Friends of GT Scholars – Can you volunteer as a mentor with the NEW Future Leaders Programme?

Friends of GT Scholars – Can you volunteer as a mentor with the NEW Future Leaders Programme?

Friends of GT Scholars

Happy Friday! I hope your week has been great so far? I guess this weekend might be quite an exciting one for you if you’ve been following the Rugby World Cup! I’m not a huge sports fan but seeing that it’s England vs South Africa in the final tomorrow, I might tune into my patriotic side, load up on snacks and be part of the action this time around! But before we get ready for this weekend I’d like to share this week’s newsletter with you.

 

Could you help a young person at risk of exclusion?
The Future Leaders programme is our new programme sponsored by the Mayor of London and will start in January and run until July 2020. This programme will focus on 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.

Develop your skills through volunteer mentoring!
Volunteer mentoring can be mutually beneficial for both the mentor and mentee on a personal and a professional level. One of our recent blogs lists some of the many useful skills you can develop and apply to your career or personal life by volunteering as a mentor with one of our programmes, whilst making a tangible and effective difference in the lives of young people. You can follow this link to the blog.

Volunteer Skills Survey
We’d like to offer you volunteer opportunities that are more aligned with your skills and interests and give you the opportunity to develop and build on these skills. Our Skills-based volunteering opportunity can empower you to become a change-maker, build on your resume and also give you the opportunity to expand your network. If you’d like to become a skills-based volunteer please complete this volunteer skills survey to tell us more about what you’d like to do or drop me an email and we can set up a call to discuss the possibilities. 

Have a good one!

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 make a significant difference in young people’s lives.

 

Friends of GT Scholars – More volunteer opportunities you can get involved with!

Friends of GT Scholars – More volunteer opportunities you can get involved with!

Friends of GT Scholars

Wow! What a week! I hope you also had a great week and that you’re looking forward to the weekend? It’s been a really busy one here at GT Scholars with three back to back coding events we hosted at Google Academy. I’d like to give a huge thank you to everyone who helped to bring these coding workshops to life! But before the weekend officially starts, I’d like to share this week’s newsletter with you.

A #GirlMeetsCode Programme!
Yes, that’s right! The feedback from this year’s and last year’s #GirlMeetsCode workshop was really positive and we’re planning to run a 9 month GirlMeetsCode programme for next year! This programme will allow more girls to develop their coding skills and learn more about the opportunities available to them in this exciting field. If you would like to get involved as a volunteer and support with this programme or you would like to introduce us to a contact in your network, that could support us, then please get in touch! Feel free to send me a quick email if you can help!

Volunteers needed for our annual Dragon’s Den Challenge!
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! We’re looking for volunteers that can help by sitting on the Dragon’s Den judging panel. The event will take place on Saturday 23rd November at Goldsmiths University in New Cross from 10am – 4pm. Please let me know if you’d like to join the panel for this year’s challenge! 

A series of webinars to support our volunteers!
I’m really excited to tell you more about a series of webinars we’ll be running, to support all volunteers. The first one will be in November, aimed at volunteer English tutors and will focus on the English curriculum and teaching techniques. The webinar will take place online and is open to registered English tutors and any new volunteers interested in becoming an English tutor. Please keep an eye on our weekly newsletter for more updates. If you’re interested in attending this workshop or you have a specific idea on a workshop that you’d like us to run, please let me know

Have a terrific weekend!

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 make a significant difference in young people’s lives.

 

Friends of GT Scholars – Thanks for your help!!!

Friends of GT Scholars – Thanks for your help!!!

Friends of GT Scholars

TGIF! Can you believe it’s October already – Which really just means it’s nearly Christmas!!! It’s definitely going to be a busy month for us, with our next intake of scholars being matched, followed by our two upcoming skill-building events later this month. This week’s newsletter is all about sharing some good news and thanking everyone for their support over the last few weeks. The first shout out goes to all the tutors and mentors who helped us at the Parent Information Session last week Saturday! Your help is much appreciated!

A huge thank you to our volunteers!
Thank you to the volunteers who signed up to become ambassadors. I’m really excited about the role the ambassador network will play! Would you like to join our network of ambassadors? As an ambassador you’ll be helping us plan our volunteer socials and fundraising events, expand our network and represent GT Scholars at internal and external events. Volunteer ambassadors meet online 4-6 times a year. You can click here for more information about this volunteer role and reply to this mail if you’re interested in becoming an ambassador.

Are you available for volunteer mentoring or tutoring this term?
Thanks to everyone that confirmed their availability to volunteer as a tutor or mentor this term! We’ll be confirming matches in the next couple of days, so please keep an eye on your inbox. The official start date for our last intake of scholars is 14th October and there’s still a bit of time left to confirm your availability. If you’re still thinking of tutoring or mentoring, we have OVER 30 young people that we would love to match so please let me know if you’re available. 

