Scholar Spotlight – I feel more optimistic and I know how to overcome a lot of challenges now!

Scholar Spotlight – I feel more optimistic and I know how to overcome a lot of challenges now!

Scholar spotlight What's new?

We had the pleasure of interviewing one of our scholars recently, who joined our mentoring programme last term! Cinaj talks about how the programme has helped him build the confidence to build better relationships with his teachers, parents and friends! He also talks about how he has learnt about the importance of good decision making, how to overcome challenges and difficult situations and developed a positive mindset!

Please give us a short introduction telling us a bit about yourself. You can talk about things like your likes and dislikes, hobbies, what you want to study one day etc.

Hi, my name is Cinaj. I come from Bermuda. I like dancing, music, and coding. When I grow up, I’d like to study and work in I.T.

How did you hear about GT Scholars?

From School – and my mum told me. I decided to get into the programme because I thought it would be a fun experience and help me with life.

What do you feel like you learnt from the programme?

I know it was meant to be an in-person sort of thing. But it was interesting doing it at home and doing it online. I learnt how to be a good leader and how to adapt and deal with difficult situations. I learnt about finances, how to look for a job, and that certain jobs need experience – like cooking to become a chef.

Did you notice a change in yourself during the programme?

Yeah! I noticed that I started to feel a bit more confident. Before, I didn’t think I could do a lot of things, like coding and stuff like that. And then after the program, I started to feel that I had a little bit more confidence in doing it.

Did you enjoy working with your mentor during the programme?

Yes, I did. I enjoyed it a lot. I know it was meant to be in-person, but I did enjoy working with my online mentor.

How has your mentor helped you to reach your personal goals or aspirations?

We talked about a lot of things. She didn’t teach me specifically about music. But we had the same interests and stuff like that. We did talk about it on occasions. She helped me with school work and time management. Certain things I would forget and she would help me to remember and leave notes.

Is there any feedback you’d like to share with your mentor?

I really enjoyed working with my mentor. There’s nothing really to improve on. I would say a big thank you!

What do you feel was the most important thing that you learnt during that workshop?

It was the self-confidence workshop. I was not really confident when I went into the workshop. It helped me to be confident in a lot of stuff and have a better mindset.

How will you apply what you have learnt during the programme to your future?

I plan to put it all together and just hope for the best. I’ll just go in with a good mindset and keep my head down, and do the work and just be a good person.

Do you feel like the programme helped you to gain confidence to make decisions about your future?

Yes! Because a part of the programme covered decision making, and it explained that certain decisions I make can affect my lifestyle. So if I went down the wrong path, I would end up with consequences. Or if I went down a good path, it would allow me to do more things and gain a variety of experiences.

Do you think that being on the programme helped you to develop and further improve your personal relationships (with your parents, friends and teachers)?

It improved my relationships because, before, if I didn’t understand something, I wouldn’t really ask. I would just search it on my own. Now, if I don’t understand something, I will ask my teacher, or my mum or my friends or my family. Before I wasn’t really asking anybody, I was more of a quiet person. 

With my friends, certain things I couldn’t really help with. Sometimes my friends would come up to me and ask me questions I didn’t really know how to deal with it. Now I know how to deal with it and help them.

Do you feel more confident to solve problems or overcome challenges? Why? Do you have an example of this that you’d like to share?

Yes! I feel more hopeful about certain situations. I feel more optimistic that it’s all going to turn out well and that everything is going to be fine. I think I know how to overcome a lot of challenges now. 

Has being on the programme helped you to be more self-aware? Meaning do you feel like you understand your emotions better and understand why wellbeing is so important? 

I learnt that certain things trigger me to become upset and make me annoyed and how to avoid it. Before I would just go away and not talk. Now, I’m just talking it out and seeing how I can make it better. 

Is there anything else you would like to say about the programme?

It was a good experience! Everybody was nice and cheerful and everything was really good! I hope that more people join the program because it helps with a lot of things.

