Raising attainment and aspirations
26 September 2013
Cardiff University's flagship Student Tutor Project has teamed up with Student Volunteering Cardiff (SVC) to increase the provision they offer to school pupils and communities in some of the most deprived areas of Cardiff.
Together Cardiff University and SVC will be supporting 12 local community based homework clubs this year, many of which have pupils that are from families who have little or no history of going to university. They include Adamsdown Homework Club, Tremorfa Homework Club, Riverside Homework Club, ACE Homework Club, Somali Education Foundation Homework Club, Willows High School, Michaelston Community College and Glyn Derw High School. New areas, Llanrumney, Ely and Pentrebane, are also being added to the list.
42 Student Tutors, many of whom are the first in their family to attend university, have been recruited and trained to provide tutoring and mentoring support to the local homework clubs. The Student Tutors commit at least 3 hours per week to work in in the homework clubs, primarily tutoring in Maths and English to help improve the pupils' grades. They also work to increase the awareness of Higher Education opportunities and promote aspirations of university education.
Sharifo, a parent of children that attend the Adamsdown Homework Club, said: "I've got two daughters that attend the Homework Club. They both attend Adamsdown Primary School and they have noticed the benefits. They say 'I'd like to go to Cardiff University' or 'I can't wait to get to Cardiff University'. They can't wait to grow up."
Student Tutor Project Co-ordinator Liena Abu Laban said: "The new partnership with SVC is a very positive move forward. As a result we have been able to increase provision from seven homework clubs to 12 this year to meet the increasing demand in the community – which is exactly what Keith Towler, the Children's Commissioner for Wales asked for in the Child Poverty Strategy 2012 Onwards."
Not only does the project address attainment and aspiration issues regarding Higher Education, but it also offers immense benefits to the Student Tutors. The work as a Student Tutor increases the undergraduates' employability skills by giving them work experience, training and a wealth of knowledge and insight into working with young people - particularly useful for those who are considering teaching as a career.
SVC Manager Adrienne Earls said: "SVC is delighted to be working in partnership with the Widening Access Department on the 'Student Tutor Project'. This will offer some fantastic new volunteering opportunities for students to gain experience of working in a diverse variety of homework clubs across the local community, and teach the students invaluable skills for their personal development and future employment. It is also a great opportunity to strengthen our links and highlight the many benefits of working together in partnership."
Last year the project was praised by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Children's Commissioner for Wales Keith Towler. It is hoped that the new partnership with SVC and the subsequent growth will make it another successful year.