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.
Interview with scholar Ameer
Please tell me a little bit more about yourself, what do you do for fun?
My name is Ameer and I’m 13 years old. For fun, I like to play football, play games on my Xbox and go to the library as I really enjoy reading.
Do you know which career field you would like to go into one day?
I’m really interested in the computer science field as well as the legal field and I’m considering either studying to become a computer scientist or a lawyer.
You have been on the GT scholars programme for a few terms already, what did you enjoy the most during your time on the programme?
One of the things I enjoyed most on the programme was the Coding day that was hosted at Google Centre in London. I got to see the Google building and meet other young people who are also interested in and enjoy computing. I also made a few friends who I saw at other events.
What were your highlights during the programme?
Learning how to code has definitely been a highlight for me. I’m really interested in pursuing a career in computer science, so learning about coding was really something I enjoyed doing.
Which skill-building day did you enjoy the most?
The day I enjoyed the most was where we were taught how to create our own CV. The office we went to was impressive and the people we met were enthusiastic about what they do and they also enjoyed interacting with young people.
Why did you decide to join GT scholars?
Before I joined GT Scholars, I was really struggling with maths. I joined in order to get some help with that, and I was assigned a tutor to help me improve on my maths grades.
You have been matched with a tutor for a few terms, how did your Maths improve?
My maths grades have improved drastically. I can understand concepts and work through problems that I could not do before I got the help from the tutor. I also improved on my examination grade. I am very pleased about this and so is my Mum.
Did you feel more confident in your Maths?
Yes, I do feel more confident in my maths abilities. Maths feels more relevant now as it felt very random before.
Have you seen any other changes during your time on the Head Start programme? What impact has it had on you?
I can definitely see a change, and my Mum says she can too. I think I am less shy than I was before and even when I do feel shy, I still try and engage with other students and adults. I am much more confident now!
Did you improve on your other subjects as well during your time on the Headstart Programme?
Yes, I have improved all round. My English, History, Science, and Geography grades have increased by about 10 points and I have been finding it a lot easier for me to concentrate.
You were part of the team of young people who lead the activities at our last volunteer meetup, tell me a little bit more about that?
During this meetup, another young person and I had to deliver ice breaker questions to a group of adults who were thinking of becoming volunteers at GT Scholars. I had to stand up in front of them and speak, which was scary at first but I enjoyed it.
Were you nervous before the meetup or did you feel you had the confidence to do something like that? Was it the first time that you had to talk to a big group of people?
I was really nervous at first because I wasn’t expecting so many people to be there, but it was fun. My Mum was really proud of me as it was something I have never done before.
If you could pick one thing, what do you think was the best thing that your tutor has taught you?
My maths tutor, Toby, taught me that maths is not something to be scared of and that if I don’t worry about it, I can learn something that can also be fun.
What made you decide to enrol in an online tutoring programme instead of a face to face programme?
I am currently homeschooled and don’t have melatonin, so sleeping for me is very difficult. I am not really a morning person, so my Mum arranged for my classes to start a little later in the mornings. Online is better for me because of the time of the sessions, which work well and is convenient for me and my tutor.
Did you feel you were able to connect with your tutor even though he was online? Tell me more about your online sessions, what was it like?
I have been able to connect with all my tutors even though the sessions are online, I don’t find it difficult at all. It is easy to talk about the work and with the whiteboard, I can demonstrate what I want to say which helps us understand each other better.
What would you tell young people who would like to join the GT Scholars programme?
I would tell young people that it is a really good way to learn, they will be relaxed and be able to learn in the comfort of their home. There’s no travelling involved so you don’t waste any time and you can get started with your lesson immediately. When your lesson is finished, you can do what you like because you are already home which is really convenient.
Interview with parent Sharon Laidley
Was there anything specific about GT Scholars that made you decide to join us?
I was drawn to the programme because it is a student and parent focused organisation that offered busy parents and students quality online education at an affordable price.
From your point of view, what impact do you think the tutoring sessions have had on Ameer?
He is quite a friendly person but can be very shy and not one to initiate or contribute to a conversation unless prompted. The one to one sessions have helped him to gain confidence in communicating. Asking questions when he is unsure has helped him to become a better troubleshooter.
With the Covid-19 phase that we are in at the moment, I guess it has not impacted Ameer’s schooling because Ameer has been homeschooled. Has there been any change in your study routine? How are you and how are you coping with that?
