News & Insights 3 March 2023

Changing the future of disadvantaged pupils in Chester & Westminster

In a classroom at Blacon High School in Chester, Lillie listens attentively as her tutor reads the first practice activity in an English tutoring session. She asks questions for clarity on evaluating language and narrative throughout the session. 

Lillie is one of forty pupils in Years 10 and 11 in Blacon High receiving weekly tutoring support from Action Tutoring. Although her favourite subject is Graphics Production, passing the English GCSE is essential to furthering her education. Lillie believes the personalised academic assistance is making a real difference for her.

With the extra help, I feel more confident with my answers in class and when doing my homework. The fact that the tutoring sessions are one-on-one or in small groups means I get to ask my tutor any questions I have, without feeling embarrassed about getting it wrong in front of a whole class.


Improve young lives

With a new grant from the Westminster Foundation to support the work of Action Tutoring over the next five years in Chester and Westminster, the education charity will expand tutoring access to more pupils in need of additional academic support. The partnership includes a grant of £500,000 to fund tutoring provision targeted at disadvantaged pupils in nine schools in both cities to help improve their subject knowledge, confidence, and outcomes.

Providing maths and English tutoring to pupils at risk of leaving school without basic qualifications is a priority, particularly following the disruption in education amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the widening attainment gap. I am delighted that with our grant Action Tutoring can continue to deliver this important support in Westminster and Chester to help improve the futures of so many young people.

Kate Brown, Westminster Foundation & Philanthropy Director

Positive impact

Rachel Hudson has been the headteacher of Blacon High School for four years. After observing the consistent improvement in the performance of pupils receiving tutoring support, she said pupils have gone on to take more ownership of their learning, even beyond just the core subjects.

“The tutoring sessions have helped students to achieve or exceed their target grades in maths and English. The tutors have built strong relationships with our students, are flexible in their approach to tutoring, and have shown a genuine understanding of the challenges they face with learning. Tutoring has had a positive impact on their confidence and performance across the board, enabling them to go into successful courses and pathways.”

Rachel Hudson
Pupils receive online tutoring in maths and English at Blacon High School

Change the trajectory

Since its establishment in 2012, Action Tutoring has supported over 26,000 primary and secondary school pupils across England with the help of over 11,500 volunteer tutors. The charity is on track to support at least a further 6,000 pupils this academic year, through in-person and online tutoring delivery.

The attainment gap alarmingly stands at its widest level in a decade which means more young people are leaving school without reaching expected standards. The odds are even worse for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. With this grant, we can positively change the trajectory for thousands of pupils in Chester and Westminster  by delivering tutoring support to unlock their potential and increase their life chances.

Susannah Hardyman, founder, and CEO of Action Tutoring

With disadvantaged people at risk of slipping through the net to become not in education, employment and training (NEET), the partnership will enable more disadvantaged pupils to receive the needed academic support to pass their SATs and GCSEs and to progress in further education, training, and employment.

Lillie’s dream career is to be an airline cabin crew member in the future and she thinks the consistent interactivity during her tutoring session is already steering her in the right direction by building her confidence level.

“My tutoring sessions have made me feel less anxious about talking to people I’ve never met before. This will definitely help when I have to speak to hundreds of new people every day.”