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News & Insights 18 December 2020

Steering the Action Tutoring ship into 2021

Action Tutoring Interim CEO, Jen Fox, reflects on her time at the charity so far, and looks towards leading the organisation to more exciting growth in the new year.

Growing up in the seaside town of Bray in the Republic of Ireland, you’d be forgiven for assuming I had at least some experience on the water. While I’m not one to shy away from a New Year’s Day swim, my time on board ships has been limited. And yet, I find myself drawn to the analogy: steering the Action Tutoring ship into 2021.

I joined AT back in September 2015, fresh out of teaching science in a secondary school in South London. Initially appointed as London and Curriculum Manager, I soon found myself learning about what it takes to run a successful education charity.

I was fortunate to cover Susannah Hardyman’s first maternity leave in 2017-18. During this year, Action Tutoring grew significantly, mostly due to an expansion of our programmes into primary schools. Perhaps it was this experience that influenced Susannah and the Trustees to welcome me back as Interim CEO for a second time around? I’m delighted, excited and proud to be part of the AT team in a year where our ambition is to double in size.

The destination has been set, the Captain grounded (with a new born!) and the crew more passionate than ever to make a difference. My job is to make sure that the AT ship stays on course.

Setting the destination has taken months of strategic and financial planning, but the confirmation of Action Tutoring as an approved Tuition Partner of the National Tutoring Programme removed any doubt that AT could spread the power of volunteer tutoring to more deserving young people this year.

I didn’t have a tutor growing up, but I was lucky to have several teachers and family members who gave me the time and support structures that I needed in order to learn. I was the first person in my family to attend university, an experience that changed how I viewed the world. My mum (who graduated from the Open University two decades after having her family and while she was working full time) instilled a belief in me that education is transformative. I’m known for often concluding any debate about social, emotional or political problems by stating how they can be solved through education. I truly believe that is the case.

In a year overshadowed by a pandemic alongside continued school disruption, I’m certainly not expecting smooth sailing. However, I feel confident that any storms or course diversions ahead, whether they be treasure chests or mirages, will be weathered with ease.

I can say this because I know the crew we have. From the 64 employees to the 2000+ volunteer tutors and hundreds of supportive Link Teachers, I am confident that they will face whatever lies ahead with integrity and commitment. This will enable us to give as many disadvantaged young people as possible a better chance to succeed in the next stage of their lives.

If you would like to join us as a volunteer, apply now to start tutoring on a January programme.

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