There has not been any real change in the study routine. We’ve been homeschooling since January 2019, so we feel pretty organised with the help of Home Education groups and forums. Ameer is really enjoying it, although he is missing our lengthy visits to the park and museums. These are great environments to learn in.
Have you seen any changes in your normal routine with regards to education and online learning during this time or has it stayed normal?
It has pretty much stayed the same. Although, the learning duration has lengthened by about one and a half hours during weekdays.
Now that everyone is homeschooling with the current situation, how do you feel about that?
It’s an encouraging position for parents and students. It allows for both to understand they have more control and learning can be fun, relevant and personal.
As a parent how did you find interacting with the tutors?
Thankfully, the matching process made it super easy for Ameer and I to interact with great tutors, who love what they do and are willing to share their knowledge.
Do you feel that GT Scholars was supportive throughout the term?
As a parent, I always feel supported by GT Scholars. They are only a phone call or email away and always assists with prompt and helpful responses. They go above and beyond expectations. I feel as though I am liaising with an organisation that values young people and their family.
Would you recommend GT Scholars to other parents?
I would recommend GT Scholars and have done so to many other parents.
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
I love the ethos and ethics of the company and I am glad for the impact they are having on Ameer’s life; and if he’s happy, then I am happy!
Our scholars always tell us that their Volunteer Mentors have a huge impact on their progress. When you dedicate yourself to have a positive impact on someone else’s life, to help them grow and achieve their academic goals, it’s not only helpful to the mentee, but it will also be a rewarding experience for you as the mentor! Before embarking in your role as a mentor, have a look at these tips we’ve put together for volunteer mentors.
1. Contact the parents within 48hrs of receiving their details
The first thing that you’ll need to do is to contact your mentee’s parents within 48hrs of receiving their contact details, they’ll be expecting your call. During the first call, you’ll discuss the goals they have for your mentee, learn a bit more about them, and decide when your first tutoring session will take place.
2. Always have some form of face-to-face meeting
It would be great to have your first meeting in-person, but we do know that it’s not always possible if you and your mentee do not live close to one another. The most important thing to remember is to always have some form of face-to-face interaction. If it’s difficult for you to meet in person, then making use of video call applications such as Google Hangouts, Whatsapp video call, Skype, or FaceTime is a great alternative! Building a good relationship with your mentee and parents is important, and face-to-face meetings will allow you to build mutual trust, respect, and also ensure that your relationship starts well. All meetings must have a parent/carer present and meetings should be a safe space where challenges and difficult situations can be discussed openly. As a mentor, you would want to always be mindful of our mentoring values and try to be as flexible as possible when setting up the sessions.
3. Encourage your sessions to be mentee-led
Encourage your mentoring sessions to be mentee-led, so that you can understand what your mentee’s needs are. You won’t know the challenges your mentee faces, or the support he or she needs unless they open up and share their views and thoughts with you. Having a session where you let your mentee lead the conversation or even the entire session, you will be a sounding board and your mentee will be able to discover and understand their areas of improvement. This will also help them to be more self-aware and have a better understanding of how they can achieve their future goals.
4. Never arrange mentoring sessions directly with your mentee
Make sure to always set up all your mentoring sessions with the parents and not directly with your mentee. You could set up a 3-way WhatsApp group between you, the parent, and the mentee. This will be helpful so that everyone is up to date and aware of the dates & times of your planned sessions. If the parent insists on contacting their child directly, please notify us and we can talk to the parent about this.
5. Use the resources
We’ll provide you with mentoring worksheets to support you in deciding on topics you’d like to discuss with your mentee. You are welcome to expand on this to make it more focussed on your mentee’s interests and areas in which your mentee would like to learn & grow. You may want to take some time to discuss this with your mentee to decide on topics and themes for your sessions together. You can also make use of our learning directory for more ideas and tools to make your sessions engaging.
6. Read the Mentor Volunteer Handbook
Before you have your first session, take some time to read through the mentoring handbook. The handbook will give you a good idea of what to expect and guide you to have a good start. Here you will find information regarding how to provide session feedback, do’s and don’t, safeguarding, and also tips and ideas for your mentoring term.
7. Complete your mentor log
Take a few minutes to complete the mentor log after each session so that we can stay up to date on how things are going and how many sessions have taken place. This will also be helpful to you so that you can plan your next session, keep track of the progress that you have made, and key areas that you want to continue to focus on.
