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An Interview with a Parent: “I’ve definitely seen a marked improvement in my child’s grades at school”

Parent Spotlight Parents What's new?

As part of the scholar spotlight series, we interviewed a parent of one of the scholars on the Bright Ambitions programme. Please watch the video clip above for the full interview. 


Hi, so I am Alfredo, Tatiana’s daddy. We live in Wandsworth and she’s a scholar on the programme.

How did you find about about GT Scholars?
So we first found out about GT Scholars through a local Croydon newspaper. We’ve got links to Croydon, we still sort of had access to those. We noticed it and we were looking, at that time, for getting some tutoring for her anyway.

And at that time we also went into the Centrale Shopping Centre in Croydon and there was some advertisement for GT Scholars there, we sort of saw leaflets and that kind of gave us a bit more information about it, so that was our first introduction to GT Scholars.

Why did you choose GT Scholars?
Well at that time we were looking for tuition and we wanted something sort of a little bit different from just the mainstream tuition you can get from anywhere, just a normal class, English or maths class.

We quite like the kind of holistic approach that we found which GT Scholars seemed to offer, particularly the fact that they offered the mentoring side of it which we felt would help with the development of her character and not just lessons and stuff.

What has your child gained from the programme?
Firstly, I think Tatiana has gained many things from the programme I believe, and she’s actually also enjoyed the process which is fundamental. With regards to her actual levels at school, her grades, those have improved. We have definitely seen a marked improvement, particularly with maths where she struggled a little, to begin with, and we’re not quite there yet, but we have definitely seen a marked improvement. So much so that she even excelled in a competition we didn’t know she had entered in. She’s in the French system and managed to get top third globally within this maths competition, so we’re really proud of her for that one.

It’s more, I would say, for the overall developmental side of it, of her character and personality. I think she’s gained from the mentoring aspect of the programme. The core skills, organisation skills, time management, that side of it, has enabled her to get a bit more focus on her studying which was perhaps lacking before. So we have found there’s been useful guidance in that respect.

Would you recommend GT Scholars to other parents? 
I would thoroughly recommend GT Scholars to any other parents who are thinking of getting into this sort of activity. I feel it gives you a little bit more than just the tuition that is found just about anywhere. The enrichment or the overall developmental side of it has been superb and I found the extracurricular activities have been useful. I didn’t feel we were just going in there for her to study. There’s been loads of other events she’s gone to which have given her a broad outlook of other things. So I would definitely recommend GT Scholars.

In the know – Design and Dive Deep!

In the know – Design and Dive Deep!

In The Know What's new?

Help your child to learn how they can turn things they find fun into future career paths through this week’s activities. This week your child will be able to learn about videogame design, explore the deep seas and outer space! Learning while having fun is key to the development of young people and to help them discover their passions, don’t miss out.

Videogame design at the V & A
This week the V & A museum is giving video gamers an exciting opportunity to meet videogames designer Matteo Menapace. In addition to meeting the designer, your child will get to play his latest game prototypes and learn how to use games to explore social issues. This free event is a must-see for young gamers wanting to turn their passion into a profession. Find out more about times and bookings here

Dive Deep at the Science Museum
This underwater adventure takes you through the depths of the oceans! Your child will get to swim with some of the planet’s most unique, dangerous and colourful creatures through this exciting educational 3D experience at the Science Museum. Tickets are £11 for adults and £9 for children. Find out more and book tickets here

Journey through the universe!
In this journey into the universe, the Royal Museums Greenwich planetarium show will allow your child to explore the Big Bang and learn about dark matter! This visually stunning experience will explore galaxies and let you and your child take a trip across space and time while gaining an understanding of the universe. Tickets are £5.35 for children and £8 for adults, find out more here

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

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Meet one of our Volunteer Tutors – Claire

Volunteer interviews Volunteers What's new?

As part of our volunteer spotlight series, we interviewed one of our amazing volunteer English tutors, Claire. You can watch the full interview in the video linked above. You can also find the transcript below.


My name is Claire and I’m in HR for a large consumer goods organisation and I’m a volunteer tutor with GT Scholars.

Why did you decide to start volunteering with GT Scholars?
So I guess the key thing why I decided to become a tutor is, I was born partially deaf, and I think one of those things is because of that people didn’t have very high expectations of myself. I worked really hard and I have become, some people would say, successful.

