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University students providing tuition to school pupils in innovative programme

University of Gloucestershire students are improving the literacy skills of school pupils in the local community, following the launch of a collaborative community tutoring programme.

The University has led a collaboration with other education providers to deliver free literacy tuition based on a proven training model, in a new national initiative that will benefit hundreds of pupils in schools across England.

Over nine weeks, four students from the University will provide tuition to 15 Year 8 pupils from Holmleigh Park High School in Tuffley, Gloucester, to develop their literacy skills and provide them with increased academic confidence.

Tutoring the pupils in small groups, the University students – two working towards a Master’s degree in Creative Writing, one second-year Law student and one first-year Psychology student – will gain invaluable practical skills and experience in a classroom environment to support their academic learning.

Once the nine-week tutoring programme is completed, the University will look for opportunities to expand the initiative to support other schools in Gloucestershire.

The University has collaborated on the programme as the lead partner in GROWS, a partnership of six universities and colleges in Gloucestershire funded by the Office for Students (OfS).

GROWS is working with the University of Exeter, Next Steps South West and the North East Uni Connect Programme to deliver the tutoring programme across England that they have all helped to develop – the Exeter Tutoring Model – as part of plans by the OfS to support the raising of attainment levels for disadvantaged young people.

Results from a pilot programme of the Exeter Training Model in Exeter, in which university students work with pupils one-to-one or in small groups, showed that Year 8 pupils who received tutoring had a 100 per cent increase in test scores when taking a pre- and post-tutoring assessment.

Gaining experience in a professional setting

Tom, one of the University students delivering tutoring at Holmleigh Park, said: “The programme is an excellent complement to the Creative Writing MA. I’m developing key skills that support me academically and will be crucial for post-university life, including communication, intuition, and creativity.

“The experience is one that is highly rewarding and broadens the possible opportunities available to me when I’ve completed my studies.”

Amy, another University student delivering tutoring at Holmleigh Park, said: “From day one, I witnessed the transformative and empowering impact of the programme, as students gained not only essential writing skills but a new-found confidence that will undoubtedly shape their futures.

“The GROWS tutoring programme provides an invaluable practical insight into teaching: a perspective that is hard to attain. Tutoring these young minds has reinforced my passion as an aspiring teacher and, in turn, become a reciprocal learning experience.”

Vanessa Hull, Widening Participation Officer at GROWS, said: “We’re proud to be involved in such a collaborative and impactful university-led initiative that evidence has shown will make a difference to children who need extra support within our local community.

“We’re delighted to be working closely with one of our key partner schools, Holmleigh Park High School, to provide support to Year 8 pupils who will benefit from tutoring in small groups from our students.

“This new programme is a fantastic opportunity for all our students to gain meaningful experience in a professional setting while encouraging and boosting academic attainment for the young people they are supporting.”

University of Gloucestershire also offers a wide range of placement opportunities in schools to our students on its teacher training programmes to prepare them for a career in education.

Main image: Four University of Gloucestershire students who are providing tuition within the local community