LSE tutoring programme helps tackle attainment gap in local schools

LSE students have been providing tutoring support to pupils in local schools to help tackle the widening achievement gap in secondary education.

From the start of March 2021, twenty LSE undergraduate students have been holding weekly online maths classes with students in years 10 and 11 at Barking Abbey and Harris Academy St John’s Wood in London.

The small group sessions will last for 12 weeks and are primarily aimed at students in receipt of the Pupil Premium who are, on average, over one grade below their expected attainment level.

The LSE students providing the tuition were selected and trained by partner charity Team Up, which works with schools to identify students at risk of not achieving their full academic potential. The charity helps underachieving disadvantaged pupils double their expected progress and improve their future prospects by matching them with inspirational tutors.

With the pandemic seeing an increase in the attainment gap, the tutoring programme – overseen by the Widening Participation team at LSE – aims to address this and support students who need help due to school closures and other disruptions to their education over the last year.

Commenting on the programme, tutor and LSE student Guari Duhan, 19, said: “Tutoring on this programme has been rewarding in many ways. The pupils I work with are keen to learn and remain positive despite the challenges the pandemic has imposed on their learning environments.

“Although I can now better appreciate the scale of uncertainty present in the everyday lives of young people, I am also impressed by their adaptability and resilience. I feel this programme supports them not only in their academic development, but also in the confidence with which they enter such formative years of their lives.”

LSE student Anna Manning, 21, added: “Being a tutor on the Team Up programme has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  I find being able to help boost a student’s confidence in their learning extremely rewarding, particularly during a pandemic, where many students, particularly those in less privileged areas, have difficulty in accessing the extra support they need.  The students are always very keen to learn which makes the programme even more enjoyable for both myself and them.”

LSE has been running tutoring programmes in schools for many years but re-evaluated its offering at the start of the pandemic to move provision online and engage with an external provider who had experience in online delivery and specialised in tackling educational disadvantage.

Commenting on the programme, Professor Lucinda Platt from the Department of Social Policy said: “With increasing evidence that the educational impacts of the pandemic have been particularly serious for pupils from more disadvantaged backgrounds, programmes such as this have a really important role to play. The widening of the attainment gap between more and less advantaged students represents a huge waste of potential and will have consequences for young people’s outcomes throughout the rest of their education and into their adult lives.

“It is great to see LSE students, who know all about the opportunities that educational attainment can bring, helping to develop young people to learn and to increase confidence in their skills.”

Anthony Maloney, Head of sixth form at Barking Abbey School added: “The tutoring project with LSE has offered our students much needed stability and security in these uncertain and difficult times to strengthen their mathematical concept comprehension and develop areas of weakness. The personalised nature of this platform has provided our Year 11s with the reassurance and resilience to persist with their mathematical studies with renewed vigour and confidence. This post lockdown forum has provided just the remedy they needed!”

This programme is part of a wider commitment to widening participation run by LSE as noted in the LSE Access and Participation Plan. For more information about LSE’s widening participation activities, please visit: www.lse.ac.uk/wideningparticipation

For more information about Team Up, please visit: https://teamup.org.uk/about-us

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