Success for Sally Engagement and enjoyment lead to academic success and new passion

“We wanted to give Sally the best chance of success: but with less than a year to go before she sat her GCSEs, we were running out of time in which to improve her confidence and analytical skills. We’re so glad we found Mentor Education and Millie.”

Sally’s parents first approached Mentor Education in January 2019. At this time, Sally’s work was at C-grade level, and her parents felt she needed some support in the lead up to her English Literature and Language GCSEs (which were only six months away).

Sally was a bright and capable student but struggled with confidence – something that Mentor Education takes very seriously, as we believe that emotional and mental wellbeing is crucial to scholastic success. Time was ticking, so we arranged for one of our expert tutors, Millie, to meet Sally immediately and assess her needs.

Establishing effective tuition with a safe space

In the initial sessions it became clear to Millie that whilst Sally possessed a great deal of imagination, and could engage with texts verbally, she had difficulty articulating her ideas in written form.

Millie sprang into action, developing a bespoke lesson plan that would focus on building Sally’s confidence and providing a safe space in which to test out new ideas without fear of failure. They spent the first few sessions simply talking through different texts – with no writing involved – allowing Sally to develop her ideas freely and learn, at the same time, that there are no ‘incorrect opinions’ in literature. Sally began to grow in confidence as her understanding blossomed and, with Millie’s expert assistance, she was able consolidate her thoughts – grasping the concept that, provided she could back up her arguments, she need not ever worry about being ‘wrong’. Once freed of this fear, her skills and confidence began to blossom rapidly.

Nurturing student confidence and skills

Building on this foundation, Millie carefully introduced the idea of essay-writing. So as not to impact on Sally’s burgeoning confidence, they began by writing short essay answers together, which also had the bonus of improving Sally’s self-editing skills. The rewards were enormous. In just a few short months, Sally was in the driver’s seat: leading discussions, showing enthusiasm for texts she had struggled with previously, and displaying a much-improved capacity for essay writing.

In order to channel her newfound confidence and enjoyment into a successful exam strategy, in the lead-up to her GCSEs Sally focused on writing full-length answers. Sally and Millie marked these together during their sessions; an activity that helped Sally hone her proofreading and copy-editing techniques, whilst learning how to assess her strengths and weaknesses in a collaborative and constructive manner.

Engagement and enjoyment leads to academic success and new passion

Sally’s successes have been numerous and varied. Not only has she improved dramatically in an academic sense, but also – and perhaps most importantly – she has discovered a real passion for the subject. With Millie’s help, her confidence and enjoyment has improved to such an extent that she is now an articulate, budding writer and effective analyst of language and literature. These skills gave her a fantastic foundation from which to seize the challenge of her GCSEs – and we are proud to report that she achieved truly excellent grades as a result. Moreover, Sally’s new love for literature and confidence in her own creativity is something she will take with her to A-Levels and beyond.

Millie is absolutely delighted with Sally’s progress. When reflecting on her approach, she commented on the importance of offering students ‘a more creative approach to learning’, adding that ‘a tutor is there to offer a new perspective on a subject’. Finally, she praised Mentor Education’s bespoke approach to learning, explaining that this allowed her to develop a genuine relationship with Sally (which proved essential to her development): ‘Mentor Education gives tutors the chance to spend proper time with our students – rather than only focusing on academic results. With students like Sally, individual attention and trust is so important: it’s essential to treat each student individually and spend time properly getting to know them so that lessons can be tailored to meet their needs.’

Congratulations to both Millie and Sally for their exceptional achievements in 2019!