Did you catch us in The Guardian?

Did you catch us in The Guardian?

Our Impact Success stories University What's new? Young people

Just in case you missed it, GT Scholars was mentioned in The Guardian at the weekend! One of our alumni, Micheal, was featured in an article about his perseverance through university despite the challenges he faces. Micheal mentioned how being on the GT Scholars programme helped him achieve some of the best A-level grades at his school and helped motivate him to pursue his aspirations.

The article has been an insight into some of the struggles faced by young people when pursuing their ambitions. In Micheal’s case, since going into university, he’s had to work 38 hours a week in order to fund his studies. No one should have to go through this at university and the article has led to many people reaching out to help him, including the creation of a GoFundMe page to support him through the final part of his degree course. We also hope that there will be further safeguards put in place to prevent young people like Micheal from having to fund their own studies, particularly if it is their first degree.

For us, this article reminds us of the importance of our work at GT Scholars. We feel very privileged that he still remembers what he gained from being on the programme. We believe that every child deserves a chance to succeed regardless of his or her background and this is one of the reasons why we run programmes for ambitious young people and provide free places to young people on Free School Meals.

To find out more about our after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programmes for ambitious young people, register your interest here.


GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

An Interview With Our Founder, Temi Kamson

Our Impact Our story Private tuition What's new?

If you ever wondered about the story behind GT Scholars and how it was founded, then watch this interview with our founder, Temi Kamson.

Temi has a Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Nottingham and a PGCE in Mathematics Education from the University of Cambridge. Having worked in state and independent schools, she set up the GT Scholars Programme with the goal of helping ambitious young people achieve their full potential, regardless of their socio-economic background. In this video, she also talks about her personal experience with the education system, why scholars enrol in our programme, what scholars will gain from the programme, and what makes our scholars successful.

If you prefer you can read the full interview below:

Why did you start GT Scholars?

I started GT Scholars based on my own personal experience of growing up in South London. I grew up in a single parent home, grew up in council housing and went through the state school system. I remember one of my teachers from primary school, Miss Bickersteth, telling me ‘’Temi, you can be anything you want to be.’’ That statement was so powerful that it stayed with me for the rest of my life, it is still with me today. There were so many times that I wanted to give up but I was really fortunate enough, especially towards the end of my school years to have right opportunities come along at the right time, and that really helped me. It really supported me in those final years when I was thinking about university but not thinking I was good enough. I was really lucky, I went off to university, I studied engineering but later on, I decided to retrain and become a teacher in the hopes that I could give back and make a difference in someone else’s life.

It was while I was teaching, working with young people, that I really wanted to inspire them and raise their aspirations. What I realised while I was teaching was quite profound. Many of the young people that I worked with were already really ambitious. They wanted to do well; they wanted to get good grades at the end of school. But many of them they just didn’t feel confident, they didn’t feel that they had the ability within them. These beliefs were so deeply ingrained that many of them thought that even if they did their very best; the best they would ever be able to achieve was a C-grade. Some of them felt that they did not have the right background and that certain opportunities were only available for the privileged few. After some time, I realised that young people needed more than just good teachers. They needed people to support them in terms of seeing the opportunities available to them and supporting them to make the most of these opportunities.

Why do young people join GT Scholars?

So at the moment in England, only about 1 in 3 young people from low-income homes, are able to leave school with 5 GCSE’s or above and this is, of course, actually quite disheartening.  There are many young people who would love to achieve better grades by the end of school, access top universities get into competitive careers but often what happens is that they genuinely have no idea how to do this. The saddest part is that many of them are so full of self-doubt that they don’t even believe that they are capable of achieving this.

What do young people gain from GT Scholars?

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school courses, workshops and programmes for young people, particularly young people from low-income homes. Our goal is to give them the support they need so they can achieve their academic and career potential. Scholars on our programme receive academic support through tutoring. They also receive coaching or mentoring from undergraduates, graduates and professionals from top universities and leading organisations. Our scholars also get to take part in enrichment activities such as visits to the city, visits to universities and the aim of that is to help them understand the opportunities that are available to them. We also run skill building days, again, with the aim to help them and support them so they know how to make the most of these opportunities.

What makes your scholars successful?