Volunteer mentors needed for the *NEW Future Leaders Programme!*
The Future Leaders programme is a new programme we’ll be running next year for ambitious young boys in London between the ages of 12-15. This programme is an invitation only programme for young boys that have been identified as having high aspirations but also struggling with some challenging issues in their personal lives. The programme will start in January 2020 and run until July 2020. I’ll be sharing more information about the programme and how you can get involved over the next few weeks, but please feel free to contact me in the meantime if you’d like to find out more about how you can get involved in mentoring and supporting this group.

Have a fantastic weekend!

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 make a significant difference in young people’s lives.

 

Friends of GT Scholars – Can you be a speaker at our information session?

Friends of GT Scholars – Can you be a speaker at our information session?

Friends of GT Scholars

Happy Friday! I hope you’ve had an awesome start to the day so far? Over here we’ve been really excited about the large number of parents who’ve been registering their interest to join the programme this term and I’m looking forward to matching everyone with their tutor or mentor and get things rolling. But for now, I’d like to remind you of some volunteer opportunities and share our really cool Thank You Wall with you!

Would you like to share your experience as a tutor or mentor?
We’ll be hosting two parent information sessions on Saturday 28th September. The first session will take place at Kensington Library, W8 7RXR from 10:30am – 12:30pm and the second session will be at Canada Water Theatre, SE16 7AR from 2:30pm – 4:30pm. We still need a few volunteers to join our panel and speak about their volunteer experience. Please let me know if you’d like to join the panel.

We’re looking for volunteers to join our network of ambassadors!
As an ambassador, you’ll help us with planning our volunteer socials and fundraising events. You’ll also be helping us to expand our network and represent GT Scholars at internal and external events. Volunteer ambassadors meet online 4-6 times a year. You can click here for more information about this exciting volunteer opportunity and reply to this mail if you’re interested in becoming an ambassador.

Have you seen our Thank You Wall?
Knowing that the work you’ve done has really made a positive impact in some way is probably one of the best feelings one can have! Our volunteers are amazing and the time and dedication they put in whether it is for tutoring, mentoring or at our enrichment events really has a great impact on the young people they work with. We were so impressed with all the great feedback we’ve received that we just had to find a way to share it with you. We thought that a Thank You Wall would be a great way to do that!

Have a great weekend!

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 make a significant difference in young people’s lives.

 

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.

 

How The Combination Of Private Tutoring and Mentoring Can Help Your Child

How The Combination Of Private Tutoring and Mentoring Can Help Your Child

What's new?

Young people can have a lot on their plate when it comes to setting up their future. They need to ensure that they meet their academic goals while also preparing for their future and career path.

That’s why both private tutoring and mentoring is important for your child. This combination of private tutoring and mentoring is a multi-strategy approach that can help them to be successful in their present and in their future. Private tutoring can help them with reaching their academic goals and improving their attainment, while mentoring can help them with their personal development and reaching their career aspirations.

Let’s go into more detail about the specific benefits of each activity and then the holistic benefit of the combined approach.

Private tutoring
Private tutoring refers to one-to-one tutoring with a tutor who is an expert in a specific subject field. These tutors are usually undergraduates or graduates in their field of expertise and they can help your child to understand difficult topics in the subject field. They can also offer valuable advice when it comes to tackling school work, assignments, tests and exams in the specific subject and in other subjects. This can help your child to improve their grades and overall attainment.

Private tutoring sessions are set up in a more regulated format to ensure that all the necessary topics are sufficiently covered and that your child is confident with each new topic they learn at school. Each session is planned in advance by the tutor in collaboration with the student and the parent, with specific goals set in place for each session and for the tutoring relationship overall.

At the end of each session and at the end of the tutoring relationship, the tutor should assess the student to ensure that they understand each topic that was covered and to monitor the student’s progress.

Together with being an expert in their subject field, the private tutor needs to have the necessary skills to be a good tutor. These skills include interpersonal skills such as being a good listener so that they can determine what topics the student struggles. Another important skill is being able to teach – the tutor needs to effectively communicate their subject knowledge to their student so that they can understand it well and they need to make sure that they monitor the student’s progress so that they know that the student is comfortable with one topic before moving onto the next. 

A good tutor should also be creative and flexible in their teaching methods. Private tutoring needs to go beyond the usual lessons received at school by tailoring the sessions for the individual student. Each student learns differently, so it is important that the tutor takes this into account. Creativity also allows the tutor to offer creative solutions to the student so that the can understand how to solve complex problems and also tackle their test and exam questions independently.

Mentoring
Mentoring refers to one-to-one discussion with a mentor who is usually a professional or expert in their career field. The mentoring sessions aim to guide your child with a variety of issues. This can be issues they face at school, at home or beyond and the mentor will offer them advice and solutions to tackle these issues.

