In The Know: Raising Teens with confidence

In The Know: Raising Teens with confidence

In The Know Parents What's new?

Confidence is key! With so much going on right now in the world, many young people are struggling with anxiety and low confidence. This week we’ve put together some resources that can help young people build their confidence, and build their emotional resilience. By learning these skills early on, your child will be better equipped to deal with any challenges they may encounter now or in the future.

Check out this support portal for young people!
ReachOut.com is a great site that offers support for both parents and young people. Although based in Australia, the information they provide is really valuable and covers a range of topics including self-confidence, coping skills, dealing with stress and setting goals. To browse through their videos and blogs click here.

Listen to these self-development podcasts for young people
Where There’s Smoke, is a weekly podcast by Brett Gajda and Nick Jaworski for young people. The podcasts explore self-development through the lens of current events, pop culture, and experience.  New episodes come out every Tuesday, and they usually run for about 30 minutes. Episodes feature experts who share their experiences, and the messages are always upbeat and positive. To check out the podcasts click here

Register for a free online Emotional Wellbeing workshop!
When a young person has positive emotional wellbeing they can cope better with challenges and bounce back from those difficulties. The Rio Ferdinand Foundation is offering free online workshops that are suitable for young people aged 13+. This is a 4 part online workshop that is focused on helping young people manage their emotional wellbeing. It takes place every Thursday in July from 4pm – 5pm in a small group workshop that is run on zoom. To sign up click here

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!

In The Know: Teaching young people about equality

In The Know: Teaching young people about equality

In The Know Parents What's new?

This week has been all about race and equality. It’s been on social media and in the news and we’re so pleased that more people are talking about this. One of the reasons that we exist at GT Scholars, is because we want to see more young people empowered to make the world a better and more equal place. We want young people to learn about their rights, how they should be treated and how they should interact and treat young people, regardless of background and culture.  A world where equality is a reality is possible if we all play our part in creating awareness. This week we’ve listed some opportunities for young people to get involved in the bigger picture.

Write to your Member of Parliament
A simple, easy and direct way for young people to get their message through, is to write to a Member of Parliament. By doing this, young people can get directly involved in actions that can have a positive impact on equality and shape their future. Make sure to do your research and ensure that your letter is relevant to your area. Express your views and concerns and make suggestions on what Parliament can do to improve equality. To get started click here.

Raise awareness of equality
ThoughtCo has a list of great books on equality that can open young people’s minds to a world that most people don’t talk about. Since inequality is something that we are not born with, it is vital for young people to create their own opinion. When we look at inequality from another person’s experience, we can directly understand the reality of inequality in our world.  Most books are under £10 and are suitable for young people aged 12 and up. For the list of books click here

Teach young people about tolerance!
Teaching Tolerance is home to a great selection of free resources, lesson plans, webinars and podcast that can be used to teach young people about being tolerant. This site offers guidance by learning specialists and experienced educators within the Teaching Tolerance community. This is a great way to enhance the personal development of young people. To get access to free webinars and more click here.

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!

In The Know – Develop your skills and have some fun!

In The Know – Develop your skills and have some fun!

In The Know Parents What's new?

This week we’ve listed 3 opportunities that are quite different from one another; there’s something for everyone. From a fun family event to planning for the future or becoming part of a special network! All the opportunities for young people can be done remotely and online. Keep scrolling to find out more!

The BIG Stay-At-Home Quiz!
This family-friendly quiz is hosted by Social Dist.Co and is the perfect way to spend time as a family and tap into some team spirit. People from all over the world can join in on this fun virtual quiz game where families get to compete against other teams. The quizzes will take place on Saturday the 18th and 25th of April. There is a £5 donation entry fee per team with cash prizes up for grabs for the top 3 teams. All remaining profits will be donated to a local charity. For more information and team entries click here.

Virtual Work experience with Barclay Life Skills
Many young people may take this time to reflect and plan for their future. Young people aged 14 and up can register for free on the Barclays Life Skills platform to help them find out what their strengths are, develop their skills, plan for the future and even get virtual work experience! For more information on the different opportunities available, please follow this link.