Over the past few years, we’ve had support from organisations such as Charities Aid Foundation, School For Social Entrepreneurs and The Young Foundation. Our scholars that have been on the program have been able to move an average of 2 grade points in a year and we’ve even had some of our scholars move from a predicted D grade to achieving A-grade within a year of being on the programme. We are really proud of that.  What makes GT Scholars successful is the genuine belief that our tutors and mentors have in our scholars. They invest their time and energy supporting our scholars and building positive relationships with them. This, in turn, helps our scholars believe in themselves and that helps them realise their strengths and ultimately helps them improve their grades and career prospects. I know I wouldn’t be here today if not for the role models that supported me and believed in me when I was growing up. So if there is anything I have learned over the past through years it is that anyone can make a difference. An hour a week may seem so small, but those few hours could have such a positive influence on a young person’s life.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment that is designed to help young people aged 11-16 achieve their academic and career aspirations. Contact us if you would like to know more about the GT Scholars Programme and how you can join.

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Alex

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Alex

Our Impact Volunteer roles Volunteers What's new?

Every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of our amazing volunteers to find out more about them, why they decided to volunteer with GT Scholars and how their experience has been so far with us. Here’s a recent interview with one of our volunteer tutors – Alex.

Why did you decide to volunteer some time tutoring with GT Scholars?

I was looking for a chance to gain experience in teaching. The GT Scholars Programme offers a great opportunity to do so while also volunteering in the education sector. GT Scholars provide online sessions and lots of supporting material for tutors and tutees. It has been a great experience for me so far.

How important was it for you to gain support when you were younger?

Support has contributed a lot to my self-growth and development. It has given me the necessary tools to move forward and understand what it takes to succeed academically. Tutors, teachers, and professors all played a vital role in my studies, teaching me how to organise my schedule and efficiently manage my time.

Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?

Guidance and support are essential ingredients in order, for a young individual to flourish and become the best she/he can be. Tutoring can equip students with knowledge and enhance their self-confidence. Furthermore, tutoring provides structure by forming a functional schedule for children to follow and to maximise their potential.

What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?

I’ve gained teaching experience which is a big plus for my job search in the education industry. I met new people and exchanged ideas on how to become a better tutor, along with other interesting teaching concepts.

What do you think the most important skill is to be a volunteer tutor?

You need to be patient and approach tutoring from the student’s perspective. Figure out how to tackle difficult concepts but also be in the position to justify even the easiest terms so that the student can follow.

What part of the volunteering process have you found the most fulfilling?

Watching a young mind maturing is the most fulfilling part of my volunteering experience with GT Scholars.

Alex is a postgraduate student working towards his MSc in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering at University College London. He is currently a volunteer Maths tutor with GT Scholars.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us via the website.

 

The story behind GT Scholars – More than just a tutoring programme

Growth mindset Our Impact Our story What's new?

Why start another education charity?

Did you know that young people from the lowest income homes (Household income under £16,190) are only 4% likely to gain entry into a Russell Group University when compared to their peers at Independent schools who have a 64% chance of gaining access to a Russell Group University? Date from – Widening Participation in Higher Education 2013

Research from The EEF teacher toolkit shows that one-to-one tutoring can accelerate attainment by up to 5 months in a year and there are a range of charities that run programmes with the aim of improving the grades of young people from low income households and while these programmes are highly effective.

Charities that offer after-school tutoring and mentoring are extremely impactful but are usually funded using a combination a grants, donations and fees charged to schools. This is a common funding model for charities but the challenge with this funding model is that grants and donations aren’t sustainable – they can’t last forever and not all schools can afford the fees for additional after-school programmes.

Due to limited funding, most schools or charities have a strict criteria for providing additional support and they can only provide additional tutoring or mentoring support to priority pupils.

In a typical charity – Limited funding means that support only goes to priority pupils

Priority pupils are usually pupils on FSM (Free School Meals) – that means pupils with a household income under £16,000. In order to qualify for support, you’ll need to go to a school that has an existing partnership with the charity.

In addition to this, there are typically two types of interventions. There are those that work with high attaining pupils that are likely to get into a top university or those that work with D-grade students with the aim of supporting them to achieve a C-grade by the end of school.

The problem with this strict selection criteria is that many parents and young people from low income homes have little awareness of the programmes available to them and have very little control over the decision making process. The decision for young people to get on any programme is usually based on a funding and priority need both schools and charities are forced to make a decision on which child or which group of children will benefit from this most – given our limited funding.

Affordable and accessible tutoring – The story behind GT Scholars

The GT Scholars Programme was founded in November 2013. It was started by Temi Kamson, a former engineer turned Maths teacher. Temi established the programme while working as teacher and noticed that many of the young people and parents that approached her for after-school tutoring were on free school meals or low income homes but didn’t qualify for support. This was either because their grades were too high (eg a C-grade), their household income was too high (eg. a single parent household with an income of £17,000 which is just above the Free School Meals threshold or the school didn’t have the funding to place them on a programme.

