Levelling the playing field: How tutoring programmes empower young people facing disadvantage 

In a classroom at Blacon High School in Chester, Lillie listens attentively as her tutor reads the first practice activity in an English tutoring session. She asks questions for clarity on evaluating language and narrative throughout the session.  

Lillie is one of forty pupils in Years 10 and 11 in Blacon High receiving weekly tutoring support from Action Tutoring. The charity helps young people facing disadvantage to achieve academically, through the power of volunteer tutors.  

Action Tutoring has been working with Blacon High School since spring 2021, supporting its pupils with their English and maths studies and ensuring they leave secondary school with the grades needed to progress in life. 

Although Lillie’s favourite subject is graphics production, passing her English GCSE is essential to furthering her education. Lillie believes the personalised academic support from Action Tutoring is making a real difference for her.

Lillie said: “With the extra help, I feel more confident with my answers in class and when doing my homework. 

“The fact that the tutoring sessions are in small groups means I get to ask my tutor any questions I have, without feeling embarrassed about getting it wrong in front of a whole class.” 

Positive impact

Rachel Hudson has been the headteacher of Blacon High School for four years. After observing the consistent improvement in the performance of pupils receiving tutoring support, she said pupils have gone on to take more ownership of their learning, even beyond just the core subjects. 

Rachel said: “The tutoring sessions have helped pupils to achieve or exceed their target grades in maths and English. 

“The tutors have built strong relationships with our pupils, are flexible in their approach to tutoring, and have shown a genuine understanding of the challenges they face with learning. 

“Tutoring has had a positive impact on their confidence and performance across the board, enabling them to go into successful courses and pathways.” 

Change the trajectory

Since its establishment in 2012, Action Tutoring has supported over 26,000 primary and secondary school pupils across England, with the help of over 11,500 volunteer tutors. 

The charity is on track to support at least a further 6,000 pupils this academic year, through in-person and online tutoring delivery. 

The attainment gap alarmingly stands at its widest level in twelve years, which means more young people are leaving school without reaching expected standards. The odds are even worse for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Additional tutoring support can help to positively change the trajectory for thousands of pupils across the region by unlocking their potential and increasing their life chances. 

Lillie’s dream career is to be an airline cabin crew member in the future, and she thinks the consistent interactivity during her tutoring sessions is already steering her in the right direction by building her confidence level. 

Lillie said: “My tutoring sessions have made me feel less anxious about talking to people I’ve never met before. This will definitely help when I have to speak to hundreds of new people every day [in my career].”

If you are interested in volunteering with Action Tutoring or learning more about the impact tutoring can have on your school, get in touch:  



Telephone: 0300 102 0094 

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