From education to employment

Local MP visits Reading College and University Centre

reading college staff

Students and staff welcomed Matt Rodda, the Labour Member of Parliament for Reading East, to Reading College and University Centre on Friday 2 February.

Mr Rodda came to see the work that Reading College and University Centre, part of Activate Learning, is doing with award-winning tuition programme Get Further to help students affected by the pandemic, catch-up with their studies. 

Since Get Further launched their partnership with Reading College in 2022, they have supported almost 130 students, providing tailored tutoring to improve confidence and skills in English and maths. 

In 2022-23, students who attended over six Get Further sessions passed at a rate of 88% higher than the national average, and their grade increase was nearly double that of those that did not receive tuition.

Get Further delivers an award-winning tuition programme that helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds in further education to pass GCSEs in English or maths. Get Further uses highly qualified, specialist English and maths tutors, to deliver a bespoke curriculum that builds confidence and skills in these core subjects. 

Students who sign up for Get Further receive face-to-face support from a tutor in a small group (maximum of three students). In their sessions, students will set personal learning goals with their tutor and build their confidence and skills in key areas, helping them to prepare for their GCSE exams. 

During the visit, Mr Rodda, met with Sarah Waite, Get Further Founder and CEO and with senior college staff from Activate Learning, including Cheri Ashby, Deputy CEO of Activate Learning, Neil Brookes, Executive Director of Faculties and Colleges, James Clark, Director of English and maths, and Ginette Cox, Group Director of Quality and Consistency, to discuss the importance of this scheme and funding for this area.

He then observed a Get Further tuition session, where he discussed the tutoring programme with current students and tutors.  

Reflecting on the visit, Mr. Rodda, said:

“I found visiting the college and Get Further very interesting, and I’d like to thank them for all the work they’re doing in this area.

“It was a pleasure to meet students receiving tuition, they are clearly enjoying and benefiting from it.”

Prabita Tamang, 17, from Reading, is studying a GCSE Humanities Pathway (Citizenship, English Language, English Literature, Geography and Maths) at the college. 

She said: “It was very nice to meet Matt Rodda. He asked me about what we were studying and how it was going. 

“The tuition with Get Further has helped me to improve a lot in tests. I love how my tutor guides me to do things. I can see the changes in the class. My teachers have seen major improvement and given me good feedback and my grades have improved too.” 

Tia Price, 17, from Woodley, is studying GCSE English and maths at Reading College and University Centre. 

She said: “The tuition with Get Further has helped me to improve my English and maths studies because it’s just a bit extra on the side, especially when we have exams coming up.

“It takes a lot of the pressure off because instead of revising by yourself at home, you have someone who can help you if you have any questions.” 

Cheri Ashby, Deputy CEO at Activate Learning, said:

“Activate Learning is proud to partner with and support Get Further and their ambition to provide high-quality, small group English and maths tuition to students.

“We’ve seen a positive impact on our students who are receiving this tuition. It has also improved their attendance, wellbeing and progress on their main programme of study. 

“It was a fantastic opportunity to welcome Matt Rodda, the Labour Member of Parliament for Reading East to Reading College and University Centre, part of Activate Learning, and have an interesting discussion about how he can work to support the extension of the catch-up Tuition fund. 

“It is amazing that Matt was able to take time to meet with the students who are benefiting from the tuition with Get Further and that he’s interested to find out about the impact that it has on their lives and future progression opportunities. 

“I felt that he understood and has a keen interest in looking at how to support continued tuition funding with our most vulnerable students to help them to succeed.”

Sarah Waite, Get Further Founder and CEO said:

“It was fantastic to invite Matt Rodda MP to visit Reading College to showcase Get Further’s partnership with Activate Learning. 

“We both heard from the students first-hand about the difference that having a tutor is making on their education and how their results are significantly improving. However, funding for tutoring for colleges is due to end this summer.  

“The Government needs to urgently announce an extension, so that young people can continue to benefit from this effective intervention in future.”  

Get Further sessions are also taking place at Activate Learning’s Bracknell and Wokingham College and City of Oxford College and University Centre’s Technology Campus in Blackbird Leys.

Get Further is available to students at the above locations who don’t currently have a grade 4 in English and/or maths and are 16-19 years old. Students with an EHCP are eligible up to the age of 25. Find out more via

Related Articles