12 Ways to Start Meaningful Conversations with Your Teen

12 Ways to Start Meaningful Conversations with Your Teen

Parents Volunteer tutors What's new?

Starting meaningful conversations with your teen is not always easy. You want to connect with them and build a positive relationship that includes good communication, but it can be challenging at times!

Being a teen these days is filled with many ups and downs. Teens experience pressure in many aspects of their lives, and they need support from their parents. In order to help them, you need to gain their trust by starting conversations with them that are authentic and spending time getting to know their needs and interests.

We will be discussing the various ways that you can start a meaningful conversation with your teen and show them that you are interested in their lives and you support them. These tips will help you engage with your teen and improve your relationship with them.

1. Focus On Using Positive and Encouraging Words

Teens may act like they don’t need encouraging words or approval, but they still need it, especially from their parents. When starting conversations with your teen, use positive words to motivate and encourage them. 

Being a teen can be overwhelming. There are always new challenges, goals and tasks that need to be completed. If your teen is going through challenges, use positive words to support them. This will help them overcome the challenges they’re facing and encourage them to work hard and believe in themselves.

Your teen is constantly growing and learning about themselves and what they’re capable of. When having meaningful conversations with them, use words such as, “You’re doing great” and “I’m so proud of you!”. This will increase their confidence and motivation.

By using positive affirmations, encouraging words and being aware of how you communicate with your teen, you will create better relationships with them and motivate them in powerful ways.

2. Allow Them the Space to Express Their Feelings

Did you know that teens love sharing? They want to talk about their day and share their feelings and opinions about things, but they don’t always feel comfortable doing so. In order to have meaningful conversations, you need to create a comfortable space for your teen. 

If you want them to express their feelings, try doing it first. You can share your feelings about certain topics or simply just tell them about your day. This will allow them to express themselves and feel comfortable sharing their feelings with you. 

If your teen is starting conversations and expressing their feelings, make sure that you are validating them. Don’t invalidate their feelings by saying, “This will blow over after high school” or “It’s not a big deal”. Whatever they’re feeling is important to them, so always listen and make them feel like their feelings are valid. 

3. Show Them That You Care About What They Have to Say

Showing your teen that you care about what they have to say is important when having meaningful conversations. You want them to open up and be honest, so when they do, listen attentively and show positive regard to what they’re saying.

For example, when starting conversations with them, always give your full attention by making eye contact and nodding as you listen. Showing that you care through your actions is just as important as your words. 

If your teen is talking about an issue or challenge, show them that you care by offering to help in any way. By offering to help, you allow them to ask questions or address any issues. This will make them feel supported and shows that you care about their opinions and challenges. 

4. Try to See Things From Their Perspective

Think back to how life was when you were a teen. Did you have a parent who had meaningful conversations with you and saw things from your perspective? If not, work towards creating a better relationship with your teen.

Many teens think that their parents don’t understand them and the challenges they face. Even though you faced challenges as a teen, every generation is different. You won’t know what your teen is going through until they communicate with you, but it is important to see things from their perspective.

Always try to imagine what they are going through and how you would react if you were in their situation. Once you understand their perspective, you can communicate positively and build a healthy relationship with them. 

5. Talk About Topics That Interest Them

Teens are not easily starting conversations because they feel misunderstood by their parents. Instead of trying to have meaningful conversations with them about your interests, try talking about things that they like and you know will be interesting to them.

If they enjoy watching movies, try talking about the latest movies that are trending. If they are into sport, try to start a conversation about a sports game or any news related to the teams they support. Encourage them to explore their interests.

Your teen will enjoy starting conversations with you and talking about their interests. This will help you build a healthy relationship with them, where you can have fun conversations and learn about what they like.

6. Spend Some Quality Time With Them

Making time for your teen is important and shows that you care. Spending quality time with them will help them to open up and express their feelings. Starting conversations with them will be easier when you spend time with them regularly.

Look for activities where you can spend time together and participate in conversations. You can ask them to choose an activity that they like. Examples of activities include walking, working out, cooking together, hiking or shopping.

Spending quality time with them and participating in the activities they like will allow them to feel relaxed and comfortable with you. This leads to meaningful conversations where they feel comfortable enough to share things with you. 

7. Support Them Rather Than Criticise Them

Teens are faced with many challenges and feel pressured growing up. Even though they feel pressured, they usually make the right decision. What they need is a parent who supports their decisions and avoids criticism. 

If your teen is doing something that you don’t agree with, start a meaningful conversation with them by stating that you care and you want the best for them. Offer your help and don’t judge them. If they feel supported, they will listen to your advice and make better decisions.

It is best to support them without pointing out what they are doing wrong. If they feel supported, they will easily come to you for help and they will take your advice without feeling criticised. 

If you would like to learn how to support your teen and the opportunities available to nurture your parent-teen relationship, click here

8. Ask Them Meaningful Questions

By starting meaningful conversations that can’t be answered with a yes or no, you are allowing your teen to open up and communicate better with you. By asking them thought-provoking questions, you will learn more about their deeper thoughts and opinions.

If you are asking questions like, “How are you?”, they will most likely reply with one word. Instead, say something like “Tell me about your day” or “Tell me about something that interests you”. This will make them participate in the conversation and keep them engaged.

By asking meaningful questions, you allow your teen to share the best of themselves. They will also have the opportunity to ask for your opinion and advice about a certain topic that they wouldn’t have discussed with you if you didn’t ask these questions. Meaningful interactions encourage self-reflection for you and your teen and build stronger relationships. 

9. Listen to Them Instead of Trying to “Fix” Them

Some parents usually try to fix a problem before they understand it. When starting conversations with your teen, always make sure that you listen attentively to them and only offer advice if they ask for it. 

Your teen needs to feel heard and know that you are listening to them without judgement. Allow them to explain a situation or problem without interrupting them or trying to “fix” the problem. Oftentimes teens will solve an issue on their own and they just need someone to listen to them and support their decisions. 

10. Don’t Force Them to Talk to You

Teens can become very self-conscious and are not always ready to share things. You shouldn’t expect them to tell you everything, but always make sure that they know they can come to you for help and advice.

