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Here’s why Walk to School Week is more important than you think!

18 May 2022

What is Walk to School Week?

Walk to school is an annual event that encourages children to adopt new, healthier lifestyles by walking more and prioritising physical activity. 

Image source: livingstreets.org.uk

This year’s theme is #PowerUp – a video game-inspired design, motivating pupils to travel sustainably to school every day of the week. Each day children will have to unlock a new level by walking and a new mission to complete. 

This week is a reminder that walking to school has multiple benefits, from physical to mental health; maintaining a less polluted environment and making streets safer for children. 

Taking care of pupils’ physical and mental health is not limited to classroom activities – it’s important to incorporate other activities that promote a general sense of wellbeing in every aspect of young people’s lives. 

Read more: Three ways our volunteer tutors support children’s mental health

The health benefits of walking to school

It improves cognitive function

Walking is a great exercise that children can do before school, as studies show that it gets the heart pumping and this can help improve cognitive function for lessons throughout the school day. 

Another study by Stanford University has also shown that walking increases creativity and according to the research that was conducted, it opens up the free flow of ideas. 

Walking improves our mood

Getting outdoors first thing in the morning is an excellent way to make the most of natural daylight and the exposure to sunlight increases levels of serotonin, the body’s natural mood stabiliser!

Children feel in control 

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that walking to school can help pupils feel more independent and confident. Learning the route from home to school can enhance their navigation skills and it can serve as a great learning experience to familiarise themselves with road safety rules.

It can be relaxing

Lastly, walking to school can relax children and help them release tension, stress or negative thoughts in general before they head into the classroom. 

How can you get involved? 

This week is a challenge to incorporate healthy habits into our daily life and teach children the importance of exercise and physical health. 

However, we understand that not every child has the possibility to walk the distance from their home to their school. If you are a parent, make sure you can park your car further than you normally would and try to walk the rest of the way. This can also give you the chance to spend more quality time with your child. 

Walk to School Week is a great way for children to create healthy habits that can be extended beyond the week itself, by encouraging positive attitudes with a focus on exercise and wellbeing.

Walking is the first step to a healthier, happier lifestyle. 

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How tutors can support pupils with dyslexia

14 April 2022

One in ten children are diagnosed with dyslexia, a common learning difficulty that mainly causes problems with reading, writing and spelling.

Although children with dyslexia require additional personalised academic support, small adjustments to day-to-day practice can have a great impact on dyslexic pupils’ performance.

Knowing how to better interact, communicate and help dyslexic pupils is an important step to creating an inclusive classroom that promotes a healthier, safer learning environment for all children. 

What exactly is dyslexia?

In the UK, children are primarily taught to read through phonics, which teaches

them to link sounds and letters. Experiencing difficulty in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling is the most visible symptom of dyslexia. However, a dyslexic pupil’s brain functions differently and they may not make the same connections between sounds and letters. 

Pupils with dyslexia often try to recognise and memorise each word individually, rather than using phonics to decode them. They can experience visual stress and feel overwhelmed by bright colours and some fonts. This exposure can make pupils feel more stressed and lead to loss of comprehension.

How can tutors support pupils with dyslexia?

It’s important to keep in mind that dyslexic pupils are not less able or less intelligent. As dyslexia is often misunderstood or misdiagnosed, it should be clear that it does not affect intelligence or self-motivation.

Be patient

As a general rule, keep in mind that dyslexic pupils need more time to process information and it’s best for them to do so at their own pace. This means that as a tutor, you should never insist that a dyslexic pupil reads out loud if you see them struggling, as they can be more self-conscious about their reading abilities.

 

Be encouraging

Dyslexic students will have emotional reactions to their learning difficulties, such as embarrassment for reading at a slow pace, lack of confidence due to misspelling words, confusion at not processing the information as quickly, and anger at not keeping up with their peers. 

These feelings can create additional obstacles to their learning progress, so as a tutor it is important to always encourage and praise them for their work. This will help them feel emotionally safe during sessions and give them the confidence boost they need in order to show you their skills and talents! Dyslexic pupils can be artistic, athletic, and have excellent problem-solving and reasoning skills.

