After two years of retrenchment as we adapted to the topsy turvy world of school closures, online tuition and virtual freshers fayre’s for recruitment, we have taken the decision to expand! We are incredibly excited to take these next steps in our charity’s journey.
You can read below about where we’re going to focus our efforts, why we’ve taken this decision and what comes next.
We have a clear vision, of a society where all children irrespective of their background are able to achieve their full potential, and we have always known that to achieve this we will need to open branches across the country.
In 2020 as we faced significant uncertainty, not only with our finances, but also in how we were going to support pupils due to school closures we took the decision to delay our expansion plans. We believe the uncertainty has passed and that we have become a more resilient organisation. We now offer online tuition to pupils, via schools, which extends the number of sessions we can deliver and we run online training sessions for tutors enabling us to train more volunteers. This coupled with our return to in classroom tutoring, face-to-face recruitment/training of tutors and an improved fundraising outlook has put us in a strong position for growth.
We see expansion as a logical next step in working towards achieving our vision.
We are focusing our expansion efforts on the North East of England and will be opening a new branch of Students4Students in York in time for the new academic year starting in September 2023. We have plans to add an additional two branches the following year and will be selecting those branch locations over the summer period.
We have chosen to focus on the North East for three reasons. Firstly the need is significant with the North East one of the most unequal regions in the UK; disadvantaged pupils in the region leave primary school approximately 9 months behind their peers. Moreover, a 2021 study showed that the Coronavirus pandemic led primary school pupils in the North East to fall further behind than in any other UK region.
With our branch in Durham, currently our largest, we already have a strong presence in the North East. This gives us a good understanding of the need in the region and allows us to use our resources more efficiently. Finally our research also highlighted that compared with other UK regions there are fewer similar charities already working with primary school pupils in the North East. This means that we will reach pupils who are less likely to receive support from other sources.
Our priority is to recruit our first branch committee members for York. Over the summer we will be working with these new volunteers, as part of our Committee Programme, to ensure we are ready for the start of term and Freshers Fayre (where we recruit the bulk of our tutor volunteers).
If you are interested in a committee role please email Lucy Bune our programme coordinator.