Enhanced Learning Tutoring Initiative

The Enhanced Learning Tutoring Initiative (ELTI) is a high school tutoring programme coordinated by Queen Margaret University. It was set up in 2020 to respond to the educational challenges faced by disadvantaged and care-experienced young people during the Covid-19 school closures.  ELTI has grown and developed over the past three years and continues to work in partnership with schools and community organisations to address the attainment gap.   

ELTI provides tutoring sessions to eligible S4-S6 pupils in East Lothian and Midlothian, with over 300 pupils taking part each year. 


ELTI aims to help young people reach their potential by providing high-quality tutoring sessions and building positive, nurturing relationships. 

Our aims include: 

  • Increasing pupil confidence 
  • Increasing engagement in learning  
  • Improving academic attainment  
  • Providing equitable access to learning 
  • Supporting positive destinations  
  • Providing recent graduates with employment opportunities 

Our Offer

  • Tuition in a wide range of subjects 
  • N4 to Higher level 
  • Focus on revising material already taught in class to help pupils get a better understanding of the subject 
  • Development of study skills 
  • Pupil-led sessions 
  • Relaxed, informal and friendly environment 


We receive referrals for young people in S4 to S6 who meet one of the following criteria: 

  1. Young people who live in one of Scotland’s 20% most disadvantaged communities as defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD20). 
  2. Where a young person/family is entitled to: EMA/free school meals/benefits such as Universal Credit. 
  3. Young people who are care experienced. By this we mean young people who have been, or are currently, in care. This includes being looked after at home, foster care, kinship care, and adoption.   
  4. Young people who are young carers. By this we mean young people who care, unpaid, for someone who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.

To discuss making a referral to the programme please contact the ELTI team: elti@qmu.ac.uk


In 2022/23, ELTI employed around 40 tutors. Tutors are recruited locally and are either near peer (final year students and recent graduates) or professionals with a depth of relevant experience.  

The near-peer model of tutoring has been championed by academics such as Professor Lee Elliot Major at Exeter University. It is not currently being delivered anywhere else in Scotland on the same scale as ELTI.  

One of the challenges Elliot Major identifies with this model is quality assurance. ELTI has robust training and processes in place to ensure quality of tutoring provision. 



ELTI 2023/24 Funders: 

  • STV Children's Appeal 
  • Midlothian Council  
  • Musselburgh Area Partnership 
  • Dunbar & East Linton Area Partnership 
  • Local Charitable Trust 



The ELTI project has received the support of:  

SCHOLAR - an initiative launched by Heriot-Watt University to assist teachers and lecturers delivering subjects at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher level in Scottish schools and colleges, as well as students taking courses at those levels.  

Scottish Online Lessons - a remote-learning platform that provides online lessons delivered by their outstanding Scottish teacher team to children and young adults aged between 5-18 



The Enhanced Learning Tutoring Initiative (ELTI) was established in 2020 by Queen Margaret University (QMU) as a response to the impact which the Covid-19 school closures were having upon disadvantaged young people living in communities local to the University. 

At that time, research was beginning to show how disruption to schooling was contributing to a widening of the poverty-related attainment gap. During lockdown, disadvantaged and care experienced young people had done less schoolwork, had fewer resources at home to support their learning, and had less access to private tuition, when compared with their more privileged peers (Elliot Major et al., 2020). 

MCR Pathways (2020) surveyed over 1000 of Scotland's most disadvantaged young people about their lockdown experiences. They found that 68% had done no schoolwork during lockdown. 

They also found that 67% of the young people surveyed reported feeling low, anxious and stressed. 

Research supports tutoring as an effective intervention to address the attainment gap (Education Endowment Fund, 2022; The Poverty Alliance, 2021).  

In late 2020 QMU's Widening Participation & Outreach Team was approached to set up a high school tutoring programme to be funded by STV Children's Appeal and an East Lothian charitable trust.  

As a university which is committed to social justice QMU was delighted to be given this opportunity to address educational inequalities and support local young people. 

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