You probably already know that the GT Scholars Programme is a not-for-profit organisation within the education sector but did you know that there are hundreds of other not-for-profit organisations in the education sector in England?
When the GT Scholars programme was launched, we knew straight away that we wanted to offer something that was different from other education organisations. We wanted to a lasting impact on young people, particularly those that would be overlooked by current education charity funding models. So what makes us different?
1. We’re here to support each child’s individual progress and personal ambitions
Most education charities will only work with young people that are low attainers ie. students that are at risk of failing their GCSEs. Others will only work with students that are high attainers with the aim of helping them get into the best careers and universities. But what would happen if we stopped classifying and labelling children as low, middle and high attainers? What if we stopped selecting children based on their attainment and started selecting them based on ambition? What if you weren’t held back by school targets and minimum progress measurements? What if you could just teach a child to achieve his or her best? It may seem quite radical but giving young people a sense of ownership is exactly how and why the GT Scholars programme works. We still conduct assessments on a regular basis but instead of focusing on past attainment and hard targets, we focus on goals and ambitions.
2. We let young people take ownership of their future
Throughout the year our scholars set up their own projects based on the things that they care about. This gives young people the opportunity to develop their skills and abilities and develops confidence in our scholars. We give young people a sense of freedom that means that we don’t have to keep limiting a child’s attainment based on the expected progress for that particular term instead we ask them what they would like to achieve and we support them in doing so.
3. We provide more than just tutoring
One of the biggest costs for any programme is the number of contact hours that can be provided. Due to limited funding, most not-for-profit tutoring programmes can only provide a limited amount of tutoring support per pupil. The typical programme will offer 12-15 hours of support in one term. We know that tutoring on it’s own is nowhere near as effective as combining tutoring, mentoring and enrichment. Scholars on the GT Scholars Programme receive a minimum of 25 hours of support per term. This includes 10 hours of one-to-one tutoring and a minimum of 15 hours of enrichment and skill-building support.
4. You don’t need to be referred by your school to join our programmes
Most education programmes will only support young people from the lowest income homes that live in very specific postcodes in priority areas eg. Hackney and Tower Hamlets. This means that families within these areas and schools in these areas have a huge advantage of gaining external support for their students. But what happens if you don’t live in a priority postcode or you don’t attend the right school? Too many young people miss out on support because they don’t attend the right school, have the right grades, live in the right postcode and this is why our programmes are open to any young person living in London.
5. Our couses, workshops and events are open to all
We know that not every young person will get on the scholars programme. It’s not the best fit for every child, not every child needs support and we would never have the capacity to work with every child. For some young people, a day or a week or support is enough to make that difference. Our courses, workshops and programmes have been created to make sure that any young person can join in, regardless of their postcode, household income, the school they attend or their current attainment.
6. Our mixed funding model makes our courses, workshops and programmes affordable
We are different from most programmes because we charge means-tested fees. We believe that this is a good thing as it means that we do not have huge restrictions on the number of scholars that can join the programme. It also means that we don’t have to wait for grants in order to run the programme. The true cost of the GT Scholars programme is £2100 per year – this is simply not affordable for most parents. Our mixed funding model means that we charge approximately £240 to £480 per pupil for each 12-week term and this is considerably less than the amount that it costs to run the programme and a lot less than the cost a private tutoring company or the typical enrichment programmes that are only affordable for young people from wealthier families.
7. Our tutors and mentors genuinely believe in making a difference
When the GT Scholars programme started, we knew that had to work with tutors that shared the same values as we did. We initially believed that paid tutors would be the most committed tutors. However, we soon realised that we needed more than just committed tutors – we needed tutors and and mentors that cared about our scholars and were personally invested in making a difference. Our courses, workshops and programmes are designed by volunteers that are passionate about potential. We now work with volunteer tutors and mentors that take time out of their week to ensure that scholars get the most from the programme. In exchange, we provide our tutors and mentors with support for their role, we listen to their ideas and suggestions and we provide a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
The GT Scholars programme is an after school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme for ambitious young people aged 11-16. To find out more about the GT Scholars programme, get in touch with us online.