BGL Insurance continues partnership with TutorMate to provide vital reading support for children


Major local employer, BGL Insurance (BGLi), is continuing its successful charity partnership with Innovations for Learning, the national charity which runs the TutorMate online reading support programme. The initiative enables colleagues to provide extra one-to-one reading support to children who are struggling with literacy skills, through weekly online tutoring sessions. The partnership was first established in 2020 to help address the UK’s literacy gap – a gap that widened even further during the Covid-19 pandemic – and almost 100 children have now been supported by BGLi colleagues.      

As part of the initiative, over 32 BGLi colleagues and counting have pledged their support to the charity over the next academic year. The one-to-one tutoring sessions will be held virtually each week, with children from across the UK, including in Peterborough, set to benefit from the additional support of their very own BGLi reading buddy. Each volunteer reader ‘meets’ virtually with the same child for 30 minutes a week during the school day, with the focus on building reading fluency, comprehension, phonics and – most importantly – fostering the child’s confidence and enjoyment in reading.

Jenny MacGillivray, Senior Programme Manager at BGL Insurance, said: “One of the best things about the TutorMate programme is that you read with the same child each week. This means that you build a relationship with them and get to see how they progress with their reading throughout the year. It’s a relatively small commitment and all the sessions are virtual, so it’s easy to fit into your week, but that small amount of time has a really big impact on the children involved. I get a lot out of it personally too; if you’re having a busy and stressful day, there’s nothing like talking to an eight-year-old to keep things in perspective!”   

Emma Bell, Executive Director of Innovations for Learning, added: “We're so grateful to BGL Insurance for encouraging their colleagues to give 30 minutes a week to volunteer virtually and help a struggling reader via our TutorMate programme. Shockingly, as many as 36% of English children from disadvantaged communities leave school at 11 unable to read properly. These children need regular practice with an encouraging adult to boost their skills and confidence and the weekly sessions volunteers provide, are truly transformative.”