Volunteering

From tutor to teacher: The role of tutoring in education careers

14 February 2024

Is tutoring being overlooked as a pathway to great teachers? Here at Action Tutoring, we see first-hand the positive impact tutoring has on teacher recruitment. A remarkable number of our tutors transition from passionate volunteers to dedicated teachers. In fact, 38% of tutors who are currently supporting us, expressed an interest in teaching when they applied. Surprisingly, even with our diverse range of volunteer backgrounds, including retirees and corporate partners, this academic year alone saw an incredible 1,004 volunteer applicants indicating their interest in pursuing a teaching career. This accounts for 57% of all the applications we’ve received.

These statistics tell a powerful story. They showcase not only the passion and potential within our tutoring community but also the valuable experience Action Tutoring provides as a stepping stone to a teaching career.

Quote from Action Tutoring tutor to teacher Luke: "[Tutoring] was a fantastic gateway into teaching. I learnt I enjoyed the teaching element and wanted to take it to the next level with formal training to take a career change. I have no regrets. I am now a teacher and this journey all started with supporting Action Tutoring."
Luke was on a career break after 10 years working in the energy industry when he started volunteering with Action Tutoring. After a year volunteering with us it confirmed for him that teaching secondary school pupils was the career path that was right for him.

Why is tutoring such a powerful springboard for teachers?

Real-world experience: Tutors gain first-hand experience interacting with pupils from diverse backgrounds, with a range of learning styles. New teachers also expressed to us that they value the experience of refamiliarising themselves with the curriculum. This hands-on exposure allows them to hone their teaching skills and develop classroom management strategies. Most importantly though, it allows them to discover the joy of hearing, “I get it!”

Flexible stepping stone: Tutoring offers the perfect balance of gaining valuable experience whilst working around existing commitments. This flexibility is ideal for those exploring teaching or seeking a gradual transition.

Support and guidance: With training and guidance throughout their experience, tutors are offered invaluable insights and feedback. This supportive network also enables them to navigate through any potential difficulties with the experienced Action Tutoring team on hand every step of the way.

Shared passion: Action Tutoring works closely with schools and communities to ensure our tutors deliver high-quality, impactful learning experiences. This provides a fulfilling and purpose-driven foundation for aspiring teachers.

Quote from Action Tutoring tutor to teacher Katherine: "Life changing in all the best ways! The positive experiences I had with Action Tutoring confirmed that teaching was the career I wanted to pursue, particularly in the primary setting. My programme co-ordinator and other volunteers on the programme shared their own experiences of teaching with me and, as a result, I chose to apply to the PGCE course I am currently on."
Katherine was studying sociology at the University of Durham when she started volunteering with Action Tutoring. Tutoring helped Katherine affirm her beliefs that she would like to become a tutor. She is now studying for a PGCE at Cambridge University.

Discovering new passions

Our volunteer tutors sometimes start without an interest in teaching before discovering a new passion. One such story is Gemma, a journalist for ten years, who began tutoring with us in East London. After a few months, she found it so enjoyable that she decided to give up her journalism career and re-train. Or Patrick, a lawyer for eight years, who realised working with young people was much more meaningful. He re-trained as an English teacher with Teach First and is now an Assistant Head in Kent, following years in an inner-city London school.

What could this mean for the future?

A national initiative could seamlessly connect aspiring teachers with the diverse and enriching experiences they need to take the next steps. A well established collaboration, weaving together the expertise of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers and tutoring organisations could unlock unimaginable potential. ITT providers could encourage prospective applicants or those waiting to begin their training towards high quality tutoring organisations to increase their experience and in turn, these organisations can point those who’ve declared an interest in teaching in the direction of different teaching routes, alongside supporting them with feedback, training and ongoing development. 