Join the GT Scholars Youth Board!
GT Scholars is looking for young people aged 13-16 who are currently on one of their programmes or have attended at least one programme, workshop or course in the past 12 months. Young people who join the Youth Board will get the chance to work collaboratively with GT Scholars, be co-designers and join in decision making, on matters that will impact young people on our programmes. Applications must be received by Friday 15th May. For more information and to find out how to apply, click here.

In The Know – Events for Global Entrepreneur Week!

In The Know – Events for Global Entrepreneur Week!

In The Know Parents What's new?

In recognition of Global Entrepreneurship Week coming up on the 18th and the 24th of November, we have found a few great opportunities to develop your entrepreneurial skills, presentation and team working skills that will prepare young people for the future.

Annual Dragon’s Den Challenge 2019
This exhilarating workshop gives young people aged 11-16 a taste of what it takes to be an entrepreneur. The workshop is based on the world-famous TV Show and will involve them coming up with a business idea and pitching it to a judging panel. Young people joining in on the fun will gain hands-on experience in entrepreneurship and will develop their team working, presentation and time management skills. This year’s event will take place on Saturday 23rd November at Goldsmiths University in New Cross from 10am – 4pm. Tickets for this event are released in phases via the waiting list so be on the lookout for our next release of tickets. Please follow this link for more information.

Engineer Your Future
If you have an interest or the ability to be a big-thinker, a problem solver and someone who has a passion to change the world with innovative ideas, then the Science Museum on Exhibition Road is a great place to visit this coming week. Entrance is free and is suitable for young people aged 11 to 15 years. There are many exciting activities to keep you entertained and learn all about Engineering, from designing your own space rover to playing various games to enhance those scientific skills. The Science Museum is open daily from 10am. For more information click here.

The 2019 Language Show
Europe’s largest annual language show has returned to Olympia for its 31st year with a variety of free talks, taster classes in many different languages and exhibitors who will share tools on the best way to learn new languages. This workshop will help young people interested in language develop the skills to help find the best career path for them. This event is free for all young people under the age of 17 and registration is only required for those above this age. The event starts at 10am every day and runs from today 15th November to Sunday 17th November at Olympia London on Hammersmith Road, London. To find out more about this yearly event click here.

In The Know – Book your Coding Workshops PLUS a Freebie for Coding Week!

In The Know – Book your Coding Workshops PLUS a Freebie for Coding Week!

Coding & Technology In The Know Parents What's new?

This week is European Coding week and we’ll be celebrating throughout this month with tech related blog posts, a free resource for you to download and further celebrations later this month with a series of half-term coding workshops at Google Academy London!

Free Download – 20 Free Coding Resources!
Did you know that you can teach yourself how to code? We’ve put together some amazing websites that young people can use to teach themselves how to code! These websites and online platforms are easy to use and they are free to access. From solving fun storyline problems using coding to animation & art themed challenges, this is a fantastic download for young people interested in coding. Follow this link for your free download!

#DayofCode – Wednesday 23rd October & Thursday 24th October
We’ve managed to secure three dates to run coding workshops at Google Academy! As many parents have requested, #DayofCode will be open to boys and girls aged 12-16 (Years 8 to 11). The workshops will give each young person a chance to develop their coding skills and build an exciting mobile app game in just one day! The workshop content is repeated so you only need to book your child for one day! All tickets will be released in phases via eventbrite: www.gtscholars.eventbrite.com

#GirlMeetsCode – Tuesday 22nd October 2019
All the stats show that there are fewer women in Tech and numbers have declined since the 90s! We know that girls can be a force for good in the world and many technology companies are actively seeking women to make a change in the technology world. For this reason, we’re running a special day coding workshop just for girls! Similar to #DayofCode, this workshop will not require any previous coding experience as you’ll be guided through the day by our facilitators and volunteers. To join in with the girls go to: www.gtscholars.eventbrite.com

 

 

An interview with one of our fantastic volunteer mentors – Nileema Patel

An interview with one of our fantastic volunteer mentors – Nileema Patel

Volunteer spotlight Volunteers What's new?

