FAQs

You’ll find the answers to some of our most common questions below. If you can’t find what you need, just get in touch via our Contact page.

How does Action Tutoring work?

Action Tutoring partners with primary and secondary state schools to deliver tutoring programmes for pupils in Years 5, 6, 7, 10 and 11 in English and maths.

Volunteers will be paired with between one and three pupils, with pupils grouped according to their proficiency with particular areas of the curriculum.

We run tutoring with schools over the course of an academic year. We ask tutors for an initial commitment of 1-1.5 hours a week for 8-10 weeks, with sessions at the same time and day each week. If you enjoy it, we love you to continue so that you can keep on supporting the same pupils with their progress.

Sessions run before, during or shortly after the school day, and also some programmes on Saturday mornings. Each session lasts for 1 to 1.5 hours, where pupils receive support with maths or English, or both. Programmes run during term time, there are no sessions during the school holidays.

Tutoring is either delivered in person, with volunteers travelling to the schools of the pupils they are working with, or delivered remotely, using our online virtual classroom.

Click for more information about how our programmes work

Where do you work?

We have established ourselves in eight regions across England: Birmingham and Coventry; Bristol; Liverpool, Chester, Southport and Wirral; London; Newcastle and Durham; Nottingham and Derby; Sheffield and Sussex.

You can read more about our work in these areas on Our reach pages.

How are your programmes managed?

Each school is assigned a Programme Coordinator who is responsible for the day-to-day running of programmes and attends every session. They liaise with the school contact (Link Teacher) to provide updates and communicate any requests.

Our Programme Managers and Director of Delivery set up the partnerships initially and check in throughout the year to ensure satisfaction with the delivery of tuition.

We work in conjunction with teachers at the school to highlight pupils that will benefit most from our programme, but also in line with our criteria (disadvantaged pupils/pupils at risk of underachieving). Together with the teachers, we identify the best time to run sessions and the best way to manage the logistics, ensuring we gain their input on specific areas of need.

What is a Programme Coordinator?

A Programme Coordinator is an Action Tutoring member of staff who oversees the delivery of every session, by attending the schools where pupils receive tutoring.

As a volunteer, you will be assigned a Programme Coordinator when you sign up to tutor on a specific programme. They will be your main point of contact with Action Tutoring while tutoring at your chosen school and will offer support and advice over the duration of the 8-10 week programme, as well as being on hand to answer any questions between sessions.

How do you track pupil progress?

Pupils sit a baseline assessment initially, before they begin tutoring, and a ‘progress check’ halfway through, ensuring that tutoring focuses on the areas that they are struggling with. Programme Coordinators attend every session to monitor progress.

Baseline and progress assessment results are shared with schools. We request data on the level pupils are working at before tutoring commences.

What impact do your programmes have?

We have invested strongly in evaluating the impact of our programme both internally and externally. To see findings from our most recent Impact Report, visit our impact page.

Who are your tutors?

All of our tutors are volunteers. We believe in harnessing the potential of social power to ‘do good’ without financial reward. It is central to our mission. We have an inspiring pool of tutors who support us because they believe in our mission and share our values.

Our tutors range in age (from 18 to 82) and in background: undergraduates, former teachers, corporate volunteers and retired professionals. We are incredibly proud of the diverse range of volunteers we engage, who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the pupils they support.

All tutors must meet the criteria listed below, or have equivalent qualifications, training or work experience. We have refined this criteria over our years of operation and it is in line with other peer organisations.

  • Educated to degree level, or to be studying for a degree.
  • Achieved a B grade (or above) at A Level (or an equivalent qualification) in the subject they wish to tutor.
  • Evidence of strong communication skills
  • Experience working with young people, or able to demonstrate that they would have the skills required.
  • Empathetic towards the young people we support.
Do your tutors get paid?

Our model has always been to use volunteers. We believe in harnessing the potential of social power to ‘do good’ and ‘give back’, without financial reward. It is central to our mission. We have an inspiring and diverse pool of tutors including corporate employees, retired individuals and university students who bring huge benefits to their pupils. They support us because they believe in our mission and share our values.