One of our partnerships that is already bringing this to life is with Now Teach. Now Teach promote our volunteer opportunities as a way to experience the classroom environment before embarking on their teacher training. Every two months, we collaboratively host an information session for those interested in committing to a teacher training course. The result is a wealth of passionate, dedicated tutors volunteering on our programmes, as well as tangible classroom experience for career changers who might never have had the opportunity to work with children before. We also promote Now Teach as a route into teaching to our volunteers who have indicated an interest in this career route, in bi-yearly emails.

At Action Tutoring, we’re already seeing the huge potential of the tutors to teachers trajectory. Investment into structures that establish these pathways between ITT providers and tutoring organisations, could go a very long way to potentially thousands more passionate and talented individuals entering into the teaching profession each year, equipped with the practical skills, mentorship, and real-world understanding gained through tutoring.

Join the journey

Action Tutoring transforms lives: Unveiling our Impact Report 2022-23!

17 January 2024

Imagine a world where educational equity unlocks not just individual potential, but also fuels economic prosperity. Today, that vision takes a significant step forward with the release of two reports: Action Tutoring’s seventh Impact Report and Public First‘s research into the Economic Impact of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). These reports showcase the undeniable two-fold impact of tutoring: enriching lives and empowering economies.

Our Impact Report shares our key highlights and draws attention to the attainment gap, which is now at its widest in 12 years, and our robust foundation of evidence that proves we are a meaningful solution to help close it.

Why do these reports matter? 

More than just numbers and data; it’s a testament to the 1,743 passionate volunteers who have poured their hearts into 58,880 hours of transformative tutoring for 5,743 pupils facing disadvantage. It is the tangible proof that investing in tutoring works and tells a remarkable tale of economic impact.

Headlines from Public First’s Economic Impact Modelling Release

  • £4.3 billion: The net benefit to the economy from tutoring in two academic years, demonstrating a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 6.58. This significantly exceeds other programs, such as adult apprenticeships (BCR 4.7).
  • £3.06 billion: The economic contribution of maths tutoring, delivering exceptional value with a BCR of 7.73
  • 430,000 grade improvements: Of these improvements, 26,000 achieved a “pass” (Grade 4) in maths, and 36,000 in English, who otherwise were not expected to. This significantly increases their chances of accessing further education, employment, and higher earnings, highlighting the substantial long-term economic benefit of tutoring.

This isn’t just about boosting numbers on a spreadsheet. It’s about building a stronger, more equitable society where everyone has the chance to contribute and thrive.

The headlines from our Impact Report

  • Closing the achievement gap: National averages for primary school pupils facing disadvantage (or eligible for pupil premium) who received 10 or more tutoring sessions with Action Tutoring saw a 14-percentage point jump in maths and a 7-percentage point gain in reading standards. That’s more than just numbers – it’s lives changed forever.
  • Empowering potential: In secondary schools, our support boosted maths GCSE pass rates by nearly 13 percentage points, giving countless pupils the keys to unlocking their dreams.
  • Building confidence and engagement: Pupils rated their tutors’ clarity at 8.1 out of 10, while teachers acknowledged the overall positive impact of Action Tutoring on pupils with a resounding 8.7 out of 10. This speaks volumes about the positive ripple effect we create.

These achievements aren’t just personal victories – they’re the foundation for a more prosperous future.

How can you join us in building this brighter tomorrow?

Schools: Partner with Action Tutoring and watch your pupils soar, while contributing to a stronger local economy.

Funders: Invest in a solution that delivers both individual and societal rewards.[Website link]

Volunteers: Share your knowledge and passion, become a mentor, and fuel the engine of economic growth.

Everyone: Spread the word, advocate for educational equity, and be part of the change. [Website link]

Volunteers Week 2024 – three ways you can get involved

12 January 2024

Every year in June the UK comes together to celebrate the incredible contribution of volunteers in our communities. Volunteers’ Week 2024 takes place from 1st to 7th June. Among other things, it’s a fantastic opportunity to say thank you to the amazing people who give their time and energy to make a difference.

Who are volunteers?