Parent Spotlight – The tutoring, mentoring, and enrichment workshops provided a holistic approach that I knew my son would benefit from!

Parent Spotlight – The tutoring, mentoring, and enrichment workshops provided a holistic approach that I knew my son would benefit from!

Parent Spotlight Scholar spotlight What's new?

In our latest scholar spotlight interview series, we had the chance to sit down with Jillian, a parent of one of our scholars, to find out what her experience on The Headstart Programme was. During this interview, Jillian shares more about how the tutoring sessions boosted her son’s confidence in Maths, and how it helped him to become more focused on his studies

Have you seen any improvement and growth in your son since he joined the programme?
I would definitely say yes! He is now more open to asking questions and focused on his studies. He also thought about his career options and has a plan on what he wants to study. He assumed that he wouldn’t have to think about a career at this age. Now he speaks more openly about what he wants to do and about going to university. I have definitely seen an improvement and growth in his thinking and his aspirations.

What impact has the tutoring sessions had on your son?
His confidence in Maths has improved. It wasn’t that he was struggling, but he needed that extra confidence to know that he can do it. His tutor helped him in problem-solving and how to work his way through in answering questions. My son is sometimes quite hard on himself because he wants to do well in Maths. His tutor helped him gain confidence and believed that he could do it.

What impact has the mentoring sessions had on your son?
His mentor, Elisabeth, was great. He was a bit resistant at first because, in school, the idea of having a mentor usually gives this perception that you are struggling and you need help. I explained to him that having a mentor is having somebody that can support you, listen to you and share your ideas. They are there to give you advice and support. He then was okay with it. Elisabeth gave us a lot of information about events she had heard about that my son could join. We found this helpful. She was a great mentor!

Was there a specific part of our programme that drew you to GT Scholars or the programme as a whole?
With any parent in terms of improving your child’s academic attainment is always important. It was the 3 model approach of the Bright Ambitions Programme that drew me to the programme. The tutoring, mentoring, and enrichment workshops provided a holistic approach that I knew my son would benefit from. I specifically looked at the enrichment programmes and thought that was a great element for my son to have access to. 

As a parent, how did you find interacting with the tutors and mentors?
I had to work on the interaction with the tutor a bit more. Ideally, I would have liked to have a conversation with the tutor beforehand, to get to know them and lay the foundation. Afterwards, once the sessions began, everything began to run smoothly. Elisabeth was warm and welcoming. She was easy to talk to and built a supportive mentor-mentee relationship with my son.

Did you feel that GT Scholars were supportive throughout the term?
Yes, they are good in terms of supporting parents and keeping them informed. I was kept engaged and was offered ideas and tips on how to make the most of the sessions. The support that they give to the children and the parents is of a very high standard.

What has your experience been with the organisation as a whole?
I might be slightly biased, but I think the work that Temi is doing is exceptional. I believe that it’s deserving of a lot more accolade than it gets. With the work and the effort, and the drive that she has, you can see that this is what she stands for. I think that that’s a testament to the staff and the people involved in the organisation. My experience was really positive!

Would you recommend GT Scholars to other parents out there looking for a tutoring and mentoring programme?
I definitely would recommend The GT Scholars Programme. I often mention it to parents in conversation about the programme.

Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Keep doing what you’re doing, and I wish you all the best! I know it’s been a challenging year for us all, but keep doing what you’re doing. It really is needed.

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.

Scholar Spotlight – The programme helped me improve tremendously!

Scholar Spotlight – The programme helped me improve tremendously!

Scholar spotlight What's new?

As part of our scholar spotlight series, we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing one of the scholars on the Bright Ambitions programme – Laura. In this interview, Laura shares her story and says that tutoring helped her to improve her maths grades and that mentoring helped her tremendously with time management and planning for the future.

Hi, my name is Laura, I’m 15 and I’m a scholar on the GT Scholars programme.