8. Attend at least one enrichment day
By attending an enrichment day you will have the opportunity to interact and connect with your mentee as well as other young people on the programme. Our Annual Careers Day workshop is the perfect way to get involved and help your mentee plan for the future. Attending an enrichment day would be a valuable and interactive experience that you will both be able to enjoy.
9. End of term
All end-of-term reports should be completed so that we can wrap up the end of term. A mentor-mentee relationship can have a life long effect on both the mentor and the mentee’s life and being a mentor can be rewarding and can help develop your career, as well as that of your mentee. Once your sessions are completed, make sure that you give your mentee closure, so that the mentee is aware that the relationship has now come to an end. If they are continuing on with the programme to next term, they will normally tell you this in advance. But please do not continue mentoring sessions into the new term. Once the term has ended, we will get in touch with you to share the details of the new term. Feel free to contact us if you ever have questions or concerns.
Friends of GT Scholars – Online volunteering opportunities and support!
Happy Friday! Hope you’re having a good day? We’ve been busy getting started with the new term. Right now, innovation and thinking out the box is a must and no one knows when life will return to normal! Over the past few weeks, we’ve been spending a lot of time brainstorming ideas on how we can pivot and still support young people at this crucial time in their lives. Made you curious? Keep an eye out for more information in the next couple of weeks. But for now, here’s this week’s newsletter.
Join our online meetups for volunteers!
We’re not sure when next we’ll all get to meet in person but thank goodness for Zoom! We’re planning to run monthly online meetups for all volunteers! Whether you are a new volunteer or you’ve volunteered with us for a few months or years, you’re more than welcome to join! During the meet-ups, we’ll run a short Q&A for new volunteers, we’ll also have some time for volunteers and members of our team to give advice and share their experiences. The first session is planned for mid-June and I’ll keep you posted with the details. If you’d like to co-host a session or be on our panel of speakers please get in touch!
Can you help us improve our mentoring worksheets!
We’re updating our mentoring worksheets, adding impactful coaching and mentoring questions to the sheets and providing mentees and volunteer mentors with more information, checklists and exercises to help with mentoring sessions. Thank you to everyone who confirmed their availability. We’ve scheduled an online meeting for Wednesday 20th May from 4pm-5pm. If you’d like to join us for the meeting or have mentored with us before and have an idea of topics that you think will make a great addition to our current worksheets, please let me know.
Check out the *NEW* Online Learning Directory!
If you’ve signed up to tutor with us this term or thinking about volunteering as an online tutor then you definitely need to visit the new GT Scholars learning director! This directory hosts more than 250 free learning websites for young people aged 4-18. You can easily narrow down your online resource search by filtering content by age and subject. There are lots of lesson types to choose from, including interactive stories, lessons, games, activities and revision videos. You can visit The Learning Directory by following this link.
How are you? I hope you’ve had a great week and that you’re enjoying the start of the bank holiday so far? During the week we searched the net for some more online workshops for parents and young people. Since online learning has now become inevitable for young people and it’s become an important factor in the education field, we’ve listed 3 amazing online opportunities for parents and young people!
Have you signed up to this free webinar for parents?
We’re inviting homeschooling expert Alberta Stevens to share with parents the best ways to design their own effective and impactful homeschooling journey. During the webinar, you’ll learn tips and tricks on how to manage your time effectively, how to make the most of your homeschooling journey and how best to support your child. The webinar will take place onTuesday 19th May from 7pm-8pm. Thank you to everyone who already registered their interest. If you’d like to join this webinar, please let us know!
Learn maths with Blutick’s free online Maths programme!
Blutick, an AI learning platform, offers a free, innovative, curriculum based maths learning programme for young people aged 11 to 16. Students get to watch short films featuring a maths teacher explaining a topic and working examples. Students then have different problems to solve with the assistance and guidance from the tutor. Students can even change the personality of the tutor and choose the difficulty level of the questions. To find out more, please click here.
iStore meets online workshops
Apple has released its iStore Meets sessions as online workshops, which means that young people now have the opportunity to learn from the best right from their very own comfy sofa. The workshops are free and hosted by industry leaders and experts. If you’re an Apple fan, go check out the different workshops including coding and photography workshops by following this link.
The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme that focuses on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. The programme includes tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.
Friends of GT Scholars – Thank you for your help this term!
Ahh….. Friday you wonderful thing! Even though most of us are working from home, the weekend still has that special feeling that it brings! If you’re looking for something different to do this weekend, go check out Social Distant.Co set up by Tony, a friend of GT Scholars. They’ve got lots of fun online events that will get you moving and activities to get you meeting new people and spending more time with friends and family! But first, let me share this week’s newsletter with you.