Don’t be scared to take breaks

Brain breaks are an important part of the tutoring session, because they give pupils the opportunity to focus better and be more productive. It’s a great way to reduce stress and frustration when they are unable to concentrate, engage or retain the information provided.

Cultivate the spirit of independent learning

As a tutor, it is essential to not only pass on knowledge, but to encourage pupils to enjoy the subject you’re tutoring. This will ignite their curiosity and motivate them to study independently. Dyslexic pupils might struggle to study on their own, but as a tutor you can help them with this by encouraging independence with the use of diaries, post-it notes and checklists.

What does Action Tutoring do to support pupils with dyslexia?

Our Training and Curriculum team has worked hard to create resources and further training for volunteer tutors to use. Tutors who join our volunteering group can access a series of online short courses called Bright Ideas. 

One of them is Dyslexia and provides an overview of what Dyslexia is and suggests some strategies that tutors can use. The strategies are largely focused on how to tutor English, but some of them (for example, supporting pupils who struggle with working memory) will also be applicable to maths tutoring.

Read more: Nervous about your first tutoring session? These tips will help!

If you are part of our volunteering team, our amazing Programme Coordinators are always here to support our volunteer tutors in case they need further support. 

By better understanding how dyslexic pupils think and behave, we are better prepared to offer them a more personalised learning experience. All pupils can succeed academically with the right combination of support and nurturing environment.

Volunteering with us can help you learn how to better interact with pupils and give you access to resources that can improve your communication and tutoring skills.

We’d love to hear from you!

How to celebrate World Health Day

7 April 2022

What is World Health Day?

World Health Day is a global awareness day that is celebrated every year on 7th April to honour the fundamental work of the World Health Organisation (WHO). It was celebrated for the first time in 1950, when the World Health Organisation was founded by the United Nations as the leading global health authority.  

The mission of WHO is to address and deal with global health issues as well as control and combat diseases across the globe. 

World Health Day is used not only as a celebration, but as an opportunity to shine light on the importance of taking care of our body and mind.  With all that is going on in our world today, Action Tutoring encourages everyone to take a moment and reflect on the importance of a healthy lifestyle. 

How can you celebrate World Health Day?

There are numerous ways for groups, organisations and individuals to commemorate World Health Day. They include creating better habits for your overall physical and mental health; educating yourself more on health issues; organising a local or online event to raise awareness; spreading the word on social media, or donating to charities that champion health, both physical and mental. 

1.    Volunteer for a cause you care about

Joining a volunteering community you are genuinely interested in can be a great start. Volunteering is an eye-opening experience that reminds us all to appreciate what we have, and practise gratitude.

Why not become a tutor in English or maths? Tutoring is not only an easy and rewarding way to make a difference to the lives of young people living in your community, but an excellent way to do something different and get out of your comfort zone.

One of our our amazing volunteers from Liverpool, Paige, notes that ‘’The impact you can have on a child’s life is one of the most rewarding things any volunteering could offer!’’

What exactly are the health benefits of volunteering?

Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety. Due to Covid restrictions, we have spent a lot of time isolating at home; this lack of social interaction can increase social anxiety and the feeling of isolation, even with restrictions now lifted. Volunteering is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety by giving you a sense of purpose and helping you gain perspective.

Volunteering is an excellent way to feel happier! Acts of kindness can help increase serotonin, energy, happiness, and your lifespan. The more we give, the happier we feel.

Being a volunteer helps us stay physically active. Research shows that volunteers tend to have a lower mortality rate compared to others. Volunteering can also help with symptoms of chronic pain and minimise the risk of heart diseases. 

Older volunteers can incredibly benefit from volunteering since it is a great opportunity to walk more and generally be more active.  If you are a retired professional, you can get involved with us as a volunteer tutor and help schools in your community provide better education to vulnerable children. 

2.   Practice mindfulness 

Prioritising mindfulness should be an essential part of our daily routine in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. This allows us to practise the art of making space for ourselves – space to reflect and focus on what’s really important. 

Being more present every day and paying attention to your thoughts and emotions, as well as to your surroundings, can greatly improve wellbeing. 

3.   Start educating yourself, and in turn, educate others

Information is key. World Health Day is a great opportunity to educate ourselves on how to improve our physical and mental health. Why not take some time to think about what your body and mind needs?