Volunteers are our neighbours, friends, and family members who give their time to causes they care about. They come from all walks of life and all ages, and they contribute to our communities in countless ways. Here’s a breakdown of Action Tutoring volunteers occupations out of those who applied in 2023:

Surprised to see such a mix? You’re not alone. Many see volunteering as something you do as a student to build your CV, or in retirement to get involved with your community. But many from other occupations volunteer, too. Employers value volunteering for a multitude of reasons, as it benefits both the employee and the organisation in terms of skills development, and it shows the company as being socially responsible and caring of the community in which they operate.

tutor with two secondary school pupils
Joanna Ball, tutor at Dalmain Primary School, Forest Hill, London

Why is Volunteers’ Week important?

Volunteers’ Week is important because it gives us a chance to:

  • Say thank you: It’s a chance to say a big thank you to all the volunteers who give their time so generously. 
  • Raise awareness: It’s a chance to raise awareness of the vital role that volunteers play in our communities.
  • Inspire others: It’s a chance to inspire more people to get involved in volunteering. There are so many ways to make a difference in your community, or further afield, and Volunteers’ Week is a great time to start.

So, how can I get involved?

There are many ways to get involved in Volunteers’ Week, whether you’re a seasoned volunteer or you’re thinking about volunteering for the first time. Here are our top three:

  1. Share your volunteering story.

If you’re a volunteer, share your story on social media using the hashtag #VolunteersWeek and tag the charity. Social media is an important tool for charities to reach new volunteers and spread awareness. Your story could inspire someone else to volunteer, donate or fundraise. 

  1. Attend a Volunteers’ Week event: 

There are hundreds of events happening across the UK throughout Volunteers’ Week, from volunteer recruitment fairs to celebration events. Closer to the time, search for events near you to find out how you can get involved.

  1. Find a volunteering opportunity: 

If you’re interested in volunteering, there are many websites and organisations that can help you find an opportunity that’s right for you, like Do-It or Charity Job. You could also find your local volunteer centre.

If you’re interested in volunteering as a tutor for an hour a week, click the button below to find out more.

Our volunteer stories

“Tutoring is one of the few things I do that gives me real satisfaction, enjoyment, and self-fulfilment. It’s very rewarding to be able to give something back to your community.”

Youcef, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at TFL

Read Youcef’s story.

“Online tutoring is great because it enables so many more tutors to help – you literally can give one hour a week. And if you’re doing other exciting things in your life, you can actually do it from different places, as long as you’ve got a laptop with you.”

Sally, retired optometrist

Read Sally’s story

“In terms of resources for classes, I had never written a class resource, I had no idea where to start. So having the workbooks that we’re all working with, and having them all every week with the templates was great, because it meant I was able to participate [alongside my studies]. In terms of time consumption, it would just take me half an hour to read over answers and read over the lesson plan before going into the session.”

Eilidh, student at the University of Aberdeen

Read Eilidh’s story

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and learn more about Volunteers’ Week. We hope we’ve inspired you to get involved in some way!

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

Young impact makers attend Platinum Jubilee Award reception

8 December 2023

Newcastle volunteer tutor, Eliza Blowes, and Action Tutoring’s fundraising coordinator, Molly Cottrill were part of a special group of volunteers and charity representatives who attended the prestigious reception for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Award recipients. Her Royal Highness Princess Anne was the special guest of honour.

Eliza and Molly were chosen to represent the education charity at the reception last week Tuesday, which offered places for two change agents under age 25 and two staff from the organisation to attend. Founder and CEO, Susannah Hardyman and deputy CEO, Jen Fox, also attended the event at the Fishmongers’ Hall in London.

Guests at the Jubilee Award reception held at the Fishmongers’ Hall in London

Action Tutoring received The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award, in recognition of the significant impact of its volunteer tutors on disadvantaged young pupils across England. This esteemed award, equivalent to an MBE, now known as the King’s Award for Voluntary Service, represents the highest acknowledgment bestowed on local voluntary groups in the UK. The aim is to celebrate fantastic work by national charities and their volunteers to empower young people and provide them with skills and opportunities.

