News & Insights 30 June 2022

Why is it important for charities to advocate?

Action Tutoring is a charity that supports disadvantaged young people to achieve academically, with a view to enabling them to progress in education, employment or training. 

We are proud to work with amazing volunteer tutors who are just as passionate about creating a fairer education system and help us reach more vulnerable pupils reach their full academic potential. 

It is vital that we continue to offer our support to those who need it most and advocacy work is an essential part of this. We are incredibly thankful to our tutors who actively seek out opportunities to spread the word about our mission. 

If you’d like to help spread the word or get involved as an Action Tutoring advocate, you can find more information here. 

Most of our supporters will know that we were approved as a National Tutoring Programme (NTP) Tuition Partner in November 2020.  Funding for the programme was confirmed by the Government after Action Tutoring collaborated with other charities to call on them to deliver catch-up support for disadvantaged pupils in response to the pandemic and school closures. 

Why advocacy is important for Action Tutoring 

We know tutoring has the potential to close the attainment gap

Research by the Education Policy Institute shows that disadvantaged pupils finish primary school over a year behind their non-disadvantaged peers and are over two years behind by the end of secondary school. The attainment gap becomes even more prominent in rural areas by the end of secondary school. 

According to the Centre for Cities, there’s only a 1 in 15 chance that disadvantaged pupils will go on to achieve five good GCSEs, including English and maths, and there’s a much higher chance they will end up NEET (not in Education, Employment or Training).

How exactly do we measure the attainment gap? 

It is usually based upon comparing the proportions of pupils in each group achieving an expected standard – particularly level 4 in reading, writing and maths at the end of key stage 2, and 5 good passes including English and maths at GCSE.

Small-group tuition works because it is tailored to individual needs and can address misconceptions at the source. Unfortunately, due to its high cost, private tutoring is often out of reach to pupils facing socio-economic disadvantage. 

We use the power of volunteer tutors to bridge the gap and ensure tuition can be accessed by every pupil who needs it, not just those who can afford it. 

We have significant experience working with schools

Since 2012, when Action Tutoring was registered as a charity, we have provided tutoring for over 6,700 primary school pupils and over 12,500 secondary school pupils.

This has given us the opportunity to work with multiple schools across England and familiarise ourselves with the needs of primary and secondary schools. That’s why we understand the demands and pressures that schools are under, especially after the pandemic.

Our Training and Curriculum team works to ensure our volunteer tutors receive the training they need before their first session. Initial training provides the opportunity  for our volunteers to familiarise themselves with our mission and values, as well as understand our resources and further optional training opportunities. 

The team has worked hard to create structured workbooks in line with the national curriculum, which our volunteers use in their tutoring sessions. Our volunteers are encouraged to commit for at least 10 sessions.

Action Tutoring endeavours to make sure all volunteers feel supported and receive the information and guidance they need in order to deliver high-quality tuition to children who need it. We pride ourselves on our evidence-based approach to supporting pupils, using baseline assessments and progress checks to monitor the impact our tutoring is having. Each year a summary of our data is published in our annual impact report. Here you can read more about our published annual reports on our impact.

This experience has provided us with a wide understanding of the education system and allows us to improve the way we work and take the necessary actions in order to make education inclusive and sustainable.

I can’t praise action Tutoring enough; they have shown a real desire and commitment to ensuring that disadvantaged students are supported to succeed. The overall structure of the programme, with the built in quality assurance model, has helped our students enormously.

Shaz ManshaAssessment Lead

How do we advocate for a fairer education system?

We continuously engage in various research conducted by education institutions, and we are always happy to share the knowledge and expertise we have gathered over the past ten years. This gives us the opportunity to share the impact of our work with a wider audience and hopefully motivate more people to get involved. 

In the past we have written action letters to MPs to engage them with our mission and programmes. Alex Norris’ visit to one of our partner schools was a great chance for us to celebrate the efforts of our pupils and the impact of tutoring. In response to the crisis in 2020, Action Tutoring collaborated with other charities to call on the government to deliver catch-up support for disadvantaged pupils. Our CEO gave evidence to the House of Commons Education Select Committee on the impact of Covid-19 on pupils and shared how a model like that of Action Tutoring could be rolled out more widely, and shortly after this, the Government confirmed funding for a National Tutoring Programme (NTP). Now, Action Tutoring positively engages with the DfE to help shape the future of the NTP.

Action Tutoring is also part of the FEA (Fair Education Alliance), a coalition of 250 organisations which aims to tackle inequality in the education system. 

One of our latest projects was in partnership with the CfEY (The Centre for Education and Youth) and two other tutoring providers. We sought to identify how the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), one of the most ambitious English educational policies in recent years, should be evolved to ensure its long-term success. 

You can read the findings and recommendations of the research here. 

Additionally, our staff policy working group is committed to staying up-to-date with the latest education policies and making sure we play our part in raising awareness among our tutors. 

We believe quality education is a right rather than a privilege. If you’d like to help us support more pupils, click the button below and join our volunteer group. Everyone who has a passion for equality in education is welcome to apply; lack of tutoring experience should not hold you back!