If you are starting conversations with them and you notice that they are quiet, don’t ask too many questions. Instead, let them know that you care and that they can talk to you when they are ready. Giving them space is important when building a meaningful relationship. 

If your teen is struggling and you would like to learn how to keep them motivated or you want to share tips with them on how to build resilience, please click here to read our blog with tips and tricks on how to stay motivated on a day-to-today basis.

11. Get To Know Them Better

In order to connect and communicate with your teen, you need to get to know them better. You can do this by starting conversations that involve their likes, hobbies, interests and school and social life. 

A way to get them to open up is to find common ground and ask questions that will interest them. Talk about your own life and what you are interested in. If they can relate to you, they will talk about their likes and hobbies. If you don’t have anything in common, don’t panic. This is a great opportunity to just listen.

If you want to start meaningful conversations, you need to try new things with your teen and take part in their hobbies. Let them decide what to do together. For example, if they enjoy photography, you can take photos together or you can ask them to model for them. This will be fun for both of you and you will learn things about each other.

If they feel like you are interested in getting to know them and spending time with them doing something they like, they are more likely to do things with you. This will build your relationship and make it easier to start meaningful conversations.

12. Be Mindful of What They’re Going Through 

As a parent, you feel like you need to tell your teen how they should handle situations but it is more important to be mindful of what they’re going through and allow them to make their own decisions.

Instead of saying “You are not studying or participating in school”, try asking “How is school going?” or “Are you prepared for exams or do you need any help?”. By asking them questions in a sensitive manner, you can help them without pressuring them.

You should understand that their struggles are genuine and very important to them. It’s important to show up for them during their good moments, but also pay attention to the challenges they’re facing and support them through it. 

It can be really difficult for them to open up, especially when they’re struggling, so this is when you have to be patient. By being mindful and sensitive, your teen won’t feel blamed or judged in any way. This will feel comfortable starting meaningful conversations with you. 

Concluding Thoughts

Starting conversations with your teen can be difficult at times. Using the 12 ways above will show them that you care and you support them no matter what. By showing encouragement and spending time with them, you can help them grow into responsible, successful adults! 

Would you like to find out more about how to create an open communication space between you and your teen? Sign up for our free parent webinar, Inspiring Authentic Conversations with Your Teen, by clicking here! You can also get in touch to find out more about our programmes and courses by filling out this quick form.

Early Retirement: Teach Your Kids How

Early Retirement: Teach Your Kids How

Parents What's new?

We all dream about early retirement, but many of us don’t start planning for it until we are in our mid-30s or 40s. One of the reasons may be that our parents didn’t spend time teaching us to plan for our financial future. Another reason is that young people often put it off for later, thinking that they still have a lot of time. 

This gives them little time to plan for unexpected events that set them back financially when they do start planning. So early retirement is less achievable. Statistics show that 64% of adults living in the USA have no savings for their retirement. And 42% of people aged 18-29 have no retirement savings at all, along with 26% of Americans in the 30-44 age bracket. 

This tells us that many adults are holding off when it comes to planning for retirement. And before they know it, they’re facing retirement without enough money. That’s why we believe that it’s never too early to start planning for retirement. 

And that’s why we believe that it is our responsibility as parents to teach our children to plan for retirement from a young age! The great news is that it’s entirely possible by teaching them to use the power of compound interest, to invest in the financial markets and by helping them to build their financial literacy skills. By doing so, not only will your child know how to have enough money to retire, but they will also have the opportunity to retire early. 

In this article, we’ll be talking about the ways that parents can help their children to learn to invest from a young age. And, ultimately, plan for their retirement.

The Magic Of Compounding Interest

Did you know that you can start an investment account for your child from the time that they are born? And, you can start by investing in the financial markets for as little as £25 or $25 per month. This allows you to help your child build their wealth, and although you’ll be in control of their fund until they’re 18, you can still use it as an opportunity to teach your child about how it works.

These days, there are apps that you can use to help your child learn all about investing. What’s exciting is that if you can afford to put £200 every single month from your child’s birth, they’ll have £1 Million by the age of 40. 

Read: Want to find out how we calculated this? Read our article How to Raise a Millionaire: Financial literacy for kids

So what is compound interest? Simply put, it means adding the earned interest into your principal balance so that you earn interest on that. That’s what makes compounding interest so powerful, and why investing in the stock markets, and teaching your child how to invest, is the best way to help your child to plan for early retirement

Teaching Your Child To Manage Money

We can teach our children how to invest in their financial future but it is just as important that we teach them how to manage their money. What’s the point of making enough money to retire early and not knowing what to do with it? 

Teaching your child to manage their money well is called financial literacy. Here are some important skills that you can focus on passing on to your children.

Teach Your Child To Budget And Save

Children need to learn how to budget and the younger they start learning the better. While early retirement is great, they need to have a good idea of how to plan how they are going to spend their money. This is where budgeting is useful. Knowing how to budget their money will help them to make smart decisions.

Teach Your Child To Invest

We spoke about the power of investing when it comes to early retirement. But did you know that you can start teaching your child about the concept of investing from as early as the age of three! By starting early, your child can start learning to invest in the financial markets by the time they’re teenagers. This means they’ll have all the foundations they need to be successful investors as adults.  

Teach Your Child About Debt

Debt is something that can set your child back in their financial future. It will also make early retirement less achievable. Studies have shown that when children and teenagers learn about financial skills at home or school, their credit scores remain high and they are less likely to have bad debt. As parents, we can also teach our children about good debt.

Practical Ways to Develop Your Child’s Financial Literacy Skills

Okay, so we know what we need to focus on to help our children with their financial literacy skills. The question is how? We’ve got some practical tips for you and will discuss these here.

Get Them Into The Stock Market

There are many ways to become an investor, but we recommend that you teach your children about investing in stocks. This is a great way for them to invest in their financial future and plan for early retirement. Start with the basics using an app and then move on to teaching them about investing in actual stocks. Again, the earlier they learn, the more practice they’ll get and the better they’ll be at investing when they’re adults!

Let Them Work For Their Allowance

When it comes to handling money, practice is important. Teaching your children to work for their money is an invaluable lesson. It teaches them to appreciate their money and the value of working hard for it. It can be as simple as agreeing on an allowance for the chores they do each month. When they learn the value of money from a young age, they’ll be wiser with their finances as adults.