Why did you apply to GT Scholars?
I decided to join GT Scholars because I was looking for opportunities to be able to get experience in finding work experience, build my CV so that I can find a job and just to be able to build on my future. I was on the Bright Ambitions Programme and was provided with a tutor, a mentor and being able to experience enrichment activities throughout the term.

What was your tutor like?
My tutor was Derek, and he helped me with my Maths. We worked on Google Hangouts using the interactive whiteboard so he could write something down, and I could also write something down as it is a live platform. He was really organised with what we were learning each week and especially with time. He would plan how much time we would need to work on homework & active lessons and also how much time he would be teaching me and how much time I would need to use what I have learned to put it into questions in the actual lesson.

My tutor has definitely helped me to improve in school since a lot of the work that I needed help with were things I needed to catch up on and things that everyone else in class already remembered and understood. During exam week I could really see how I improved and afterwards how my grades went up.

What was your mentor like?
My mentor was Rachel, and the first time I met her, our meeting was very informal. We got to speak very normally face to face and talk about general things. I had to catch her up on where I am and what I need to do to improve. I’ve gained some help in time management, so something I’ve always really struggled with, especially as I was in year ten at the time. It was getting harder and harder, and I wasn’t able to cope with it at the time. It was easier for me to lay out my plans and to know what I was doing when I was doing it and also how to revise.

I was able to get advice on where to go for Sixth form, especially since it can be hard to find what you need and not all resources will show every Sixth form depending on your area and how prestigious it is, so Rachel helped me to narrow down all the options. She also helped me with options for colleges and universities to consider where I’d want to go for a degree.

What did you enjoy most about the programme?
My favourite part of the program was probably the enrichment days since I got to interact with a bunch of other scholars and also just kind of apply what I’ve learned from mentoring.

So I definitely learned something new about myself. For example, we were given an interview by an employee, and I asked her a few questions and found out that I’m kind of interested in maybe doing marketing in the future since it incorporates all my interests.

How has the programme helped you academically?
My academics have definitely been impacted since joining the programme. The tutoring has really helped me in general, because I was struggling with Maths a lot. Now my results have gone up, and I’ve even been able to move up a class. Mentoring has also really helped me to be able to manage my time better because revision can be really overwhelming, and now I have a lot more time for myself and also time for homework.

What would you say to young people who want to join the programme?
To anyone thinking about joining GT Scholars, I’d say you have no idea how many opportunities you have! I still don’t know,  but I definitely know more about the opportunities out there than I would have if I hadn’t joined the programme. You’ll also be able to interact with a lot of people, make friends along the way and also ask them about where they want to go and what they’re doing right now. You could also ask them for advice on what they’re doing for more experience, what they’re doing to build their CV and maybe you can get some more help on that!

A message to my tutor, Derek:
Thanks a lot for helping me in my Maths since I was obviously really hopeless at the start!

A message to my Mentor – Rachel:
Thanks so much for all the help and sitting there writing down timetables to work out how I can manage my school time, all the time I spend on my tablet and how I can fit in my revision. Thank you for helping me with my Sixth forms and giving me really helpful websites, so thank you!

Parent Spotlight – I was so proud of him when he decided to apply for the GT Scholars Youth Board!

Parent Spotlight – I was so proud of him when he decided to apply for the GT Scholars Youth Board!

Parent Spotlight Scholar spotlight What's new?

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

How did you find out about GT Scholars?
I found out about GT Scholars when I received a message in one of my Whatsapp groups. The message was an advert about one of the career workshops days. This caught my attention and sounded like a good idea, so I opened the link, and I must say that I had to really persevere with getting a ticket for the event, but it was well worth it!

