What makes the GT Scholars Programme different from other education organisations?

What makes the GT Scholars Programme different from other education organisations?

Narrowing the gap Parents Private tutoring Social mobility What's new?

You probably already know that the GT Scholars Programme is a not-for-profit organisation within the education sector but did you know that there are hundreds of other not-for-profit organisations in the education sector in England? 

When the GT Scholars programme was launched, we knew straight away that we wanted to offer something that was different from other education organisations. We wanted to a lasting impact on young people, particularly those that would be overlooked by current education charity funding models. So what makes us different?

1. We’re here to support each child’s individual progress and personal ambitions

Most education charities will only work with young people that are low attainers ie. students that are at risk of failing their GCSEs. Others will only work with students that are high attainers with the aim of helping them get into the best careers and universities. But what would happen if we stopped classifying and labelling children as low, middle and high attainers? What if we stopped selecting children based on their attainment and started selecting them based on ambition? What if you weren’t held back by school targets and minimum progress measurements? What if you could just teach a child to achieve his or her best?  It may seem quite radical but giving young people a sense of ownership is exactly how and why the GT Scholars programme works. We still conduct assessments on a regular basis but instead of focusing on past attainment and hard targets, we focus on goals and ambitions.

2. We let young people take ownership of their future

Throughout the year our scholars set up their own projects based on the things that they care about. This  gives young people the opportunity to develop their skills and abilities and develops confidence in our scholars. We give young people a sense of freedom that means that we don’t have to keep limiting a child’s attainment based on the expected progress for that particular term instead we ask them what they would like to achieve and we support them in doing so.

3. We provide more than just tutoring

One of the biggest costs for any programme is the number of contact hours that can be provided. Due to limited funding, most not-for-profit tutoring programmes can only provide a limited amount of tutoring support per pupil. The typical programme will offer 12-15 hours of support in one term. We know that tutoring on it’s own is nowhere near as effective as combining tutoring, mentoring and enrichment. Scholars on the GT Scholars Programme receive a minimum of 25 hours of support per term. This includes 10 hours of one-to-one tutoring and a minimum of 15 hours of enrichment and skill-building support.  

4. You don’t need to be referred by your school to join our programmes

Most education programmes will only support young people from the lowest income homes that live in very specific postcodes in priority areas eg. Hackney and Tower Hamlets. This means that families within these areas and schools in these areas have a huge advantage of gaining external support for their students. But what happens if you don’t live in a priority postcode or you don’t attend the right school? Too many young people miss out on support because they don’t attend the right school, have the right grades, live in the right postcode and this is why our programmes are open to any young person living in London.

5. Our couses, workshops and events are open to all

We know that not every young person will get on the scholars programme. It’s not the best fit for every child, not every child needs support and we would never have the capacity to work with every child. For some young people, a day or a week or support is enough to make that difference. Our courses, workshops and programmes have been created to make sure that any young person can join in, regardless of their postcode, household income, the school they attend or their current attainment.

6. Our mixed funding model makes our courses, workshops and programmes affordable

We are different from most programmes because we charge means-tested fees. We believe that this is a good thing as it means that we do not have huge restrictions on the number of scholars that can join the programme. It also means that we don’t have to wait for grants in order to run the programme. The true cost of the GT Scholars programme is £2100 per year – this is simply not affordable for most parents. Our mixed funding model means that we charge approximately £240 to £480 per pupil for each 12-week term and this is considerably less than the amount that it costs to run the programme and a lot less than the cost a private tutoring company or the typical enrichment programmes that are only affordable for young people from wealthier families.

7. Our tutors and mentors genuinely believe in making a difference

When the GT Scholars programme started, we knew that had to work with tutors that shared the same values as we did. We initially believed that paid tutors would be the most committed tutors. However, we soon realised that we needed more than just committed tutors – we needed tutors and and mentors that cared about our scholars and were personally invested in making a difference. Our courses, workshops and programmes are designed by volunteers that are passionate about potential. We now work with volunteer tutors and mentors that take time out of their week to ensure that scholars get the most from the programme. In exchange, we provide our tutors and mentors with support for their role, we listen to their ideas and suggestions and we provide a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

The GT Scholars programme is an after school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme for ambitious young people aged 11-16. To find out more about the GT Scholars programme, get in touch with us online.



Parents: Local libraries are closing and what this means for educational equality

Parents: Local libraries are closing and what this means for educational equality

Narrowing the gap Parents Social mobility What's new?

Recently, the BBC reported that around 343 local libraries in the UK closed in the last six years. The rest of the article continues to discuss the effects this has on the professionalism of the government service, but little mention was made as to what these closures mean for educational equality.

No matter how gifted and talented a student or child may be, or whether a student receives private tuition or not, access to educational resources is vital to the nurture of a growth mindset. The British government acknowledged the important role of libraries when they approved The Public Libraries and Museums Act in 1964, an act that made the provision of a library service a duty of the local authorities.

