5 Things You Need To Consider Before Signing Up For Private Tutoring

5 Things You Need To Consider Before Signing Up For Private Tutoring

What's new?

A study commissioned by the Global Industry Analysts Incorporation (GIA) detailed how the global private tutoring market is projected to surpass $102.8 billion in a few years time. According to the GIA, the private tutoring market has experienced exponential growth in recent years, which has been driven by the failure of standard education systems to cater to the unique needs of students. This is in conjunction with the desire by parents to provide the best possible education for their children in an increasingly competitive global economy. 

Globally, Asia is at the forefront of the private tutoring boom with at least 90% of the market share. Private tutors in these countries have become top earners with some South Korean private tutors supposedly earning £3.3million per annum, which is nearly as much as an average NBA player. 

In the UK, the private tuition sector is now worth an estimated £2billion with many parents and carers paying for children as young as four to receive additional tuition in a variety of subjects. Parents and carers are realising that a bit of extra help could be instrumental in helping their child to reach their academic and career aspirations. 

With this boom in private tutoring, we are also seeing this industry change and develop. In the past, tutoring was geared towards helping children who were falling behind in particular subjects, but now the industry has evolved and expanded to help any pupil through difficult courses and to also give them an edge over their peers in terms of applications to selective schools and colleges. With this being said, the growth of the private tutoring industry calls to the forefront some important issues to consider, which you should also take into account before signing up your child to a private tutoring programme.

Private tutoring has embraced technology
Private tutoring is not limited to in-person long and drawn out lessons anymore. Technology has now made it possible for new and innovative private tutoring methods to develop such as online one-to-one tutoring. This makes it easier for pupils to access a skilled tutor while also being in the comfort of their own home or tailored learning environment. Online tools such as video chat platforms and instant messaging services work hand-in-hand with edtech tools such as online whiteboards and animations to create a fully-fledged virtual learning experience. Online tutoring makes private tutoring more accessible, easier to set up and easier to maintain for both the parent and the tutor. 

Private tutoring can narrow the gap in attainment
Pupils from wealthier homes are able to attend exclusive private schools that offer them a wealth of resources and opportunities to better their learning. Unfortunately, most pupils from state schools are not able to access these resources due to the limited budget given to state schools. This has created a large gap in attainment between young people from low-income homes and their wealthier peers, which has far-reaching consequences on their aspirations and career paths. Private tutoring is able to narrow this gap in attainment as it is can give young people from state schools the chance to access more learning resources and opportunities to improve and maintain their grades. Many private tutoring programmes have been quite expensive, which has limited their use to young people from wealthier homes, however, the increase in the private tutoring industry has made it more competitive. This competition means that there are now more affordable quality private tutoring programmes that can make private tutoring accessible to all.

Private tutoring is largely unregulated
One downside to the private tutoring industry is that it still largely unregulated compared to the education system. The exponential growth of this market can attract tutors who are just in it for the money, which is not something you want in a tutor. However, this can be avoided if parents make sure to carefully check the credentials and experience of the private tutor. This can also be made easier through private tutoring organisations that only enlist the best tutors and conduct rigorous background, reference and safeguarding checks as well as interviews and skill assessments. These organisations also make their track record publicly available, so it is important that parents look into the impact they make and any reviews and testimonials from past parents and pupils.

Private tutoring offers a tailored learning experience
It is important to note that private tutoring does not just offer the same learning experience that pupils receive at their school. Each pupil learns differently, whether they prefer learning that is visually stimulating or learning that is more interactive. Private tutoring is able to offer a learning experience that is individually tailored to these specific needs. Pupils need to make sure that they take full advantage of this by making their needs and learning objectives clear to their private tutor. Parents can also assist with this by sitting down with private tutors in the beginning and laying down specific goals their child wants to achieve and by keeping track of their child’s progress throughout the tutoring programme to ensure that these goals are being met.

Private tutoring goes hand-in-hand with other programmes
It’s important to note that private tutoring can only help your child with specific academic goals. They may also learn other important soft skills such as time management and independent learning, but there’s many other skills and knowledge they will need to meet their career aspirations. This is why it is important to enrol your child in other after-school and extracurricular programmes to ensure that your child has a balanced learning experience. This can in the form of mentoring or coaching, skill-building, or various other programmes. These programmes work hand-in-hand with private tutoring, providing your child with a multi-strategy approach to reaching their aspirations and personal development goals.