We were established with the goal of ensuring that any young person was able to access the support and you didn’t have to go to live in the right neighbourhood, go to the right school, have the right household income and have the right grades in order to qualify for support. The programme has been developed and refined over the past couple of years and recently gained support from NPC-Think (New Philanthropy Capital) who assisted with developing the theory of change.

Since starting the programme, we have gained support from organisations such as the Young Academy’s Accelerator Programme, Bank of America Meryll Lynch and The School for Social Entrepreneurs. GT Scholars was also awarded its first round of social investment through Croydon Council’s SE-Assist programme with Legal & General and Charities Aid Foundation.

What does the programme involve?

We are now open to any pupil in London and run as an after-school tutoring and mentoring programme to run throughout the academic year with 3 terms in the year. In each term, our scholars benefit from 10 hours of one-to-one online tutoring sessions to improve grades and 3 mentoring sessions to help pupils build their confidence and equip young people the strategies they need to succeed.

We also run 1 skill-building day to help young people develop a growth mindset and 1 Enrichment day. Our enrichment days include things like visits to the city, visits to universities and career days where we encourage parents and scholars to gain a deeper understanding of the academic and career opportunities available to them.

This is all done with help from volunteers who support through tutoring, mentoring and one-off volunteer days. Tutoring and mentoring requires a 3-month minimum commitment and volunteer tutors need to be available for 1 hour a week while mentors need to be available for 2 hours a month.

Our tutors are graduates, undergraduates and professionals from a range of fields and we conduct full training and DBS checks on all volunteers that work directly with young people.

How is all of this funded?

We charge means tested fees and this means that the fees from young people from high income homes subsidise the fees for young people from low income homes.

The means-tested model also means that that the majority of our young people that join the programme are from low income homes. As a social enterprise, we use 100% of our surplus to provide free places. At the moment, we are able to provide 1 free place for every 6 paying places. Our goal is to be able to provide 1 free place for every 3 paying places by 2020 and we hope that we can do this with your support.

How can you help?

We’re always looking for undergraduates, graduates and other professionals that are passionate about making a difference in the lives of young people. You can volunteer as a tutor, mentor or simply sign up to one-off volunteer days.

Contact us online if you’d like to know more about The GT Scholars Programme and would like to support us by becoming a volunteer or connecting us to your professional network or corporate volunteer programme.

A Recap of our Careers day 2017: Work experience, Role models and Gamification

Our Impact Our story What's new? Work experience Young people

I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone that attended our annual careers day on Saturday 18th March 2017. We had a brilliant turnout and an inspirational panel. I believe that everyone gained something on the day and the feedback from parents and young people showed that it was a learning experience for everyone.

I’ve written this blog entry for anyone who would like a recap of the day or anyone who missed parts of the day. There was so much to gain but here are some of the most important messages that I gained from the day.

  • Get some work experience to help you decide:

    There were quite a few young people that didn’t feel sure of what they wanted to do as a future career and it would be quite hard for any 13 year old to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives and this is very rare. You may need to start by doing a lot of research on the type of careers that you might enjoy, how much money is good enough for you and what type of life you would live if you choose this career. The only way to know for sure is to gain some work experience or do an internship as this will get you as close as possible to the role that you are thinking of. Remember that work experience is just a ‘snapshot’ of the actual role so try to get as much work experience as you can of different roles or even the same role. Observe the people working in the role that you aspire to, ask questions and use this to help you narrow down your choices.                                                                                                                                     

  • Studying doesn’t have to be boring – You can make it fun:

    Exams and studying are two things that are unavoidable in pretty much every profession. Getting good grades in your academic and professional exams will create more possibilities and options for your future. One member of the panel mentioned that she had worked so hard to get into Cambridge only to discover that the studying didn’t end after University, she was expected to do professional exams within her profession. Likewise, another member of the panel, who didn’t go to university, still had to do professional exams to move forward in his current career. Everyone on the panel agreed that when you enjoy what you’re doing, it becomes easier and a lot less stressful. The panel also gave some examples of how to ‘gamify’ your learning and everyone agreed that this was probably the best way to approach your studies – make it fun.                                                                                                                                                               

  • Your talents aren’t limited:

    A huge misconception at school is that only a few people are gifted but this is entirely untrue. Human beings were not designed to fit into a box. We are multi-faceted and multi-talented. This means that you are an engineer and an artist, you can still get to work in IT and run businesses, you can be a teacher and a social entrepreneur, an investment banker and neuroscientist, a project manager that loves sports and is also an author, you can be a lawyer that writes and volunteers, a tech recruiter that has coached a women’s basketball team. You don’t have to do it all at the same time but you already have so many gifts and there are so many possibilities for your future.

