Pupils supporting each other to bridge learning gap

Over the summer holidays, 40 6th form (Year 12/13) pupils from St Paul’s School and St Paul’s Girls’ School volunteered their time to support pupils from local state schools in the West London Partnership. Together they provided over 150 hours of maths mentoring using innovative technology.

The mentors used both google meets and EasyA, an app developed by two EdTech entrepreneurs, Phil and Dom Kwok, who are alumni of St Paul’s School (both having left in the last seven years). Specifically tailored for the programme, the app allowed mentors to help students on-demand, right when they had their questions.

In total, nearly 8,000 minutes of mentoring were completed and all involved hoped that the programme would be extended to cover additional subjects in the future. St Paul’s School continues to work closely with EasyA this term to train Year 12 students across the partnership (an association of secondary schools from both the independent and state sectors in west and south west London) to work as mentors for younger students, initially in West London but ultimately across the country.

Stuart Block, Director of Partnerships and Public Service at St Paul’s School, said: ‘We look forward to building on their work over the course of this term, integrating it into our wider partnership programme, and hopefully helping many thousands of pupils, both in the West London Partnership and around the rest of the country, catch up lost ground due to Covid-19.’

The founders of the programme are delighted with the take up. ‘Our unique app connects students with mentors in minutes, all via their smartphone, so they can get 1:1 help by simply taking a photo of their question. Our goal is to ensure students always have someone to help them, even when they’re not in the classroom.’ Phil Kwok, Founder, EasyA

The pupils involved in the project agreed with over 92% of the mentees finding it very helpful and recommending it others.

‘They helped me at the moment I got stuck, which was really helpful when school was closed!’’ – Pupil mentee, age 15, Christ’s School Richmond.

“It was great to be able to help students who have obviously been set back hard in their studies due to the impact of school closure. I really enjoyed it too” Emmanuel, pupil mentor, age 17, St Paul’s School.

‘Thank you for all the support and help you have given to my daughter. All the mentors have made so much effort to make her understand difficult questions. I just wish this would extend throughout the year.’ – Parent, Christ’s School Richmond.

‘Thank you very much for offering (my child) and everyone else who is taking part in this project, a chance to learn and share knowledge. As a parent, I am very grateful.’ – Parent, St Paul’s Girls’ School.

The programme also received positive feedback from the schools involved including Christ’s School (Richmond), Fulham Boys School and Hammersmith Academy.

‘COVID-19 has created obvious gaps, particularly with some of our disadvantaged socially and economically pupils. Using technology and collaboration with other schools, such as in the West London Partnership, is going to be vital to help fill that gap. We saw a significant impact on pupils over the summer and are delighted to be working on this partnership with St Paul’s and EasyA to help scale up the programme over the course of the academic year.’

Alun Ebenezer – Headteacher at Fulham Boys School (FBS)

The West London Partnership is an association of secondary schools from both the independent and state sectors in west and south west London. Its aim is to create a genuine partnership built on sustainable, collaborative projects, social inclusivity and diversity, and the sharing of resources and expertise, in order to address educational needs and to enrich learning for everyone. The partnership consists of St Paul’s School, St Paul’s Girls’ School, Latymer Upper School, Putney High School (GDST), Wimbledon High School (GDST), Hammersmith Academy, Fulham Boys School, Christ’s School Richmond and West London Free School.