Have you seen any improvement and growth in your son since he joined the programme?
There has been a huge change in my son! Although Xavier has always been quite academic, he never really showed much interest in developing softer skills, presentation and teamwork skills etc. Xavier was also very reluctant to take part in anything much extracurricular.  All of this changed after a couple of terms of mentoring with a lovely young lady who works in the City and now with an older gentleman who used to work in IT. Together with the various workshops that he has attended, he is a different person. Xavier can’t wait to do extracurricular activities and has indeed been successful in his application for the GT Scholars Youth Board. He’s incredibly focused on attaining experiences for his CV. From an academic perspective, he’s now even more diligent with his studies and thinks long term. Xavier is now decidedly focusing on universities to attend.

What impact has the tutoring session had on your son?
Xavier’s confidence has increased in mathematics. We had a few hiccups to be fair in respect of his self-motivation. After a few discussions about why he was undertaking the tutoring, he is now much more self-driven and totally self-motivated in respect of his learning and wider academic achievements. He had never undertaken any form of online tuition before GT Scholars, and it took a bit of persuading!  However, after two terms with his tutor, he then went on to request additional tuition to take him forward over the summer holidays! He is now much more confident in online classes and willing to confidently articulate his opinions in groups.  I totally support and respect his newfound attitude to his studies.

What impact has the mentoring sessions had on your son?
He’s a different person now and really embraced the fact that he needs experience and skills to be able to compete in an ever-competitive world.  Achieving success in his academic studies is a given for him, but with the help of his mentors, he has learnt “how he learns” and how to structure his studies for long term success. He’s seriously thinking about getting a part-time job at 16 (or starting his own small business), and he’s really taken ownership of his life path. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes he needs a nudge to get something done, but he’s so much more mature minded in respect of his academic pathway through his GCSEs and into university together with his personal growth plan. He recognises and understands that he’s at an important junction of his life and the choices he makes now has the power to open doors and opportunities in life. He’s much more willing to try new things, and I was so proud of him when he decided to apply for the GT Scholars Youth Board. He survived a 3.5-hour group interview and was successful! He’d never even have applied a few years ago.

Was there a specific part of our programme that drew you to GT Scholars or the programme as a whole?
I am proud of my 15-year-old BME son who can say he’s been to the city and learnt about that world. He can say that he undertook public speaking and led workshops for adults and that he’s done programming at the Google HeadQuarters. He can also say that he participated in a Dragons Den exercise and that he’s now got an idea about his life path for the next 5 years and how he can get to a top university. Wow, I’m really proud and impressed with my son, and I was no way near that put together at his age…

As a parent, how did you find interacting with the tutors and mentors?
The tutors and mentors I have come across have been 110% dedicated to helping my son to be the best that he can be. I’m blown away by the amount that they can cover in one session and simply feel blessed to have had these caring, kind and dedicated people help me to raise my son. They are very special people. I can see that they are well supported by GT Scholars, well trained and are well selected to be mentors.

What has your experience been with the organisation as a whole?
My experience with GT Scholars has been fantastic. I think GT Scholars is one of the world’s best-kept secrets… Temi and her team are totally dedicated to the cause of nurturing our young people in terms of academic and personal growth. It is rare to find this in our society today.  I’d like to give a big shout out to Marilyn in particular who looks after the programmes so well, and she’s lovely…

Would you recommend GT Scholars to other parents out there looking for a tutoring and mentoring programme?
I would definitely recommend GT Scholars!

Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Yes! Your teenage child will likely need some persuading to get started on any programme… Keep persuading and encouraging them because the rewards are worth it. Even though we do not qualify for the subsidised fees, the GT Scholars programmes have been worth every single penny and brilliant. Just do it!

Scholar Spotlight – The Bright Ambitions programme offered me many different opportunities!

Scholar Spotlight – The Bright Ambitions programme offered me many different opportunities!

Scholar spotlight Volunteers What's new?

As part of our scholar spotlight series, we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing one of the scholars on the Bright Ambitions programme – Xavier. In this interview, Xavier shares more about his experience on the programme and how it has helped him to develop new skills and discovered what he might be interested in doing in the future.