Encourage Your Child To Create Earning Opportunities

There are so many ways to encourage your child to earn money. As parents, we can teach our children to look out for opportunities where they can make money. This means teaching them to be young entrepreneurs. It could be something like walking the neighbour’s dogs or selling lemonade. The point is to teach them that there are always opportunities available for them to earn money. This is a lesson that will help them to learn about the value of money and could even help them work towards early retirement!

Speak Honestly About Money

For some parents, discussing money with their children feels uncomfortable. This is especially true when money was a sensitive topic growing up. The reality is that we need to be talking about money honestly with our children. The more they know about how we handle money, the more they’ll learn about how to manage their own. Children are capable of understanding more than we believe, and involving them in honest conversations can be a great way to build their confidence in their financial literacy skills. 

The Bottom Line

There’s no better time to start teaching your children about planning for their future than now. Learning how to manage money and invest in their early retirement is not something that can be taught overnight. It takes years of practice. In this article, we discussed the different ways that you, as parents, can help your children to build their financial literacy skills. 

If you want to know more, you can watch our webinar replay for free where Dr. Aderemi Banjoko talks about how to teach your children about wealth, finance and investing.

Investing for Kids: How to Raise a Millionaire

Investing for Kids: How to Raise a Millionaire

Parents What's new?

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.” –  Albert Einstein

As parents, we want our children to have a sound financial future. But this isn’t something that happens without intentionally working towards it. Many parents don’t know where to start and how to go about saving up for their child’s future. That’s why we’re writing this article about teaching your child investing!

One of the best ways to make sure your children are financially stable is to start an investment fund. By investing in the financial markets, your child could be financially set from a young age.

However, many parents either worry that starting an investment account for their children, or themselves, is too difficult – that they need to have expert knowledge. They also worry that it is too expensive to start investing.

This is not true and you can learn about investing, starting today. We’re going to talk about how much it costs to start an investment account and the benefits of doing so. So, if you’d like to learn more about investing and how you can raise a millionaire today, then continue reading!

Step 1: Teach Them About Investing

Did you know that you don’t need a lot of money to start investing in your child’s future and that you can start investing in the financial markets with as little as £25 or $25 per month? 

Also, if you invest £200 every single month, for 40 years, you could retire with £1 Million!

Perhaps you’re wondering how this is possible? Well here’s the Maths…

£200 per month x 10 years x 9.2% compound interest = £39,000

£200 per month x 40 years x 9.2% compound interest = £1 Million 

And if you’re wondering how to get a 9.2% interest rate, here’s another fact for you – the USA S&P has averaged an annual return of 9.2% since its inception in 1926. 

What’s even more interesting is that using a compound interest calculator, shows that you’d have only paid in £100,000 over the period of 40 years and you’d have earned over £900,000 in compound interest – It’s no wonder Einstein said that compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world!

So there you go! That’s the formula for raising a millionaire – It’s as simple as investing early and taking advantage of the power of compound interest!

Remember that investments are never guaranteed to go up so you must always educate yourself and do your research before you make any financial decisions. The course does not guarantee that your child will retire as a millionaire, BUT it can definitely help them with understanding how to make financial decisions from an early age! 

By teaching your children about financial literacy, you are ultimately contributing to their financial success!

Step 2: Open an Investment Account For Your child

Dr. Aderemi, one of our recent guest speakers for our webinar – How to Teach your Child about Wealth, Finance & Investing – and instructor for the Young Investor Course, talks about planting and nurturing your money tree. 

He is an avid private trader and investor in the financial markets with over 20 years of experience trading and investing in the global financial markets and is passionate about teaching financial literacy for kids. So, what does Dr. Aderemi mean by planting and nurturing a money tree? 

To grow a money tree you need seed money, water – which is the money you put into your investment on a regular basis – and time. The key to growing a healthy money tree is to consistently nurture it.

This means putting money into your child’s investment fund regularly and being mindful of what you take out in the long run. Remember that investing takes time and patience and the reward is not immediate but rather long term. It’s really important that we teach this to our children.

To keep your investments strong and healthy, you want to plant more money trees by reinvesting a percentage of the money you get out. And teaching your children to do the same when they’re older.

Step 3: Teach Your Child How To Spend

Remember, it’s not just about making money! What’s the point in having all of the money in the world but not knowing what to do with it? It is equally important that having money doesn’t impact our health or relationships in a negative way. 

That’s why being financial literate is just as important as knowing how to invest in the financial markets. What do we mean by financial literacy? As parents, we want our children to be financially literate, meaning, they know how to handle their money.

This is something that we need to teach them. We believe that apart from understanding how to budget, save and invest, the following are very important.

Knowledge is More Important Than Money When it Comes to Investing

Dr. Aderemi emphasizes that knowing how to spend and save your money is more important. Without knowledge – financial literacy – we would not be able to make our money last. That’s why we should be teaching our children about things like budgeting and ways to spend work. 

It ultimately comes down to knowing what to do with your earnings; what percentage to invest, spend and give.

Investing Doesn’t Mean Never Spending

Many people believe that it is bad to spend any of their money on things they like or enjoy doing. And that they should be putting all their spare money into savings or investments. 

This is not true, however. Life is also about compromising and enjoying the money that you worked hard for. The key is to teach our children how to spend in moderation, and always keep an amount of money to invest or save.

Giving is Also Important

We need to be teaching our children to use their money for good too. We can do this by teaching them to give a portion or percentage of their earnings to a charity each month. By teaching them to give too, you’re teaching them about generosity and humanity. 

It is an important lesson to teach when it comes to financial literacy.

The Bottom Line

And that’s it figured out – how to raise a millionaire! Anyone can do it, and it’s a lot easier than many parents believe. Even if you don’t know anything about investing, you can easily learn and become a successful investor in no time.

It will certainly be worth it and you can make a huge difference in your child’s financial future. If you’d like to learn more about why investing is so beneficial for your children’s future, read our blog 7 Reasons to Teach Your Child Investing!

Additionally, If you’d like to learn more about investing in the financial markets, you can watch our webinar replay for free on How to Teach your Child about Wealth, Finance & Investing. 