Positive transformation

Eliza, a master’s student at Northumbria University, Newcastle, was chosen for being actively involved in providing additional academic support to disadvantaged young individuals within her local Newcastle communities. Since August 2022, Eliza has tutored primary and Secondary English, in-person and online, in 51 sessions across eight different programmes in local schools.

Eliza tutors a pupil at a primary school in Newcastle

Expressing her passion for language and its transformative potential in diverse and disadvantaged communities, Eliza, who is studying for a postgraduate in Applied Linguistics for TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), emphasised her interest in contributing to better outcomes for pupils in schools.

“Having personally witnessed the positive transformation we have brought about in pupils within my community, I am elated to see the organisation receiving this well-deserved recognition.”

Eliza

Relatively young charity

HRH Princess Anne spent time handing certificates and speaking to representatives of each awarded charity. HRH Princess Anne was particularly interested in the history and impact of Action Tutoring, as a relatively young charity, being awarded alongside established and centuries-old charities, including the British Red Cross and Scouts. With only 12 years since its founding, Action Tutoring said it was delighted to be among the recipients of the award which included renowned and household-name charities for this award.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and also the Department for Business and Trade plus Minister for Equalities, Stuart Andrew, gave a speech and met with charities to appreciate their work.

CEO of Action Tutoring, Susannah Hardyman (left) and deputy CEO, Jen Fox

Increasing life chances

Susannah Hardyman expressed pride in the volunteers’ selfless commitment to supporting disadvantaged young people, highlighting their positive impact on academic progress and the wellbeing of pupils.

“The recognition serves as a reminder of the invaluable contributions made by our volunteers within their local communities across the country. Like Eliza, they are not only helping disadvantaged pupils in academic progress but also fostering their sense of confidence and increasing their life’s chances.”

Susannah

Action Tutoring is proud of its diverse pool of volunteers from different backgrounds and between the ages of 18 to 82,  including university students, full-time or part-time workers from different sectors of business, and retired professionals. Not only do volunteers help pupils achieve better grades, but they also serve as positive role models by creating a supportive environment for learning and mentoring pupils to thrive in school and later in life.

In the 2022-23 academic year alone, 1,744 volunteers supported 5,743 primary and secondary pupils in 25,600 sessions in 140 schools across the country. Volunteers are at the core of Action Tutoring’s work and remain an invaluable resource in driving our purpose and impact.

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Become a volunteer tutor with Action Tutoring and help disadvantaged children improve their academic strength and build a better future. With just one hour a week, you can volunteer to tutor pupils in English or maths at primary or secondary level, online or in-person. No previous teaching experience is required and we will provide you with all the resources you need.

Student Volunteering Week 2024 – what to expect

20 October 2023

Student Volunteering Week 2024 is approaching and you might be thinking – what is it? What’s the point? And, most importantly; how can I get involved?

What is Student Volunteering Week?

Student Volunteering Week is an annual event that celebrates and promotes student volunteering across the UK. It encourages students to:

  • Engage in volunteer activities
  • Develop valuable skills for their future
  • Make a positive impact on the communities in which they live.

When will Student Volunteering Week 2024 take place?

Student Volunteering Week 2024 is happening from Monday 12th to Sunday 18th February 2024.

What to expect from Student Volunteering Week 2024 

If you’re a student, it’s likely that your university will be hosting one or more events during the week. These might include:

  • Sessions on getting into volunteering
  • Charity spotlights, or volunteer days with specific charities
  • Volunteering fairs
  • Taster workshops

You can check your university volunteering service, careers or student union page for information on what activities they’re hosting throughout the week.

What types of volunteering opportunities are available to me as a student?