Please tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Xavier, I’m 15 years old from South London. My favourite subjects at school are history and classical civilisations. I really enjoy learning about past civilisations and the inner workings of the Roman and Greek society. I also find modern history such as the Cold War really interesting. I’m currently reading the memoirs of Winston Churchill as it’s intriguing to read from a primary source.

Why did you decide to join GT Scholars?
I chose to join GT scholars because I believed it would be very helpful for me to acquire not only key skills but more knowledge of what I may be interested in doing in the future. The Bright Ambitions GT scholars course offered me many different opportunities that I would never have had access to without the programme.

Did you have any specific goals that you wanted to achieve by joining us, and what were they? Did you reach these goals by the end of the programme?
My goal was to learn new skills and to be able to add more information on my CV as I am almost 16 and needed to build up a solid CV. GT scholars helped me monumentally with this by offered a CV building workshop which was incredibly useful. The Dragons Den workshop helped me learn the key skills I wanted to improve such as leadership and teamwork skills.

How has GT Scholars helped you to improve yourself?
The tutoring and mentoring programmes have helped me improve not only in school but also in choosing extracurricular activities which are good for my CV. The mentoring that has been offered to me is invaluable and has very much changed my outlook on not only universities that I may want to apply to, but also by matching my interests and strengths to find a job to pursue in the future.

What changes have you seen during your time on the programme? What impact has the programme had on you?
I’ve seen myself mature as a student being able to focus more easily now, even in studies I do not enjoy. The programme has helped open my eyes to paths in life, it’s helped me to match my skills to things I can pursue and also simultaneously work on my weaknesses.

How has your tutor helped you to reach your academic goals? How have your grades changed? Did you improve in your other subjects as well?
My tutor has helped me a great deal in Maths. I had a predicted 8 but the work I was producing only really reflected a 7. My maths tutor took the concepts I did not understand and worked with me not only to reinforce the basics but help evolve my understanding of the more abstract difficult parts of mathematics.

How has your mentor helped you to reach your personal goals or aspirations?
My mentor has helped me achieve my personal goals and aspirations by supporting my efforts in school and giving advice on how to revise more effectively and develop a positive growth mindset basing around ‘I can’ instead of ‘I can’t’. My mentor has also provided me with information on Oxford University which I believe is very useful and I have taken into account. I’m keen on going to Oxford University.

What was your favourite part of the programme? What was the best thing that your tutor and/or mentor taught you?
My favourite part of the programme was when we visited the main office of the mining corporation Rio Tinto in London.  We were able to have a tour and be introduced to the professional life of a worker in the company. I believe the most important thing my mentor has taught me is the positive growth mindset as it has changed my view on many things allowing me to grow as a student.

Why did you choose to enrol in an online tutoring and mentoring programme instead of face-to-face tutoring?
I chose the online tutoring partially due to the global pandemic and it was a new experience which I believed would be very beneficial to my learning.

How has the enrichment and skill-building days helped you? Which enrichment or skill-building day did you enjoy the most and why?
The enrichment and skill-building days have helped me by improving my leadership, teamwork and communication skills allowing me to speak more confidently and openly about my ideas. My favourite skill-building day was the Dragons Den workshop! It was fun and it taught me teamwork, leadership and communication skills.

Did you learn anything new about yourself during the programme?
I learnt that I sometimes burn myself out early before exams and I have adapted to this making sure that I work more evenly throughout the year.

How will you apply what you have learnt during the programme to your future?
The programme helped me to develop my leadership, communication and team-working skills which I will be able to use in the workplace in the future. I’ve already improved by being more interactive in the class and have more confidence to put up my hand which used to be rare.

What advice do you have for a scholar that’s thinking of joining one of our programmes?
I would say to any young person thinking of joining the programmes that it’s definitely worth it! The skills you learn and the experience you gain is invaluable and will greatly assist you throughout your life. I would also say to experiment and find what works for you. GT scholars offer a variety of programmes so you should have a look and find one that’s perfect for you.