Thank you for your help this term!
It’s the end of the term and we’d like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteer tutors and mentors for their help this term! Many of our volunteers this term had to juggle sudden changes in work arrangements alongside volunteering but they still showed up for the young people and the feedback has been great! I’d also like to thank everyone who’s helped in other ways like writing a guest blog, featuring in a volunteer spotlight or getting involved with crowdsourcing group projects! I feel privileged to be part of such a talented network!
Can you volunteer as an online tutor or mentor next term?
I’d like to find out if you’d be available to volunteer as an online tutor or mentor next term? I know some volunteers already confirmed their availability- thanks guys! If you’re interested in joining us next term as an online tutor, you’ll need about 1-hr a week to schedule weekly sessions with your tutee. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a volunteer mentor, you’ll need to be free for 6 hours during the 12-week term. The new term will start late April/early May so please let me know if you’d like to get involved by sending a quick email.
Could you help with creating NEW mentoring worksheets?
We have an upcoming short term volunteer opportunity that you can get involved with. We’re looking for 3-4 volunteers to help us with creating new mentoring worksheets! It’s the perfect volunteer project for you if you’ve ever coached or mentored young people before or have some ideas on how to support them with some of the challenges they face. If you have about 4-5 hours to spare and can join our crowdsourcing project meeting next week Wednesday or Thursday, please get in touch.
Have a fantastic weekend!
I hope you’ve had a great week so far and you’re looking forward to the weekend? Did you know that this evening will be the rise of the first super moon of the year? It’s when the moon is at the closest point to earth in its orbit. For science enthusiasts, this is great news… for everyone else, they’re probably wondering why on earth this matters! Either way, the super moon is said to be a beautiful sight!
Could you volunteer at one of our upcoming events?
The first couple of workshops for the Inspiring Future Leaders programme will take place on Thursday the 20th and Friday the 21st of February at Google Academy from 10:30am to 4:00pm. We’re looking for event volunteers to help on any of these days. As an event volunteer, you’ll get to meet and interact with the young people and also work closely with the workshop facilitators. Please let me know if you’re able to help and I’ll fill you in on some more details about these workshops.
Would you like to help us reach more volunteers?
In today’s technology-driven world, you can instantly connect with colleagues, friends and family. This makes reaching out to volunteers and young people easy, connecting people who can help with young people who need help! It would be great if you could help us reach more volunteers by telling a friend or colleague about us. You can refer them to our contact page, or you can get in touch with us and we’ll send you some material that you can forward to them.
Equality in education is still worth fighting for!
Recent figures from the Department of Education showed that pupils from a low-income background are falling further behind their wealthier peers in GCSE Achievement. A recent news article by MSN News UK reported that the gap between disadvantaged and advantaged students has widened, with 27.5% of disadvantaged pupils that were entered for all of the EBacc last year, compared with 44.5% of all other students. In 2018 the gap was 26.4% versus 42.8%. Follow this link to our blog to find out why we still believe that equality in education and private tutoring is still a realistic and worthwhile pursuit.
Have a great weekend!
Happy Friday!… uh umm… or should I say Brexit day? I’m sure many of us are wondering what will be different now. Anyway focusing on other news, a section of Trump’s ‘’big beautiful border wall’’ between the US and Mexico blew over due to high winds yesterday. At this rate, I wonder if the rest of the ‘’beautiful, unbreakable, wall’’ will be gone with the wind soon? I guess it was all hammer and no nail with this one! Okay, enough chitter-chatter for now, let’s dive into this week’s newsletter!
Through the effort and hard work of volunteer tutors and mentors, our scholars are thriving in their academic and personal lives. We want people to know more about our volunteers, the difference they made and what makes them tick. We’re looking for volunteers to feature in our new volunteer spotlight series. The interview can be a telephone interview or video interview. If you’ve volunteered in the last 6 -12 months, then please get in touch with me. I’m looking forward to hearing from you and getting to know your story!
Volunteer and inspire boys to become leaders!
We still need a few more volunteer mentors for the Inspiring Future Leaders Programme. A huge thank you to everyone who confirmed there availability to volunteer with this amazing programme! This new leadership programme will be launched in February 2020 and will work with young boys between the ages of 12 to 14. These boys are at risk of permanent exclusion but have been identified as having great leadership skills, but not reaching their full potential. Mentors will need to commit to 1 hour a month for 6 months and also be available to support at 1 of the 10 enrichment or skill-building days. There will be a training day for all volunteer mentors to prepare them for the mentoring sessions. Please let me know if you’d like to get involved and I’ll get in touch.
