As we move towards the final part of 2020, I think it’s fair to say that this year has been an unusual one. Since March, the coronavirus pandemic has dominated global attention, as the virus stretched health systems and threatened the lives of individuals across the UK and the rest of the world.
As a result of the consequent lockdown, pupils’ learning suffered significantly. Disadvantaged pupils were, on average, already 18 months behind their non-disadvantaged peers by the end of secondary school even before the school closures in March, and this is only likely to have worsened as a result of the disruption in school learning.
After nearly seven months out of schools, our tutoring recommenced in early October 2020, with the support of the charity’s incredible and inspiring volunteer tutors, partner schools and staff team, all determined to ensure disadvantaged pupils can still succeed. We also launched our online delivery in schools, uniting pupils from across the country with volunteers to tutor them in maths and English.
The Giving Tuesday campaign is a global day of giving, where everyone, everywhere can do something to support the good causes that mean so much to them. This year, the focus of the campaign is on giving back, encouraging us all to take something positive from 2020 and make a difference at the same time.
In line with this campaign, Action Tutoring would like to thank all its amazing volunteer tutors who are already giving their time to do something positive by helping pupils across the country. The work that they have done this year in offering disadvantaged pupils the support that they need to catch up and achieve their academic potential, helping us bridge the educational attainment gap in the process, has been outstanding.
We would also like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who may be interested in tutoring pupils in their local area and across the UK to rise to Giving Tuesday’s challenge to give back, and support disadvantaged pupils by becoming a volunteer tutor.
Rosie and Mike, two of our current tutors at Sydenham School, told us about their motivations for volunteering and how their experiences as tutors, in the midst of a pandemic, have been so far.
“For me, what has been rewarding in my tutoring Secondary English at Sydenham is when, after a couple of sessions, it becomes clear, during a recap task, that my pupil has definitely retained some of the key points that we discussed earlier. For example, when they are able to recall a number of language devices, and can give examples of them, which is a very important tool for ‘analysing language and evaluating texts’ questions. It’s great to see that the online method is working, and that the pupils are getting benefit from it.
“I think it’s always worthwhile giving tutoring support, but particularly so in the context of the current pandemic. With schools being closed earlier this year, there has been a higher risk of children falling behind and not reaching their planned grades. It’s therefore very good news that the online tutoring portal is being delivered successfully, and I do get personal satisfaction in believing that in some way I am able to help pupils regain ground.”
– Mike Perrott, Secondary English tutor at Sydenham School
“It makes me so happy when I teach my tutees a trick to do some maths quicker one week and see them replicate the trick the following week, because it lets me know that my teaching is having an impact and is giving the girls more confidence to tackle difficult maths questions quickly and accurately. I have also found it massively rewarding to become a listening ear for the students and feel as though I have been a sounding board for many of their queries, such as GCSEs, mock exams, revision and university choices.
“When I heard about this programme, I immediately thought that it was a great idea and wondered why I had never heard about it before! At school, I was a bit of a nerd and actually really enjoyed maths; hearing about an opportunity to share some of the tips, tricks and skills that I had learnt really incentivised me. As I am currently at uni, my GCSE days were not that long ago, so I felt really encouraged to get involved – I feel I’m someone with a useful perspective on GCSEs and how to work hard for them. Additionally, when I realised that this programme was as much about academic development as it was about boosting the confidence of the pupils and making them believe in themselves, I needed to get involved because I feel this is often a forgotten aspect of education.”
– Rosie Webb-Jenkins, Secondary maths tutor at Sydenham School
If you are unable to commit to becoming a tutor right now, or would prefer supporting our mission financially, we invite you to donate via the link below.