We hope that this article will set you on the path to learning and teaching your children all about investing and securing a legacy of wealth and wisdom for your family!

7 Reasons to Teach Your Child About Investing

7 Reasons to Teach Your Child About Investing

Parents What's new?

As parents, we all want our children to have a successful financial future and the best way to do that is to teach them how to invest. We want them to be financially independent and to be clever with the way they manage their money.

We are invested in their future success, which is why we are willing to go the extra mile to make sure our children do well at school; why we invest in tutoring and mentoring programmes, and do whatever we can to make sure they succeed at everything they do. 

However, part of making sure our children are successful is to plan for their financial future and teach them how to manage their finances! 

Although there are many ways to do this, setting up an investment account for your child can be one of the best ways to teach your child about investing in the financial markets and ultimately making a huge difference in your future and your child’s future.

With that being said, here are 7 reasons why your child should learn about investing:

1. The Sooner They Learn to Invest the Better

It is important that you teach your child investing from a young age. It is even better when you start an investment account when your children are born. They’ll get back more when they start earlier because investing works on compound interest that continues to increase over the years! 

We’ll break it down here to show you just how important it is to start early:

If you invest £200 per month, from your child’s birth, every single month, for 40 years, they could retire with £1.2 Million in the bank

But if you don’t and they only start investing the same amount per month in their 30’s, they’d only have around £41,000 by the age of 40.

This is the power of the difference that we, as parents, can make in our child’s lives and why we at GT Scholars are so passionate about teaching young people about the importance of investing from an early age!

2. Investing Is Better Than Saving

There are a few reasons why it is better for our children to invest than to save. The biggest difference between savings and investing is that they’ll make a significant amount more when they invest money because they’ll gain interest whereas they won’t when they save.  

Again, as time passes the difference between the amount they’ll get from an investment versus the amount they’ll get from saving becomes more significant.

Let’s take our calculation from earlier; if we invest £200 per month for 40 years at a 10% compound interest rate, we’ll have £1.2Million in the bank. But if you take the same amount and put it away in a savings account every month, then you’ll have £96,000. 

It may not seem like a huge difference but as time passes, your investment returns end up being a lot more than your savings. While saving is great for short term goals, investing is what will set you apart in the long run. 

3. They Won’t Have to Work for Every Penny 

We want to empower young people at GT Scholars. This means that we want to show parents how they can teach their children to earn smart. Investing allows them to do this because compound interest values time more than long hours do so they’ll knock off years of hard work when they invest. 

What do we mean by that? The amount that our children can get in return for their investment is much higher than they could potentially earn in their work one day. 

Investing is like making money while you’re sleeping. By investing, our children get to earn an income that they work for while accumulating a significant amount of money on the side.

This is exactly why we at GT Scholars believe it is important for parents to learn how to teach their children about investing. 

4. It’ll Allow Them to Plan Ahead

When our children are young, they’re hardly thinking about their long-term financial goals. This is something that we as parents should be putting in place so that we can teach them how to focus on these goals as they get older.

So what would these long term goals look like? 

It may sound odd but teaching your child to think about their retirement plan from the age of 10 is likely to help them succeed at reaching their financial goals for their retirement as adults. Investing helps them to do that. 

Additionally, although it’s not always predictable, our children can plan long term investments so that they can estimate their net worth after a period of time. This means that they will know exactly what their earning potential is, in any given amount of time. 

They can then work towards increasing this or continue at the same rate if they’re happy with their financial progress.

5. They Won’t Be Tied Down to a Location 

We live in a world where many people want flexibility in their lives and in their jobs. Investing gives them this. By teaching our children how to invest, we give them the option to work from and live anywhere they want to.

This is because investing can be done from anywhere and that allows you to travel and continue investing in the financial markets, no matter where you are in the world. At GT Scholars, we believe in opportunities, young people who learn to become successful investors will be open to an array of opportunities. 

They get to travel if they want to and explore so many more options than what is available to them in just one location. This also gives them the freedom to choose a career that involves more travel.

We can teach our children about the value of flexibility and experience and how investing can help them to achieve that goal.

6. It’ll Give Them the Freedom to Follow Their Dreams 

We all want our children to have the freedom to follow their dreams. One of our biggest goals at GT Scholars is to help all young people to reach their goals and dreams regardless of the resources they have available to them. This is where starting a children’s investment fund for your child from a young age will help them build up the funds they need to achieve many of their goals.

The reality is that many young people struggle to pursue their goals and dreams due to a lack of finance. There are so many students who want to study further, or who want to travel but they just don’t have the financial means to do so. 

Investing gives them the opportunity to think ahead and plan for their future, giving them the financial freedom they need to do what they’re passionate about. Whether that means going to a top university or becoming an athlete. 

Investing gives our children the chance to build a significant amount of money for their future. 

7. They can retire early 

Wouldn’t it be a dream come true if our children could retire when they wanted to? None of us wants our children to work hard for the rest of their lives. Being smart about our child’s financial future can help them to retire at an early age.

When they simply put money away in savings in the hopes of successfully retiring one day, they are earning no interest and they only get what they put in. This means it’ll take them much longer to save up enough money to retire compared to if they had an investment.

This is because when they invest to retire, it allows them to make money on top of what they earn and that money gains interest, giving generous returns at a younger age. This allows them to retire at a much younger age too.

By teaching our children to start investing at a young age, we are boosting their financial future and giving them the opportunity to prepare well for retirement one day.

Read our blog: Early Retirement: Teach Your Kids How 

The Bottom Line

Isn’t it great to know that our children can have a sound financial future? That they can live their dreams, have flexibility where they live and work, and retire early? All we need to do is give them the tools they need to become young investors! 

If you want to know more, you can watch our webinar replay for free where Dr. Aderemi Banjoko talks about how to teach your children about wealth, finance and investing.

Social mobility charities that can help young people reach their aspirations

Social mobility charities that can help young people reach their aspirations


GT Scholars was set up to give young people the support, skills and strategies they need to achieve their aspirations. Our courses, workshops and programmes have helped hundreds of young people aged 11-18 achieve better grades at school, get into top universities, access top tier apprenticeships and reach their academic and career aspirations.