There are hundreds of tools online that can help you prioritise health and encourage healthier lifestyles. Do some research and ask others for advice. The more you learn about the importance of taking care of yourself physically and mentally, the more likely you are to take action sooner. 

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that our general wellness and health is a year-round subject. Whether it’s some much-needed time for yourself to practise mindfulness or joining a volunteer group, there are numerous steps you can take in order to fuel your body and mind.

At Action Tutoring we have created a safe and inclusive place where our team members, volunteers, pupils and teachers can feel supported, heard and empowered.  If you could spare an hour each week to help disadvantaged pupils receive further academic support in English and maths, we’d love to hear from you.

NTP Announcement Response

31 March 2022

Action Tutoring are pleased to hear Nadhim Zahawi’s plans, announced today, to reform the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) and re-open procurement for a supplier for 2022-24. We welcome the proposals to simplify the programme, both for schools and Tuition Partners, and are delighted to see quality assurance identified as an essential role of the supplier. We appreciate and commend the Government for their willingness to take on board feedback about the programme and to act.

Today’s announcement is a positive step towards getting the NTP back on track and ensuring it achieves its potential. We urge the Department for Education to ensure that the programme maintains a core focus on reaching disadvantaged pupils, in line with its original aims, and encourages high engagement across the country to reach its ambitious targets.

Action Tutoring has built up a decade of experience providing impactful tutoring to disadvantaged children and young people across the country. We are proud to play our part in delivering the NTP. We look forward to working with the Department for Education and the future supplier to further strengthen the programme.

Response to House of Commons Education Select Committee Report on Post-pandemic Education: Is the Catch-Up Programme Fit for Purpose?

14 March 2022

In light of the just-released critical report by the House of Commons Education Select Committee highlighting that the country faces an ‘epidemic of education inequality,’ it is more evident that the future of disadvantaged pupils continues to hang in the balance.

Even though school closures significantly disrupted learning for all pupils, the cross-party report found that disadvantaged pupils could be up to eight months behind their peers, pupils spent far less time learning each day, mental health problems for children rose by 60% in the last academic year and schools faced extensive bureaucracy when trying to access funding to support re-opening and educational recovery.

The report also reiterated the apparent inability of the education catch-up scheme, the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), to achieve meaningful targets amid a low level of accountability and transparency by the implementing organisation, Randstad, in its operations. It highlighted that regional implementation of the NTP has seen significant disparities in uptake across the country creating an uneven playing field with the likelihood of widening the attainment gap for schools in the North, Yorkshire and Humber, where it recorded low targets in implementation.

The findings from this report point to the risk of the NTP missing an opportunity to reverse the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education, specifically for disadvantaged children. At Action Tutoring, we strongly recommend that the NTP keeps the core focus on supporting disadvantaged pupils to recover from the pandemic and minimise the apparent deepening inequality in education.

Action Tutoring CEO, Susannah Hardyman said, “I am deeply concerned that recent changes to the NTP structure such as removing targets for delivery to pupil premium pupils and allowing group sizes of 1:6 instead of a maximum of 1:3 are only serving to water down the NTP. This risks losing the potential the programme has to benefit less advantaged pupils in particular. The EEFs own evidence suggests that the smaller the group size, the better and we know that it is disadvantaged pupils that have been most affected by the pandemic.

Greater transparency and accountability are essential to the success of the programme. Stakeholders including Tuition Partners, schools and sector leaders must get access to half termly progress reports and a reliable channel for making enquiries or sharing feedback. Increased accountability and operational transparency will go a long way to improve the impact of the tutoring programme and build a higher level of trust in the NTP’s ability to bridge the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.

Given that take-up of the programme, this year has not been as high as targeted, we strongly recommend that the Department of Education should consider not reducing the subsidy rates next academic year (currently set to go from 70% to 50%), to help increase the take-up in schools and allow more pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to be covered by the programme. Through that, we can ensure no one is left behind.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has just announced that up to £65m will be invested into the School-Led Tutoring route of NTP, giving more schools the flexibility and support to deliver high-quality tutoring. While we recognise the important flexibility that the schools led tutoring route gives to schools, we would urge the Department for Education to ensure that the quality benefits that the Tuition Partners pillar brings to the NTP are not lost.

