29th January 2021 — Two Sixth Form students have been making fantastic use of their spare time by volunteering as 'study buddies' to younger children needing help with their home learning during lockdown.
Allie Collins and Tati Lumb from Putney High School GDST are the driving force behind the UK arm of Beyond the Book, a non-profit organisation which began life in the USA in March 2020 as the brainchild of friends in the San Francisco bay area and is now helping children around the UK.
"At the beginning of Lockdown, me, Tati and some friends from America started Beyond the Book, with the aim of helping children struggling with online school during Covid," explained Allie.
The programme offers free 1-1 tutoring for ages 4-13 for a variety of subjects and allows children to carry on with their learning, and supports them during the pandemic.
“After our GCSEs were cancelled we had so much free time. It was easy to spend a few hours a week on Zoom with a younger pupil, helping them with their learning. I gained so much from it,” Allie said.
“It’s nice to have a chat with a younger person and for them to have a mentor – something that doesn’t feel like school but gives them that extra bit of learning and support with a subject they might be struggling with.”
“Some children don’t get the privileges of the online schooling that we are lucky to have. Beyond the Book helps children who are less fortunate. It has already grown massively in the San Francisco Bay area – it is now certified by the US government,” Tati added.
The idea is to focus on engaging and inspiring students to want to learn. They do not claim to provide a formal curriculum, but instead refer to their tutors as 'study buddies', helping pupils who are in greater need than themselves.
Allie and Tati are looking to expand the initiative in the UK and enquiries from student volunteers are already on the rise.