GT Scholars offers a private tutoring programme that aims to help your child reach their academic aspirations. This programme is affordable, efficient and effective, offering your child a way to accelerate their learning. We also offer mentoring, enrichment and skill-building programmes that work hand-in-hand with private tutoring to give your child all the necessary skills, strategies and knowledge that they will need to achieve their academic, personal development and career goals. All of our tutors, mentors and workshop facilitators undergo rigorous assessments and background checks to ensure that we provide the best learning experience for your child. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

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.

5 Tips To Help You Prepare For Your First Tutoring Session

5 Tips To Help You Prepare For Your First Tutoring Session

What's new?

So you’ve signed up for one-to-one tutoring on one of our programmes? But what are the next steps to help you prepare for your first tutoring session and what do you need to think about before the first session?

The most important thing to remember is that the first tutoring session is the best chance for you to get to know your tutor and set up your tutoring process. This can be instrumental in making your time on our tutoring programme successful for you.  If you come prepared to this first session, it will be easier for your tutor to help you reach your goals and help you to improve your grades. 

Another thing to remember is that there is no assessment or test to study for. Our tutors are more interested in helping you improve your grades and overall attainment – there is no harsh judgement if you are not doing as well as you expected in your subject. 

With that being said, there are a few things that you can do to prepare for your first tutoring session.

Think about your goals
Firstly you should think about your academic goals. These can be short term or long term goals that you want to achieve at school and beyond. You should ask yourself questions such as: What GCSE results are you aiming for? What subjects are you interested in for A-levels? Are you planning on going to university? Do you have a career path in mind? At the same time, you don’t need to worry too much if you don’t have the answers to all these questions just yet – that is perfectly normal. Part of the benefit of tutoring is helping you to clarify some of these questions and discover your strengths and skills that you are best at.

Think about your current challenges
Challenges are different to goals in that they are more specific things that you seek to overcome through the one-to-one tutoring programme. This can be challenges you may have with specific topics or subjects areas or challenges with the way you study or complete your work at school. It’s important to be honest with yourself and your tutor so that they can help you properly. Remember, they are not there to judge you, they are there to help you overcome any challenges you face and to help you improve your grades and attainment. It will also be good if you can expand on any reasons you think are behind these challenges you face. For example, if you are struggling with studying, one of the reasons could be time management. This will enable your tutor to give you more specific advice and tips to help you overcome your challenges.

Think about what you want to gain from the programme
Beyond understanding your goals and challenges, you should also understand what you want to gain overall from being a part of the tutoring programme. Do you want to learn more about yourself and your strengths? Or perhaps you just want help with tackling upcoming exams and assessments? It’s important to list these things so that your tutor can keep track of this so that by the end of the programme, you would have gained what you wanted. This also goes hand-in-hand with your priorities so that your tutor can understand you better and help you to benefit as much as possible from the programme.

Think about the practical things
To help you reach your goals and overcome your challenges during the tutoring programme, we need to make sure that the process is as efficient as possible. This will ensure that all your needs are met by the end of the programme and that you are ready to tackle your goals and challenges. To ensure efficiency, you should make sure that you list the practical things that will make tutoring easier for you. Some examples of practical things include preferences for sessions on weekday evenings or on weekends, preferences for visual learning or textual learning and even preferences for Skype or Google Hangouts. Remember, one-to-one tutoring is tailored for your individual needs, so make sure that you make it clear what works best for you so that your tutor is able to help you as effectively as possible.

Think about any questions you may have
Tutoring is aimed at helping you to achieve your academic goals, but you can also ask your tutor for guidance when it comes to meeting other goals such as personal development and career goals. For example, if you want to follow a certain career path, you need to know which subjects will you need to do in school and at college, how well you need to do to get into university for that career, or what are the alternative options if that path does not work out. So it would be best if you have some questions noted that you want to ask, as this will help your tutor help you with good and sound advice and guidance.