And yet, the number of libraries available to local communities continues to decrease year after year. Government spending cuts, that have seen an exchange of full-time staff for volunteers taking library roles, have been justified due to a decrease in the overall number of people visiting local libraries (including children).

But should a drop in library visits lead to a situation in which those communities who benefit the most from them ultimately lose out?

Who is affected?

The Taking Part 2015/16 Quarter 2 Report by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport states that whilst adults from black and minority ethnic groups showed a significant decline in library use along with the white group, the gap between the two groups is widening. To add to this, of the adults interviewed it was those who lived in the most deprived areas that visited the library more than those living in the least deprived areas.

With this report it is instantly clear that deprived communities and groups already performing worse at school, those less likely to have access to private tuition or private schooling, will also suffer more from the closure of local libraries.

It’s all too easy to observe the 21st Century population walking the streets with their heads bent over their mobiles whilst forgetting that there’s still a significant proportion of the population that don’t have personal internet access. A report into the Welsh Libraries service claimed that 50% of respondents visited their local libraries because they had no home computer.

But most importantly, with the need for computer literacy and digital skills in today’s workplace, a lack of access to computers brought about by the fact that local libraries are closing could reduce the employment chances of those that are already unable to afford a personal computer, internet, or private and home tuition. This couldn’t be much clearer than in the following statistics which show that 22% of Welsh library visitors need help to use the computer and 30% use library computers for job hunting.

What this means for educational equality

Perhaps you are reading this blog article online? On a smartphone or laptop? Our ability to research topics online has sped up the process of research for our studies, free book-reading apps make it simple to download new reading material at the click of a button and with affordable smartphones there is less need to visit the local library to use their computers.

But focusing on the declining use of local libraries by a whole population under one government budget, rather than focusing on the need for the service in specific local communities, could impact educational equality as a whole. It would be a terrible shame to limit the job prospects and educational potential of children from those families who can’t afford a home computer or internet, because without equal resources they may continue to lack the funds to provide the same resources to their children in the future.  

At GT Scholars, we know that young people are capable of achieving their full potential if they have the right support and that promoting educational equality is the right thing to do. This is why we offer a high impact tutoring programme in Croydon founded on the belief that every child should have the chance and the choice to succeed academically and in their chosen career.

To find out more about the GT Scholars Programme, why not meet us at one of our information sessions? You can book tickets online by visiting www.gtscholars.org/information-sessions

Busting 4 Common Concerns About Private Tuition

Busting 4 Common Concerns About Private Tuition

Growth mindset Narrowing the gap Parents Private tutoring Social mobility What's new?

Parents are becoming increasingly concerned widespread cuts to our education system, so it’s no surprise that reports are showing that more children than ever are using private tutors.

Headteachers have warned that this boom in private tuition isn’t just causing the market to spiral out of control, but could negatively children. But at GT Scholars we wondered how relevant their concerns are:

  1.     Private Tuition is Extending the Gap Between Rich and Poor Children

Previously a private tutor was considered something that purely for affluent middle-class families, but the recent explosion in after-school tuition is actual down to families with a more modest income.

Growing fears that gifted and talented children are not being challenged at school mean that parents on low incomes and ethnic minority families are making significant sacrifices so that their children have access to private tuition.

If anything the use of private tutors could give underprivileged children a better chance to gain equal footing. There have now been calls for means-tested assistance for tuition as this could prove beneficial to everyone involved.

  1.    Private Tuition Can Actually Harm Children’s Confidence

Many headteachers have come out against private tuition by insisting that extra studying, particularly using a home tutor, can actually put a dent in a child’s confidence as well as put increased pressure on them.

But it would seem that students, particularly those with a growth mindset, actually find that time spent with a private tutor has actually increased their confidence – with many going on to achieve higher grades than they were predicted.

  1.    Tutoring Cost Are Starting to Spiral Out of Control

Many headteachers are claiming that because home tuition is an unregulated industry the prices will skyrocket as demand the service increases.

It’s true that prices at more high-end tutoring services such as Holland Park Tuition have risen to as much as £58 an hour, but most private tutors are more affordable.

The Good School Guide advises that the average cost of a private tutor per hour was £40, with some private tutors starting their prices at just £15 per hour.

  1.   State Schools Are Perfectly Able to Offer Extra Tuition

Some headteachers are concerned that some private tutors could be taking advantage of parents that are concerned for their children’s education.

They’re particularly worried that less-affluent families are spending money they don’t have, when most schools have access to a “pupil premium” that can be used to help fund extra one-to-one tuition for deprived pupils.

However, parents have found it difficult to arrange this extra tuition and many headteachers have admitted that schools cannot always give children the individually tailored help that they need. Overall it would seem that while headteachers’ fears aren’t entirely unfounded, worries that the private-tuition industry has spiralled out of control may be premature.

The GT Scholars programme works with young people from a range of backgrounds helping them gain excellent grades at school, get into top universities and enter competitive careers.

We charge means-tested fees to ensure that young people from lower income homes can access our programmes. To find out more about how we support young people through our courses, workshops and programmes, visit www.gtscholars.org.

