In The Know – Events For Curious Minds

Events Growth mindset In The Know Mentoring

The holidays are almost here! Before you wind down and enjoy a well deserved break, we’ve found some exciting events and programmes for young people. These sessions are educational, engaging and guaranteed fun. Read on for it read on for more information about these events they can attend.

GT Scholars Parent and Pupil information session
On Saturday 14th December 2019, we’ll be running an information session for parents and young people.. These free sessions are targeted at ambitious young people and their parents that would like to find out more about how our tutoring and mentoring programmes. There will be two sessions at Canada Water Library from 3-4:30pm and 5-6.30pm. To register your attendance, click on the following link.

MathsAlive at The Royal Airforce Museum.
Maths is all around us, from sports and dancing to film making and nature. And now you can explore the wonders of Maths at the RAF museum in London everyday until the 15th of March 2020. Young people aged 7 – 14 will have the opportunity to experience eighteen fascinating hands-on exhibitions that bring Maths to life. They can ride a Mars Rover, participate in a live snowboarding race and fight aliens in cyberspace from inside the game. Tickets for children are priced at £5 and adults at £7. The exhibition runs from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Book your tickets online at the museum.

Free Coderdojo Coding Club for Kids
Beginner coders aged 7 to 17 can join the free Coderdojo club for kids. You can find out more about becoming a coding Ninja at their next meetup on the 14th of December. The programme runs from 10am to 12 noon at Spital Street, Dartford, please remember to bring along your own laptop. Mentors will guide young coders through the process and at the end of the day, there will be a “show and tell” where participants can showcase their projects or creations. For more information on the Coderdojo follow the link.

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.

In the Know – Interactive activities for the whole family!

In the Know – Interactive activities for the whole family!

Events In The Know What's new? Young people

This week, we’ve found some spectacular events and exhibitions that will get the whole family involved. With fun workshops and events that delves into London’s rich History and Science to kick your weekend into gear, you’ll not only have a good time but also have an educational experience.

London’s Streets – Free workshop on the history of London
This workshop gives the whole family the chance to view this unique digital look into the history of the City of London and how it has changed over the years. Participants will have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of popular characters in a Charles Dickens’s novel and design their own future London. The workshop takes place on 7 December at 10am – 12pm at The Salters’ Company, London Wall Place. Entry is free but booking is essential. Follow this link for more details. 

Natural History Museum – Free entry into Science events
The Natural History Museum in Cromwell Road London is currently running several events for the whole family such as “Gaze up at the moon” which has a 6 metre model of the moon featuring lunar images from NASA and an evolving soundscape that allows you to hear what it would be like if you were on the moon. This workshop along with a few others will run until the 5th of January 2020. Booking is not required and entry is free. You can visit their website Natural History Museum to find out more information on upcoming events.

Royal Airforce Museum
Young people who are interested in a career in aviation will enjoy the Air League’s 110th Anniversary exhibition. The Air League actively encourages young men and women to pursue careers in aviation and aerospace and is the largest provider of flying scholarships and bursaries. You can visit the RAF Museum’s website to find out how to explore the many hangars at this museum, located in Graham Parkway, London.

In the know – Curiosity Creates Keen Minds!

In the know – Curiosity Creates Keen Minds!

Events Growth mindset In The Know What's new?

We have found some great interactive opportunities to excite and educate those curious young minds. Read on to find out more information about the Annual Dragons Den Challenge and informative sessions on gaming and the laws of physics in cartoons.

Annual Dragon’s Den Challenge 2019
Young people aged between 11 – 16 who are eager to build and improve their entrepreneurial skills will definitely enjoy the Annual Dragon’s Den Challenge taking place at Goldsmiths University tomorrow, 23rd November from 10am and 4pm.  This workshop is based on the popular TV show and young people will get the chance to develop and pitch their unique business ideas to a panel of judges. If tickets have been released to you via the waiting list then please book by 2pm today. Please follow this link for more information.

Free Kids Game Design Taster sessions
Join this fun, educational and interactive course for 9-17 year olds, who enjoy the gaming world. These young people will have the opportunity to find out what goes into the making of an exhilarating game and each student will be awarded an accredited certificate of completion which is endorsed by NCFE. The event takes place on 30th November at the Software Academy on Cricklewood Broadway in London. The first session starts at 2:30pm and the second session at 4pm. Visit the Eventbrite page for more information on these sessions.

Cartoon Science
Explore the laws of physics in the real world versus the laws of physics cartoons during this exciting one-hour demonstration for the whole family. The free event is co-hosted by the Institute of Physics and Science Made Simple on the 30th November at the Institute of Physics on Caledonian Road London. The first of three sessions starts at 11:00am. Spaces are limited so register for this event at Eventbrite

In The Know – Events for Global Entrepreneur Week!

In The Know – Events for Global Entrepreneur Week!

Events Growth mindset What's new? Young people

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 – Dragon’s Den 2019 + Art Events for the Whole Family!

In The Know – Dragon’s Den 2019 + Art Events for the Whole Family!

Events Growth mindset In The Know What's new? Young people

This week we have some wonderful opportunities for the whole family to enjoy including the Southwark showcases and an exclusive art fairs. We’ve also got our annual Dragon’s den workshop coming up to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week 2019! Scroll down for more information!

Dragon’s Den Challenge 2019!
Global Entrepreneurship Week is coming up and that means it’s time for our Annual Dragon’s Den Challenge! This event is definitely one of our most popular workshops, building presentation skills, entrepreneurial skills, team working skills and communication skills for the young people that join us! The event will take place on Saturday 23rd November at Goldsmiths University in New Cross from 10am – 4pm. Please follow this link for more information. Please note that tickets are released in phases via the waiting list.