In addition to the work we do with young people, we offer bursaries to young people from lower income homes. This is fuelled by our passion and belief that every young person deserves a chance and choice to succeed in life, regardless of their background. Every year, we seek to offer bursaries to as many people as possible. However, the number of free places we provide in each term is based on our earnings. This means that we are only able to give a very limited number of free places each year. Thankfully, there are many other organisations working hard to support some of the young people that need it most.

In this blog, we discuss various organisations that provide support to young people aged 11-18 from low income homes.

The National Tutoring Programme is a £350 Million government funded programme which schools are using to provide free one to one and small group tutoring to young people. It was set up as a response to the 2020 pandemic and has been designed to help thousands of young people in England to ensure that they can catch up on learning that was missed during the lockdown and school closure period. Many schools have signed up to this and you may be able to access free tutoring through this programme.

IntoUniversity provides local learning centres where young people are inspired to achieve. At each local centre, IntoUniversity offers an innovative programme that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain either a university place or another chosen aspiration. Their programme provides children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds academic support, FOCUS activities, and mentoring.

The Access Project works with bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds, providing in-school support and personalised tuition, to help them gain access to top universities. Their programme comprises both tutoring and mentoring as the combination of these interventions maximises their students’ likelihood of going to a top university. They also organise visits to top universities and run a Law Society, a Medicine and Dentistry Society and an Oxbridge Society.

The Brilliant Club is a university access charity that works with schools and universities across the UK. The organisation aims to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly selective universities. They do this by mobilising the PhD community to share its academic expertise with state schools through programmes of university-style tutorials, which are supplemented by two university trips.

Coach Bright: This is an organisation that provides tutoring and mentoring to young people aged 10-30 from low-income backgrounds. They work with volunteer coaches who support young people through their coaching programmes and academic programmes. Their mission is to improve social mobility for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and they have helped thousands of young people to achieve this goals.

Action Tutoring is a national charity that provides one-to-one and small group tutoring to young people from low income disadvantaged backgrounds. It is also one of the largest tutoring organisations providing free tutoring to young people in England. They work with schools across the country, providing schools with access to volunteer graduates and professionals who volunteer 1-2 hours every week to help young people improve their grades.

Team Up is a social venture charity that runs a voluntary leadership programme. They use tuition, delivered by inspirational role models, to enable pupils from low-income backgrounds to meaningfully increase their academic attainment, in order to improve the choices open to them. They also work with schools, universities and employers in order to increase social mobility in the UK.

Tutors United is a non-profit organisation that trains current university students and hires them to tutor English and Maths. They specialise in providing affordable private tutoring to the children and families who need it most, operating multiple tutoring services at various sites across the UK with plans to expand further. They are committed to tackling educational inequality and always recruit the very best undergraduates to tutor the pupils who need it most.

SEO London has three programmes that prepare talented students from ethnic minority or low socioeconomic backgrounds for career success. Their SEO Schools programme helps high-achieving students in Years 11-13 to broaden their horizons through access to academic, professional and enrichment opportunities. They organise events such as insight days and work experience placements with their world-class sponsor firms, comprehensive skills sessions to develop your commercial awareness and technical skills, bespoke open days at the UK’s top universities, and mentoring from experienced SEO alumni and industry professionals.

TalentEd is a charity that offers high-ability young people a year-long programme of weekly small group sessions. They believe that every young person should have the support, skills and aspirations to realise their potential. Their programmes are tailored to the needs of the individual by expert teachers. Their partner schools identify the needs of their cohort and choose a programme theme. TalentEd tutors then provide individual support to their small group of students, tailoring sessions to help them reach their potential.

UpReach is a charity that helps disadvantaged students from across the UK to realise their potential. They provide a highly personalised programme of support to students who they call UpReach Associates. They partner with employers and universities, and offer access to a comprehensive range of opportunities and activities to broaden their associate’s horizons, understand career pathways and develop the skills, networks and experiences needed for career success.

Sutton Trust is a foundation which improves social mobility in the UK through evidence-based programmes, research and policy advocacy. From early years’ through school, college and university to the workplace, they work to combat educational inequality and prevent the subsequent waste of talent. Their programmes, working in partnership with top universities and industry professionals, are designed to support students to make informed decisions about their next steps and leave young people feeling inspired.

Hackney Pirates is an enterprising charity working to develop the literacy, confidence and perseverance of young people so that they achieve both in school and in the world beyond. They believe that providing support outside of school can really help young people to do better in the classroom, while also developing broader skills. They work together with local schools, families and volunteers to deliver unique real-world learning projects in their own unconventional learning environment, the Ship of Adventures.

GT Scholars: We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes are open to all young people regardless of their background, school or income. Our tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programmes give young people aged 11-18, the strategies, skills and support that they need to achieve their aspirations in life. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

Parent Spotlight – The mentoring programme helped my son to have a focus and direction in life!

Parent Spotlight – The mentoring programme helped my son to have a focus and direction in life!

Parent Spotlight Parents Scholar spotlight What's new?

We had the pleasure of interviewing a parent of one of the scholars on the mentoring programme. Bola tells us more about her experience, why she wanted her son to join the mentoring programme, and the impact that the programme had on her son’s life.

Hello, my name is Bola, I’m Daniel’s mum and Daniel was a scholar on the GT Scholars programme. I found out about GT Scholars from a friend.

Why did you sign up to GT Scholars?
The reason why I wanted Daniel to go on a mentoring programme was that he got to the end of year 11, his GCSE was good and he’s grades were in between A-C’s. He seemed to have lost his focus and a sense of direction on what he wanted to do next. Daniel went to college and he was doing fairly alright, but I felt there was something missing. I was looking for a group that could cater to his needs and I was glad that I found GT Scholars. I wanted Daniel to have a focus and direction, and that is why I opted for the mentoring programme so that he would have someone to help him have a direction in life.

What was it like at the start of the programme?
Once Daniel got accepted to the mentoring programme, a mentor got allocated to him, and we had to go and meet Jason at his office. Daniel was very anxious, and I think refusal would be a strong word to use, but he asked me why he needed a mentor. He wasn’t happy at first, but he came along anyway, and I think that was one of the best things for Daniel.