     

  • Support from your parents can make a huge difference:

    It was interesting to hear how parents had had such a huge influence on the panel. Most people on the panel felt that their parents were their role models and this shows how much our children pick up from us. I was particularly moved by the member of the panel that explained how he failed his A-levels (more than once) and how this had a negative impact on his confidence, his relationship with his parents, his self-esteem and his motivation in life. It was also interesting to hear how his dad had to change his approach in order to build a better relationship with him. The person that failed his A-levels is now extremely successful for his age but this wouldn’t have happened if his parents hadn’t taken time to rethink their approach and support him in the right way. We all want our children to be happy and successful. Sometimes this means that we have to be the first to change if we want to see a change in them.

  • Never ever give up on yourself

    Tenacity and resilience are essential if you want to succeed. A couple of people on the panel spoke about being rejected for some time or dropping out of university or constantly being compared to their sibling before they finally got their first ‘break’ and everything picked up from there. I mentioned that when I feel like giving up I think of some of the most successful people and how they had to just keep going even after receiving their 100th rejection. Walt Disney was fired from one of his first jobs – he was told that he lacked imagination! JK Rowling spent five years writing Harry Potter books, she earned next to nothing during those years only for her to finish writing and be rejected by over 12 publishers! Tenacity and ‘bounce-back-ability’ are two things that you will need if you want to navigate through any career. Rejections are inevitable but whatever happens in life, whichever path you choose – Never ever ever give up on yourself.

     

  • Add value and the money will follow:

    Most people on the panel agreed that there were so many careers to choose from and it wasn’t necessarily a case of picking one career and then doing this for the rest of your life. What matters most was adding value in anything that you do and constantly thinking – what can I do to make a difference? What can I give? What skills, talents, gifts, strengths have I got? What will I enjoy? There were lots of examples of people on the panel that were working in roles that they hadn’t imagined when they were younger or creating technology that didn’t exist when they were at school. Ultimately, your communication, problem solving, team working, leadership skills and creativity are the most important skills. You may find yourself working in different countries, careers and industries but these are the things that would follow you for the rest of your life.

     

  • There is no point in being a starving artist:

    This wasn’t mentioned on Saturday but I thought it was important to add this as a final note. On Saturday, we had someone ask which jobs can help you make good money and the general response was that it depends on what you see as a good amount of money and also when it comes to your career – ‘It’s not all about the money’. Having said this, you still need to find a balance between how much you want to make and the career you choose. You may find a career that you love but you may have to stop because you aren’t being paid your worth. You may have to make a decision of not earning enough money in the first stage of your career with the goal of earning a lot more in the future eg. a career in music, acting, business, writing, sports or entertainment. The other problem is that some careers are hard to break into and this means that may not earn enough while you pursue your ‘art’ or ‘calling’. So my take on this is to talk to other people in that industry, make sure you get good grades at school as this will give you more options in the future, get a degree or another qualification, get as much experience as possible, be outstanding at what you do, think both short and long term and have a backup career plan. It’s not all about the money but it would be wrong for anyone to tell you to pursue your dreams without being realistic about your earnings.

Once again I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone that joined us at our annual careers day. Don’t forget to subscribe to ‘In the know’ our Friday newsletter for parents, where you can stay up to date on work experience opportunities, summer schemes, top-tier apprenticeships and university scholarships for your child. Also, If you enjoyed reading this post, why not forward it to someone else?

Careers day on Saturday March 18th 2017

Careers day on Saturday March 18th 2017

Our Impact What's new?

Apprenticeships or university? Which university? Which course? How do you choose the right career? How can I get access to scholarships?

Saturday 18th March is our annual free Careers Day for young people. This is the perfect opportunity for you to meet professionals from a range of careers and get impartial information on apprenticeships and university degrees.

We want young people to meet professionals from a range of careers; learn how to get into certain professions and find out how and where to get work experience.

We have a panel of professionals speaking on the day and you’ll have a chance to ask questions about some of the careers that you may be considering.