I got an awful lot of help along the way from my family, from some key people that helped me keep on that journey and I am hugely grateful to them and as a result of that, I think I do want to help other people realise their potential. Everyone has got so much potential and if I can give something back and have other people realise their potential then that’s what I’d really love to do. So that’s how I came to look for tutoring and looking to give back in some way in the same way that people gave to me which is listening, teaching, coaching. So that’s how I started looking at tutoring.

How did you get started as a volunteer tutor with GT Scholars?
So the way I got started with GT Scholars and how I found GT Scholars was simply researching for volunteering and tutoring. So I found it through Google and what stopped me at GT Scholars was how professional it all was. The website was really professional and there were loads of information, every question I had was pretty much already answered on the website.

And then I got in touch via the email and I got really great responses, really quick responses.

So I followed through the process which was you know, intimidating at times, sometimes I felt like I am being judged for the first time, but really nice people that I met throughout the whole process.

And I got signed off to become a tutor, and then I just got started in terms of onboarding. The other thing about the onboarding, it was really impressive, so for me as an HR professional, onboarding is important, and it was a really good process, really good training and lots of support now while I’m tutoring as well.

What was the experience as a volunteer English tutor like for you?
Now how I got started with the tutoring with the very initial stages was making the arrangements with Samuel and his father for the initial session and then having that initial call. We had a telephone call initially then we moved on to Skype and we decided that was the one, we looked at Google Hangouts and Skype and there are so many great options these days but Skype worked pretty well for us.

So that first session was just getting to know Samuel, him getting to know me and really understanding what he wanted out of it because there are so many things you can cover in this session and its limited time. Then we just ran through that and really sort of clarified some specific points that he wanted to learn about. Then I had to go and do research because I haven’t done the English language for such a long time so we had an initial session and we had exam questions to help me assess where he was and then we focused in on a couple of areas. Then we just met each time each week through Skype. Having that face to face contact in the video, I think it’s actually really helpful and really convenient being able to do that from home, from this seat actually and having those conversations each week and trying to move it forward, trying to help him decide where he wanted to focus as well. I think that’s one of the really important things about being the tutor is listening. So I had loads of ideas about what I thought we could talk about and actually it was quite different. So Samuel needed quite specific things and I hope that was helpful for him and a lot of it was conversation, having good conversation about what the examiners are looking for and therefore how he can respond and this is specifically for example about managing time making sure you get to all of the questions in the exams and giving good points across each of those questions.

What have you enjoyed most about volunteer tutoring?
So I think one of the things I found really fulfilling during this process is when you see the ‘aha’ moments and you just see the ‘oh that is a different way of looking at it that I haven’t seen before’, that’s been really powerful. Other things I enjoy are that sense of imparting what I know and thinking that you can make a difference in that way.

And I guess the final thing would be making space for conversation – a safe space for someone in this case to have a really open conversation around what’s worrying him and him being able to talk about that.

What challenges have you as a volunteer tutor helped your scholar overcome?
So the kind of challenges that Samuel seems to have had help with in terms of the conversations that he and I have had, a key thing has been around timing. So managing his own time both in preparing for our sessions doing the homework and then in exams, so that has been quite a lot of our conversations. It’s how he plans for that and how he then makes that impact during the exam so that he can get better marks as he goes forward.

What challenges did you face as a volunteer tutor?
There were some challenges to being a tutor. So one of them is being organised so I have to make time to do my preparation. I had to put myself in Samuel’s shoes, think about what would be the right conversation for us to have and about the material that should help him and then really being present during the sessions and just allow that mental space for him and I to have a great conversation and let all the distractions go.

Why do you think tutoring is valuable for young people?
I think tutoring offers quite a lot to young people. A big part of that is simply dedicated time with someone who is listening to you and answering your unique questions and thinking about you and your unique scenario. So that’s a key thing just that mental space and commitment from somebody.

I think the other bit is, of course, the knowledge that they’re gaining from somebody else who has taken the time to listen to the specific challenges that they are facing and that they want help with.

