New University of Exeter tutoring scheme to boost children’s literacy

child reading

University of Exeter undergraduates will be trained to help Year 8 pupils

A new tutoring scheme for hundreds of children in the South West will help to boost literacy in the region.

University of Exeter undergraduates will be trained to help Year 8 pupils in local schools with their reading and writing.

Researchers led by Lee Elliot Major, Professor of Social Mobility, will look at different models of tutoring and develop a discrete tutoring course in foundational literacy for year 8 pupils. They will then train up to 100 undergraduates to deliver small-group tutoring to 300 pupils in local area.

Professor Elliot Major has been advocating the use of undergraduates as tutors to help poorer pupils catch-up at school in the wake of learning losses following the Covid pandemic. This pilot project will enable University of Exeter experts to develop and publish a set of recommendations and guidance for universities and policy makers indicating potential models through which universities across the country can deliver student tutoring.

Professor Elliot Major said: “We believe a university-led tutoring service could be an education game-changer: enabling undergraduates to develop life skills as tutors and boosting the school achievement of poorer pupils across the country. This has real promise to develop into a nation-wide programme helping to level up educational opportunities.”

The project is funded with £24,885 by the UPP Foundation, the registered charity founded by student accommodation and infrastructure business UPP, which has invested over £160,000 in grant funding for this and seven other innovative pilot projects with charities and universities.

The eight pilot projects were chosen on the basis of their overall quality, synergy with the UPP Foundation’s goals, commitment to partnership, innovative approach and potential for impact. The outcomes of the pilots will be shared across higher education so that best practice can be embedded across the sector.

Professor Lisa Roberts, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter, said: “We are delighted to be working with the UPP Foundation on this exciting project – this will provide our undergraduates with opportunities to make a positive impact on our communities, and help deliver on the university’s aims to contribute to social justice.”

Richard Brabner, Director of the UPP Foundation said: “We received an unprecedented number of outstanding applications for our most recent funding round. We chose these brilliant projects as they either help universities address fundamental issues we are facing in society or provide an innovative approach to supporting disadvantaged students succeed during their studies.

“We expect that these projects will ignite great practice across the higher education sector and look forward to sharing their outcomes in the months and years ahead”