If you use these tips to prepare for your first session and you are willing and open to learning and growing, we are confident that you will see the results that you are looking for by the end of 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.

Spotlight on one of our young scholars – Ladan

Spotlight on one of our young scholars – Ladan

Growth mindset Private tuition Success stories What's new? Young people

Please tell us a bit about yourself
I’m fifteen and am in Year 10. I love subjects like history as I’ve always enjoyed learning about interesting events such as The Cold War since I was little. I also enjoy learning science, especially experiments.

What does being on the programme mean to you?
I see being on the programme as a really lucky opportunity to be able to develop myself as a whole, not just as a student but as someone with a more flexible mindset that can approach most tasks with an open mind.

How has GT Scholars helped you to improve yourself?
They’ve helped me think more about my future and how I can strive to improve what’s really important to me such as my academics or way of thinking. I’ve seen a great improvement in maths and I’ve moved up from foundation grade to higher grade and also reached my target grade. With mentoring, I’ve grown a lot and I’m more confident than before and my mentor has helped me to choose subjects that align with my interests.

What were your tutor and mentor like? How did this help?
My tutor Janet has helped me improve significantly in maths which honestly, is a subject that I’ve struggled with but now I enjoy the subject and am improving greatly. My mentor Sulina was really kind and I managed to learn about her career and more about the vast educational opportunities in London. For example, I used to be reluctant about IB because of all the stigma around it but as I learnt more about it I think I am more open to applying to IB next year.

Have your grades changed since being on the programme? Did you improve in any of the subjects at school?
My grades have really improved in Maths, classwork comes more easily to me now, so my teacher often gives me more challenging tasks and it’s lead to me achieving higher grades in a subject I was once not doing so well in.

What was the best thing that your tutor taught you?
My tutor helped me learn more effective time management skills. She helped me put into place more concrete methods in my exams, like the mark a minute technique that really helped me, especially since I practised it during our sessions and in homework.

How will you apply what you have learnt during the programme to your future?
My dislike for maths has honestly gone down and I genuinely enjoy the subject sometimes, so I think the likelihood that I may choose economics as an A-Level has increased.

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.

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

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

Volunteer interviews Volunteers What's new?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Can Education Address The Social Mobility Dilemma?

How Can Education Address The Social Mobility Dilemma?

What's new?

According to the Social Mobility Commission’s State of The Nation Report 2018/19, social mobility in the UK has remained stagnant over the past four years, despite government interventions. This means that young people from low-income homes are less likely to access high-income careers and break the cycle of poverty.

Those from better-off backgrounds are almost 80% more likely to be in a professional job than their working-class peers. Due to this gap in access to professional jobs, people from working-class backgrounds earn 24% less a year. In addition, the report found that even when those from working-class backgrounds are successful in entering professional occupations, they earn on average 17% less than their more privileged colleagues.

These facts can be quite disheartening to young people and people who are working towards improving social mobility. However, it is important that we understand these issues so that we can develop strategies that are effective and sustainable. It may be a complicated issue, but we can start working on it if we make at least two significant changes – improving education and increasing the number of high-income jobs.

Education is key
It comes as no surprise that education has a profound effect on social mobility. The widening gap in attainment between young people from low-income backgrounds and their wealthier peers has far-reaching consequences. 

In fact, a 2019 report from the Education Policy Institute has found that the gap in GCSE attainment between disadvantaged pupils and non-disadvantaged pupils has stopped closing, which strongly correlates with current social mobility figures. This means that by the time they leave secondary school, disadvantaged pupils are now over 18.1 months behind non-disadvantaged pupils.

This huge gap means that young people from low-income backgrounds are not able to access university or other higher education routes, which means that they are shut out from accessing professional and high-income careers, which makes it increasingly difficult to break out of the cycle of poverty.

So how can we close this gap? Well, firstly we can help young people from low-income homes to access tutoring and mentoring programmes. Good tutors and mentors provide an invaluable resource to help young people to understand difficult topics, improve attainment, increase personal development skills, and develop strategies to reach career aspirations and goals. At the moment, young people from low-income homes simply cannot afford a good tutor or mentor. After school tutoring and mentoring programmes in state schools should be funded by the government so that these young people are provided with the same support as their peers from private schools.