What expectations did you have?
I was expecting a few things from the mentoring sessions. One of the things I think that I got from the mentoring sessions was for Daniel to relate to somebody outside of the family circle. His mentor was also able to arrange for him to go into another workplace so that he could see what other workplaces look like.

What was the joining process like?
Getting involved with GT Scholars, I think it was a successful relationship. When I submitted Daniel’s application, I received an email and a call from Marilyn. Every time I saw the number, I would know it’s Marilyn who’s calling me. I’ve received regular phone calls from her to hear how the relationship between Daniel and his mentor was going and to find out if there was anything they could do to support me.

What was your child’s mentor like?
The first time I met Jason, I could see Daniel related to him, and that made me feel more relaxed about the relationship. Sometimes you may have to go through a few mentors before finding the right one. I’ve had to manage some of the sessions. In the beginning, Daniel was not resistant to meeting with Jason, but he’s diary was quite full at the time. Sometimes I had to tell Daniel that he’s got a session with Jason and that he needs to make sure that the meeting holds because I believe that regular meetings would make the mentoring sessions work.

Why was mentoring valuable for your child?
For Daniel mentoring was not about improving academically, but to have someone to help him with direction and in deciding his next steps in life. I’ve noticed changes in Daniel, simple things like timekeeping, making sure he’s presentable and ensuring once he’s decided to do something, to keep to doing it, and completing the task rather than coming up with excuses.

Would you recommend GT Scholars to other parents?
I would recommend GT Scholars, and I have been advocating particularly for the appearance of young black boys, it is my passion because I don’t want any of our children to be part of the statistics. GT Scholars are doing a really good job, but not a lot of people know about them.

I’d like to say a big thank you to GT Scholars. Daniel started on the programme when he was 16, and I wish that I knew about it when he was younger. The mentoring programme that GT Scholars provides and the impact it had on my son is great. I know sometimes we can’t measure the impact of something, but I can see the impact of faith. I just want GT Scholars to continue to do good work.

In addition, I’d like to say a big thank you to Jason for just listening and being there for Daniel. I know sometimes it was a bit rocky with Daniel not always being responsive, but thank you for sticking with him, getting him through the programme, and getting him to have a focus in life.

A mother and son interview on their experience on the Headstart Programme

A mother and son interview on their experience on the Headstart Programme

Parents Scholar spotlight What's new?

Interview with scholar Ameer 

Please tell me a little bit more about yourself, what do you do for fun?
My name is Ameer and I’m 13 years old. For fun, I like to play football, play games on my Xbox and go to the library as I really enjoy reading.

Do you know which career field you would like to go into one day?
I’m really interested in the computer science field as well as the legal field and I’m considering either studying to become a computer scientist or a lawyer.

You have been on the GT scholars programme for a few terms already, what did you enjoy the most during your time on the programme?
One of the things I enjoyed most on the programme was the Coding day that was hosted at Google Centre in London. I got to see the Google building and meet other young people who are also interested in and enjoy computing. I also made a few friends who I saw at other events. 

What were your highlights during the programme?
Learning how to code has definitely been a highlight for me. I’m really interested in pursuing a career in computer science, so learning about coding was really something I enjoyed doing.

Which skill-building day did you enjoy the most?
The day I enjoyed the most was where we were taught how to create our own CV. The office we went to was impressive and the people we met were enthusiastic about what they do and they also enjoyed interacting with young people.

Why did you decide to join GT scholars?
Before I joined GT Scholars, I was really struggling with maths. I joined in order to get some help with that, and I was assigned a tutor to help me improve on my maths grades.

You have been matched with a tutor for a few terms, how did your Maths improve?
My maths grades have improved drastically. I can understand concepts and work through problems that I could not do before I got the help from the tutor. I also improved on my examination grade. I am very pleased about this and so is my Mum.

Did you feel more confident in your Maths?
Yes, I do feel more confident in my maths abilities. Maths feels more relevant now as it felt very random before.

Have you seen any other changes during your time on the Head Start programme? What impact has it had on you?
I can definitely see a change, and my Mum says she can too. I think I am less shy than I was before and even when I do feel shy, I still try and engage with other students and adults. I am much more confident now! 

Did you improve on your other subjects as well during your time on the Headstart Programme?
Yes, I have improved all round. My English, History, Science, and Geography grades have increased by about 10 points and I have been finding it a lot easier for me to concentrate.

You were part of the team of young people who lead the activities at our last volunteer meetup, tell me a little bit more about that?
During this meetup, another young person and I had to deliver ice breaker questions to a group of adults who were thinking of becoming volunteers at GT Scholars. I had to stand up in front of them and speak, which was scary at first but I enjoyed it.

Were you nervous before the meetup or did you feel you had the confidence to do something like that? Was it the first time that you had to talk to a big group of people?
I was really nervous at first because I wasn’t expecting so many people to be there, but it was fun. My Mum was really proud of me as it was something I have never done before.

If you could pick one thing, what do you think was the best thing that your tutor has taught you?
My maths tutor, Toby, taught me that maths is not something to be scared of and that if I don’t worry about it, I can learn something that can also be fun.

What made you decide to enrol in an online tutoring programme instead of a face to face programme?
I am currently homeschooled and don’t have melatonin, so sleeping for me is very difficult. I am not really a morning person, so my Mum arranged for my classes to start a little later in the mornings. Online is better for me because of the time of the sessions, which work well and is convenient for me and my tutor.

Did you feel you were able to connect with your tutor even though he was online? Tell me more about your online sessions, what was it like?
I have been able to connect with all my tutors even though the sessions are online, I don’t find it difficult at all. It is easy to talk about the work and with the whiteboard, I can demonstrate what I want to say which helps us understand each other better.

What would you tell young people who would like to join the GT Scholars programme?
I would tell young people that it is a really good way to learn, they will be relaxed and be able to learn in the comfort of their home. There’s no travelling involved so you don’t waste any time and you can get started with your lesson immediately. When your lesson is finished, you can do what you like because you are already home which is really convenient.


Interview with parent Sharon 

Was there anything specific about GT Scholars that made you decide to join us?
I was drawn to the programme because it is a student and parent focused organisation that offered busy parents and students quality online education at an affordable price. 

