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News & Insights 2 February 2022

Achievement in the face of adversity – celebrating GCSE results!

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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