As a Tuition Partner and education charity, Action Tutoring is concerned about other highlights of the report including the looming mental health and wellbeing crisis among children, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. We support the report’s recommendation for the creative engagement of pupils in extra-curricular activities and community programmes to reduce their over-reliance and time spent on social media, which has wider implications for their mental health.

Notwithstanding the devastating and prolonged impacts of COVID-19 on education inequality, we believe the NTP can be reformed to meet the daunting challenge of narrowing the attainment gap as well as recovering lost learning time for disadvantaged pupils to have a fair chance at achieving their full potential.

More important than ever, this is a pivotal moment to reimagine the best ways our education system can better support the development and well-being of disadvantaged children to create a lasting and transformative impact that will benefit us all. Given this, we hope in particular to see the NTP have a long term, lasting legacy in the UK education system.

International Women’s Day –  How do Action Tutoring volunteers promote gender equality in our programmes?

8 March 2022

Celebrating International Women’s Day means raising awareness on gender equality and recognising it as the foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. [1]https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/

Initiatives to promote gender equality in and through schools are critical in raising a generation of girls and boys who understand equality, respect and fairness in society. Education plays an important role in transforming social structures and promoting economic and cultural progress.

This day is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the significance of female empowerment. We can empower young girls to be strong and confident, and teach boys to recognise, celebrate, and embrace that empowerment.

At Action Tutoring we believe that gender equality is an essential component of quality education. Our tutors have enormous potential to address gender inequality issues and end the preservation of toxic behaviours.

How exactly do our tutors encourage a healthy, equal and sustainable future for our pupils?

Our educational resources are free from gender stereotypes

The curriculum is a powerful tool for social change, since it can shape beliefs and values at an early age. Our workbooks and education resources are used as a tool to transfer knowledge in an effective and efficient manner. 

Our team has worked hard to ensure that the learning material volunteer tutors use nurture the minds of young people we support, without stereotypes and gender biases. 

Our tutors do not refer to stereotypical characteristics 

Children are not born understanding what it means to be a ‘boy’ or a ‘girl’. This means that their family, school and community impose gender stereotypes and social expectations on them from an early age. 

Our optional “Bright Ideas” training sessions provide volunteer tutors with materials that prepare them to better handle conversations regarding gender or social expectations. Stereotyping and prejudice can affect pupils’ view of themselves, including what subjects a pupil thinks they are ‘naturally good at’ or ‘naturally bad at’. For example, historically, there has been a widespread belief that ‘male brains’ and ‘female brains’ are different and that men and women therefore have naturally different skill sets and aptitudes. 

With this in mind, we need to be incredibly careful when we communicate with young people in order to avoid stereotyping, such as ‘women stay at home to take care of their family’ and ‘men don’t cry’. Our volunteer tutors use educational activities in such a way that encourage critical thinking and teamwork. 

In particular, one session available for our volunteers includes Managing conversations about prejudice, stereotypes and inequality. It explores how prejudice, bias and stereotypes can impact pupils, and provides strategies to try if challenging conversations around these topics arise. This way, we want our pupils to develop a growth mindset, where they see skills as things that can be learnt and developed over time using effort and resilience, rather than something innate that cannot be changed. Avoiding stereotyped ways of thinking and communicating is an important part of this.

As children grow into adults, it is critical that they feel supported in order to pursue their passions later in life and never allow gender stereotypes to limit their options.

Our female tutors serve as role models

We understand how critical strong female representation is for young girls. It encourages the confidence to have bigger goals and aspirations in life. With strong female role models to look up to, young girls are better equipped to end the cycle of inequality and use education as a tool that opens new doors for them. 

One of our pupils, Bella, is in Year 11 at King Ecgbert School in Sheffield and is tutored by our fantastic volunteer Sophie. She is receiving tuition in English and mentioned how much more confident she now feels in class. Bella thinks that tutoring is more personalised, and she’s not scared anymore to ask questions and engage with her tutor. What’s more significant is Bella’s wish for her future: ‘I’d like to be really successful and run my own business one day.’’ 

Young girls like Bella need to be supported and encouraged to pursue their dreams and become confident young women later in life, so that they can help others when the time comes. 

International Women’s Day is also an opportunity to recognise the incredible bravery, resilience and strength of ordinary women and men  who fight daily against toxic patriarchal norms and promote equality and fairness. 

