After nearly seven months, it’s great to be back in the classroom. Thanks to the support of our determined volunteer tutors, partner schools and staff team, Action Tutoring is thrilled to be delivering tutoring both online and in person to help disadvantaged pupils catch up.
By the end of next week, thirty-five face-to-face programmes (eight to ten weeks of tutoring sessions) and nearly 20 online tutoring programmes will have begun, with another 36 face-to-face and 22 online tutoring programmes beginning in early November.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the education of young people across the country. Evidence has shown that disadvantaged pupils, like those supported by Action Tutoring, will be the hardest hit by the crisis. The absence of education, and other means of support at home, like private tutoring, has pushed disadvantaged pupils further behind and widened the attainment gap to an even greater extent.
In March 2020, as a result of the school closures implemented in response to the pandemic, we ceased delivery of our tutoring programmes. Over the following months, we focused our resources on campaigning for catch-up support from the government to help disadvantaged pupils, and on developing our online tutoring provision.
Now, back in schools, focus shifts towards the delivery of more high-quality tutoring, and ensuring that the experience remains a valuable and enjoyable one for both tutors and pupils.
Nargis Tailor, Programme Coordinator for London, facilitated the first online programme this week, which received a great deal of positive feedback from pupils.
She said, “It felt so lovely to be back in schools. After the initial rush to get pupils logged into their virtual classrooms, the Year 11s were totally absorbed in their screens.”
“The chatty and energetic pupils became unexpectedly shy for the initial 10 minutes when they met their tutors for the first time, but once the session had ended, pupils left inspired and keen to learn more. Some of the comments from pupils included ‘I’m learning already’ and ‘my tutor was so nice.'”
Hannah Ground, also a Programme Coordinator in London, observed a similarly positive response to the online format.
She said, “Most pupils at Sydenham School were able to jump straight into the virtual classroom, and quickly picked up how to use and navigate the platform.”
“Initially the room went quiet, as pupils listened to their tutors introduce themselves. As the session progressed, the pupils relaxed into the new experience and it was lovely to hear them joking with their tutors and engaging in the online material.”
She added, “I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationships and subject skills develop throughout the term!”
“Our tutor was really good and I am ready to start tutoring for the year!”
– Secondary school pupil from Sydenham School, London after completing her first online tutoring session.
While pupils have been responding well to the sessions after months out of the classroom, our volunteers, some delivering tutoring for the very first time, have been impressed by the impact that the experience has had on themselves as tutors.
Following her first session at Greenwood Academy in Birmingham, Programme Coordinator Sumayya Shaikh said, “The programme ran smoothly and the pupils and tutors looked like they got on incredibly well.”
“One moment that really stood out was a conversation with one of our tutors who had recently been made redundant. He said he was grateful for the programme, as he finally got to engage with people and pass on his knowledge as an engineer.”
“He said it’s the best he felt in a long time. I’m glad we are able to make a difference to not only our pupils, but also our tutors,” she added.
With more programmes due to begin over the following weeks, we are looking for more volunteer tutors to join us to deliver tutoring sessions, both in schools and online. As a volunteer, your help could make a difference in allowing pupils to catch up on vital learning, that has been disrupted by the pandemic.
Apply below to become a volunteer tutor and support the education of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds in your local community and across the country.