The world is your oyster! There are a huge range of opportunities to get involved in, depending on your interests and skills. Here are some common categories of volunteering you can get involved in:

  • Conservation: opportunities include tree planting, cleanups and habitat restoration.
  • Education: tutor or mentor younger pupils who would benefit from your help. 
  • Community: students can volunteer at local community centres, food banks, or shelters.
  • Elderly: provide companionship or assistants to seniors at home or in nursing homes.
  • International volunteering: some students choose to volunteer abroad, contributing to projects related to education, healthcare or construction.

Why do students volunteer?

Most of the reasons students volunteer are shared by all volunteers – to give back, explore interests and build a sense of purpose.

Another key motivation is that volunteering provides an opportunity to gain practical experience in a specific field. Volunteering can help students build their CVs and enhance their skills in preparation for future careers. 

Some students get involved in volunteering as part of their university course. This can be in the form of a placement, volunteering module or a work-based learning module.

It’s also a great opportunity to network. At Action Tutoring, many of our staff members volunteered with us before taking the opportunity to join our staff team!


“During my university placement, I tutored both online and face-to-face and really enjoyed seeing the impact of the work I was doing with the pupils in real-time. I enjoyed tutoring more and more with every session.

My interest in the charity sector and my passion for reducing educational inequality spurred me on to apply for the role of North West Programme Coordinator! This role has enabled me to deepen my understanding of the education charity sector and develop within myself as a young professional.”

– Laura, North West Programme Coordinator

How can I find out more about volunteering with Action Tutoring?

To find out more about volunteering with Action Tutoring this Student Volunteering Week 2024, just head to our volunteer page, or check out our role description.

Already an Action Tutoring volunteer, and want to get involved in Student Volunteering Week 2024?

There are a number of ways in which you can get involved and help us to grow our volunteer community.

  • Post on social media about your experiences volunteering with us. This could be your “why”, sharing our impact data, your top tutoring tip or a volunteering highlight. Don’t forget to tag us! 
  • Get creative on TikTok. It goes without saying that you can’t film your pupils, but we’d love to see your journey to/from your programme, session highlights or any advice you have for new volunteers who are thinking about getting involved.
  • Write a blog on your experiences volunteering. Most university volunteering or careers services have a blog to share volunteer experiences and shine a light on different charities.

So, we hope you’ve come away with at least one idea of how to get involved in Student Volunteering Week! A huge thank you to all students who are already volunteering alongside their studies and making a difference in their communities.

Retiree volunteer joins King Charles’ first garden party

4 May 2023

As a recipient of The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award in December, Action Tutoring was invited to select two tutor volunteers to join several distinguished guests for King Charles’ first garden party at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, ahead of the Coronation this weekend.

Retiree Frank Plater, our volunteer tutor with the most sessions delivered in the last academic year, together with Peter Baines, the Chair of the Board of Trustees and long-time tutor volunteer, were nominated by founder and CEO, Susannah Hardyman to represent the education charity at the garden party.

I was really quite staggered for being nominated to attend the garden party. Supporting children keeps me young, and keeps my brain ticking over.

Frank said, with a beaming smile as he stood outside the gates to the Palace.

Ever the committed tutor, Frank delivered a Year 10 maths session at St Bede’s Catholic College, Bristol in the morning before catching the train to London for the King’s garden party.

Retiree volunteer, Frank Plater (left) with Chair of Board of Trustees and long-time volunteer, Peter Baines outside the Buckingham Palace ahead of King’s garden party.

Making a difference

Frank Plater drives over forty minutes from Chepstow, Wales to three schools in Bristol each week to give additional academic support to pupils in maths. He tutors at the Badocks Wood E-ACT Academy, St. Bede’s Catholic College, and Greenfield E-ACT Primary Academy.

The retired aircraft industry professional has embarked on this journey over the last five years since he began volunteering with Action Tutoring.

I first heard about Action Tutoring when surfing the internet. I really wanted any tutoring to be voluntary, but too many sites were focused on the financial reward. I wanted to give something back and try to make a difference. Voluntary maths tutoring seemed to be something I could do.

