Partnership supports more than 200 pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds

Friday 25 September 2020

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A partnership between City Year UK and Coventry University has supported more than 200 Coventry school pupils identified as being most at risk of not fulfilling their potential.

Coventry University partnered with City Year UK in 2019 to expand the charity’s UK programme to Coventry. Twenty young people, including Coventry University students, spent a year working full-time in schools as Volunteer Mentors.

City Year focus on supporting pupils who are at most risk of not fulfilling their potential at school and typically exhibit poor attendance, disruptive behaviour, and low curriculum performance in English and maths.

During the period prior to the lockdown, they delivered one-to-one coaching, in-class tutoring and a range of after-school clubs designed to re-engage pupils with education, show them what they can achieve and help them get back on track to meet their full potential.

Now at the end of the first year, 200 at-risk pupils have received direct support, benefitting from improvements in their academic attitudes, performance and behaviours. Mentors also worked more broadly with four schools in their entirety – involving more than 4,000 pupils – through activities to motivate and inspire.

With Covid-19 shutting down schools across the UK this year, pupils were in need more than ever of encouragement, interaction, and guidance in uncertain times. Volunteer mentors rose to the challenge to deliver support virtually.

George Coulton, a Sport and Exercise Psychology student at Coventry University who volunteered as a mentor on the programme, has shared his experience on the university’s website.

The pupils I work with now feel like they have someone they can rely on. They can feel confident in asking for support both in lessons and in a mentoring environment that makes them feel valued and listened to.

George Coulton, Sport and Exercise Psychology student

I am delighted that our students have gone into the community and helped hundreds of young learners get back on track to realising their full potential. This project demonstrates our commitment to use the university’s strengths and expertise to really make a difference locally. Supporting education is one of our key Corporate Social Responsibility themes, and we are glad to be working in partnership with City Year to provide opportunities for young people to be part of a learning community through this mentorship programme, and help make Coventry a better place.

Ian Dunn, Coventry University Provost

We are proud to partner with Coventry University in developing the next generation of young active leaders. The university is well known for its inclusive approach and strong community engagement. Together we will support students to develop the essential leadership skills so valued by employers, and also provide opportunities for them to put those skills into action serving students in Coventry secondary schools. As we recover from the pandemic, the University is making a vital contribution to two of the biggest social challenges: helping schools to address learning loss and at the same time preparing their own students for the challenging labour market.

Kevin Munday, Chief Executive of City Year UK

As pupils have returned to schools this September, so have volunteer mentors, to help pupils in Coventry adapt to the new normal.