What would you say to anyone thinking about becoming a volunteer tutor with us?
So if anyone is thinking about tutoring I really recommend it. GT Scholars is a really professional organisation to do it with. You get a huge amount of support at every step of the way. So GT Scholars is really good and tutoring is really fun. You get some time with a young person, the kind of people that maybe you don’t get time to interact with elsewhere in your life and you really get to make an impact on one person’s life and who knows what that leads to.

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. Visit our website if you’d like to know more about the GT Scholars Programme and how you can become a volunteer tutor to make a significant difference in young people’s lives.

LSE CHOICE helps young people get into university!

LSE CHOICE helps young people get into university!

What's new?

The London School of Economics and Political Science runs a free programme to help young people get into university.

LSE CHOICE gives talented young people from London state schools and colleges the tools they need to successfully apply to LSE and other highly selective universities.

Each year, LSE CHOICE works with 180 students from under-represented backgrounds. Students apply for a place on one of five LSE CHOICE subject streams:

  • Economics
  • Government and Politics
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Sociology

The programme includes a Summer School and Saturday sessions:

Summer School
The non-residential Summer School lasts for five days from 19 – 23 August 2019. Participants study a subject of interest to them and take sessions designed to develop their key skills and critical thinking. Current LSE academic staff and research students, external speakers and experienced subject teachers deliver subject enhancement sessions. It also includes university information sessions which are delivered by staff from the LSE Recruitment and Admissions teams.

Saturday Sessions
The two-hour Saturday sessions run on 16 Saturday mornings during the autumn and spring terms of Year 13. Each session focuses on an important area of the subject, encouraging students to think more broadly about the topic. Participants are expected to use the LSE Library and are also encouraged to attend LSE public lectures.

Participation is free of charge and lunch is provided on each day of the Summer School. Students are given an attendance allowance of £20 for each Saturday session, which includes a contribution towards transport costs.

Would your child like to be a part of this fantastic programme? Find more information hereThe deadline for applications is Sunday 10th March 2019 at  11.59pm.

What is an Enhanced DBS and why do our Volunteer Tutors and Mentors need this?

What is an Enhanced DBS and why do our Volunteer Tutors and Mentors need this?

Volunteers What's new?

Volunteering as a tutor or mentor for young people is a great way to give back to your community, to help young people that require assistance, and to be an inspirational role model.

At GT Scholars we aspire to recruit the best volunteers to tutor and mentor young people. They need to have the right skills, a positive outlook, and the ability to communicate effectively. It is also our responsibility to ensure that all our volunteers have undergone safeguarding training and have completed an Enhanced DBS check. This is to ensure the safety of our scholars.

With the DBS check, we ensure that no unsuitable person will engage with any of the scholars on our programmes. To help you understand more about this DBS check and how the process works, we have answered a few important questions.

What does DBS stand for?
DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service. It is merging of the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) and the ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority) to carry out the same purpose of both organisations under one body.

What is the purpose of a DBS check?
This certificate has been put in place by the government to ensure that unsuitable people do not work with individuals that are vulnerable such as children and young people. It is essential for the safety of all vulnerable groups of people.

Who needs to have a DBS check?
Every job will differ on the type of DBS check they will require from an individual, but any person who wishes to work with children and vulnerable adults will need an enhanced DBS certificate. This is to ensure the safety of these groups.

What are the 3 types of DBS checks?

  • Basic Disclosure – this is more of a criminal record check that may be required for applying for a visa or personal licence
  • Standard DBS – a check that will show all convictions, warnings or cautions on a person’s record and is usually required when applying for a job
  • Enhanced DBS – similar to the standard but this can include any relevant information by the police and this check is required when working with children and vulnerable groups.

How can you get a DBS check?
You can either apply for one directly from the DBS via an online application or you can apply via a responsible organisation that is registered with the DBS.

How much does DBS check cost?
A standard DBS will cost around £30 and an Enhanced DBS around £50. For volunteers, the Enhanced DBS will cost around £10.

What do you need in order to do a DBS check?
A person needs to attach at least 3 documents to their application for a DBS check – one document from Group 1 and two documents from either Group 1, Group 2a or Group 2b.