State school funding should be increased to improve the opportunities and resources that they can provide to their pupils. This includes more funding for extracurricular activities and more funding for support staff. The University of Bath found that young people who participate in extracurricular activities are able to gain confidence and build up their social skills which is much sought after by employers. They are also more likely to aspire to go on to higher or further education. Unfortunately, the Social Mobility Commission reported huge disparities in children’s participation rates across a wide range of extra-curricular activities depending on their social background, with young people from wealthier families being much more likely to take part in every type of activity especially music and sport. This can be changed if state schools are able to provide access to a wide range of high-quality extracurricular activities.

With more funding, state schools will also be able to employ more support staff. This can help to reduce teacher workload which will increase the contact time between teachers and their pupils. An increase in contact time will give young people more time to understand difficult topics and increase the amount of individual attention given to them. Schools will also be able to employ full-time staff to support their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing needs. The Social Mobility Commission reported that young people from more disadvantaged areas are more likely to suffer from lower levels of wellbeing, which has far-reaching effects on their academic and personal development.

After secondary school, young people from low-income homes also need more support in accessing higher education routes such as colleges and universities. The Government has worked on increasing apprenticeships and will also introduce T-levels and other further education routes. However, according to the report from the Education Policy Institute, this has led to an over-representation of disadvantaged students in further education, which actually damages the government’s ambition of rectifying imbalances between further and higher education. Access to colleges and universities needs to be improved for young people from low-income homes so that they are able to attain the qualifications to allow them to access high-income and professional careers. 

This can be done through the introduction of a student premium to help college and university students from low-income homes, according to an article by London Metropolitan University. University access should also be further improved by increasing access to universities with higher prestige so that young people from low-income homes are able to compete fairly with their wealthier peers when looking for a job.

Increasing the number of high-income jobs
It’s all well and good to improve education and narrow the gap in attainment, but what will happen after school and university when even more young people need to compete for a job in a high-income career field. 

The good news is that over the last few decades, there has been a growth in the proportion of professional jobs and a corresponding decline in the proportion of working-class jobs, with the Social Mobility Commission reporting that nearly half of all current jobs are professional, while less than a third are working class. However, despite this growth, those from high-income backgrounds continue to get most of these top jobs, squeezing out those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

This means that there is still a fierce amount of competition for a high-income career, and if more young people are able to access university and higher education, then the competition will become even fiercer. So, it is imperative that the number of high-income and professional jobs is increased to meet the greater demand so that young people from low-income homes are able to access high-paying careers. It’s also important to increase the number of high-income jobs to allow their wealthier peers to still be able to access high-paying careers. If they are shut out of high-income jobs, it will cause downward mobility which further worsens the issue of social mobility in future generations.

The Government needs to invest in creating more professional jobs by increasing investment in growing industries such as digital and technology, increasing investment in small businesses and entrepreneurship, and attracting more investment by continually developing and strengthening the workforce.

By improving education and increasing the number of high-income jobs, more young people from low-income homes will be able to access high-paying careers, which will stimulate social mobility and break the cycle of poverty for future generations.  The issue may be complex, but it can be solved if the Government, the private sector, and non-profit organisations are able to work together and do their part.

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 – Learn new skills this Summer!

In the Know – Learn new skills this Summer!

In The Know What's new?

The Summer holidays are a perfect opportunity for young people to learn new skills. This will not only expand their knowledge and keep their minds active, but it will also expose them to new career fields and interests that could help them reach their aspirations. Here are a few upcoming skill-building opportunities that your child could be interested in.

Architecture Summer School: Making Happy Places
Making Happy Places is a five-day free summer school where young people will learn about architecture and the environment and gain practical skills in drawing, model making and portfolio making. Young people between the ages of 15-18 will learn how the built environment and architecture has a direct impact on their lives, while also learning more about the opportunities in this career field. The summer school will take place from Monday 12th August to Friday 16th August. Find out more here

Pen to Print: Creative Writing Workshop
Pen to Print and Barking Library is running a free creative writing workshop for young people between the ages of 11-14. Children’s author, Sara Grant, will help young people to create stories and inspire and encourage them to develop their creative writing skills. The workshop is taking place on Wednesday 14th August from 2pm. Find out more here

CoderDojo @ Brandon Library
CoderDojo is running a free coding workshop for young people between the ages of 11-17 at Brandon Library in Southwark. This workshop will help young people to learn to code in a fun and creative environment, and they are not required to have any previous coding experience. The workshop will be taking place on Saturday 3rd August from 12pm. 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.

