A Day in the Life

Making a positive difference to the lives of others is what QMU is all about. That’s why we love hearing about the impact our Enhanced Learning Tutoring Initiative is having on young people throughout East Lothian and Midlothian.

QMU spearheaded  THE Enhanced Learning Tutoring Initiative in 2020 to support secondary school pupils who struggled to keep up with learning during the pandemic. Along with our partner, East Lothian Council, we’ve not only supported over 300 pupils, we’ve created employment for talented new graduates. The project expanded in 2021/22 academic year to include Midlothian.

Rachel Milne, a recent QMU Media Studies graduate, works as a tutor on the project. She tells us about the role and rewards of being part of this important widening-access initiative and how it is transforming young lives.

Why is the tutoring project so important?
Many pupils found it difficult to engage with their school’s online learning provision, particularly
those who struggle with concentration and/ or have additional support needs. Pupils' routines have been massively disrupted and often their home environment is not conducive to learning. Many pupils have missed classes due to illness and self-isolation, while others have also struggled with motivation due to loneliness and isolation. It’s critical we help students catch up with learning so they’re not disadvantaged in the future.

How did you get involved?
I’m a leader with QMU’s Peer Assisted Learning Scheme, so I have experience of supporting undergraduate students. I was keen to further develop my skills so was encouraged to apply.

How do you help pupils involved in the project?
I’m studying a full-time Masters in Comparative Literature at the University of Glasgow, so I work part time providing online support to pupils who need help, particularly with National 5 and Higher English.

What’s involved?
In the morning I do my planning and then run two online sessions per day for an hour each. I start sessions by discussing the student’s mood and their general interests, see if they are happy to progress with our agreed lesson plan from the week before, or ask if there is anything else that they’d prefer to work on during our session. I make sessions as engaging as possible, and at the end, we devise a plan
for the following week. I keep teachers up-to-date with progress or any difficulties, and share ideas for future sessions.

What's been most rewarding?
Watching a student's confidence grow, both in terms of their academic progression but also in how they engage with me in their sessions. It's great to see them grasp a difficult concept, and to witness this having a positive impact on their self-esteem.

Best moment?
During an activity when a student told me how much more she's started to believe in herself and her own abilities.

What's most challenging?
Helping them feel less nervous at the beginning of the project. I try to create a comfortable and productive dynamic. It can be difficult, but it’s satisfying when they really start enjoying the

What has the Enhanced Learning Tutoring Initiative meant to you?
Being part of this project has meant a lot! I've learned about myself and how I work with and interact with younger people. Being able to support pupils during such a difficult time has had a positive impact on my own self-esteem. I gain new skills during each session, and I’ll continue to learn and grow throughout my time with the project.

Find out more about the Enhanced Learning Tutoring Initiative