Volunteer tutoring online

Volunteer tutoring online is a great option for anyone on a busy schedule or less able to access our school locations. You can volunteer as an online tutor from anywhere in England, Scotland or Wales.

Volunteer

How does it work?

Pupils are set up on computers in their classrooms and receive tutoring from volunteers through our virtual classroom. The Virtual Classroom connects tutors and pupils via video link. Tools to draw, type and edit content directly onto the virtual whiteboard.

Action Tutoring’s workbooks have been adapted into ‘session templates’, which are pre-loaded onto the online platform for tutors and pupils to work through together. Before volunteer tutoring online, tutors will receive additional, online-specific training that will take them through the tools and functions of the virtual classroom.

Teachers and an Action Tutoring Programme Coordinator are present with the pupils in the classroom to support with any issues that may arise and to monitor the quality of the tutoring being delivered.

Our virtual programmes

During school closures in 2021, Action Tutoring gained a huge amount of experience in managing sessions remotely when pupils were based at home. This experience has been invaluable in pivoting to pilot a ‘remote’ model where pupils are in school but Action Tutoring staff and volunteers are supporting remotely. 

Our virtual programmes were launched in 2022, and help us expand our reach to help more disadvantaged pupils even further outside of urban centres.

These programmes help us to expand our reach to help more disadvantaged pupils even further outside of urban centres. Some of our current online volunteering opportunities take place with pupils from partner schools in Coventry, Chester, Wirral and Southport, County Durham, Hartlepool, Luton, Rotherham and Corby.

Since starting my volunteering, I have learnt that you are never too old to learn new skills.  I now have greater confidence with technology and a greater understanding of how to communicate with children and young people in an academic environment.

Volunteer tutoring online has been one of my greatest achievements. I really enjoy it! The tutors learnt to use the online system together – there is great camaraderie between us as well as supportive Programme Coordinators and administration staff.

Elaine Mitchell, retired tutor from Wolverhampton
Online programme taking place in London
Online programme in Prendergast Vale School, London

Tips for volunteer tutoring online 

  • If you are tutoring online, it’s important to ensure that you are in a suitable working environment with limited or no distractions. It would be best to run a browser test before your first session begins, so you can check that your network connection, webcam and microphone are working.
  • Convey clear expectations regarding your pupils’ engagement from the start.
  • If you find that your pupil is distracted during the session, try taking a short break. Use a brain teaser, play a quick game or even have a short chat to re-engage them. Remember to use lots of praise and encouragement for the work they’re doing to get them back on track! 
  • Balance your attention between your pupils, and allow them equal opportunities to talk. Volunteer tutoring online means that your pupils can’t read your body language as well, so state clearly which pupil you want to answer a question or complete an activity. You may need to use your pupils’ names more than you would in person. 
  • Ask your pupils to keep themselves muted unless they’re talking. This will make them more conscious of talking over one another. The single-speaker functionality on our Virtual Classroom will let you, as the tutor, choose how many participants can talk at the same time during an online session.
  • If you or your pupils experience any tech issues, your Programme Coordinator is on hand to help, so alert them as soon as possible. They, or our online support team, will resolve the issue for you as fast as they can.

I have only tutored online as I am quite a distance from the school and living with an 89 year old and 91 year old in pandemic times. There is plenty of support available for tutors: the online platform is user friendly and the Programme Coordinators are available throughout the sessions and for a virtual meeting afterwards. This helps us all learn from each other and share tips.

Dr Anne Williams, retired tutor from Wolverhampton