Frank recounted

Since 2018, Frank has delivered over 430 maths support sessions for pupils in Bristol.

Having worked specifically in aerodynamics and flight physics for 30 years, Frank said he gets the most satisfaction from feeling useful.

I’m currently taking action to pass on my knowledge and experience and this has made me think about helping even younger people develop themselves.

Giving heart

Beyond volunteering, Frank has donated to several fundraising campaigns run by Action Tutoring to expand academic support to more disadvantaged pupils in hard-to-reach areas across the country. 

Through his contributions to our Big Give Christmas Challenge, Champions for Children campaign, and 10th-anniversary impact celebrations among others, Frank is making a lasting difference in the lives of young people from low-income families.

Play to learn

The pupils Frank supports every week in face-to-face tutoring sessions have described him as a great and humble tutor who brings in lots of games to play during tutoring sessions. 

His approach to tutoring has garnered a lot of love from pupils in schools in Bristol.

Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award

The King’s Garden Party invitation comes on the heels of Action Tutoring receiving The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award. It recognised the service and impact of its inspiring volunteer tutors on disadvantaged young people across England in empowering young people and providing them with skills and opportunities.

Commenting on how he felt being selected to attend the garden party, Frank said: “It was a bolt out of the blue and I chuckled a bit.

The Big Help Out for Volunteering

4 May 2023

Volunteering has taken centre stage as the coronation of King Charles is set for this weekend. The value of volunteering is a key component of the celebrations in tribute to the King’s lifetime of public service.

In the spirit of volunteering and to mark the historic event nationwide, the Big Help Out is being rolled out to raise awareness of diverse volunteering opportunities for people to make a difference in their communities throughout the UK. The Big Help Out is on the bank holiday Monday of the Coronation – May 8th.

With the Big Help Out campaign aimed at encouraging a national day of volunteering, find out more about how you can support our Big Help Out initiative and some important information on the event.

What is the Big Help Out?

A concept developed by the coalition of Royal Voluntary Service and Together, the Big Help Out is an initiative to showcase the value and impact of volunteering for people and communities who take part. 

The campaign is urging people to sign up – online and via a new app – to participate in various volunteer opportunities across the country on the Coronation  Bank Holiday. The aim is to get more people who traditionally don’t volunteer to consider it.

Why is it important?

Charities are facing a challenge with recruiting volunteers as the number of people signing up to give back their time and efforts has been on a steady decline in the last year

The Big Help Out campaign seeks to engage diverse groups of people to volunteer and celebrate the impact of volunteers on community and nation-building.

How can you get involved with Action Tutoring’s initiative?

For the Big Help Out on May 8th, we are asking you to write a letter of support to secondary pupils about to sit their GCSEs.

Remember the anxiety and nerves you may have had before your final exams? The feeling is typical for most students because the outcome matters for their future prospects.

A pass grade is a difference between being handed the key to the door of opportunity or having the door slammed in your face. Pupils who do not achieve a pass grade in their maths and English are less likely to be able to access further study or employment.

The GCSE pupils we support have been working hard all year, receiving extra tuition in English or maths. They deserve every encouragement ahead of their exams. 

Lend us a hand by writing a note of support in our Good Luck Book to the GCSE candidates this year. One word, one sentence, one paragraph, and one letter can be the defining motivation that compels them to go all out and pass their exams.

What’s your message to the GCSE candidates? We will feature a cross-section of the notes on our social media platforms and compile them for the candidates.

How you can get involved beyond the Big Help Out?

With summer term underway, more pupils from low-income backgrounds are in need of additional academic support to help them pass their grades in English and maths. 

You can help by volunteering with us for at least an hour each week, either online or face-to-face, to give disadvantaged pupils the academic support they need.

Previous teaching experience is not required and training and resources are provided for all volunteers.

