Stretch Academy Success

Pete Kirby

November 27, 2015

Wilbury Primary School is one of the largest primary schools in North London.

The school has a large percentage of students with unique learning demands, including the 56% of students who have qualified for free school meals in the past 6 years, and the 70% of students who speak English as a second language.

It also sits in the catchment area of some of London’s top selective secondary schools*. Just 1 mile away of Wilbury’s school gates is the amazing, 12 acre Latymer School, where 99% of pupils achieve 5 or more A* - C grades at GCSE. Despite the size of Wilbury Primary and its proximity, only 1 pupil in 20 years had gained a place at one of these top selective state schools.

Unfortunately, it is easy to understand why virtually no students get into Latymer School. Not only do under 3.5% of Latymer's pupils qualify for Free School Meals, but, like many other selective schools, their application process requires excellent marks in Non-Verbal and Verbal Reasoning (subjects not taught on the national curriculum). Both Wilbury Primary's students' economic status and education seem to be working against them.

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Three years ago, Alex Lee set up Stretch Academy, a program for 10 of Wilbury’s "Gifted and Talented" pupils that covers Non-Verbal and Verbal Reasoning. In support, Tutorfair sent tutors to Wilbury, who then made one-on-one and small group tuition possible. Come results time in October 2014, four of the students gained entry to local selective schools, and one student was even awarded a scholarship to a local independent school.

Spurred on by these results, Alex and our very own Phoebe have extended the Stretch Academy to provide the same support to 60 other pupils from a number of primary schools in the area. With the help of a small army of Tutorfair volunteer tutors, the sessions run for two hours on Thursday evenings and are hosted at Wilbury.

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Crucially, the program does not insist that pupils apply to selective schools. The Stretch Academy's goal is solely to ensure that should the pupils wish to apply, they are able to do so competitively, already having learnt the techniques and gained the knowledge required of them.

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Tutorfair is proud to support the amazing work of the Stretch Academy!

To learn more or to sign up to be a volunteer tutor today, please visit the Tutorfair Foundation.