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 one hour a week for 10-20 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, Monday to Friday. Each session lasts for one hour, 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 partner with schools across the country in Birmingham and Coventry; Bristol; Cheshire and Merseyside; London; Newcastle and County Durham; Nottingham and Derby; Sheffield and Sussex.

During school closures in 2021, Action Tutoring gained a huge amount of experience in managing sessions remotely when pupils were based at home. This experience has been invaluable in pivoting to pilot a ‘remote’ model where pupils are in school but Action Tutoring staff and volunteers are supporting remotely. Virtual programmes were launched in 2022, and help us expand our reach to help more disadvantaged pupils even further outside of urban centres. Some of our Virtual programmes take place in Rotherham, Halifax, Luton and Corby.

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 10-20 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, and what are the eligibility requirements?

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, or a related subject
  • 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.

We understand that not everyone interested in volunteering with us will have completed A-Levels or attended university. If your qualifications do not match these requirements, we still encourage you to apply and we would love to hear about any other qualifications/training/work experience related to the role. Once we review your answers, we may then arrange a call with you to find out more. We take all previous experience into consideration, so please include anything you think might be relevant.

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.

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 anywhere in the UK. 

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 10-20 weeks. You will need to attend one of our online training sessions and be willing to put some time into preparing for your sessions, using our structured workbooks.

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 take place before, shortly after or during the school day, Monday to Friday. Travel to and from the school must be factored into your weekly time commitment. 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.

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, Wales or Northern Ireland. 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?

We fundraise to subside a large portion of the cost of a programme to reduce the impact on tight school budgets.

As Action Tutoring is an approved National Tutoring Programme (NTP) Tuition Partner, schools can use their NTP grant to part fund the cost of a tutoring programme.

We ask schools to contribute a proportion of the costs too, meaning that schools pay less than £6 per pupil per hour.

Schools in Multi-Academy Trusts may be able to access a further discount. Please get in touch to find out more.

How do I access your London office?

Our usual office hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:30pm.

Address: Fivefields, 8-10 Grosvenor Gardens, Victoria, SW1W 0DH

View on Google Maps

What are the latest rules around COVID-19 in schools, colleges, and the wider workplace?

Since March 2022, when the final Covid restrictions were lifted, the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) has advised that COVID-19 should be managed like other respiratory infections, such as flu.

If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, and you have a high temperature, you should let your programme coordinator know and not attend a tutor session until you no longer have a high temperature (if you had one) or until you no longer feel unwell.

You can find more general guidance on treating Covid-19 and other respiratory infections within a public health context here and in education-specific contexts here. If you have any specific queries, please ask your Programme Coordinator.

I’m on a student visa. Does this activity count as volunteering or voluntary work?

In December 2020 our charity sought legal advice to review our volunteering activity and determine how it should be categorised. Following their research they concluded that our tutoring opportunity is volunteering, not voluntary work, as our tutors do not work under a contract. Tutors can choose from a selection of times to support (they are not bound by a specific time); there is no payment in kind and no penalty if they drop out.

Action Tutoring has a decade of experience in supporting disadvantaged pupils perform better academically.

Watch the video below and learn more about the impact of tutoring.