throughout the curriculum.

We need to focus on the complexity and intersectionality of Black identities, including Black women, Black queer individuals, and Black disabled people. Our celebration of Black History should be more specific and inclusive.

Referencing a 2020 House of Commons briefing paper, which stated that Black ethnic students had the lowest rate of attaining standard passes in English and math GCSEs among major ethnic groups. What contributed to this performance trajectory?

When we look at the data, it’s clear that there is a performance gap, and it’s not just about grades. It’s also about the career satisfaction and the salary gap that many Black individuals experience. The challenge lies in the lack of representation, diversity, and inclusivity in various sectors, including education and employment. Schools need to be more intentional about who they present as role models to show what is possible. If we want to change these patterns, we need to disrupt the status quo and create a conscious investment in mentoring, coaching, and advocating for individuals to access opportunities that might not have been available to them otherwise.

Representation within the workforce is another key aspect. We need to address the lack of Black representation in leadership positions, not only in schools but also in higher education.

Research has shown that disadvantage starts very early in a child’s life. Children from low-income backgrounds often begin school four and a half months behind their more affluent peers. What can be done in the early years to help break this cycle of disadvantage and ensure that young Black people make progress and catch up?

It’s important to start with the curriculum. The curriculum in the early years should be diverse and inclusive. We need to focus on representation and ensure that Black children see themselves reflected in the materials, stories, and experiences they encounter. However, we need to move beyond simply adding diversity as a “bolt-on.” The representation should be integral to the curriculum, not an afterthought. We also need to consider the intersectionality of identities and recognize the unique experiences of Black children. Ultimately, we must work to dismantle systemic and structural barriers by creating intentional strategies that promote inclusivity.

Black History Month - young pupils

Moving to the primary and secondary levels, are there specific policies that can help address performance inequalities at these stages, beyond tutoring?

It has to start with the curriculum, surely tutoring and mentoring all of those interventions like mediation support mechanisms are so powerful, we know that make up the difference. But what are we actually doing to challenge the root causes? We have to stop softball. We’re often throwing money at the problem, but not actually fixing the problems or doing things differently. We need to revisit and rethink how we structure the school day, who is doing the teaching, what is being taught, and how it’s being taught.

There’s a need for a fundamental disruption in the way we approach education. Schools should think about the intersectionality of identities and be intentional about representation and cultural relevance in their pedagogy. It’s not enough to provide pockets of representation; we must ensure that representation is consistent across the curriculum. We need to address the concrete ceiling that often prevents Black individuals from accessing leadership opportunities. Career guidance, sponsorship, and mentoring should be part of the solution to break these patterns. Collective action is essential to create lasting change.

Shifting our focus to parents and guardians, they play a crucial role in a child’s early years and education. What can parents and guardians do to contribute to positive change within the education system?

Schools need to work more closely with parents and create a partnership based on equity and democracy. Often, schools tell parents what they need to do, and there’s an imbalance in the power dynamic. We need to involve parents in the decision-making process and truly listen to their voices and perspectives. Thinking about how we work with parents and create a true partnership and collaboration. That to me, is what some schools perhaps need to revisit – their kind of plans, commitment, or the ways they work with different stakeholders. Engaging parents more closely is definitely a way of helping them get involved in schools so they’re part of that change cycle.

Finally, in the context of Black History Month and improving outcomes for young Black people, what is your call to action for everyone?

My call to action is for more individuals, particularly those in White-majority spaces, to become allies. Reflect on your own experiences with schooling, curriculum, and identity affirmation. Recognize that representation and diversity matter. Challenge the gaps and biases in the system, and work intentionally to create change. Be aware of the positive impact that representation can have on young people. It’s essential to disrupt stereotypes and ensure representation is consistent across all subjects. We need to take collective action to create a more inclusive and equitable education system.

Targeted support for young Black people

Hannah’s insights underscore the urgency of addressing the disparities in our education system. By offering targeted support, improving the curriculum, breaking systematic barriers and taking collective action, we not only acknowledge the unique challenges young Black people might encounter but also send a powerful message that their experiences, voices, and perspectives matter. Ultimately, nurturing Black pupils’ growth and well-being not only enriches their educational journey but also contributes to a more diverse, empathetic, and socially conscious society as a whole.

As Black History Month is being marked across the UK, let’s heed the call to action and take collective steps toward a more and empowering education system that taps and nurtures the potential of all young Black students.

Student Volunteering Week 2024 – what to expect

20 October 2023

Student Volunteering Week 2024 is approaching and you might be thinking – what is it? What’s the point? And, most importantly; how can I get involved?

What is Student Volunteering Week?

Student Volunteering Week is an annual event that celebrates and promotes student volunteering across the UK. It encourages students to:

  • Engage in volunteer activities
  • Develop valuable skills for their future
  • Make a positive impact on the communities in which they live.