Group 1 is for primary identity documents such as:

  • Passport
  • Biometric Residence Permit
  • Current Driving Licence
  • Birth Certificate
  • Adoption Certificate

Group 2a is for trusted government documents such as:

  • Current Driving Licence (countries outside the EU excluding Isle of Man and the Channel Islands)
  • Current driving licence paper version – if issued before 1998
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage / Civil Partnership Certificate
  • HM Forces ID Card
  • Firearm Licence

Group 2b is  for financial and social history documents such as:

  • Mortgage statement
  • Financial statements
  • P45 or P60 statements
  • Council Tax Statement
  • Bank or Building society statements
  • Credit card statement
  • Utility bill (not mobile phone bill)
  • Benefit statements such as pension or child benefit
  • Entitlement documents given by a government agency/council
  • Sponsorship letter from future employer – for applicants residing outside the UK during application
  • EU national ID card
  • Cards with PASS accreditation logo – UK, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands
  • Letter from headteacher or college principal – for 16-19-year-old UK citizens in full-time education (exceptional circumstances)
  • Work permit or visa

How often do we need to renew our DBS?
The DBS certificate expires after 3 years, then it will need to be renewed. There is also the option of the DBS Update System that costs approximately £13 per year and will renew the certificate every year from the date of issue.

We hope that after reading this you would understand the need for a DBS check when you volunteer with us. We aspire to create a safe environment for all our scholars and to offer them the best tutors and mentors without any compromise.

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.

5 Quick and Easy Ways to Volunteer with Us

5 Quick and Easy Ways to Volunteer with Us

Volunteers What's new?

Volunteering with young people is a great way to give back to your community and to help those that require assistance in either their academic studies or personal wellbeing. At GT Scholars, we focus on helping young people to achieve their aspirations. We do this with assistance from selfless volunteers who sacrifice their time to help young people through tutoring and mentoring.

However, there are more ways that one can volunteer apart from tutoring and mentoring. Here are five quick and easy ways that you could make a difference with us.

Be a Volunteer Ambassador:
Are you a vibrant and outgoing person who would like to assist GT Scholars in reaching more people? Are you a graduate or professional with experience in public relations, marketing, business management or fundraising? Then you can volunteer as a GT Scholars Ambassador which involves being a liaison for us with your company or university.
You could help to bring in more volunteers, sponsorships, internships for young people, or even arrange to give the young people a career day experience at your workplace. Volunteer ambassadors are crucial in bridging the gap between GT Scholars and different areas of work and education, and they really help our organisation to grow and thrive.

Be a Volunteer Videographer/Photographer:
If you’re a skilled videographer or photographer, then you too can make a difference by volunteering your time and expertise. We are always having events and workshops that require a talented individual to capture the best moments. Your work will then be used on our website and in our newsletter which will be a great addition to your experience and portfolio.
So if you are passionate about what you do and want to help, this would be a great opportunity to show your support for a great cause.

Be a Volunteer at one of our workshops or events:
If you do not have the time to dedicate to tutoring or mentoring, but you would still like to help whenever you are free, then you should think about being a volunteer at our events or workshops. We run various enrichment events and skill-building workshops for young people that usually take place on Saturdays. We also run parent and pupil information sessions that usually take place on weekday evenings for schools across London.
Event volunteers help to ensure that the event, workshop or information session runs smoothly and that the attendees have a fantastic time. You can also choose to volunteer your time for the whole event or even just a few hours, so this volunteer role is flexible yet still impactful.

Be a guest speaker at our event:
Some of our enrichment events include a panel of speakers that will enlighten young people on a specific topic. For example, during our annual Careers Day, we have a panel of speakers from different professional backgrounds to inform attendees about their career and the different paths young people can take to reach career goals.
Volunteer speakers help to share their stories, the challenges they faced, the skills they had to learn etc. This would be a great way for you to inspire young people to achieve their aspirations, build their confidence, and understand their strengths. You will also motivate them to work harder and never give up.

Invite us to be a guest speaker at your event:
We are always looking for ways to share our vision with others and to widen our reach. So if you host events for undergraduates, graduates or professionals at your place of work or university, we would be delighted to be invited to speak and share our experiences and raise awareness for young people who need help to reach their aspirations.
You will be able to give us the opportunity to reach a much larger audience that could assist us in helping more young people to achieve their purpose while giving you the opportunity to diversify your events and show your support for a great cause.