  • You’ll get impartial information about apprenticeships and university degrees.
  • Learn what it takes to get into a competitive career or university.
  • Find out about how to get into a career in finance, law, accounting, medicine, entrepreneurship and technology.
  • Meet some of scholars on the programme as well as the staff and volunteers that support the programme.

If you want to know how to land a top apprenticeship, how to get into a top university or how to get sponsored for your degree or future career – then you don’t want to miss this!

Recommended age: 11-18
Date and Time: Saturday 18th March, 12-4pm
Location: The School for Social Entrepreneurs, 139 Tooley St, Southwark, SE1 2HZ
Tickets: Tickets must be booked via Eventbrite. They are free, but parents and young people must book a ticket in advance so that we know you’re coming.

What will you gain from the programme?

Growth mindset Our Impact Parents What's new? Young people

GT Scholars is no ordinary tutoring programme! Our scholars benefit from improved grades, increased confidence, motivation and raised aspirations. Click on the video to find out what our scholars have to say about the programme.

To find out more about the GT Scholars programme, register your interest online at www.gtscholars.org/register-your-interest

Our name has officially changed to GT Scholars

Our name has officially changed to GT Scholars

Our Impact Volunteers What's new? Young people

For anyone who has been on the pilot programme you will be aware that we used the phrase GT Schools to describe the programme. We’re now incorporated as a Community Interest Company and we have officially changed the name of the programme to ‘The GT Scholar’s programme’ – GT Scholars for short! The website will now be gtscholars.org and this will launch towards the end of January 2016.

The importance of the name ‘GT Scholars’

The importance of the name ‘GT Scholars’

Growth mindset Our Impact Volunteers What's new? Young people

When we launched the GT Scholars programme, we wanted to create a programme that would have a high impact on students attainment, particularly for students from lower income homes. We wanted to help students understand that they are gifted and talented and that they are capable of achieving their goals in school and in life regardless of their current attainment or family background. GT Scholars seemed like an appropriate name.

However, we were met with some hesitation. People would often challenge us with questions like;

  • Why is the programme only for gifted and talented children?
  • What about average children that aren’t gifted and talented?
  • My child isn’t gifted, can you support him so that he can become more gifted?

These questions were really useful because they helped us understand that there were many misconceptions about the phrase “gifted and talented” and more importantly, people were quick to label their children as ‘average’, ‘not really gifted’ or ‘below average’ but few parents actually saw their child as “gifted and talented”

For many years, gifted and talented has been reserved for the highest achieving students in school. People often think of gifted & talented children as children that are naturally talented in Maths, English, Science, Computing, Music, Art, Drama or Sports.

However, we like to think of this from a different perspective.

We know that children can be gifted with high levels of empathy, confidence or even a high level of patience. Others are gifted in public speaking, caring for others or speaking up on behalf of others. Students can be gifted in entrepreneurship, creativity, perseverance or leadership…the list goes on.

It’s amazing when you look at gifted and talented from a new perspective, you begin to realise that ALL children are indeed gifted and talented.

Psychology tells us that we when we think of children as ‘average’ or ‘below average’, we are effectively perpetuating the problem of low attainment. In psychology, this is sometimes called the ‘self-fulfiling prophecy’.

If more parents and teachers saw that their child had the potential to be a lawyer or a scientist, they would probably have a very different approach when dealing with challenging subjects. Likewise when children see that their parents and teachers believe in them, they automatically approach things very differently.

Too many parents or teachers think of children as ‘average’ or ‘below average’ – it was no wonder that children continue to get ‘average’ grades.

So we would like to challenge you to rethink the phrase “gifted and talented”.

When we as parents, teachers, tutors and mentors begin to accept each child as gifted and talented and embrace their individual talents, only then, will we begin to see just how amazing they really are!

We’ve won the Lloyds Start-up award from School for Social Entrepreneurs!

We’ve won the Lloyds Start-up award from School for Social Entrepreneurs!

Our Impact What's new?

We’re pleased to announce that The GT Scholar’s Progamme recently won the LLoyds Start-up Award from School for Social Entrepreneurs!

Launched in April 2012, the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme is a partnership between SSE (School for Social Enterpreneurs), Lloyds Bank and The Big Lottery Fund. We are extremely grateful for this award as we know that it will make a huge difference in expanding our offering. The award provides funding as well as mentoring and training to social enterprises and social entrepreneurs that want to make a huge impact.

This is a huge achievement for us. The grant will help us reach out to new parents and students and it will help us extend the enrichment programme to students that are already on the programme.