“When I got an email from my student to say he’d got a 7 (A) in GCSE English and an 8 (A*) in English Literature, I had to contain myself from shouting with delight in the office” says 27-year-old Emma, who works in publishing. Emma has been a tutor with The Access Project for a year and worked with Jubair, a Year 11 pupil, to support him with his English studies.

“A friend of mine was already a volunteer and recommended it to me. I decided to sign up because, whilst I was really lucky with my own education, I know that others have more challenges to overcome. Everyone should have the chances I’ve had, and volunteering as a tutor means I can support someone else to get the best results they can.

After the training session, I was paired with Jubair. Our first meeting was a bit nerve-wracking and getting him to communicate with me was quite a challenge. This improved over time – when I asked him to write a poem of his own he was more than happy to tell me he didn’t enjoy the experience. Our tutorials soon felt like a normal part of my week and having something totally different from work to focus on for an hour was beneficial for me too. Every time I successfully explained something it felt like a real achievement.

It was enjoyable to think about and discuss English in an academic way again. Working out how to support a student effectively was an important learning-curve and finding different ways to explain ideas and concepts has definitely improved my ability to approach a problem from different angles.

But what I never anticipated was the sense of elation I would feel when Jubair got such good results. I couldn’t be more proud of him, and to know he thinks our tutorials helped gives me such a sense of satisfaction. I’d recommend volunteering as a tutor to anyone.”

Emma tutored Jubair who lives in an area where few young people go to university. He is a bright and hardworking student who wanted some extra support to fulfil his potential. He said that Emma’s tutorials had “a game changing effect on my grades”. Now studying for his A-levels Jubair is again aiming to beat the odds by getting the grades needed to secure a degree apprenticeship in finance.

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