What were your mentors and tutors like? Were they helpful? What did they help you with?
My mentor and tutor were both friendly and greatly supportive. They’ve helped me to do the best that I can to adjust my mindset and the way I approach challenges. They’ve also helped me to be more confident in my abilities than before.

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.

Scholar Spotlight – Mentoring gave me someone to engage with, with honest and truthful advice

Scholar Spotlight – Mentoring gave me someone to engage with, with honest and truthful advice

Scholar spotlight What's new? Young people

As part of our scholar spotlight series, we interviewed one of the scholars on the Young Leaders programme. Please watch the video above for the full interview where Daniel shares his experience on how the GT Scholars programme has helped him.

Hi, my name is Daniel and I’m a former scholar of GT Scholars. I’m currently studying sociology, psychology, religious studies and will also start criminology studies in September at Saint Francis-Xavier College.

Why did you apply to GT Scholars?
Initially, my mum signed me up for GT Scholars because she thought it would be a good idea for me to have a mentor and be able to talk to someone who wasn’t a family member or a friend.

What was your experience of the mentoring programme?
When I joined GT Scholars I thought what’s the point in me having a mentor, why do I have to do this, why do I need someone to talk to. At the end f the programme, I could see that it was a massive benefit to have someone to rely on and talk to. In the beginning, I had a bad temperament, I got angry a lot and I didn’t really know how to behave in social situations. Mentoring helped me to understand my own behaviour, how I act towards other people & also see how I could improve myself. At first, Jason helped me to see that the way I was acting wasn’t necessarily great and it did take some time. He taught me how I should act when I’m around people and I can see now that I could walk into any sort of social situation or maybe even an interview and I can impress people.

What was your mentor like?
When I first met Jason I thought he was okay and I didn’t really see the benefit of him being there. I thought that Jason was a nice guy and that he sort of understands where I’m coming from. I could also see that he wanted to help me, but my question was why should I let him help me and how would he be able to help me. He started by telling me about his hobbies and interests and then I realised that we actually had a lot in common. At the end of the day, I could see that he really wanted to help me. I think for a mentor the most important thing is to be able to help the mentee, but it is also important to have something in common with them. You could be two completely different people, but at the end of the day if you could find one thing that you have in common with each other then it will be easier to actually help the mentee. Jason is quite possibly the best mentor I could have had and I can say that with wholehearted confidence. When I had sessions he would talk about anything from the big thing like family problems or education, to all the little things such as why I was late for a meeting.

How has the programme helped you academically?
At the start of the mentoring programme, my grades were not the best they could be. I was drifting through college, going to lessons, coming home, sleeping, eating, just typical teenage stuff. When I completed the programme my grades went up and I could see that mentoring wasn’t just about telling you what you can do in the future but it also had a positive impact on me during the programme. Mentoring showed me that education is important and you do need to do well.

What have you learned about yourself throughout the programme?
A new thing I learned was that I do have a lot of potential to do great things. Jason helped me realise that if I don’t use my potential in a good and positive manner, then at the end of the day I won’t be able to achieve anything, and that was a massive lesson for me to learn.

Why was mentoring valuable to you?
At the end of the programme I could see that everything Jason taught me from day one till the end I could use in future situations. For example, he taught me how to answer interview questions and I’d be able to use that in the future if I wanted to apply for a job or university. He taught me how to dress and I know now if I want to apply for university then I have to dress smart. It’s just all the little things that he taught me which builds up and I will be able to use this as an adult when I’m 30, 40, or 50 years old.

What did you enjoy most about the programme?
The thing I enjoyed most about the programme was having someone genuine to talk to who I could engage with, someone who doesn’t necessarily say something to please me like a yes person, but someone who gives me that honest truth about something, so giving me actual information and having that person to rely on when I need help.