‘Thank You’ notes from pupils that warmed our hearts in spring term

26 April 2023

We can think of thousands of reasons why working with children brings us joy, purpose, and fulfilment. But what’s even more heart warming is when the children you support recognise your impact on their lives and share inspiring thank-you notes of appreciation. Thank you, tutors!

Despite the odd challenge of managing children during sessions, their boundless energy, honesty and humour keep us all going.

Watching pupils grow in subject knowledge and confidence is even more motivating for our volunteers who spend an hour each week to help them improve their English and maths skills.

With summer term just beginning, let’s throwback to some of the remarkable words and notes of gratitude some pupils shared with our volunteers and programme team in schools last term.

1. Being a child’s favourite grey-haired person is indeed a compliment!

2. Sometimes, playing is learning and learning is playing. Finding the best approach for every child is essential.

3. Appreciation in poetry

Aww! Now, who’s cutting onions?

4. Group high-5 for Brenda

5. World’s best!

6. The best tutor award goes to…

7. Is there anything like positive anger?

8. Tutoring goes beyond knowledge. Changes behaviours and attitudes too.

9. Levelling up

10. Certainly a good use of time!

Why we do what we do

These words of appreciation and witnessing a pupil grow from strength to strength are why we do what we do.

Why not join us and shape a child’s future by volunteering an hour a week to help them improve their academic performance in English or maths?

Passing on my love for learning through volunteer tutoring

16 February 2023

As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a real thirst for learning. I have vivid memories of my dad obliging in taking me, a far-too-keen seven-year-old, to WHSmith on a Saturday morning to get my hands on those KS2 English and Maths work booklets – the type where you could treat yourself to a gold star upon getting an answer right. I loved my time in school and always tried to achieve my best in class, whether it was my favourite or least favourite subject.

For this love of learning, I’m both grateful and aware of my privileged position – as this is not always the case. Not all children are lucky enough to enjoy learning or to revel in the time that they spend in school, and there are many reasons for this. One of the biggest is that not all children begin at the same starting point in life as not all are able to easily access or utilise the tools that can support them through the education system.

Whilst I’ve never aspired to become a teacher or educator due to writing being my passion, in the six years since graduating from university with a Media and Communications degree and working as a copywriter and content specialist with charitable and educational organisations, I’ve seen from a distance the impact that the pandemic and budget cuts have had on pupils’ education.

In fact, the attainment gap between pupils facing disadvantage and their peers is currently at its widest for ten years, with just 43% of disadvantaged pupils meeting expected standards in reading, writing and maths at primary school.

It’s these stark statistics that encouraged me to do what I could to help give back and pass on my love for learning and language. After hearing about a friend’s experience volunteering with Action Tutoring, I applied to be trained as a volunteer tutoring English in late 2021.

By January 2022, I was supporting two Year 6 pupils to prepare for their SATs at a primary school in Newcastle and it quickly became the highlight of my week. Finding ways to engage the two boys in my group and demonstrate how important strong literacy and writing skills are, not just for school and exams, but to also get more enjoyment out of the content that they might play, read or listen to in day-to-day life was challenging at times – but it was a challenge I definitely relished.

Following their exams, I was delighted to learn in the summer that both pupils had gone on to surpass the marks they needed to ‘meet expectations’ – a real reward for both pupils, who I’d known had possessed the determination and ability to succeed. It’s also great that Action Tutoring shares with you this detail of how your pupils do in their SATs, as this gives you a real sense of fulfilment that you’ve helped to perhaps play a small role in this.

I then moved on and began tutoring two Year 5 pupils throughout the summer months, who I continue to tutor today – the girls are now just three months out from taking their Year 6 SATs. Again, it’s brilliant to see the progress that they’ve made in a relatively short space of time.

Perhaps my favourite thing about tutoring is that not only am I helping the pupils to learn, but they’re also helping me to develop professionally and personally.

They’ve helped me to strengthen my essential skills such as listening, facilitating discussion and giving constructive feedback. They’ve also filled me in on all of the curriculum changes since I was at school – what they’re currently learning or reading, and the reasons why they are important.