Lastly, it’s a day to show our gratitude to our female volunteers who are amazing at what they do and have helped us make a difference in the lives of so many young people.

Let this day be a reminder that great change comes from the efforts of one person at a time.

Notes

Notes
1 https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/

National Tutoring Programme target for poorer pupils removed

4 March 2022

Schools Week has announced that the target of 65% of Pupil Premium pupils participating in the National Tutoring Programme has been removed for Tuition Partners. This comes as a surprise since the 65% pupil premium requirement was initially a key performance indicator between the DfE and Randstad.

Below you will find our joint response with other Tuition Partners to the removal of the Pupil Premium target.

We are writing to you as a collective of organisations committed to the success of the National Tutoring Programme and with specific expertise in working with disadvantaged young people.

We are disappointed that the target of 65% of Pupil Premium pupils participating in the National Tutoring Programme has been removed for Tuition Partners, following the communication from Randstad today. We consider this a dilution of the core original purpose of the programme, to support disadvantaged pupils to recover from the pandemic. The programme now fails to focus on the disadvantaged pupils who need this support the most, which was its original aim. We believe that in the long run, this will only serve to widen the attainment gap further, surely a consequence no one would wish to see from the NTP.

The tuition partner KPI of 65% of Pupil Premium pupils still allowed schools the discretion to add pupils not eligible for the pupil premium, something we recognise was important and needed. It was a balanced approach to ensuring support was reaching those that needed it most, whilst rightly allowing schools some flexibility to adapt to their contexts.

We are concerned that this target has now been lowered due to Randstad’s apparent failure to deliver on the pupil premium target and to ensure uptake of the programme overall. The solution to that is surely not to then change a valuable and needed target, but to review the design of the programme and address Randstad’s ability to deliver the programme in line with the original aims.

We would urge the DfE to reconsider this change and to ensure that supporting disadvantaged pupils remains a top priority of the National Tutoring Programme.

Yours sincerely,

Susannah Hardyman, Action Tutoring
Nick Bent, Tutor Trust
Adam Alagiah, TalentEd
Paul Singh, Equal Education
Robin Chu, Coach Bright
Nathan Sansom, The Access Project
Aisha Washington, Get Further
Gina Cicerone and Janeen Hayat, Fair Education Alliance

What does the EPI report show about the impact of the pandemic on disadvantaged pupils?

17 February 2022

The Education Policy Institute (EPI), an education policy think tank that aims to promote high-quality education outcomes through research and analysis, has released a significant report highlighting the impact of the pandemic on disadvantaged pupils.

The report studies the education gap in 2020 at a national level and among varying levels of disadvantage. The findings help us better understand the inequalities in education and the importance of taking the necessary measures in order to alleviate the concerning gap.

What do the EPI findings reveal about the disadvantage gaps?

The disparity in academic performance is one of the most critical challenges our education system currently faces in England. 

The gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers at key stage 2 (primary school) and key stage 4 (secondary school) is a key measure to assess pupils’ performance. Typically, indicators of attainment gaps at both primary and secondary levels have been based on comparing the percentages of pupils in each group achieving an expected standard – specifically, expected standard in reading, writing, and maths at the end of key stage 2, and five good passes including English and maths at GCSE.

This education inequality is demonstrated in the EPI findings. Specifically, the report shows that the gap in GCSE grade attainment between pupils from low-income families and their peers has not improved in the last decade. Instead, poverty levels have now risen due to the pandemic and more disadvantaged young people are unable to receive the academic support they need in order to catch up. 

If you’re a child from a low-income family, you’re less likely to achieve the GCSE grades needed to progress to further education, employment or training. The attainment gap particularly increased for pupils in college and sixth form in 2020: disadvantaged young people are now 3.1 grades behind their more affluent peers, [1]COVID-19 and Disadvantage gaps in England 2020 compared to 2.9 grades in 2019.

The EPI fears that the disadvantage gap in education may widen further in schools as more and more pupils fall into longer term poverty. The persistent rising of poverty among disadvantaged pupils is linked with the stalling of progress in closing the attainment gap. This makes the question of increasing social mobility more urgent than ever.

