News & Insights 10 November 2017

Rt Hon Keir Starmer MP visits Action Tutoring programme

Action Tutoring was thrilled to welcome Rt Hon Keir Starmer MP to see its work taking place at one of its partner schools, William Ellis School, last Friday, 3rd November.

At the visit Keir had the chance to meet a few of the Year 11 pupils the charity currently supports, in a maths session where they were busy working with a team of dedicated volunteer tutors. Each week around 16 pupils stay behind for an hour after school to receive this extra support, helping them to tackle any areas they are finding challenging and work through methods to prepare them for their crucial GCSE exams next year.

Action Tutoring specifically supports young people facing socio-economic disadvantage, who are at risk of not achieving a grade 4 (previously a grade C) in their final exams.  The majority of routes available to them upon leaving school will significantly decrease if they do not reach this standard.  Tutoring is an effective way to support pupils, particularly in subjects they are struggling with, but at an average cost of £30-40 an hour it is often out of reach to this group.  Action Tutoring works in partnerships with schools to deliver an impactful tutoring provision.

Action Tutoring now works with over 30 schools across London and one of its earliest partnerships was with William Ellis School, “We are delighted to have worked in close partnership with Action Tutoring for the last five years. The Action Tutoring team have played an important part in securing the success of pupils in their GCSEs through their individual tutoring sessions.  Pupils are committed to the programme and parents value it and are keen for their sons to take part.”

During the visit, Keir was able to chat with both the pupils and the volunteers to get an understanding of the impact the tutoring has had, “It’s been a real privilege to spend time with Action Tutoring and the Year 11 students at William Ellis School. One to one support makes a real difference to pupils and helps ensure they have the opportunity reach their full potential. However, it’s a service that isn’t available to everyone, so it’s great to see voluntary initiatives such as this giving pupils that extra helping hand.”

Action Tutoring empowers members of the local community to support these young people by training and developing them as volunteers.  Last year the charity worked with nearly 500 volunteers in London from all walks of life, including university students, coroporate employees and retired individuals – helping them to build and enhance their skills in the role. The charity is proud to deliver an activity that benefits both the pupils and the volunteers involved.

One of the inspirational local volunteer tutors at William Ellis reflected, “It is great to be a volunteer tutor at William Ellis and use my skills and experience to give them a boost with their GCSE maths.  And very satisfying to know that the four boys that I have worked with over the last two years all passed their maths GCSE.  Passing their GCSE maths means that they have more choices after Year 11.”

As a small but steadily growing charity, Action Tutoring is keen to showcase its work and spread the word about the importance of its efforts to level the playing field between disadvantaged pupils and their wealthier peers.

Jen Fox, interim CEO at the charity added, Mr. Starmer’s visit is a lovely opportunity to highlight the incredible volunteers and pupils we work with in Camden. The time and commitment these volunteer give to our local young people is admirable and we are privileged to be a charity that brings these two groups together to make education more fair in this country.”

Action Tutoring started in London in 2011 and now provides support in partnership with schools in seven cities and areas across the UK: Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Sheffield and Sussex. The charity needs to recruit as many volunteers as possible to ensure that these pupils can be supported.