What would you say to young people who want to join the programme?
I would tell anyone that’s younger who wants to join the programme to be open-minded. You can’t expect to see results straight away, it is a process and it does take a lot of time but in the end, you will see results. You will see that you are a better person. I would say it is natural to be resistant because even I was at first, but you still have to give it a chance. You can’t be a hundred percent resistant like you don’t want to do it and you do have to be open, you can’t just expect results, you have to try and achieve results.

I just want to say thank you to Jason, he has been the greatest mentor that I could have asked for, everything he’s done for me, all the advice, all the information, he truly and quite possibly will be I want to say a life long friend!

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!

An interview with one of our scholars Priscilla

An interview with one of our scholars Priscilla

Online volunteering Post 16 Private tutoring Scholar spotlight What's new? Young people

Please tell me a little bit more about yourself?
My name is Priscilla, I’m 16 years old. I like swimming and I was part of a competitive swimming team for two years. I have a passion for swimming and therefore, I decided to take a rookie life-guard course so that I can apply for a part-time role as a life-guard with an indoor swimming facility. My favorite subjects is English & History and in the future I would like to become a lawyer.

Why did you decide on law?
My parents work in the NHS, so when I was younger, I wanted to become a doctor. I then realised that I wasn’t that good in science, but that I had a keen interest and passion for English. I love debating and I love talking and speaking out, so law was just something that caught my attention. I also love reading & investigating which forms part of the law sector. I’m definitely looking into attending one of the Russell Group Universities. My dream is to go to Harvard, Oxford or Cambridge – any one of the top universities would be great to get into.

Why did you decide to join GT Scholars?
My mum did some research and came across GT Scholars. She told me about it and we went to a workshop, I found it interesting and it met my needs. For me having online tutoring sessions was also easier. The whole programme seemed interesting and it was also cheaper than the tuition that we were paying for at the time.

When you decided to join GT Scholars, did you have any special goals that you wanted to achieve? 
Yes, so when I first started I focused on Maths because my Maths grades were really low. I wanted to pay extra attention to Maths and I wanted to be able to at least get an A grade for Maths at GCSE level. I feel like I managed to achieve my goal in the mock exam earlier this year. I didn’t have a chance to write my GCSE Maths exam because of the GCSE’s that was cancelled, but in the mock exam, I have really improved. I ended up getting a grade 7, which is all because of GT Scholars and my maths tutor.

Your second term with GT Scholars you decided on focusing on English instead of Maths; how did that go?
My tutor Michael really helped me a lot and he made me think about the questions and answering them in a different way, which really ended up helping me during my exam. Because I really enjoy English, it was very nice to talk to someone who is also passionate about English to help develop my reading skills. I started off with a grade 6 and I ended up getting a grade 8 in English.

What positive impact did the programme have on you? 
The programme really helped me with setting up my study time. Before joining the programme I would procrastinate when it came to working. I  found that I didn’t really have an interest in doing work, but because of GT Scholars and getting homework regularly, I had that one hour a week to focus, so it was really good in terms of keeping up with my studies.

What was your favorite part of the programme?
My favorite part of the programme was the enrichment and skill building days that I got to go to. The Dragon’s Den was my favorite workshop. I got to meet new people and learn new skills, so it was definitely my favorite part of the programme.

Did you learn anything new about yourself while being on the GT Scholars programme?
I learned without a push from the tutors always supporting and checking in with me, I wouldn’t really be studying as much as I would’ve before joining the GT Scholars Programme. I feel like when I have someone by my side always encouraging me and checking up on me, it works out better for me.

And now that you are moving on to A levels –  will you be applying things that you have learned during the programme to your future studies? And what will that be?
Yes, less procrastination. I’m definitely going to make a revision timetable. I’ll also revise any work that I’ll do on a daily basis. Coming back home and reviewing the work and making flashcards so that I know that at the end of the term I don’t have to be stressed out, because I have my flashcards already prepared and ready to start my revision studies.

