St Paul’s sixth formers support state school pupils to bridge learning gap

The sixth formers used an app developed by St Paul’s School alumni to help young learners disadvantaged by the pandemic

St Paul’s School and St Paul’s Girls’ School pupils have used technology to help students from local state schools in the West London Partnership who were disadvantaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the summer break, 40 sixth formers from St Paul’s School and St Paul’s Girls’ School gave pupils more than 150 hours of maths mentoring, thanks to technology developed by two of the institution’s alumni.

Usually, Phil and Dom Kwok’s EasyA app links students to a team of 30 tutors currently studying at either Oxford or Cambridge University; users take a photo of the question they require help with, then the app matches them with the most appropriate available tutor.

For the summer programme – and in future plans to train year 12 students from across the partnership – the tech has been modified to match mentees with the St Paul’s sixth formers, much to the satisfaction of local school heads.

“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,” said Alun Ebenezer, headteacher at Fulham Boys School.

“COVID-19 has created obvious gaps, particularly with some of our disadvantaged socially and economically pupils,” he added. “Using technology and collaboration with other schools, such as in the West London Partnership, is going to be vital to help fill that gap.”

COVID-19 has created obvious gaps, particularly with some of our disadvantaged socially and economically pupils. Using technology and collaboration with other schools […] is going to be vital to help fill that gap – Alun Ebenezer, Fulham Boys School

“They helped me at the moment I got stuck, which was really helpful when school was closed,” said one 15-year-old at Christ’s School, Richmond.

Ninety-two per cent of pupils taking part in the initiative said they would recommend it to their peers.

St Paul’s School’s director of partnerships and public service, Stuart Block, said: “We look forward to building on [the project’s] 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 West London Partnership is an association of secondary schools from the independent and state sectors in west and south west London. It aims to create genuine partnerships built on sustainable, collaborative projects, social inclusivity and diversity, and the sharing of resources and expertise, in order to address educational needs and enrich learning.

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