The advice will also help them to develop personal development skills such as interpersonal and time management skills and to develop solid strategies to reach their career goals. This can include advice on finding the best career path, colleges, universities, and alternative options.

In contrast to tutoring sessions, mentoring sessions are not as structured. Most mentoring sessions are open discussions facilitated by the mentor where the student is made to feel comfortable to voice their concerns and issues. There is still a sense of structure to ensure that the mentoring relationship has a goal to progress towards, but the most valuable part of mentoring is that the student feels heard and attended to. 

Progress is less tangible compared to tutoring as there are no grades and scores that can be improved. However, the mentor can still assess the student’s progress to ensure that they remember the strategies and tools that were covered during the sessions.

A good mentor needs to have valuable experience and knowledge that they can use to provide trustworthy and reliable advice. This can be experience related to their career but it can also extend to life experience and any challenges that the mentor was able to overcome to reach their own goals. They need to be open to share their skills, knowledge and even past mistakes if need be to show their student how they can approach their problems.

A good mentor also needs to be emotionally intelligent so that they can set up a mentoring relationship that suits the personality and needs of their student. They need to be good listeners so that they are able to determine what the student needs. Sometimes this will mean waiting and just listening to the student, instead of trying to offer advice.

They also need to have a positive attitude and have a positive outlook on life. They need to be encouraging and ensure that the student feels emboldened and motivated to reach their personal development and career goals. The mentor will usually be a sort of role model to the student, so it’s also important that they understand and be responsible with the influence they have on their student and that they lead by example.

Benefits of the combined approach
The specific benefits of private tutoring and mentoring listed above can interact with one another to create even more benefits when they are done during the same time period. The benefits and skills of each are not limited to one or the other, but they actually can go hand in hand.

For example, personal development skills such as time management and leadership that is covered during mentoring can be used to help your child reach their academic goals at school. Similarly, the structure of tutoring can teach your child valuable personal development skills such as independent learning and coming up with creative solutions to a range of different problems. 

GT Scholars offers various programmes that combine the private tutoring and one-on-one mentoring to help your child reach their academic and career aspirations. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses for young people aged 11-18.

Friends of GT Scholars – Can you help us reach more volunteers?

Friends of GT Scholars – Can you help us reach more volunteers?

What's new?

Friday is here! It’s definitely one of my favourite days of the week, especially if it is a sunny one like today. The weather forecast for the weekend also looks very promising so I hope you’ve got something fun planned! But before the weekend officially starts, take a minute or two to read this week’s newsletter!

Volunteer English and Maths Tutors needed!
We’re looking to recruit more volunteer Maths and English tutors to be matched with our new intake of scholars. We provide all the training needed, the tutoring is all done online and you’ll need to be able to commit to 1 hour a week for 12 weeks! If you know of a friend or colleague that would make a great tutor, please forward this email to them or refer them to our contact page

Can you volunteer next term as a mentor?
Mentors can help build their mentees’ confidence to pursue their aspirations, especially when it comes to young people who need to make decisions about their future, shedding some much-needed light on subject choices, university and different career opportunities. You’ll need to be available for 2hrs a month for at least 6 months. Please get in touch if you’d like to apply or you’d like to know more!

What will the future of education look like?
In today’s fast-paced world, the concept of education is ever-changing and needs to adapt to the way every new generation thinks. New innovative methods are needed to help young people learn effectively. One of our recent blogs talks about what education might look like in the future and how we can help young people prepare for it. Click here to read the full blog.

Have a great weekend!

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 make a significant difference in young people’s lives.

Friends of GT Scholars – An interview with one of our scholars!

Friends of GT Scholars – An interview with one of our scholars!

What's new? Young people

And Friday rolls over once again! I hope you’re having a good day so far? The last couple of weeks we had a lot of fun interviewing volunteers, parents and scholars and in this week’s newsletter, I’d like to share a scholar spotlight with you. Also, I’d like to share more details about our Ambassador’s network we’re launching.

Spotlight on one of our young scholars – Ladan
I recently had the chance to speak to one of our scholars who was on the Bright Ambitions programme throughout the last academic year. Ladan is a  bright young lady with a great future ahead of her. Her goal this term was to move up to higher-level Maths set which she was able to achieve with the support of her volunteer tutor and mentor.  Read her full interview by following this link.

We’re launching an Ambassador’s network for our volunteers!
We’re looking for volunteers to become part of a network of ambassadors who are committed to helping us increase our reach through fundraising and representing GT Scholars at various internal and external events, forming new relationships and expanding our network of support. This role would suit someone who is naturally enterprising and would like to help raise the profile of GT Scholars. Click here for more information and to understand more about this volunteer opportunity.