It Will Take A Lot More Than Tutoring For You To Get Your Child Into Oxbridge

It Will Take A Lot More Than Tutoring For You To Get Your Child Into Oxbridge

What's new?

Oxford and Cambridge universities, collectively referred to as Oxbridge, are two of the UK’s most prestigious universities. Being so prestigious also means that they are two of the most sought-after universities in the UK as well as globally. This makes getting a place at Oxbridge a very competitive process.

Due to this high competition, the acceptance rates at these universities will be quite low compared to other universities. According to the Oxford and Cambridge university websites, Oxford currently has an acceptance rate of only 17% and Cambridge has a slightly higher acceptance rate of 21%. With roughly 3 applicants per place, Oxbridge will only consider applicants with the highest academic ability and potential. 

One of the ways that young people can show that they have the highest academic ability is by making use of a private tutor to help them excel in their A-Levels. However, that is not where it should end. In fact, it is just the beginning. 

Where to begin?
Before you start preparing your child for Oxbridge it’s important that you discuss it with your child. You need to make sure that they understand what it takes to get into Oxbridge so that they can be prepared to work hard. You should also definitely get an understanding of their career aspirations and other passions. Having a clear understanding of this early on will be highly beneficial in shaping their goals and it will also help them to choose the right subjects in school to achieve their goals. In addition, if you are able to gauge your child’s abilities early on, it will be easier for you to see what they need to focus on and what they need help with. GT Scholars can offer help with this through our workshops and enrichment days which help teens with choosing a career and also finding out more about university. This is often the first step a parent should consider. It also helps the child to realise what subjects they need to achieve their goals.

Tutoring vs. Mentoring
Private tutoring focuses mainly on reinforcing what your child has learned at school and helping them to improve their understanding and keep track of their academic goals. But, have you considered getting them a mentor as well? A mentor is more of a guide and advisor that can help your child with their personal development, career goals and various other topics that go beyond their school work. They can also help them to develop valuable skills like time management and interpersonal skills that they can then apply to their daily life. The GT Scholars mentoring programme has found that instilling these concepts in your child from an early age helps to build their confidence, increase self-belief and help them to feel more independent.

Examination preparation
Young people are under immense pressure during exam periods, especially if they are thinking about getting into Oxbridge. It’s important that they prepare themselves well in advance so that they can avoid unnecessary stress and perform better. Beyond going over important topics with their tutor, they should also learn how to effectively tackle exams. Over the years, we at GT Scholars have seen how different children cope with exams, and it does not only depend on their academic abilities. They will need to be able to manage their time effectively, be able to handle and counteract stress, and be able to understand their exam questions and answer intelligently. We run an annual Study Skills and Exam Preparation workshop that they should definitely attend. The sooner you help your child to prepare for exams properly, the greater the possibility of them succeeding in their exams throughout their school and university life. 

Applications
Unfortunately, a tutor is not going to have the time to help your child prepare for the application process when considering Oxbridge. The application process can be quite complicated, with various documents and assessments that need to be completed. This can be further complicated depending on what career path your child has chosen. To make it easier, it’s important for young people to start their application process well in advance. They can even take a look at the application process when they first start thinking about studying at Oxbridge to get a better understanding of what is required. This will give them enough time to develop their personal statement, extracurricular activities and other ways to make their application stand out. Our mentoring programme and enrichment days can provide them with all the help and guidance that they need to complete their applications. 

Encouragement and support
Young people will feel more confident in accomplishing their goals if their parents believe in their ability to do so. As parents, you need to support your child in their decisions and help reinforce their skills and abilities. This will allow them to feel encouraged and they will be able to move forward into university life knowing that they will be more than fine. Reinforcing their skills will help them to be independent once they’re away from home. It will help them to easily navigate time management, interact with others and understand their work.   

