Give every child a chance to succeed at school

Give every child a chance to succeed at school

Children from lower-income families are less likely to achieve academically than their better-off peers. Action Tutoring is a charity that works to level the playing field.

Action Tutoring is tackling educational inequality by offering free maths and English tutoring to primary and secondary pupils facing disadvantage, in partnership with state schools.

Founder and CEO, Susannah Hardyman explains how they are levelling the playing field and why everyone should collectively support this effort.


What is tutoring and why is it important?

Tutoring is a tangible intervention that has been proven to increase the academic performance of young people, outside of normal school lessons. Small group tutoring adds an average of five months of academic progress to a child’s learning.

Private tutoring is expensive and has long been a preserve of the wealthy but we believe a child’s socioeconomic background should not limit their access to quality education. Action Tutoring is expanding tutoring access by matching volunteers with children from low-income families who cannot afford private tutoring. We train volunteers from all backgrounds to provide targeted academic support in maths and English, for at least one hour a week to better the outcomes of pupils at no cost to them.

“I enjoy that we get to learn more about maths, so that when there is an upcoming exam, I will be able to ace it!!” Year 7 pupil (maths)


How has the pandemic affected pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds?

Though we are two years on from the Covid-19 pandemic, it left in its wake a number of challenges; persistent school absence, mental health challenges for many young people, and it widened the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers.

Before the pandemic, disadvantaged young people, on average, were 18 months behind their better-off peers when they took their GCSEs. Last year, the attainment gap between disadvantaged primary and secondary school pupils and their better-off peers widened to its largest level in 10 years. A GCSE pass in English and maths is crucial – without it, young people miss out on training or work opportunities later in life.


What support does Action Tutoring provide?

We train and encourage our volunteers to develop positive and supportive relationships with pupils and how to spot and report any safeguarding issues. We identify the specific gaps in the pupil’s learning and tailor the lessons to improve those weaknesses. There are dedicated Programme Coordinators in our partner schools who are on hand to support volunteer tutors and increase attendance and engagement rates.

We track pupils’ progress rates from start to end, and know that our tutoring programmes beat national averages. In 2021-22, our primary pupils attained 8 percentage points above the national average for disadvantaged pupils. 72% of secondary pupils we support achieved a grade 4 or above in their maths GCSE, compared to only 53% of disadvantaged pupils nationally.

“I like the moments when children realise that they can understand maths. Something they didn’t understand before, they then ‘get it’ and maths is a little less alien.”   Michael, Action Tutoring volunteer


What do you need to help more young people?

This academic year, we’ve supported over 5,700 pupils across England with our team of volunteers who are aged between 18- 82. The demand for targeted tutoring for disadvantaged young people is growing and we need more volunteers to help us meet it.

We ask our volunteers to commit one hour a week to tutor maths or English. It’s a fun and rewarding way to spend your time and no previous teaching or tutoring experience is required. We provide the training and all the resources; our volunteers don’t need to plan lessons or be curriculum experts. We support you every step of the way.


How can people interested in volunteering sign up?

Visit to learn more and fill out our application form or call us on 020 3872 5894 if you have any questions.


Action Tutoring