Do you have a friend who would like to volunteer with us?
We’re getting closer to the start of a new academic year! Next term, we’re hoping to work with even more young people and we can only do this with your support! Over the next few weeks, we’re hoping to recruit more volunteers – just like you! If you know of someone who will make a great volunteer tutor or mentor, please forward this email to them and ask them to fill in this short form. We’ll then get in touch with them to guide them through the application process and have them ready to volunteer when the new term starts.

Have an awesome weekend!

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 make a significant difference in young people’s lives.

 

What Education Should Look Like In The 21st Century

What Education Should Look Like In The 21st Century

What's new?

Education is a constantly changing system that needs to adjust to the way current generations think while also embracing new information and new technologies. Gone are the days of text-heavy textbooks and outdated subjects, education is already moving forward to embrace and develop new methods to help young people learn effectively.

With this being said, there are still many ways that the education system can still improve and innovate. Here is what education should look like in the 21st century.

Embracing Edtech
Technology has taken over every aspect of our daily lives, which has made young people more reliant on technology. This means that if education embraced technology, it would make young people more susceptible to learning.

There are many innovative ways that education and technology have combined to produce powerful edtech tools and learning methods. Edtech is able to stimulate and improve learning in the following ways:

  • Visualisation
    It’s easier to understand abstract concepts or topics when it’s visualised. Tech tools like apps, interactive diagrams, and 3D visuals make it easier for young people to grasp and memorise new topics. Colours and patterns also stimulate the brain and help young people to think creatively and critically.
  • Interactivity
    Using interactive tools allows young people to take charge of their learning and be more energised and motivated to learn. Using mobile games and apps makes learning fun, but still challenging. Other interactive tools can give students individual challenges, guide and support the learner when needed and allow learning by doing which promotes active learning.
  • Analytics
    Grading exams, papers, and presentations can take a lot of time and there’s always a risk of subjectivity due to human nature. Using technology allows automation to make grading and evaluation simple and fair. Analytical tools also help the learner to follow and reflect on their own learning progress through self-evaluation and peer-evaluation.
  • Portability
    Technology makes learning on the go far easier. The vast worldwide web offers thousands of online tools, resources and information that can be accessed on various mobile devices. This makes it easier for young people to complete homework and assignments, learn new skills, and keep track of their learning. Virtual classrooms and labs also offer remote learning possibilities and for young people to attend classes and complete tasks from the comfort of their own home.
  • Collaboration
    Online, cloud-based and social apps and tools offer various ways for young people to take part in creative and collaborative activities that can help them with assignments and projects. Online collaboration is also useful for teachers and parents to communicate with one another to effectively monitor a student’s learning and academic progress.
  • Accessibility
    Online apps and tools make learning easier for young people with learning difficulties or special needs. For example, young people with visual impairments can access information through audiobooks and podcasts or young people with special educational needs can be taught through the use of interactive and visual tools. 

Focusing on Careers
Choosing a career path is a very important step for pupils and school leavers. This will greatly impact the choices they make and their future, making this decision a very important one. Education needs to include a greater focus on helping young people choose the career path that is right for them and their goals. Many young people today end up changing career paths down the line, which can set them back on their course to achieve their goals. 

In a survey conducted by the London Business School, it was determined that 47% of the 1,000 individuals surveyed wanted to change their careers, with younger people aged 18-24 and 24-34 most likely to want a career change. According to this survey, one of the main reasons for them wanting a career change was job satisfaction. 

One of the best ways to counteract this is to help young people to ensure they find a career that they are passionate about through career guidance in schools, career counselling and strength testing. This can also be combined with building soft skills that will help them in the workplace, such as leadership, teamwork, presentation skills, interpersonal skills and digital skills. In addition, programmes that help young people to get into the university or career field of their choice should also be included in school so that everyone has access to these valuable resources.

Personal Development and Mindfulness
There has been a greater focus on mental health and wellbeing of young people in recent times. This is due to the greater awareness of mental health issues that can affect young people and due to improved scientific research in human behaviour and psychology. 

The effects of mental health issues can greatly hinder a young person’s progress in school and also in their personal development. Education should include a greater focus on holistic wellbeing to help young people counteract mental health issues and deal with negativity. This can include peer counselling, behaviour management and strategies to deal with cyberbullying. Moreover, young people can be taught how to deal with stress, social anxiety and other issues that may affect them in some way. There should also be a more significant integration of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in schools to ensure that these services and easily accessible to all young people.

To conclude, there needs to be a sustainable plan set in place across all stages of education, from early childhood to schools, to universities. This plan should include supporting young people with the challenges they face in their current stage while also preparing them for future stages. In addition, education should not be something that is only taken care of by schools – other stakeholders, including parents, organisations and companies, should also be more responsible for the education of young people to ensure that they feel supported every step of the way. 

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.

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.