My name is Shamima Noor and I am studying for a Master’s degree at the University of Leeds.  I applied for a job as a GCSE English tutor with The Tutor Trust after coming across an advertisement on ‘Joblink’ (the Leeds University Union’s student employment website).  I browsed The Tutor Trust’s website and was impressed by the aims and ethos of the organisation.  The Tutor Trust are passionate about enabling pupils (regardless of what school they go to or what background they come from) to access high quality tuition in order to raise attainment levels.  It seemed a fantastic opportunity to work for a charitable organisation that are dedicated to closing the attainment gap in schools across Leeds and Manchester.

The questions in the application form were based around four competencies: creativity; humility, respect and empathy; resilience; and planning, organisation and problem solving.  I really appreciated this format as I got to configure how my skills and experiences would be adaptable to a role in which it is essential to demonstrate all of the aforementioned competencies.  When I got to the interview stage, I was asked questions about my interest in the role, alongside more challenging and specific questions about how I would deal with a hypothetical situation during a tuition session.  I thought the interview was challenging, but I highly valued the experience.  My advice to anyone who gets to the interview stage is that the team aren’t looking for a specific answer to the questions; they are more interested in motivation and ability to demonstrate the competencies. 

I was thrilled when I found out I’d been successful and even more so when I learnt of the details regarding training.  Before anyone can start taking on assignments, two days of training are compulsory.  The first was a general one in which were informed about our roles and about Child Safeguarding.  This was really useful, as working with young people is a joy but also carries enormous responsibility.  Any residual anxieties I had about being a tutor disappeared once this training session was over as we were informed about the relevant people to contact and the appropriate way to deal with situations in which a child may be at risk.  The second day of training was subject specific.  We were trained (by former teachers some of whom work as PGCE lecturers) in how to deliver good, interactive and creative tuition sessions to young people.

I currently work in a school in Leeds (only a short bus journey away!) tutoring GCSE English to a Year 10 pupil and I am really enjoying the experience.  Being able to support a pupil and help clarify concepts is a brilliant and rewarding experience.  Working with The Tutor Trust also allows you to meet new people – there are breakfast clubs you can attend where you can chat to fellow tutors over a coffee, as well as an online group where you can ask for information or advice.  Opportunities to train in a second subject are available through ‘transfer training’ and the schools and Tutor Coordinator are incredibly supportive.

If you’re interested in applying for a position as a tutor in either Primary or a Secondary subject, then I would say go for it!  It’s a fantastic opportunity that allows you to gain employment that is flexible around your studies.  Previous experience in school is not essential.  The only advice I would give to applicants is to read the competencies and assess whether you have the skills to commit to a project that carries responsibility and has great implications for young people.  Working with The Tutor Trust enables you to gain skills in leadership, planning and communication which are invaluable.  It’s a fantastic initiative that truly allows tutors to make a massive difference.