Please tell us a bit about yourself
Many years ago, I used to teach primary school students as a volunteer and that was a very rewarding experience. Unfortunately, due to increasing time commitments elsewhere I couldn’t continue along with that. Recently, when things had settled back down, I realised I wanted to do something to help young people again and came across GT Scholars not long after I started looking for opportunities to do so. It’s been really nice to help out through mentoring, which has been completely different, yet just as rewarding, experience when compared to teaching. Outside of volunteering, I work in healthcare and enjoy baking and reading in my spare time.

How did you first hear about GT Scholars?
I came across GT Scholars through an online search engine. I was looking for an opportunity that would allow me to give more to my community, particularly in a way that would help young people. I went on your website and got a good feeling about the mission, which very much aligns with my values. Reading about Temi and her background was really inspiring and it gave me confidence in GT Scholars as a committed and genuine social enterprise. I got in touch through the online application form and it all went from there really.

What goals have you helped your scholar to achieve?
So this term we focused on public speaking a lot; how to feel more confident and assured. We worked on different techniques to apply before a speaking assignment to see what helped and felt most natural. You know, just simple things like practising a lot, practising with different people, trying out tips from the famous Ted Talk on confidence by Amy Cuddy.

A recurring theme during our sessions has also been about career choices, university choices and progressing to sixth-form. These are longer-term goals that are useful to start thinking about early on and I look forward to helping Erica achieve them as we move into the next term.

What qualities does Erica have that makes her a good mentee?
Erica is a wonderful mentee. She’s punctual, listens well and is forthcoming about topics of interest or any issues that she’s worried about. She’s organised as well and very good at managing her time and extracurricular activities. I think all of those skills really make her a good mentee as well as a good student, and I think this will translate very well professionally, too, in whatever area she decides to go into eventually.

Why do you think mentoring is valuable to young people?
I think the most valuable aspect of mentoring is the confidence that a young person might gain from it. Being a young person, particularly in a big city like London, it can be difficult to have self-confidence. You don’t have a lot of experience and everything seems new and sometimes unapproachable, particularly in areas such as applying to university. So I think the support that comes from mentoring can be extremely valuable in terms of validating a young person’s ideas and goals. Practically, mentoring is a great way to highlight opportunities to get involved in.

What challenges did you face while mentoring your scholar?
For me, the first session was probably the most challenging because I did not have a lot of mentoring experience. However, I found that GT Scholars had sheets to prepare mentors which I read beforehand and which were very helpful in giving me an idea of how to build rapport and understand what the priorities of mentoring are.

I also tried to think back to times I have been mentored in the past, informally and formally. I thought about what made my mentors so good and then tried to embody that in my role as a mentor.

What did you enjoy most about volunteering and mentoring?
I really enjoyed getting to know the mentee, as well as her mother. You know Erica, she’s already a very bright, ambitious person, on the lookout for opportunities to support her goals and a little bit of guidance. I enjoy being a sounding board for her, hearing about her goals and being able to guide her as she achieves them. I particularly like that, over the sessions, I am able to see her progress, and get to hear feedback from her and her mother about how our sessions are impacting her social and academic development.

What have you gained from being a volunteer mentor with GT Scholars?
It’s been really nice to be able to pass along some of the things I have learnt along the way to an enthusiastic young person who might be able to benefit from that advice. Building relationships with the team at GT Scholars, my mentee and her mother, has been personally very rewarding and the whole process has a been wonderful way to give back.

 

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.

Understanding the Challenges Faced by Young People Living In Care

Understanding the Challenges Faced by Young People Living In Care

What's new?

In 2015, just 6% of young care leavers attended university and in 2014 over 37% of care leavers between the ages of 17 and 19 were not in education, employment or training (NEET). In addition, according to Crisis UK, one third of care leavers become homeless within the first two years of leaving care and 25% of homeless people are care-experienced.

Young people living in care, also known as looked after children, are young people not living with their biological parents due to a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons for a child or young person being taken into care include abuse, neglect, family breakdown or a parent or child’s illness or disability.