We are a charity and a not-for-profit organisation. Funding we receive from the Government as part of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) covers our central costs, for example, recruiting and training our tutors and employing Programme Coordinators to manage school relationships. We believe passionately in empowering volunteers to make a difference, at a time when support is needed most, and are continuing with our volunteer-based model.

We want to continue doing what we do for years to come, so it is essential to maintain a sustainable model that can continue with or without government funding.

How do I apply to become a volunteer?

Click to complete our online volunteer application form and our team will then be in touch with you shortly.

If you would like more information about what being a volunteer entails, click to read a more detailed volunteer role specification.

Is testing available for tutors going in to schools?

The Government announced that from 9th April 2021, everyone in England will be able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing. We’re pleased that all of our volunteers who are heading into schools can access these tests to help protect themselves, teachers and pupils. For more information about rapid testing, please see the latest government guidance.

Can I volunteer online? What if I live outside of one of your regions?

Online tutoring was always part of our charity’s strategic plan.  The pandemic accelerated our development significantly through spring and summer 2020, so that it could be formally offered to schools in the autumn.

We have continued to expand our delivery across all of our cities and have plenty of opportunities available.  You can support us as an online tutor from England, Scotland or Wales.

To be an online tutor with us you’ll need access to a desktop or laptop computer, a webcam and internet connection, and will need to be confident using online tools.

Please apply now via our application form if you would like to join us as an online tutor.

All of our training for tutors is delivered online.

What’s the time commitment for your volunteers?

We ask you to commit to attending the same school at the same time each week for an hour, over the course of a school term (8-10 weeks). You will need to attend one of our online training sessions and be willing to put some time into preparing for your sessions.

Consistency and continuity is really important for the delivery of the tutoring to enable our pupils to achieve; you must be able to commit to attending every session before signing up to a programme.

Please note that tutoring sessions usually take place before, shortly after or during the school day. Travel to and from the school must be factored into your weekly time commitment. There are occasional tutoring opportunities on Saturdays, but we do not run tutoring sessions in the evenings. Our programmes run during the school terms so there are no opportunities available over late July and August.

I might be able to source some tech for pupils, who should I contact?

We know our schools will be investigating different options to provide computer kit for their pupils but please do share information of any organisations or contacts you know who might be able to help. Please pass us the details via hello@actiontutoring.org.uk and we will share the details with relevant schools.

How have Covid restrictions impacted tutoring sessions?

Action Tutoring resumed face to face programme delivery in spring 2021.  To ensure our face to face programmes can go ahead safely, we have created some guidelines for our volunteers to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to. Where partner schools are enforcing their own social distancing measures, we will keep volunteers informed as appropriate. Action Tutoring’s policies are subject to change as further guidance is released by the Government.

We have also developed a detailed Covid-19 delivery policy which highlights how and when a programme might need pausing. As far as possible we want to continue delivering face to face in the schools where that method has been agreed, however we have the systems and technology in place to move programmes online if needed.

For more information, please visit our Covid guidance page.

Can I tutor from a different country, if I’m tutoring online?

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept applications from tutors living outside of England, Scotland and Wales. This is due to being unable to run a DBS check. If you are a tutor based in the these countries but are travelling elsewhere, you can only be abroad (and delivering sessions) for a maximum of six weeks whilst tutoring on a programme.

How much do you charge schools for your programme?

Schools will contribute 30% of the total delivery costs for their programmes. Most schools are committing to tutoring for the whole academic year, in the shape of two blocks at £3,720 in total.

It costs Action Tutoring £6,200 to deliver a block of tutoring for 15 weeks, for up to 20 pupils. This academic year (2021-22), the NTP will cover 70% of the running cost of tutoring programmes, for up to 15 sessions per pupil. This is paid directly to us as a Tuition Partner on schools’ behalf. Schools will then contribute the remaining 30%. This works out at: £1,860 per block, 15 sessions, for up to 20 pupils, which can be covered by other budgets such as the Pupil Premium Grant.

We will be working in most schools beyond 15 sessions as we know the greater the number of sessions each pupil receives, the greater the potential for impact. For pupils who exceed 15 sessions, Action Tutoring will use its own fundraising to cover 70% of the costs, meaning schools will only ever pay 30% of the actual cost of tutoring. As a charity we want to support as many pupils as effectively as we can, with or without the NTP subsidy.

Face to face and online programmes will cost the same.