If any of these volunteer opportunities sound interesting to you, please feel free to contact us and we will get you started. GT Scholars is dedicated to helping young people to achieve their aspirations and we would not be able to do this without an amazing team of volunteers.

Communication tips for volunteer tutors and mentors

Communication tips for volunteer tutors and mentors

Volunteers What's new?

Good communication is usually taken for granted in environments where adults work together since there is the assumption that everyone has the necessary communication skills to interact with people on a daily basis. However, when engaging with young people, one needs to pay close attention to good communication as it is an essential part of ensuring successful outcomes for them.

Good communication is central to working with young people as it fosters trust, and trust is necessary for building and maintaining relationships with them. This will allow them to reach their full potential as they will feel supported because they trust that you have their best interests at heart. So understanding what good communication involves is essential when working with young people.

Good communication is an active process
This entails being responsive and engaging when working with young people. More specifically, good communication requires active listening. Active listening is responding to cues while restating and drawing out the meaning of what the person is saying, combined with the expression of warmth, empathy and acceptance. Being responsive and making an effort to understand what the young person is communicating results in the young person becoming more confident as they feel that their thoughts and feelings have value.

Good communication does not just refer to the words we use
Good communication also refers to how we say things as the tone in which something is said can sometimes communicate more to a young person than the words that were used. There are also several forms of communication such as visual communication, body language, and sign language. The responsibility lies with the volunteer to identify which form of communication the young person is most receptive to. This will ensure that they understand the tasks they are given.
It is also important to note that the young person’s preferred form of communication may be influenced by personal factors such as culture or language. It is key that volunteers take the young person’s context into consideration when identifying the best form of communication for them, and be able to adapt communication styles as necessary.

Good communication involves being non-judgemental and approachable
It is important to be aware of how our attitude can affect young people. One should be supportive and reaffirming when communicating so that the young person does not feel judged and become closed-off or difficult to communicate with. When a young person feels comfortable, they are more likely to express themselves. In order to create an environment where the young person can openly communicate, a volunteer can use open questions. Open questions are a great communication tool as they encourage the young person to open up since they do not require definitive yes or no answers. Open questions encourage the young person to discuss their answer instead of giving one worded answers, and this helps develop good communication. You can learn more about open questions here.

Consider what stage of development the young person is in
To be able to develop communication styles and work strategies that encourage the young person’s participation, it is necessary to be aware of the needs of the young person. For example, if a young person is at risk of under-achievement, it is important to use language that does not intimidate the learner or make it seem that it is impossible for them to achieve their academic goals.
Conversely, if the young person has been working well and their levels of understanding are improving, the volunteer must communicate with them in a way that reflects that they recognise the improvements that the young person is making. This encourages good communication and helps develop the young person’s confidence when engaging with their work, as they will be able to recognise that they are making improvements and that they are capable.

Be aware of the barriers to good communication
There may be barriers to good communication which often discourages the young person from wanting to communicate. Firstly, ordering a young person to do something discourages communication. This is because young people do not like feeling as though they have no choice in the decisions involving them. A better way would be to discuss options with the young person or explain why they need to do something. This allows them to feel like their opinion matters and develops their self-confidence, which can foster good communication in the long term.
Another barrier to good communication is speaking with a threatening tone. An example of this would be saying something like: “If you keep doing this, you will fail the year” or “You better do this or else that will happen”. Communicating this way is negative and very discouraging for the young person which decreases their confidence in their abilities. So it is important to remember to use reaffirming and encouraging language that motivates the young person to keep working hard.

Your communication skills can influence how the young person will continue to communicate going into their future. Good communication with young people can help develop their self-confidence, which goes a long way in developing a positive attitude. So it is important for the volunteer to always be aware of how they communicate with young people by adopting and adapting the appropriate communication style for each young person they work with.

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.

5 Discussion Topics for Volunteer Mentors to Include in Their Mentoring Sessions

5 Discussion Topics for Volunteer Mentors to Include in Their Mentoring Sessions

Volunteers What's new?

As a mentor, you want to help build your mentee’s self-confidence and help them to be more positive and goal-orientated, while also making sure that they are well-adjusted to the world around them. But how will you go about doing this during your mentoring sessions?