When will Student Volunteering Week 2024 take place?

Student Volunteering Week 2024 is happening from Monday 12th to Sunday 18th February 2024.

What to expect from Student Volunteering Week 2024 

If you’re a student, it’s likely that your university will be hosting one or more events during the week. These might include:

  • Sessions on getting into volunteering
  • Charity spotlights, or volunteer days with specific charities
  • Volunteering fairs
  • Taster workshops

You can check your university volunteering service, careers or student union page for information on what activities they’re hosting throughout the week.

What types of volunteering opportunities are available to me as a student?

The world is your oyster! There are a huge range of opportunities to get involved in, depending on your interests and skills. Here are some common categories of volunteering you can get involved in:

  • Conservation: opportunities include tree planting, cleanups and habitat restoration.
  • Education: tutor or mentor younger pupils who would benefit from your help. 
  • Community: students can volunteer at local community centres, food banks, or shelters.
  • Elderly: provide companionship or assistants to seniors at home or in nursing homes.
  • International volunteering: some students choose to volunteer abroad, contributing to projects related to education, healthcare or construction.

Why do students volunteer?

Most of the reasons students volunteer are shared by all volunteers – to give back, explore interests and build a sense of purpose.

Another key motivation is that volunteering provides an opportunity to gain practical experience in a specific field. Volunteering can help students build their CVs and enhance their skills in preparation for future careers. 

Some students get involved in volunteering as part of their university course. This can be in the form of a placement, volunteering module or a work-based learning module.

It’s also a great opportunity to network. At Action Tutoring, many of our staff members volunteered with us before taking the opportunity to join our staff team!


“During my university placement, I tutored both online and face-to-face and really enjoyed seeing the impact of the work I was doing with the pupils in real-time. I enjoyed tutoring more and more with every session.

My interest in the charity sector and my passion for reducing educational inequality spurred me on to apply for the role of North West Programme Coordinator! This role has enabled me to deepen my understanding of the education charity sector and develop within myself as a young professional.”

– Laura, North West Programme Coordinator

How can I find out more about volunteering with Action Tutoring?

To find out more about volunteering with Action Tutoring this Student Volunteering Week 2024, just head to our volunteer page, or check out our role description.

Already an Action Tutoring volunteer, and want to get involved in Student Volunteering Week 2024?

There are a number of ways in which you can get involved and help us to grow our volunteer community.

  • Post on social media about your experiences volunteering with us. This could be your “why”, sharing our impact data, your top tutoring tip or a volunteering highlight. Don’t forget to tag us! 
  • Get creative on TikTok. It goes without saying that you can’t film your pupils, but we’d love to see your journey to/from your programme, session highlights or any advice you have for new volunteers who are thinking about getting involved.
  • Write a blog on your experiences volunteering. Most university volunteering or careers services have a blog to share volunteer experiences and shine a light on different charities.

So, we hope you’ve come away with at least one idea of how to get involved in Student Volunteering Week! A huge thank you to all students who are already volunteering alongside their studies and making a difference in their communities.

Could you make your gift go further? #TickTheBox

5 October 2023

Could you help us make £1.25 out of £1 by ticking the box for Gift Aid?

Gift Aid is one of the simplest and most effective ways of giving to charity. When a UK taxpayer makes a donation to a charity, that charity is eligible to receive an additional 25% of the donated amount. 

The arrangement serves as a tax relief mechanism benefiting charities in the UK, ultimately boosting contributions without any additional cost to the donor.

What is Gift Aid awareness day?

5th of October each year is Gift Aid Awareness Day. This is an initiative run by the Charity Finance Group to raise awareness of the importance of Gift Aid.

Why you should #TickTheBox

Action Tutoring is registered for Gift Aid, allowing us to claim an extra 25% on every donation from His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC). But this is only possible when donors tick the Gift Aid box. 

If you are eligible for Gift Aid and can tick the box, your donation could go even further. Gift Aid can add up to substantial amounts and really makes a difference at Action Tutoring and to the lives of the young people we support.

“When you #TickTheBox, we get an extra 25% donation at absolutely no cost to the donor. If you do pay tax, it’s such an easy way to support your charity of choice without any extra effort. It helps us to do more of the great things we already do! I always #TickTheBox when I donate to any cause I care about. As a fundraiser, I know what a difference it makes to charities,”

Hannah O’Neill, Head of Philanthropy at Action Tutoring
Watch this video to learn more about Gift Aid Awareness Day

Donating to Action Tutoring with JustGiving

You can donate to Action Tutoring through JustGiving. After you have entered your donation amount and confirmed that the donation is your own money, you will be asked to add Gift Aid and tick the box.

