It is a fact of living in a diverse city like London that it is home to both families of privilege and those of more modest means. As a company, we were keen to make sure that we do not ignore those children for whom tutoring was not so easily affordable but who would nonetheless derive much benefit from it. As such, in 2013 we started looking into a number of ways in which we could support the academic ambitions of students who would not otherwise have the means to afford our services.
At a similar time, we were contacted by the head of Maths at Westminster Cathedral Choir School, Charles Cassidy, who had begun to develop a pro bono tutoring scheme that would introduce committed tutors to students from local state schools. We co-developed a plan to offer free one to one Maths tutoring to a group of children from a Westminster state school near to WCCS, targeting pupils who were either struggling with Maths or who showed particular promise and needed to be pushed that little bit further.
We decided to start off by finding a few of our strongest Maths tutors and use them for a pilot scheme to test how the set up might work. Our first session took place in October last year. Keen to make sure we didn’t run before we could walk, we kicked off with just three pupils and three tutors. With small numbers to start with, we feel that the program can show us its weaknesses and gives us the opportunity to resolve them before taking on more pupils and expanding the course to the next stage.
The pupils, tutors and Charles meet at WCCS after school each Wednesday where the pupils have an hour of one to one Maths tutoring focused around the demands of their current curriculum. It is an opportunity for them to get a little bit more attention, be challenged a little further and resolve any unanswered questions. Whilst the program has only been running for three months, earlier this week we were thrilled to find out from the pupils’ school that all three have moved up a National Curriculum sub-level since the beginning of the course.
Kung Fu Maths is still in development stages and is very much a work in progress. We are not sure where the program will go next but we are looking forward to finding out.