The easiest way to achieve this is to make sure you pay attention to your discussion points during each mentoring session. Discussion points help you to get to know your mentee better so that you can advise them and help them to come up with the right strategies to reach their goals. Here are five discussion points that will help get you started.

Ask them about their interests and hobbies
A great way to get to know your mentee would be to discuss their interests and hobbies. Finding out what they like to do in their spare time can help you find a common ground to gain their trust. It is also good to start with this to help your mentee to feel more relaxed and open. Everyone has at least one hobby that they love to do, so this will most certainly get them talking. From this, you will be able to expand the discussion.
For example, if reading is their hobby, you can discuss some of the books they’ve read and why they enjoyed some titles more than others. If it is music, you can discuss some of the artists they prefer listening to and why they may be more drawn to those artists. This can help you to understand more about them as a person.
It would also be useful for you to do some research on their hobbies and interests so that you can relate to them and encourage them to tell you more about themselves.

Find out what their favourite subject at school is
Finding out their favourite subject will help you to further identify with your mentee. It will help you to understand what they are good at since most people tend to like a subject that they excel in. From this, you can develop an understanding of the way they think. If they like maths, then you will know that their mind is more analytical and numerical, or if they like art, then you will know that their mind is more creative, and so on.
You can then find use this understanding to delve into other topics such as career goals.

Ask them about their strengths
Beyond their interests and favourite subjects, you can also directly ask them about their strengths. This can include an aspect of their personality that they may be proud of or a soft skill that they may have. For example, your mentee may feel that their strength is their patience or that they can communicate very well. If your mentee shares these personal attributes, it means that they are becoming more comfortable with sharing a more personal side of themselves with you – this is a big step in the mentoring process.
Sometimes they may not be aware of their personal strengths. This will be the perfect opportunity to tell them about a positive trait that you have noticed in them. It is always good to show your mentee the positive qualities that they possess to build up their self-confidence.

Talk about their career goals
One of the main aims of the mentoring programme is to help young people to reach their career aspirations. So it is always a good idea to discuss what your mentee would like to do after school and which career path they want to take.
Usually, they will have an idea of what they would like to do after school. In this case, you can help by shedding more light on the career they have chosen to follow, including providing a detailed explanation of what is required of them and what the actual job entails. This can include practical tips such as what they need to study in school, which university should they go to, should they do an apprenticeship etc.
Sometimes a young person may not know what career path they would like to pursue. In this case, you can help by looking at their interests and their favourite subjects in school. From this, you should be able to come up with a list of careers paths that your mentee might be inclined to. You can then discuss each career path in detail while encouraging them to decide for themselves.

Ask them where they see themselves in 5 or 10 years from now
Discussing their future will encourage them to raise their aspirations and work towards their goals. This can also perfectly tie up everything you may have gone through with the first four discussion points.
If you know their future goals, you can also help to set them up on the right path to achieve them. For example, if your mentee wants to study at Oxbridge, you can assist them by explaining the application process or helping them to write the best personal statement.

These discussion points are a great start to your mentoring sessions. However, every mentee is different and they may have different needs or may want to discuss different topics. You should always keep your mentee’s interests as the priority, while still maintaining control of the direction of your mentoring sessions. This will make your mentoring sessions both impactful and insightful.

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.

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An Interview with a Parent: “I find that the GT Scholars approach supports the parents and the child as well”

Our Impact Parent Spotlight What's new?

As part of the scholar spotlight series, we interviewed a parent of one of the scholars on the Bright Ambitions programme. Please listen to the audio clip above for the full interview. You can also find the transcript below. 

How did you find out about GT Scholars?
We found out about GT Scholars because we were looking for originally a tutoring programme for my daughter. We saw GT Scholars advertised, I asked around, no one had heard about it and on a day trip to Croydon, we saw some signs and some posters. It looked fabulous. I went to contact the Head of the programme, had a long discussion about it, just to discover their ethos and their mindset about tutoring and enhancing children’s capabilities, and I really liked the programme. We went for an interview, it was a nice interview and not only did they interview us, we interviewed them actually and we were quite pleased and that is how we started. And that was about 4 years ago we have come up to.