These are just some of the action points you can take to help your child reach their aim of studying at Oxbridge. It’s not just about tutoring, it’s about building all of their skills to proceed into university life, helping them to be well-rounded individuals, and ensuring 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.

Great Ideas For One-to-One Tutoring Sessions

Great Ideas For One-to-One Tutoring Sessions

Volunteers What's new?

Tutoring should be a fulfilling experience for your scholar and for yourself. It should not be something that will be dreaded by your scholar and it should be something that is different from how your scholar learns at school.

With that being said, there can sometimes be a tug-of-war between trying to keep the tutoring sessions serious to complete the task at hand and making the sessions enjoyable. Creating a balance between the two is key, and once you are able to achieve that, you will find yourself looking forward to the tutoring sessions with your scholar and they will run more smoothly and effectively. 

One thing to keep in mind is to maintain your structure in terms of the content you intend to teach and the goals you have for those sessions, but be flexible in how you deliver the content and also how you interact with your scholar. Here are a few ideas you can use to keep your tutoring sessions energetic and effective.

Use icebreakers
Your first one-to-one tutoring session can be nerve-wracking for both you and your scholar. One of the ways to combat this feeling is to create or implement session icebreakers. This is a good way to get both of you comfortable and a good way to get to know a bit more about each other beyond the formalities of tutor and scholar. These icebreakers can simply be a 5-minute discussion about general topics outside of the planned content. These discussions can also help you to find the best ways to make the sessions most effective for your scholar.

Personalise your sessions
It is one thing to tutor someone, and another to tutor them effectively and produce the best results. It is important to find out more about your scholar and what they are looking to get out of your sessions and also what they want to personally achieve at school and beyond. Once you can establish a general outline for the first few sessions, you can personalise the sessions in a way which works well for both you and your scholar. 

Be supportive
Providing your scholar with support during each of your one-to-one sessions can greatly improve the way in which you interact with one another and it helps to boost their confidence. You need to be encouraging and to show them that the tutoring sessions are a safe space for them to be open about the areas or topics they struggle in. This will allow them to feel more comfortable and confident in how they approach the content you are tutoring, as well as establishing a respectful and comfortable relationship with you as their tutor. 

Encourage independent thinking
Tutoring is also important for encouraging your scholar to think independently. The idea behind this is to foster a growth mindset within your scholar so that they are able to tackle tasks independently and build their self-confidence. One way to do this is to help them to stand on their own feet and to think beyond the assistance you provide. During your tutoring sessions, you can create a short quiz or other mentally stimulating techniques that will help your scholar to build confidence in the subject and to not be dependent on your teachings alone. This will shift their perspective on how they approach topics, and it will promote their ability to think critically.

Engage your scholar
Another way to make your one-to-one tutoring sessions more productive and fun for both you and your scholar is to keep them engaged. During the session, you can get your scholar to actively participate by asking questions as the session progresses. If you only wait to ask questions at the end, you might lose their attention during the session. Keeping them engaged also creates room for them to ask any questions they may have regarding a particular topic and it allows them to better understand the topics being presented. 

Switch gears
Rather than sticking to the conventional methods of tutoring, you should use different methods to relay the information to your scholar. There are tons of learning tools available for you to use such as online videos, presentations, and other content. Introducing different learning tools makes the sessions less monotonous and more engaging, and it creates different ways for your scholar to learn and retain information. You can also get your scholar to participate by getting them to create short presentations to go over the content and pose any questions they may have for you at the end of their presentation. Furthermore, you can also incorporate the use of funny gifs or memes to get a particular point across. Just as long as it does not take away from the effectiveness of your tuition and their ability to learn, you should always explore new ways to teach your scholar.

Get their feedback
It takes two to tango, and feedback should not only be for you to give but also for you to receive from your scholar. Allow them to express and share their thoughts through feedback sessions, and be open to any constructive criticism. This feedback can then be used to learn how best to work with and for each other through your sessions.

For many scholars, learning can seem like such a task. However, your tutoring sessions should shed a different light on learning and stimulate their desire to learn. So don’t be afraid to try something new in your sessions and give you and your scholar something to always look forward 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 make a significant difference in young people’s lives.