Do you have any advice for a young person that is considering to join the GT Scholars programmes?
My advice to them would be to have an open mind and to have a growth mindset because the programme is online. The environment will be different and it might be easy to get distracted, but if you approach it with an open mind and be willing to build a good relationship with your tutor, it will really help with the learning process. Then also remember that if you ever get stuck contact your tutor because they’re always willing to help.

What was the most helpful thing that your tutor taught you or helped you with?
I had two different relationships with my tutors because the subjects were completely different. Martin was my maths tutor and he was very understanding because he recently did his GCSE’s, and he could easily relate to me and explain things to me in a clear way. The one thing that I learned from Martin, was to not have an “I can’t do it” mindset. He really pushed me, even if I didn’t know how to approach a question he would always push me to be able to answer the question myself because he knew that I could do it. Michael was my English tutor and he had a lot of experience within the schools and education systems. He taught me to be confident with my answers and taught me to always read my answers back to myself, even when I think that I’m finished,  there is always something to add or improve on what I’ve written. He definitely taught me about self-confidence and using my imagination in creative writing.

Your tutors helped you develop a growth mindset and having self-confidence – When approaching a challenge do you approach it with a growth mindset and self-confidence?
Yes, and not only on an academic level but also in my day to day life. When I was swimming, I felt that I wanted to give up and I would remind myself that I can do it. Nowadays there are a lot of things I would do when before I wouldn’t have imagined that I could do it. When approaching something new I feel I can do it if I just put my mind to it. I also combine a growth mindset with self-confidence which my English tutor has taught me.

Is there anything you would like to say to your tutors that supported you on the programme?
I would just like to thank them for everything that they did because it is clearly evident that the programme made a positive impact on my Maths and English grades. I managed to go up two grades in both subjects which is what I wanted to achieve, and I would like to thank them for their time and dedication. They were really supportive, really nice, friendly people and from the first session, I felt like I clicked with them. So I would like to thank them for everything they have done for me!

Spotlight on one of our young scholars – Ladan

Spotlight on one of our young scholars – Ladan

Scholar spotlight What's new? Young people

Please tell us a bit about yourself
I’m fifteen and am in Year 10. I love subjects like history as I’ve always enjoyed learning about interesting events such as The Cold War since I was little. I also enjoy learning science, especially experiments.

What does being on the programme mean to you?
I see being on the programme as a really lucky opportunity to be able to develop myself as a whole, not just as a student but as someone with a more flexible mindset that can approach most tasks with an open mind.

How has GT Scholars helped you to improve yourself?
They’ve helped me think more about my future and how I can strive to improve what’s really important to me such as my academics or way of thinking. I’ve seen a great improvement in maths and I’ve moved up from foundation grade to higher grade and also reached my target grade. With mentoring, I’ve grown a lot and I’m more confident than before and my mentor has helped me to choose subjects that align with my interests.

What were your tutor and mentor like? How did this help?
My tutor Janet has helped me improve significantly in maths which honestly, is a subject that I’ve struggled with but now I enjoy the subject and am improving greatly. My mentor Sulina was really kind and I managed to learn about her career and more about the vast educational opportunities in London. For example, I used to be reluctant about IB because of all the stigma around it but as I learnt more about it I think I am more open to applying to IB next year.

Have your grades changed since being on the programme? Did you improve in any of the subjects at school?
My grades have really improved in Maths, classwork comes more easily to me now, so my teacher often gives me more challenging tasks and it’s lead to me achieving higher grades in a subject I was once not doing so well in.

What was the best thing that your tutor taught you?
My tutor helped me learn more effective time management skills. She helped me put into place more concrete methods in my exams, like the mark a minute technique that really helped me, especially since I practised it during our sessions and in homework.

How will you apply what you have learnt during the programme to your future?
My dislike for maths has honestly gone down and I genuinely enjoy the subject sometimes, so I think the likelihood that I may choose economics as an A-Level has increased.