Southwark Showcase
Join the Southwark Community for a day of interactive fun for the whole family where you can enjoy performances in theatre, film and dance. Enjoy the sounds of the live DJ while engaging in the interactive stations by learning more about drawing, zine making and a variety of arts and crafts. This event is free and takes place on Saturday 9 November at The  Tate Modern and runs from 12pm to 6pm. For more information click here.

Wimbledon Art Fair
This annual 4-day fair invites the whole family to be captivated by the world of creative art. Meet the great minds behind the wonderful pieces of art and find out what goes into creating a masterpiece. This special event allows you the opportunity to explore the artist’s private studios to view their different works from ceramic art to painting. You can even discover the world of fashion and photography at this great event. The Art Fair takes place at Wimbledon Art Studios and runs from 14 to 17 November. For opening times and to book your free ticket to this exclusive event visit Eventbrite.

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!

In The Know What's new? Young people

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

Mentoring Volunteer interviews 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

Growth mindset Private tuition Success stories 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.

An interview with one of our volunteer online tutors – Arash Khosravi

An interview with one of our volunteer online tutors – Arash Khosravi

Volunteer interviews Volunteers What's new?

Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
I went through school and after that, I did Economics at A-level and then studied Economics full time at UCL. During my time at UCL, I was the president of the UCL branch of the charity Team Up. After graduation, I was offered a job at the Bank of England where I worked as a Data Analyst.

What made you decide to become a volunteer tutor?
I really feel like I want to give back to society and give back to people that are in a less fortunate position than I am, through no fault of their own, and help them achieve their full potential. I did some informal tutoring a few years ago and I got really good feedback. That made me think and I then decided to take my strengths and use them to help people that really need the support. Since volunteering at UCL, I was trying to find other opportunities to volunteer that could fit in with my work schedule. I find that tutoring is a really good option and that I can make a real difference in a young person’s life.

What did you enjoy most about tutoring your scholar?
What I enjoyed most was really seeing the development of my scholar throughout the 12 week term. I think the highlight for me was in week 4 when I logged into Skype for our session and my scholar said: ‘’Sir, sir you know the thing we’ve done with the area of the square? I tried it in class and my teacher said I got the question right!” She was really chuffed about it and that was great to hear. I think engaging with the scholar and building a good relationship is what I’ve enjoyed most. I was very lucky to be matched with someone who is really engaged and ready to learn.

What challenges have you helped your scholar to face?
What I found at the beginning of this term in my scholar was the fact that she was doubting herself. I think the challenge was to reinforce the knowledge she already had and building her confidence. In the beginning, I would ask a question and she would attempt to solve 60% of the question but wouldn’t have the confidence to work through the remaining 40%. She would then say she did not know how to do it. I focussed on building her confidence and to say to herself, I do know how to do it and I won’t give up. It’s really great to see how much her maths has developed and improved.

What goals have you helped your scholar to achieve?
I think a good example of one of our goals would be the mock test my scholar had coming up. A week before the mock test we did two tutoring sessions so I could help her prepare for the test. After the test, she came back and said that a lot of the work we revised did come up in the test and she really felt confident answering them. We also set up goals for some of the topics she felt a bit weaker in and although she was struggling with it earlier on in the term she was able to tackle them after a few week’s sessions.

Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?
Because I feel that students at school have a wide range of abilities and are at different levels. I don’t think that the modern skill system can factor that in with a class of 30 students, with different abilities and learning styles. Some young people need additional support and a lot of them don’t have the opportunity to get 1-to-1 support and can fall behind. I think tutoring can help fill that gap between school and home. Free tutoring is great to bridge the gap between young people who can afford private tutoring and those who cant.

Do you have a message for young people?
I would say they should keep working, keep trying and keep persevering with whatever they want to do in life. There’s no one path to get you where you want to go. Be who you are and don’t try to be anyone else. And with that mindset try things and really persevere. Like with the GT Scholar Programme, even if you don’t get it results initially, keep trying and pushing forward and towards where you want to go.

How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
My dad is a maths lecturer, I could not get away from maths as a young person (laughs). Until about GCSE I was rubbish at maths, I used to get 40%. I think it was because I wanted to get away from maths because my dad will always be talking about it. At that age, I did not realise the importance of it. Until my dad sat me down and got me to engage and focus and made me realise the importance of it. In terms of other subjects, I did not have formal tutors but had support from my peers and family that helped me a lot.

What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?
I feel like I gained a lot of confidence. I was a bit nervous before my first session because I see it as a real responsibility and duty to help a young person on their journey with mathematics. I really wanted to do a good job and make an impact on my scholar’s life. Having my scholar come back by the fourth session saying how she benefited from our sessions had really boosted my confidence. I think there are a lot of children out there that don’t see their own potential and it’s really opened my eyes to that. I have also gained a great relationship with my scholar and we even joke around during sessions sometimes.

Would you recommend becoming a tutor with GT Scholars?
Definitely. I think the whole process is really good and I gained a lot from the experience. For a tutor to be able to come in and really feel the positive impact made with a scholar and really seeing the journey you’re both going through during the 12 weeks is just amazing. The programme is really great for those scholars who are at average or just below, to give them that extra boost they need. Volunteering as a tutor is a nice way to start volunteering, whether it’s your first time or if you’re an experienced volunteer. I definitely recommend it in terms of it being a great way to volunteer and help young people.