Team up, West London Tuition Programme

Teaming up to change lives

Sharla Duncan grew up in South London, among poverty, crime and social deprivation. People around her were more likely to go to prison than university.

Sharla was on track to leave school with no GCSEs. But then she met Pavan, a medical student who committed to tutoring her after school. She achieved top grades and went on to do a degree at King’s College London.

There, she started Team Up. The charity works with 11 to 16 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds, matching them with ‘role models’ who tutor them to do better in school and improve the life choices open to them. Team Up role models join a unique leadership programme and learn teaching and leadership skills which improve their job prospects. Team Up’s aim? To help create a society based on merit, not on family income.

  • 83% of young people surveyed said they felt more confident in the tutored subject because of Team Up.
  • 70% said that they enjoyed the programme (“…which for formerly disengaged pupils is a great success!” says Sharla)
  • Maths pupils improved by an average of 15%. English pupils improved by an average of 8%.

Building confidence

As part of our small grants programme, we awarded £9,500 to Team Up. The grant paid to train 50 university and sixth form students – who provided 15 hours of tuition to 150 secondary-school pupils.

The project, which was run in partnership with five secondary schools, focused on pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, considered at risk of becoming not in employment, education or training (NEET).

“I really enjoyed the Team Up project,” said Derrick, a Year 10 pupil. “The tutors were quite young, and they’d finished school recently, so they knew exactly what to teach. This helped me keep focused on my work. That was visible in my grades, because I was able to achieve the B that I was looking for.”

Another Year 10 pupil, Shirley, said: “I want to study either law or economics at university and Team Up has made me realise that it is possible to do so.” Che Applewhite trained as a Team Up tutor in 2016. “After tutoring with Team Up, I feel that I am better equipped to deal with the challenges that may come my way during the university application process,” said Che.

“In addition to academic achievement, our programme was able to influence a positive shift in participant attitude towards education and their abilities.”

Sharla Duncan, Founder, Trustee and Former Chief Executive Officer of Team Up

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