In 2018, there were 75,420 children in care in England according to the Department for Education. The care system is well established, however young people living in care still face various challenges that hampers their success.

This means that young people living in care are still far behind compared to their peers when it comes to academic attainment and career prospects. In fact, according to the Department for Education, care leavers are unlikely to apply to university and their educational attainment at the end of school is still very low compared to other groups with just 14% achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs (including maths and English).

Young people face multiple challenges as outlined below which leads to these negative outcomes.

Instability
Due to the high number of young people living in care in England, there is significant strain on the care system. The majority of looked after children are placed in short or long term foster homes, and there are a limited number of carers in England and each carer will have a limited number of places. This means that young people living in care often have to go through many changes thoughout the year, with 10% of fostered children having had three or more placements in 2018 according to the Department for Education. This instability means that young people living in care can often become withdrawn and develop a sense that nobody really cares about them. They often feel that they have no control over their lives, which leads to low aspirations and attachment issues.

Adoption can provide a more stable living situation, but the number of looked after children with a placement order for adoption has fallen by 44% since 2014. Additionally, according to the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies, in September 2018, there were 2730 children waiting for adoption in England and 41% of these children had been waiting eighteen months or more.

Mental Health
Young people living in care face very tough situations that has far-reaching consequences on their mental health and wellbeing. For some children and young people, being taken away from the home where they have been unsafe will be a relief. However, for many others, being separated from their parents and/or siblings will be extremely distressing. Many looked after children will be placed in a home that is far from where they live or far from where their siblings live. In some cases, they may not know where their sibling is placed. 

This distress negatively affects their mental health. They may struggle with triggers (post-traumatic stress disorder) and not be okay with certain sounds, smells, places or experiences. They may also suffer from mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, and struggle with psychological issues such as attachment disorder as they find it difficult to build close, secure, trusting relationships with people around them.

Problems at School
Understandably, young people living in care often struggle at school. According to research from the Department for Education (Care leavers’ Transition to Adulthood 2015) and research from Howard League for Penal Reform (Criminal Care 2016), young people who have lived in care between the ages of 10 and 17 are five times more likely to be excluded from school. They are also more likely to struggle with learning, with over 68% of looked after children being diagnosed with one or more Special Education Needs or Disabilities (SEND).

Together with learning difficulties, they also often struggle with social difficulties at school. Many of them do not want friends at school to know that they are living in care, and this can add to the burden of having to pretend that they are living with a parent or a family member even though they are living with a carer. Many looked after children will also have developed a sense of having to protect themselves and take care of themselves and may struggle with trusting adults such teachers and support staff at school.

GT Scholars seeks to help young people living in care to work around the challenges they face through the Raising Aspirations Programme. This programme will use a multi-strategy approach combining one-to-one mentoring, enrichment days, and skill-building workshops.

The one-to-one mentoring will help them work on their career aspirations and personal development. In a report called Forging futures through mentoring 2018 by The Children’s Commissioner, it was stated that looked after children themselves appear to value mentoring because of the soft skills such as self-belief and confidence that are imparted through mentoring programmes. The report also stated that mentoring has a positive impact on looked after children’s relationships with others.

Many young people living in care struggle with a lack of awareness of opportunities along with low confidence and lack of self-belief and this impacts their academic attainment at school and their likelihood of pursuing certain careers and professional routes after school. However, many universities have teams dedicated to increasing the number of care leavers that apply to and study at their university. In addition to this, many companies are providing work experience specifically to care leavers, especially since the introduction of The Care Leaver Covenant 2018.

The Raising Aspirations Programme will aim to bridge the gap between young people living in care and the universities and companies that want to reach them. The enrichment days and skill-building workshops take place at top-tier universites and companies across London to help these young people to build academic and career aspirations and develop the strategies and skills to achieve them.

If you want to find out more about the Raising Aspirations Programme and how you can get more involved, then contact us today. GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. Our after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme is designed to help young people aged 11-18 achieve their academic and career aspirations.