‘’Worsening poverty has had what the EPI report is right to call a ‘decisive’ impact on the education of children and young people. 4.3million children – or nine in a classroom of 30 – are living in poverty. This speaks of untold hardship endured the length and breadth of the UK.’’ 

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union 

Making sure disadvantaged young people are academically supported is the first step towards ending the cycle of poverty. Action Tutoring partners with schools in England and with the help of our motivated volunteer tutors, delivers tailored and personalised support to disadvantaged pupils across the country. 

We are proud to support a strong community of inspiring volunteers, dedicated to giving disadvantaged pupils the opportunity they deserve to thrive in life. 

Read more: Achievement in the face of adversity – celebrating GCSE results!

How can you help?

The government is being called on to prioritise closing gaps in attainment for the most vulnerable pupils in disadvantaged areas of the country. 

However, their plans to reduce education inequalities are only possible if we all contribute by offering our help during these difficult times. It is our collective responsibility to ensure disadvantaged children are supported and given the opportunity to progress in their education. Volunteering has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable communities.

We can all be part of this positive change if we spare an hour each week to volunteer as a tutor in English or maths. Let’s help pupils achieve their full potential.

If you are unable to volunteer, you can still offer your help by sharing our mission on social media. Small acts of support can lead to a great positive change!

Three ways our volunteer tutors support children’s mental health

10 February 2022

Children’s Mental Health Week takes place on 7-13th February this year and is run by Place2Be charity. This year’s theme is Growing Together, focusing on how we can support each other in growing emotionally and building a safe support system around us.

Being mentally healthy involves feeling good about ourselves, forming and maintaining positive relationships with people around us, and being able to feel and manage a wide range of emotions. At Action Tutoring we believe the emotional well-being of pupils is as equally important as their academic progress.

Growing emotionally requires us to move beyond our comfort zone and this can be particularly challenging if we are alone. Volunteering is a two-way street: it can make a real difference to the lives of others who need additional support, and at the same time it gives us the opportunity to meet people who motivate and inspire us. This way, we feel part of an empowered community and continue to grow personally and professionally.

This week we encourage everyone to reflect on how to help each other grow and offer support to those who need it the most. Emotional growth is a gradual process and everyone experiences it in different ways.

Studies show that disadvantaged pupils are more likely to suffer from poor mental health after Covid-19; in particular, one in six disadvantaged children have a diagnosable mental health condition.

All of our volunteers are committed tutors who empathise and understand the additional struggles of pupils from low-income families. Prioritising mental health issues early on is incredibly important in nurturing confident individuals who will thrive in life.

How do Action Tutoring volunteers support children’s mental health?

Active listening and healthy ways of communication

We encourage all our tutors to actively listen to pupils’ concerns and make sure they feel supported, confident and heard. One of the most valuable things our tutors do is approach mental health issues in a non-stigmatising way. Our mission is to make everyone feel included, no matter their socio-economic status or background.

However, it is important to remember that while our volunteers are there to listen and empathise, they are not experts in mental health issues. Empathy involves recognising what pupils are feeling, trying to understand their perspective and never judging emotions and experiences.

That’s why tutors avoid giving advice or trying to resolve issues on their own. If a child shares anything that is particularly concerning, our volunteers communicate directly with our Programme Coordinators and follow safeguarding procedures accordingly.

Creating a welcoming and safe learning environment

Action Tutoring volunteers have the support and resources they need to make tutoring sessions welcoming and safe for all pupils. This helps children feel comfortable to share their thoughts, experiences and opinions without the fear of negative feedback or criticism from their tutors. A safe learning space, with clear boundaries and effective communication, also allows tutors to handle sensitive topics more confidently.

The cooperation between our volunteer tutors, Programme Coordinators and teachers has allowed us to help pupils in the best way possible and ensure their mental wellbeing.

Positive role models

Action Tutoring volunteers also serve as positive role models for our pupils. It’s extremely important for disadvantaged children to interact with understanding, calm and honest adults. These characteristics motivate pupils to mirror similar attitudes and feel more confident, so that they can open up and engage during the tutoring sessions.

Cohen is in Year 11 at Seaford Head School in East Sussex. His tutor, Jill, has worked with him and another pupil in English since the start of the programme. This is what Cohen had to say about his sessions:

‘’My tutor is ten out of ten! It’s been nice to talk to someone who’s genuinely there to help me.’’