From your point of view, what impact do you think the tutoring sessions have had on Ameer?
He is quite a friendly person but can be very shy and not one to initiate or contribute to a conversation unless prompted. The one to one sessions have helped him to gain confidence in communicating. Asking questions when he is unsure has helped him to become a better troubleshooter. 

With the Covid-19 phase that we are in at the moment, I guess it has not impacted Ameer’s schooling because Ameer has been homeschooled. Has there been any change in your study routine? How are you and how are you coping with that?
There has not been any real change in the study routine. We’ve been homeschooling since January 2019, so we feel pretty organised with the help of Home Education groups and forums. Ameer is really enjoying it, although he is missing our lengthy visits to the park and museums. These are great environments to learn in. 

Have you seen any changes in your normal routine with regards to education and online learning during this time or has it stayed normal?
It has pretty much stayed the same. Although, the learning duration has lengthened by about one and a half hours during weekdays. 

Now that everyone is homeschooling with the current situation, how do you feel about that?
It’s an encouraging position for parents and students. It allows for both to understand they have more control and learning can be fun, relevant and personal. 

As a parent how did you find interacting with the tutors?
Thankfully, the matching process made it super easy for Ameer and I to interact with great tutors, who love what they do and are willing to share their knowledge. 

Do you feel that GT Scholars was supportive throughout the term?
As a parent, I always feel supported by GT Scholars. They are only a phone call or email away and always assists with prompt and helpful responses. They go above and beyond expectations. I feel as though I am liaising with an organisation that values young people and their family.

Would you recommend GT Scholars to other parents?
I would recommend GT Scholars and have done so to many other parents.

Do you have anything else you would like to add?
I love the ethos and ethics of the company and I am glad for the impact they are having on Ameer’s life; and if he’s happy, then I am happy!

Why We Need More Personalised Learning At School

Why We Need More Personalised Learning At School

Educational inequality Improving academic attainment Narrowing the gap Parents What's new?

The concept of personalised learning is centred on providing a more tailored education programme for each learner. It starts by examining and understanding each learner’s needs and then it looks to provide the necessary and challenging educational opportunities to assist them in their learning and overall development. 

In more practical terms, personalised learning is based on the belief that all young people have the right to receive support and challenges that are tailored to meet their individual needs, abilities and interests. For this concept to prosper it needs commitment from the pupil, responsiveness from teachers and engagement from their parents or carers 

How does current learning at schools take place?
In most schools, pupils are taught the curriculum in a classroom setting where there is one teacher engaging with a number of pupils at the same time. On average, there are about 20 pupils in each classroom in the UK. In this classroom setting, the teacher shares the same information with the whole class and the class is then assessed on that information in the form of tests, assignments, group work, engagement and eventually exams. 

The above method has been and continues to be the current functioning method in most schools. However, this learning method can be problematic for many pupils for a number of reasons. These include:

  • Some pupils may be over-talkative or disruptive which makes it difficult for other learners to concentrate and to engage with the teacher and other pupils
  • Some pupils may be intimidated to speak in front of their peers which hinders their participation during the lesson
  • Some pupils may not be able to understand the way the teacher presents the information as everyone learns differently or may be afraid to ask the teacher for help
  • The teacher has to hold the attention of the entire classroom which can be difficult and this can lower the amount of teaching time

Personalised learning at schools is the solution to most, if not all, of these challenges as each learner would have individual attention and supervision from a teacher and which will allow them to easily learn and understand topics.

Benefits of personalised learning

  • Increased engagement from pupil – This method of learning ensures that each pupil engages for longer which means they will spend more time learning and taking in the information being taught to them. Their engagement can also be further ignited by the pupil taking an active role in choosing their learning methods such as choosing the font and colours that they want to use, choosing the specific subject topics they want to study and the manner in which they wish to study. 
  • Increased motivation – Increased engagement results in increased motivation for the learner to choose a learning path that best suits them, making them much more invested in their studies. This is an important factor because unmotivated learners are known to be disruptive in class and missing important information which results in overall poor performance. Motivated learners, on the other hand, are known to focus and perform better in class.
  • Less time wasted – Teachers only have a specific amount of time to teach each subject topic, while pupils learn and take in information at different rates. Personalised learning can make the most use out of the pupil’s time by either getting straight to the point during a lesson or allowing more time for a teacher to go over any topics that a pupil struggles with. This method allows for teachers to assess the educational needs of a pupil before the course even begins, so as to avoid the traditional way of reading large chunks of information they may already be familiar with before they can begin with the course.
  • Better understanding and better results – A personalised learning system encourages pupils to share their individual concerns and ask for assistance on topics they may not understand without feeling intimidated by other pupils. This will strengthen their ability to handle any tasks the teacher gives to them to do which guarantees better results from the learner. In addition, pupils will complete tasks not just because they have to pass but because they actually understand the information and instructions provided.
  • Learning on your own time – The personalised learning method is much more flexible which allows pupils to take their learning wherever they go. This allows pupils to be in a comfortable environment when learning and it enables them to focus, learn for a longer time and absorb more learning material than they would in a traditional classroom setting.
  • The school also wins – The impact of personalised learning in schools is that of improved academic results, a superior learning culture and more efficient allocation of teaching resources. 

Although personalised learning is the most effective way to learn at schools, it needs more financial support and resources to be able to be implemented at all schools. It can also be difficult to ensure that schools meet their targets in terms of time management and ensuring that all pupils are taught all the information in their curriculum by the end of each year.

However, personalised learning methods can still be implemented through after-school programmes such as private and one-to-one tutoring. GT Scholars runs after-school programmes that include one-to-one tutoring in Maths or English for young people between the ages of 11 to 16. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

Why Entrepreneurship Needs To Be Included In The Curriculum

Why Entrepreneurship Needs To Be Included In The Curriculum

Entrepreneurship Parents What's new?

There are so many entrepreneurs in the world that offer a wealth of inspiration to young people. From Richard Branson to Bill Gates to Oprah Winfrey, the success stories of entrepreneurs can be inspiring and motivating, which can help young people to achieve their goals.

Beyond inspiration, learning about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship offers valuable skill-building opportunities and life lessons. Here are just a few of the many reasons why entrepreneurship should be included in the curriculum.