Donating to Action Tutoring by bank transfer

If you are donating via bank transfer, or have a direct debit with us and would like to add Gift Aid, it’s really simple.

Just reach out to our Fundraising Coordinator, Molly, on molly.cottrill@actiontutoring.org.uk, to ask for a Gift Aid Declaration form, which only takes a couple of minutes to fill out.

Tutoring session - tick the box

Thank you for your donations and support

Your support for Action Tutoring is invaluable and we couldn’t provide our vital tutoring service without you. Gift Aid can make your support go further, allowing us to help more disadvantaged young people to reach their academic potential.

“We use the extra donations to support our pupils even further. Donations and Gift Aid help us provide more pupils with workbooks, headphones and access to our online classroom, with every high-quality tutoring session moving them closer to success in key exams,”

Hannah O’Neill, Head of Philanthropy at Action Tutoring

If you cannot add Gift Aid, your donation still creates a lasting impact, and we value every contribution you can make.

Please refer to this link for more government guidance on Gift Aid eligibility and conditions.

Teaching Assistants Day: Recognising the vital role TAs play

29 September 2023

Teaching assistants, often referred to as TAs in the education system, support teachers with their work and help pupils with reading, writing, and learning activities in schools. TAs make up over a quarter of the workforce in schools, with a population of 281,100 full-time teaching assistants across the UK, as at last academic year.

From preschools to universities, TAs contribute significantly to the outcomes of young people and the overall quality of education. Their duties vary according to the education level they work in but generally include helping pupils with topics they’re struggling with, assisting SEND pupils who need extra support to complete tasks, helping teachers to plan learning activities, conducting assessments as well as supporting teachers in managing class behaviour.

National TA Day

Teacher recruitment agency, Teaching Personnel, introduced National Teaching Assistants’ Day in 2012 to celebrate and highlight the vital work teaching assistants do in our classrooms daily. Since then, the UK has marked National Teaching Assistants’ Day on 29 September with schools across the country celebrating their own TAs and nominating their favourites for the Teaching Assistant of the Year award.

The TA Experience

Action Tutoring’s marketing manager, Kellie Coyle recounts her experience as a TA in a primary school in Luton, north of London after completing university in Birmingham.

“I became a TA to help me decide whether or not I wanted to go into the teaching profession and commit to teacher training. I decided I didn’t, but loved the experience nonetheless.”

Kellie’s best part about being a TA was working in small intervention groups outside of the classroom.

“It was great to observe my groups enjoying the subject a bit more as a result of being able to go at their own pace and to see their confidence increase.”

However, the support needed in the primary school was more than Kellie had imagined.

“My least favourite part was seeing that many pupils in the classroom needed this kind of support, and not being able to give them all that extra attention.”

Supporting pupils

The Challenges

Despite their impact, teaching assistants in the UK face a unique set of challenges. There is a crisis for teaching assistant recruitment and retention as a survey found that three-quarters had thought about leaving in the past year.

With the cost of living crisis, many TAs are struggling financially and being compelled to change jobs or take second jobs to supplement their income. This finding is captured in a new report by National Foundation for Educational Research. Teachers and school leaders in the report highlighted how the crisis is leading TAs to quit in favour of better-paid jobs in other sectors such as hospitality and retail as they offer either increased pay or more working hours. Since the pandemic, while most roles offer hybrid, remote, and other flexible working conditions, TAs don’t have the option of working from home.

Additionally, limited opportunities for professional development often leave them feeling undervalued and overlooked. Furthermore, the emotional toll of working with young people facing a myriad of challenges, from poverty to mental health issues, can be overwhelming. Many teaching assistants form deep bonds with their students and carry the weight of their struggles long after the school day ends.

Effective deployment of TAs

An Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) guidance report released in 2021, Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants, found that the typical methods of deploying TA did not yield positive results in terms of pupil attainment.

The report recommended more investment in the professional development of TAs to deliver more structured interventions to complement high-quality teaching and tutoring support in schools.

While it’s abundantly clear that TAs make meaningful contributions to their schools, it’s imperative to recognise that the key to enhancing pupil outcomes hinges on how they are deployed and upskilled to deliver interventions.

A nation’s gratitude

TA Day is a chance to shine a well-deserved spotlight on them and for schools, parents, and pupils to show their gratitude for the dedication and hard work of TAs.

As you reflect on the education journey of your own child or your own learning experience, remember the teaching assistants who played pivotal roles in shaping your path. Take a moment to appreciate their support, guidance, and the positive impact they’ve made on countless lives.

“My message to TAs as we celebrate this day is thank you for being that positive, friendly, crucial pillar of support for so many pupils – they will always remember you.”

Kellie

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.

