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North East start-up disrupts tutoring market with innovative peer-to-peer learning app

Wayne Harrison, CEO and Founder at Peer Tutor

After research revealed that the North East has one of the lowest rates of access to private tuition, Peer Tutor developed an innovative new mobile app designed to give students on demand access to learning resources and peer-to-peer learning support to help improve educational outcomes for learners, especially those living in areas of economic deprivation.

According to recent statistics published by The Sutton Trust, the North East has one of the lowest rates of access to private tuition, with only 13% of young people receiving one-to-one support outside of school, compared with 43% in London.

After further research published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) demonstrated how cross-age, peer to peer tutoring can benefit a child’s learning progression by up to five months, a County Durham-based start-up has developed an innovative new mobile app designed to give students a helping hand with their homework or exam revision.

Peer Tutor provides young people with around the clock access to high-quality learning resources and tailored learning support by connecting them ‘on demand’ with a DBS checked and verified peer tutor.

Ideal for students studying for their GCSEs or A Levels, learners can purchase ‘gems’ to exchange for question and answer based support, essay feedback or a 30-minute live tutoring session, all delivered through the app by fellow students who have passed their own exams at Level 6 (Grade B) or above.

“The premise of the Peer Tutor app is simple but very effective,” said Wayne Harrison, CEO and founder at Peer Tutor.

“Traditional tutoring can prove very costly and is not always available when you need it. The idea of Peer Tutor was to provide a mobile platform, shaped by professional research and supported by Collins approved resources, which could become a low cost, high quality alternative to help young people to achieve their full potential.

“Findings from the EEF study shows that peer tutoring can be particularly effective when the tutor and the learner have regular communication. With this in mind, we developed our Q&A function to enable learners to get direct feedback. We also created the option for learners to access personalised live tutoring sessions, where tutors can delve deeper into the subject to support learners while at the same time, develop their own knowledge and teaching skills.”

Peer Tutor has grand ambitions to make peer tutoring available and affordable to every student across the UK and is actively seeking corporate partners who, as part of their CSR strategy, can sponsor Peer Tutor usage for a learner or a school in their local area.

“Peer tutoring is a fantastic tool which is already widely used across the world to help students consolidate what they have learnt in the classroom. Through technology, we want to make this accessible to everyone, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to create a better balance in students’ learning experiences and improve educational outcomes,” Wayne added.

“After looking at what was available to educators to support their learners out of hours, we devised our corporate sponsorship programme specifically for schools, especially those operating in areas of high economic deprivation. This will enable schools and learners to access high quality resources and support to help promote successful outcomes, at no cost to them.

“Working together with schools to identify those most in need of some additional support, a nominal donation can help up to 10 students to access the app for a full school year to help them change the course of their futures.”

Peer Tutor is wholly owned by North-East based educational charity, awarding organisation and education services provider, NCFE.

The company, which also counts education and healthcare qualifications brand, CACHE, and e-learning platform, Skills Forward, under its portfolio of brands, will be working with Peer Tutor to help develop and moderate the app’s content to promote successful outcomes for learners.

David Gallagher, chief executive at NCFE, commented:

“At NCFE, we are committed to promoting and advancing learning to help students of all ages to reach their learning and career goals.

“Investment in technology and pushing innovation is one of the key ways we look to achieve this, which is why we are really excited about our new partnership with Peer Tutor.”

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