How can you help?

Volunteer with us

Join our volunteering community and become a tutor in English or maths. You can choose to help pupils by tutoring online or in-person. It’s only one hour a week, and your support is important now more than ever.

Receiving judgement on academic performance can seriously impact a child’s mental health. By getting involved, your pupils will not only receive academic help, but they will also feel emotionally supported and grow in confidence.

Volunteer tutors make pupils feel less alone and increase their confidence, so that all children can enjoy the process of learning.

Spread the word

We would love your support to help us raise awareness and motivate more people to get involved. Every volunteer provides tremendous support to our cause and helps pupils during these challenging times.

Do you know someone who can volunteer as a tutor? Spread the word by sharing our blog on social media!

Make a donation

If you don’t have the time to tutor with us, donations are also a great way to change the future of disadvantaged pupils. Every donation we receive allows us to reach out to even more young people and make a difference in their lives.

Whether you are making a donation, volunteering with us or using social media to shine light on the importance of mental health and wellbeing of pupils, we are incredibly thankful. Your continuous support is vital for our mission!

Read moreAction Tutoring online or in-person programmes

Achievement in the face of adversity – celebrating GCSE results!

2 February 2022

At Action Tutoring we are proud to work with inspirational volunteer tutors, who support disadvantaged children in English and maths. With their help, we work towards our mission to narrow the attainment gap between pupils from low-income families and their peers. 

Education equality is at the heart of our mission, and the achievements of our pupils last year clearly highlight the value of tutoring in supporting this.

GCSE results 2021 – what does our data show about the academic performance of pupils?

Preparing for GCSEs provides pupils with a solid foundation in a variety of subjects. They serve as an educational stepping stone, giving pupils the opportunity to unlock access to higher education.

Pupils who attended at least eight sessions with an Action Tutoring volunteer in 2020/21 out-performed the national GCSE results for disadvantaged pupils.

Thanks to the hard work, resilience and commitment of our incredible school teachers and the continuous support of our volunteers, we are proud to say that 81% of our pupils achieved grade 4 or above in English and 80% grade 4 or above in maths!

These percentages were calculated using the GCSE results we received from 30 out of 49 of our partner secondary schools. This is a lower response rate relative to previous years and so whilst being very positive, these results may not be fully reflective of the overall picture.

Action Tutoring was able to continue supporting thousands of pupils last year, by converting to home-based tutoring when school closures were suddenly announced in January 2021. Online learning has been a valuable tool, allowing us to offer personalised and tailored support during the most challenging times.

Due to Covid-19, GCSE exams were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 and replaced by centre-assessed grades (CAG) and teacher-assessed grades (TAG) respectively. The different methods of awarding grades means they are not comparable with previous years; however a higher proportion of pupils earned grades 4 and above in each year relative to 2019.

Results for Action Tutoring’s pupils follow this UK-wide pattern: before the pandemic, around 50-55% of disadvantaged pupils passed GCSEs whereas in 2020/21, more than 65% did. From the results we have from the pupils supported by Action Tutoring, the proportion is similarly much higher than in previous years.

These results reinforce the idea that tutoring programmes lead to increased academic performance, and we see on the ground that it improves self- confidence and motivation for learning. This achievement wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of our dedicated Programme Coordinators, who ensure that all of our tutoring sessions are well-structured and run smoothly.

We believe good grades have the potential to open doors and provide lifelong opportunities. A grade 4 in English and maths at GCSE is essential to pupils continuing their education, or going on to future employment or training. GCSEs not only assess the academic ability of pupils, but also offer them transferable and significant life skills for their future.

As Action Tutoring CEO Susannah Hardyman says:

It’s precisely because grades open doors that GCSE results matter so much.

Read more: How Ofqual’s exam grading system reproduced the long-standing disadvantage that Action Tutoring exists to tackle

How can you help?

This year’s pupils sitting their GCSEs will still be affected by the disruption of school closures. Your help is vital so we can continue to deliver sustainable and effective support to young people who need it.

Could you volunteer for an hour each week and join our volunteering community? Your contribution is more important than ever.

Do you know someone who can volunteer with us? Spread the word by sharing our blog on social media!

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