Taking a business idea and turning it into a profitable enterprise takes far more than just hard work. Entrepreneurs have to believe in their idea so that they can convince others that it will work and also keep themselves motivated. If an entrepreneur does not believe in their own idea, no one else will either. This self-belief takes a whole lot of confidence and self-motivation. Entrepreneurship can instil confidence in young people, teaching them how to be self-reliant, resilient and motivated. Confidence will also prepare them for any challenges they may face and also keep them going when things change such as moving from school to university.

Paired with confidence, passion is one of the most important traits an entrepreneur must possess. A business leader’s passion can convince top employees to join a company or convince investors to invest in their business. Passion is also important when convincing clients to try a product or service. Entrepreneurship offers a dynamic and interactive way to engage students, cultivate their interests, and open potential academic or career paths that they might not have known about or considered before. Lessons in entrepreneurship can expose them to a variety of topics, sparking their interest and helping them discover and develop their passions and future aspirations.

Entrepreneurs continually seek ways to improve their products, services, and businesses, even in the face of significant challenges such as budget constraints, time crunches, and small teams. In these situations, they have to use their resourcefulness and quick thinking to ensure success. Entrepreneurship can be used as a tool to teach young people how to use the resources they have at their disposal to make an idea or plan work. Lessons in entrepreneurship can also be individually tailored to help young people to use fewer resources, develop new resources or think out of the box to solve a business challenge. Resourcefulness will teach young people to think fast, come up with innovative solutions to problems, and to be resilient. 

Social Skills
From networking to nurturing relationships with customers or investors, entrepreneurs need social skills to help accelerate the development of their company. Social skills will help young people with their interpersonal relations, social interactions and leadership skills. This will always be valuable since interacting with people is something they will always encounter at university or in the workplace. Having good social skills also means that you will be a better leader which will help you to be more successful.

Entrepreneurship teaches young people about the value of collaboration and teamwork and how important it is to work with others to reach a specific goal. In every stage of life, from school to university to the workplace, young people will have to work with other people, so it is important for them to start building their teamwork skills as soon as possible. This will make them more effective in teams which can also make them stand out as leaders and thought leaders.  

Financial Education
Entrepreneurship is a useful tool that can be used to educate young people about important financial topics. These topics will give them the necessary skills to become successful adults. Some topics that can be taught through entrepreneurship include budgeting and saving, how to avoid or handle debt, and understanding taxes and insurance. This will equip young people with the skills and knowledge that will need to deal with various things in their daily life – from student loans to life insurance. 

As you can see, including entrepreneurship in the school curriculum offers an impactful way to teach young people many important skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. 

Entrepreneurship activities can also be found in after-school programmes such as the GT Scholars Dragon’s Den Challenge. This annual workshop takes place during Global Entrepreneurship Week and is based on the world-famous TV show. This gives young people a taste of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and it involves them coming up with a business idea in a specific amount of time and pitching it to a judging panel. This will provide them with hands-on experience in entrepreneurship while teaching them simple business principles, teamwork, presentation skills, and effective time management.

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.

What Parents Need To Know About State Boarding Schools In England

What Parents Need To Know About State Boarding Schools In England

Independent school scholarships Parents Scholarships What's new?

With state-of-the-art facilities, highly-qualified teachers and a wide range of extracurricular activities, boarding schools in England are among the most prestigious and sought-after in the world. In addition, young people who attended boarding schools frequently go on to study at top-ranked universities.

However, boarding schools can be really expensive. Fees vary widely from school to school, but the average boarding fees per term for pupils at boarding schools across the prep, senior and sixth-form age groups in 2016 was £10,317. This makes it really difficult for young people from low-income homes to access a boarding school education. 

But there is good news! In England, there are at least 38 state-funded boarding schools that offer the full boarding school experience at a fraction of the cost. Normally, these schools will offer tuition for free, and parents will just need to pay for boarding, which can be as little as £4,000 a term. This means that young people from various socio-economic backgrounds are able to attend a boarding school if they wish. Here are a few reasons why parents need to know about state boarding schools in England.

A boarding school offers your child a stable environment that is conducive to learning. Many young people who travel to and from school struggle with focusing at school, understanding difficult topics, and getting homework and assignments done. A boarding school works around such challenges by providing ongoing, often individual, support and attention that can ensure that your child feels completely supported in their learning. This makes it easier for them to reach their academic and attainment goals.

Path to university
The learning environment and highly-qualified staff at boarding schools make it easier for young people to reach their attainment goals so that they can get into university. However, it extends beyond their attainment as boarding schools also offer specialised university support for their students that will help them with the application process and securing their place in the university of their choice. As a result, boarding schools often have high numbers of pupils who go on to attend top universities across the country. 

Personal development
Boarding schools directly and indirectly promote the personal development of your child. A recent survey from The Association of British Boarding Schools revealed that 70% of students believe boarding school has helped them develop self-discipline, maturity, and independence, as well as valuable critical-thinking skills. Being away from home gives them the space to develop their independence and responsibility, which makes it easier for them to adjust when they leave school. They can also develop other valuable soft skills such as time management, leadership and self-confidence, which will help them in their future.

Social development
Living in away from home with like-minded, highly motivated individuals with similar goals and ambitions, young people will be able to form strong connections with classmates from different backgrounds all over the world and establish friendships that last long after they leave school. This is important for developing their interpersonal skills which makes them into well-rounded and self-confident individuals. Interpersonal skills are valuable in the workplace and in social settings and it makes them more personable, easygoing and it boosts their self-esteem. 

Extracurricular activities
Boarding schools in England offer a wide range of extracurricular activities and opportunities. With hundreds of clubs and activities, boarding schools offer much more compared to local schools, from various sporting disciplines to cultural pursuits like music and art. Being exposed to this diverse range of extracurricular options encourages students to try things they never would have before, helping them to develop their range of interests and grow into more well-rounded individuals. This diversifies their experience and skills, which makes their CV stand out when applying to university or for a job.

As you can see, boarding schools offer a wealth of benefits for young people and with state boarding schools, many more young people are able to access these benefits. There are also a variety of options for different age groups and either mixed or single-gender schools. So if you would like your child to attend a boarding school, find out more about state boarding schools in England 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.