Why did you choose GT Scholars over any other programmes that you could have gone for?
I looked around quite widely and I decided to go with GT Scholars for a few main reasons.  Firstly I like the ethos. It has a holistic approach to developing a child, not just focused on the academic grades, just building confidence and resilience. And also, I was quite concerned about the mental challenges and the mental aspects of learning today. The way GT Scholars approach learning and developing is quite a nice approach and it’s an approach I really welcomed.

What difference have you seen in your daughter after she joined the programme?
The impact of the programme I’ve seen on my child is that prior to the programme, I think stress was beginning to manifest itself in just delivering grades, grades, grades, and obviously I as a parent was trying to tell my child that it’s just not about the grades even though the grades are really important, it’s about developing everything. Obviously, the children of today don’t really want to listen to just the parents only.

During the programme, basically, you just hear the same messages that each parent is trying to instil in their child coming from a variety of different voices. So you have the tutor saying the same thing, you have the mentor, you the enrichment, they say the same thing and actually slowly but surely, it started to sink in.

How it manifested itself or the impact it gave on my child was that I could see confidence building. Slowly but surely she was actually replaying the same messages that she was hearing from all of these various areas back to me. Her grades were improving, slowly but surely she was looking forward to her sessions, where I at the beginning definitely saw fear but now it was, it was sort of excitement. And she looked forward to the enrichment days because I always went with her, I hung around outside, I attended some enrichment days. And towards the end, she was hoping, actually, that I didn’t sit in with her. That was also a positive sign.

What has your experience been with the organisation as a whole?
So I feel as a parent I also get support from the GT Scholars programme. There’s the official feedback sessions you have at the end of the term, which you can, a member of the GT Scholars will phone you and have a discussion with you or you can write your feedback in. I think that’s really worthwhile and that just gives you the sort of official line to see whether your child is progressing.

In between that, you also have administrative help from the GT Scholars team, actually probably every fortnight I hear from a member of the GT Scholars team, who will ask you how the program is going, is there anything you need to do, what are you looking for, have your goals been achieved or have they been met, would you like to attend the next term, again what your goals, so I feel that it’s more of a family, again, a holistic approach to developing my child which I am really supportive of. I wouldn’t like to attend a tutoring programme where they just took my money and said right we’ve given you, we’ve taught your child academically, thank you very much, get on with it. I find that the GT Scholars approach supports the parents and the child as well.

What would you say to a parent thinking of signing up for a GT Scholars programme?
To a parent who is thinking of signing up to GT Scholars, I would say, please just do it. It’s really beneficial. The mentoring, tutoring, the support you get is second to none and you’re not going to get that anywhere else. I have researched extensively. It helps your child‘s development at any stage. Near exams, you can focus on the exams itself. Pre-exams you can just help develop your child. It’s beneficial, you have nothing to lose really by joining GT Scholars programme.

Do you have any final thoughts that you would like to include?
I’ve looked into tutoring, all of the aspects of tutoring, tutoring itself is really expensive, mentoring is expensive, enrichment days, are for me, extortionately expensive. GT Scholars is a much more cost-effective way of developing your child and that’s why I would thoroughly recommend the programme.

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 – Explore the creative world!

In the Know – Explore the creative world!

In The Know What's new?

The creative world offers many opportunities to young people from rewarding career paths to useful outlets for expression. This week we have lined up three diverse activities that will allow them to explore their creative side and gain valuable skills and new experiences.

British Museum – Make a Manga Comic
This one hour workshop will give your child the opportunity to design their own comic inspired by the British Museum’s collection of Japanese manga. They will get to develop digital art skills to create characters and invent stories at the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre. This free workshop is for 11 to 16-year-olds and you can find out more here.

The Ideas Foundation
The Ideas Foundation is a creative community for 11 to 18-year-olds where anyone with ideas is welcome. They run one-day programmes, online media camps, and creative camps to give your child a taste of life in the world of design, advertising, and tech. They also have a student resources page to download free tools, templates and tips from some of the biggest brands in the creative industry. Find out more here.

Victoria & Albert Museum – Discovering Architecture
The V&A Museum presents their free activity backpacks for young people to explore the V&A through creative and fun activities. Their Discovering Architecture backpack for 11 to 12-year-olds will give your child the opportunity to learn about architectural drawings, colour, ‘connecting spaces’, light and materials, then construct a model and draw their own building. Find out more here.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.