Partnerships and corporate sponsorships
We’re always interested in forming new meaningful connections and partnerships with organisations that would like to help improve social mobility for young people. If you think that your company or network would be interested in finding out more about partnering with GT Scholars, then please get in touch with me and I’ll fill you in on the details on how your company or network can get involved in our programmes and events.
Have a great weekend!
We’re almost 3 weeks into the new year and I must say I’ve got a good feeling about his one! There is so much we can look forward to in 2020 like the Summer Olympics 2020, the opening of the 2006 Yahoo! virtual time capsule, a new mission to Mars! And did I mention some awesome volunteer opportunities coming up? Allow me to remind you of a few!
I hope you’ve had a great week so far? We’re almost 3 weeks into the new year and I must say I’ve got a good feeling about his one! There is so much we can look forward to in 2020 like the Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary, the new skyscraper at 22 Bishopsgate, which will also be home to a new foodie hub called The Market ( yum!), and off course the Brexit deal finally being closed (hopefully, Mr. Johnson did promise), and did I mention some awesome volunteer opportunities coming up? Allow me to remind you of a few…
Volunteer as a mentor with the Inspiring Future Leaders Programme!
This programme is all about helping young boys at risk of exclusion and is a fully-funded programme sponsored by the Mayor of London and the National Lottery Fund. We’re looking for volunteer mentors who’d be available to deliver 6 monthly face-to-face mentoring sessions and who’d be able to help out at some of the workshops that will run throughout February to July. The first workshop will be on Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd of February at Google. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to get involved with supporting this group. I’d love to hear from you!
New ways to support our volunteers
Thank you to all our volunteers who’ve confirmed their availability for this term. We’ve completed our pre-matches and will be in touch with you soon if we’ve not been already. We thought an online support group or webinar would be a great way to support volunteers who would like some tips and tricks on tutoring or mentoring or just some additional guidance before your first session. If you’re an experienced tutor or mentor who’d like to run a webinar on communication skills, teaching techniques or just a quick how-to session, please get in touch so we can discuss a collaboration.
Would you like to feature in our next Volunteer Spotlight?
Yes, it’s that time again! We’re working on the next season of our Volunteer Spotlight interview series. This interview series is a great way for us to celebrate our awesome volunteers and the amazing work they’re doing and share more about their talent, dedication and reason behind volunteering. If you’ve volunteered as a tutor, mentor or helped out at one or more of our events in the past year, we’d love to set up an interview with you. Just let us know what date and time in January or February will suit you best and we’ll get in touch with more details.
Have a fantastic weekend!
We’re back! I hope you’ve had a great festive season and you’re looking forward to the New Year as much as I am? There’s a lot of new things on the horizon which I hope you’ll be interested in getting involved with, like extra support for volunteers and our new Inspiring Future Leaders Programme starting next month! So grab a cup of coffee, take a quick break and enjoy the first official newsletter of 2020!
Can you tutor English?
Wow, we have such a demand for English tuition this term and that’s really awesome! We’ve been able to offer a couple of young people a place on the programme. Thanks to everyone who’s confirmed their availability so far. We still have 7 more scholars who need support in English and need your help. So if you’ll be able to volunteer as an English tutor for 1 hour a week from January to April please get in touch! This can make a great difference in a young person’s life!
We’re looking for mentors for the Inspiring Future Leaders Programme!
This new programme sponsored by the Mayor of London & National Lottery Fund will kick-off in February and run until July 2020. The focus will be on helping young boys in London at risk of exclusion, between the ages of 12-14. Young boys joining the programme have been identified as having high aspirations but also struggling with some challenging issues in their personal lives. We’re looking for volunteer mentors to deliver monthly face-to-face mentoring sessions in London. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like more information on mentoring and supporting this group.
Work experience opportunities!
During the last term, I’ve received quite a few enquiries from parents about work experience for young people. Work experience can help young people build their CV and develop skills and have a life-changing effect on them that can set them on course to a great start and future! We’re hoping to connect our GT Scholars alumni with work experience opportunities. Please let me know if you know of any work experience opportunities within your company or network and I’ll give you a call for a quick chat!
Have a great weekend!