Just over two weeks ago Students4Students suspended all tutoring. Although this clearly has a significant impact on our mission, it was one of the easier decisions we have made; the safety of our volunteers and pupils we work with is paramount. Irrespective of our decision, just a few days later schools were told to close. With all our partner schools closed and everyone being required to social distance at home our normal model of one-to-one tuition in schools is clearly not possible.
Unfortunately, the closure of schools has not only disrupted our tutoring sessions but has also significantly increased the need for our services. Whilst school closures will impact everyone it is no secret that this impact will not be felt equally. Although private tutoring companies are booming, and providing a needed service, for many the reality will be several months without any formal education. The data from studies on the impact of the 6-week summer break suggests that pupils from lower income families return to school in September with a lower reading level than before they left. With an enforced lockdown that could last many months, the likelihood is that many pupils will not just miss out on further learning but also need additional help to catch up.
We are therefore facing an unprecedented need for the support we provide. To meet this demand we are responding in two ways; in the short run we are exploring how we can deliver online tuition. This is more challenging than it appears since many of the pupils we work with do not have regular access to a computer or a good space to work at home. In the long run we are already preparing to scale the traditional support we offer in readiness for when schools go back; our national executive are pulling out all the stops to ensure that in September we have a record number of tutors ready to deliver tuition.
The trustees and I are confident that our volunteers can rise to the challenge. We have excellent relationships with the schools, pupils, and parents we work with, and have a direct way of reaching out to those that need it most. If you want to support us continue our mission to ensure young pupils across the UK can still receive important learning support during this time you can donate here. These donations will enable us to recruit more tutors, provide more resources and deliver more sessions.
Chair of Trustees