Parents: How to Secure Your Child’s Future in an Unpredictable World

Parents: How to Secure Your Child’s Future in an Unpredictable World

Growth mindset Parents Private tutoring Social mobility What's new?

Last month the British public voted to leave the EU. Whether you are for or against the UK’s break away from the union, it’s safe to say that the future of the young generation is relatively less stable now than it was before the EU referendum. Fears for the economy are seen to be impacting an education system that has already seen its fair share of changes this year. Add to this just how much technology has changed the job market over the past twenty years with the rise of location-independent workforces and quicker communications, and it’s clear that the best way to secure your child’s future is to prepare them for an unpredictable world.

So how can you tutor preparation in your child? The best way is to raise them with skills that can benefit their attitude towards their future, rather than their knowledge about it. Knowledge is important but motivation is key.

5 Skills for Young People to Help Secure Their Future

  1. A Growth Mindset

Fostering a growth mindset in your child will reduce their fears that some students are just naturally more gifted and talented than them, and encourage them to overcome unpredictable obstacles rather than let them hold them back.

Not only does a growth mindset help students overcome failing a test or experiencing drastic structural changes to a school system. It will also encourage persistence when the time comes to find a job.

  1. Digital skills

Being computer literate is as important today as being able to read and write was in the 20th century. Even professions that appear to rely on manual labour will have digital administration systems, and at the very least applying for work and managing your banking requires a certain level of experience online.

To prepare your child even more, free online coding classes are available as well as a number of other free online courses.

See more: The world of free online education.

  1. An entrepreneurial mindset

In some ways, many of the qualities of an entrepreneurial mindset work alongside a growth mindset; qualities such as learning from failure, persistence and a thirst for learning. But fostering entrepreneurial thinking in your child will also set them on a path of goal setting, learning how to find and use resources to meet those goals, and the independence to stand behind their entrepreneurial intentions with conviction.

  1. Curiosity

Here at GT Scholars we don’t believe that curiosity killed the cat. We believe that a child’s conscious effort to find out more about topics that interest them will set them up for a successful future in which they can learn independently of school systems, private tuition and parental guidance.

Encourage your child to ask questions, travel and experience different cultures, learn new languages and try different hobbies because their curiosity in any of these areas will show them a world outside their own. Preparing for an unpredictable world can be helped significantly by showing your child that the world won’t just change in the future, but is already a melting pot of differences from country to country.

  1. Workplace Agility

Alongside the ever-changing nature of the workplace environment is the growing need for employees who can manage various task areas, rather than just specialising in one. Your child’s success in an advertising role may, in the future, require them to also wear the design hat, write copy, and conduct outreach to digital media outside of traditional news and magazines such as online blogs, Instagram influencers and musicians.

Developing workplace agility, in essence the ability to switch between various jobs and job roles rather than remaining in one company department for 20 years will help them build another skill to prepare them for success in an unpredictable world.

We hope this is helpful to any parent that is worried about the future of their child in an unpredictable world, especially after the recent EU referendum. The GT Scholars programme is an after-school programme for ambitious young people that would like to achieve top grades at school, get into top universities and enter competitive careers. But we also believe in character education, and promote this by teaching perseverance, resilience, confidence and self motivation to prepare students for a successful future no matter what happens.

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What GT Scholars is doing to narrow the gap in attainment

Parents Social mobility What's new?

The GT Scholar’s Programme is a social enterprise with a mission to tackle educational inequality.

Research has shown that there are thousands of students that are underachieving at school; this is particularly true for students from lower income backgrounds.

In 2013, out of 85,000 GCSE students on Free School Meals, only 39% were able to gain 5 A*-C grades. For non-FSM only 65% gained 5 A*-C grades. (Data from The Department for Education 2014).

But the problems don’t just end at GCSE, they continue into A-levels.

For students from the lowest income homes, there is only a 4% chance of gaining entrance into a Russell Group university. For a typical state school student, there is a 20% chance of gaining entrance into one of the top universities and for students from independent schools, there is a 64% chance of gaining entrance into a top university. (Data from The Department for Education and The Department for Innovation and Skills)

Considering that there are a large number of universities that are classed as the “top universities in the UK”, it is disheartening to know that many pupils from lower income homes and state schools are still failing to gain access to these universities.

Research has shown that a student that was highly able in primary school and from a lower income household is less likely to go to a top university when compared to a student that was not-very able in primary school but is from a higher income household.

This is because the gap in attainment between pupils from richer and poorer homes widens throughout school. Students from higher income homes experience accelerated progress in secondary school and during A-levels, which is usually the stage where pupils from lower income homes and state schools begin to lag behind their peers.

This effectively means that your family income will ultimately dictate your academic future and life chances.

The GT Scholar’s Programme was founded with the goal of narrowing the gap in attainment and tackling the current problems of low social mobility in the UK. Our goal is to change the statistics and get more pupils from state schools and lower income homes into the most selective universities and the most competitive careers.

We are on a mission to give every student the chance to succeed at school and in life.