Today, Nesta launches ‘Click Connect Learn – volunteers as digital tutors’, a £400,000 fund to increase the number of digital volunteers in schools across England. 

Volunteer tutors already support thousands of secondary school children with their education, but this fund aims to enhance their impact even more to support disadvantaged pupils in areas where there is not a ready supply of volunteers, such as in rural and coastal schools.

The scheme will support up to four organisations to trial an online volunteer tutoring service for GCSE and A Level pupils. The models supported will be encouraged to:

  • Improve educational attainment of GCSE and/or A Level (Key Stage 4 and 5) pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Increase the availability of skilled volunteer tutors in geographical areas without significant university populations or corporate workforces
  • Increase career and educational aspirations for GCSE and A level (Key Stage 4 and 5) pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Increase the completion rate of volunteer-led tutoring courses.

Each model, which must use technology that every school could employ, will be trialed in a classroom setting with the findings published on the Nesta website in 2018. Organisations and individuals can apply for ‘Click Connect Learn’ here.

The launch of this project follows on from the Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund, a programme of work from Nesta and The Office for Civil Society that mobilised volunteers to work alongside public services. The fund supported seven school based volunteering models including TLG, that offers volunteer-led mentoring in schools and Code Club, a network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs.

Vicki Sellick, Director in Nesta’s Innovation Lab, comments: “Many students and their parents turn to a tutor to offer extra support and improve grades at GCSE or A level. But mostly it’s the wealthier and those who live in urban areas that can tap into the talents of volunteers. Making better use of technology could mean that all school age children can access quality tutoring support, improving their chance of achieving good grades and improving their career prospects.”

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About Nesta: Nesta is the UK's innovation foundation. We help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. We do this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills. We are an independent charity and our work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery. Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833 / @nesta_uk

About the Centre for Social Action: Since 2013 the Cabinet Office has invested more than £36 million through the Centre for Social Action to identify and accelerate the development and spread of high impact social action initiatives that complement public services and improve social outcomes. By 2020 Cabinet Office will invest £15m in a further phase of the Centre.

For more information contact Laura Scruby in Nesta’s press office on 020 7438 2697/2543,  [email protected]