Volunteers take on Hackney Half Marathon to raise funds

22 June 2023

The six runners raced for 13 miles at Hackney Half to raise over £2700 to support tutoring


The atmosphere at Hackney Marshes, the start and end point for the Hackney Half Marathon, was electrifying. Throngs of supporters had lined up the streets of the 13.1 mile course.

From shaking tambourines and blowing loud whistles to chanting runners’ names, motivation from the hundreds of thousands of cheering crowds was on full display.

A field of 24,000 runners who signed up for the half marathon were ready to push their minds and bodies to the finish line. Among the runners were six volunteers – Sam, Rhea, Tom, Luke, August, and James – taking on the challenge to raise funds in support of Action Tutoring’s mission.

The run started from the Hackney Marshes, through some of East London’s creative and popular spots including Broadway Market, Hackney Empire, Hackney Wick and Victoria Park.

Ramon, a finance administrator at Action Tutoring, was one of supporters cheering the runners on, alongside their family and friends at the finish line.

It had a festival-like atmosphere with music playing, buzzing energy and a great community spirit to encourage runners to push through to the very end.

Ramon

Physical toll

Running for 13.1 miles, an equivalent of 21 kilometres, is no mean feat and presents a massive challenge to the body. It exerts a physical toll that Tom, one of our brilliant volunteer runners, found out quite early-on in the race.

Tom volunteer runner
Tom – volunteer runner

I had sort of shin splints and knee problems throughout the entire race, but I just had to dig deep. I kept it going, one foot in front of the other.

Tom

For Tom, the core takeaway from this challenge is doing something amazing in the name of charity, regardless of time or speed.

It’s about having a good time, but it’s also about finishing the race and being part of the whole event and not pushing yourself too hard.

Tom

Our volunteer runner, Rhea, also found the race painful but the reward was soothing.

It was so painful for a lot of it. But the whole time, it was amazing mentally yet physically terrifying.

Rhea

Staying motivated

To take on a big challenge like this, you need motivation to keep you going from mile to mile, or even at tougher points, step to step.

Our runners said the big motivators for them included the support from friends and family was a big motivator, people who donated to their fundraising pages and fans who cheered them on as they ran.

I saw people that shouted “Action Tutoring”, and that they have a brother and sister who has been tutored by the charity’s volunteers.

James
James - volunteer runner
James – volunteer runner

Eye on the prize

Another big motivation for the six runners through the thick and thin of the half marathon was the cause. Keeping in mind the altruistic reason they had taken on the huge challenge in the first place as the ultimate prize saw them through the race.

All funds raised will help increase access to tutoring for pupils from low-income families across the country. All our runners have previously or currently volunteered on our programmes. Action Tutoring works with volunteers to provide academic support in maths and English to primary and secondary pupils facing disadvantage.

While running, Rhea remained steadfast by thinking of the work and impact of Action Tutoring. 

I’ve signed up for a half marathon before and not followed through with it and then this opportunity came up with Action Tutoring and I just thought that’s an amazing cause to be running for and that I’d love to push myself to be doing something more for them.

Rhea

She urged people wishing to take on a challenge for a cause such as this to definitely go for it, as the pride in personal achievement and charity is worth it.

Definitely do it! Even though I know I just described it as very painful, that is going to be something I can look back on and be really proud of.

Rhea
Rhea - volunteer runner
Rhea – volunteer runner

Planting important seeds

Tom said he felt inspired by his fulfilling tutoring experience and decided to take his support one step further by taking on this challenge.

I’ve been a tutor for over seven months now and I’ve seen the great work that Action Tutoring does. This was just a different avenue that I could the help the charity reach more disadvantaged children and hopefully spread awareness about their work.

Tom

James also shared that the charity’s cause was close to his heart, elaborating why raising awareness for Action Tutoring was important to him.

I know people who have learning challenges or haven’t had the best upbringing or families that don’t necessarily understand the importance of education. I know the value of tutoring. For people to give up their time to help young people, they’re planting seeds – important seeds.

James

Fundraising success

Luke - volunteer runner
Luke – volunteer runner

Our runners not only worked hard at the race, but with their fundraising efforts. A staggering total of £2705 was raised collectively, smashing the original group target of £1800, or £300 per runner.

The raised amount translates into purchasing over 450 workbooks for face-to-face tutoring or 108 headphones for online delivery.

We are so proud of our runners for taking on this incredible physical feat whilst fundraising for Action Tutoring. Thank you to all the runners and all those who donated and supported each runner’s fundraiser. We can’t do our vital work without your support and advocacy.

Hannah O’Neill, Head of Philanthropy at Action Tutoring

With the raised funds and visibility from the Hackney Half Marathon, Action Tutoring will continue to work tirelessly to inspire disadvantaged young people and help them unlock their academic potential.

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