Last but certainly not least, they’ve also helped me to substantially improve my hangman skills – a game that is an ever-popular hit as a cool-down activity within our school’s sessions!

I’m grateful that Action Tutoring has provided me with this opportunity to pass on my own knowledge and love for learning to the next generation. After all, knowledge is power – but we must ensure that all children across the country are provided with an equal opportunity to succeed and achieve their dreams.

Author: Samantha Lade


Become a volunteer tutor with Action Tutoring and help disadvantaged children improve their academic strength and build a better future. With just one hour a week, you can volunteer to tutor pupils in English or maths at primary or secondary level, online or in-person. No previous teaching experience is required and we will provide you with all the resources you need.

Because of You campaign celebrates the impact of volunteer tutors on pupils

13 January 2023

Lyron’s dream of becoming a successful singer and actor in the future fuels his passion for singing in the church choir and exploring theatre. The primary six pupil at Comber Grove School in London previously struggled with understanding mathematical concepts. After receiving tutoring support from Action Tutoring and constant motivation from his mother to keep practising maths, Lyron is experiencing a positive turnaround.

I feel more confident in maths now, which means I can ace my SATs. My tutor is very good at helping me to improve in the subject

Lyron

Tutors have helped improve the academic outcomes and confidence of many young people. The impact tutors have on pupils goes beyond grades, with many mentoring and sharing advice with young people to build their resilience and confidence and to encourage them to think about their future career paths. Every child deserves the best possible start in life and a learning environment that enables them to fulfil their potential. Tutors support the work of teachers to give children a stronger educational foundation to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow.

Through the Because of You campaign, Action Tutoring celebrates the marked difference volunteer tutors make to pupils through their selfless and dedicated commitment. Volunteers are the bedrock of Action Tutoring’s work and play a valuable role in driving the education charity’s purpose and impact. With the bigger goal of helping to narrow the stark academic attainment gap, Action Tutoring optimises the power of its passionate volunteers to support disadvantaged young people across the country.

Pupils share testimonies of how tutors have impacted their lives in Because of You campaign video

The Because of You campaign comes hot on the heels of Action Tutoring receiving The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award last month, which recognised the service and impact of its inspiring volunteer tutors on disadvantaged young people across England. The award celebrates the fantastic work of Action Tutoring’s volunteers to empower young people and provide them with skills and opportunities.

Action Tutoring delivers tutoring through the support of its diverse pool of volunteers who come from a variety of different backgrounds, including university students, full-time or part-time employees from different sectors of business, and retired professionals. Not only do volunteers help pupils achieve better grades, but they also serve as positive role models by creating a supportive environment for learning and mentoring pupils to thrive in school and beyond. Last year alone, our volunteer tutors delivered a staggering 30,855 tutoring sessions, in-person and online, to support 6,159 primary and secondary pupils facing disadvantage.

Over the last decade, Action Tutoring has been delivering academic support to disadvantaged young people through the dedication of our volunteer tutors and in partnership with schools. With the support of over 11,500 dedicated volunteer tutors, the charity has supported over 26,000 primary and secondary school pupils since 2012.

Action Tutoring has been working to help narrow the academic attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers at both primary and secondary levels – which is at its widest for ten years.

In the current challenging environment of the rising cost of living, volunteers continue to support pupils with their knowledge and skills to get a better start in life. Lyon is grateful to his tutor and all others for dedicating their time and efforts to create a better future for disadvantaged young people.

Thank you very much for helping me all through these months. You’ve been helping me to try and improve my maths. I hope because of you, I will ace my SATS and do very well. Thank you.

Lyron

Become a volunteer tutor with Action Tutoring and help disadvantaged children improve their academic strength and build a better future. With just one hour a week, you can volunteer to tutor pupils in English or maths at primary or secondary level, online or in-person. No previous teaching experience is required and we will provide you with all the tutoring resources you need.

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