About Quest for Learning

What we do

Since 1995, Quest for Learning has been helping to close the gap in literacy and numeracy between Oxfordshire’s most disadvantaged primary-age children and their better-off peers.

We believe that too many children are not fulfilling their academic potential through no fault of their own. The reasons for this are not easy to unpick: it may be because they arrived at school with only limited English, they don’t have much support at home, or they miss vital teaching through illness or disruption. Sometimes, they simply don’t have the confidence to engage in lessons.

Whatever the reasons, two things are clear. Firstly, if these children don’t catch up with their peers by the time they leave primary school, their chances of doing so at secondary school are almost non-existent. Secondly, Quest for Learning, through our carefully designed interventions and resources, can make a real and lasting difference.

“Everything we do is about giving children life chances… we are determined to reach out to support as many pupils as possible who may need help”

Siân Renwick, Director

How we do it

We use trained, paid, and experienced tutors to deliver programmes in Oxfordshire primary schools. Some schools approach us for help themselves, while others are identified by Quest for Learning and our funders as needing extra support for some pupils. We have many long-term relationships with schools across the county and are always very happy to hear from new schools who’d be interested in working with us. Last year, we worked in over 25 schools.

Our programmes

ReadingQuest is designed to help early readers, who don’t have the key skills and strategies needed for successful reading. 

BookQuest is designed to help KS2 pupils who have basic reading accuracy but low levels of comprehension.

 Exciting banks of resources for use with small groups of children to help them improve their mental maths and calculation skills

Training courses

In addition to our teaching programmes, we also run a comprehensive programme of affordable, up-to-date, and inspiring CPD refresher courses for primary teachers and TAs, including workshops on KS1 and KS2 moderation and assessment.

Beyond Oxfordshire

We are a member of the Fair Education Alliance, an organisation that believes that no child’s success should be determined by their socioeconomic background. With over 250 member organisations, the FEA allows us to amplify our voice beyond Oxfordshire, and to take part in a national debate about how to tackle education disadvantage for all children. 

Annabelle Ballsdon

Annabelle Ballsdon

Position - Fundraising Coordinator

As Fundraising Coordinator, Annabelle is excited to help ensure that today’s young people have the same opportunities to maximise their own life chances as she did.

Claire Bishop

Claire Bishop

Position - Tutor

Claire has always enjoyed maths puzzles and playing games so being a NumSkills Tutor is her perfect job.

Ben Brice LLB LPC

Ben Brice LLB LPC

Position - Trustee

Ben is a Legal Director at Blake Morgan solicitors, where he heads up the firm's charities team.

Sheenagh Broadbent PGCE NPQH

Sheenagh Broadbent PGCE NPQH

Position - Trustee

Sheenagh has spent her working life involved with education.

Reka Chrystal

Reka Chrystal

Position - Tutor

Reka trained as a primary school teacher at Oxford Brookes University and has several years of experience teaching students in KS1 and KS2.

Roger Copleston ACMA CGMA MBA

Roger Copleston ACMA CGMA MBA

Position - Chair of Trustees

Roger is a Senior Management Consultant with over 20 years experience working with global Fortune 500 organisations.

Emma Deasy

Emma Deasy

Position - Tutor

Emma graduated from Exeter University with a degree in Primary Education and started her career teaching in Key Stage Two.

Julia Edwards

Julia Edwards

Position - Teaching Coordinator

Julia is our Teaching Coordinator - a role which entails facilitating school/tutor introductions and liaison; providing schools with impact data for the pupils we have taught; and supporting users on our Information Management and online library systems.

Tamzin Einon

Tamzin Einon

Position - Head of Teaching

Tamzin heads up our teaching team, managing the QfL tutors and liaising with our partner schools, as well as overseeing the educational content of our BookQuest, ReadingQuest and NumSkills programmes. Tamzin is also the QfL Designated Safeguarding Lead. 

Amanda Ferguson

Amanda Ferguson

Position - Communications Manager

As Communications Manager, Amanda is responsible for Quest for Learning's marketing activities - including social media, press relations and events. She also handles the administration for the charity's continuous professional development programme for primary school teachers and teaching assistants.

Liz Gamlin

Liz Gamlin

Position - Tutor

Liz has taught in a range educational settings including special schools, pupil referral units and higher education.

Tony Hobbs

Tony Hobbs

Position - Financial Advisor

Tony is an accountant with experience in many sectors, having qualified in 1992.

Catherine Machin

Catherine Machin

Position - Tutor

Catherine completed a PGCE at Westminster College (now Oxford Brookes) and has taught across the primary age range in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Outer London.

Samantha Mather

Samantha Mather

Position - Tutor

Samantha has been a class teacher in Oxfordshire since 1994, working mainly in KS2.

Katriona McGrath

Katriona McGrath

Position - Tutor

In her 15 years as a primary school teacher, Katie has been privileged to work with pupils and teachers in a variety of EYFS, KS1 and ...

Saskia McQuitty

Saskia McQuitty

Position - Tutor

Saskia has worked in the field of education for more than 20 years and has gained wide experience in a number of countries.

Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore

Position - Tutor

Since completing his teacher training at Westminster College (now Oxford Brookes University) Andrew has been a class teacher in Oxfordshire from 1987 until 2010

Dalya Moss

Dalya Moss

Position - Tutor

Dalya has worked in the education sector for the last 15 years.

Jen Pawsey

Jen Pawsey

Position - Tutor

Jen trained at Homerton College, Cambridge and taught in Suffolk in the middle school system before returning to Oxfordshire. ...

Siân Renwick

Siân Renwick

Position - Executive Director

As Executive Director, Siân is responsible for leading on QfL's strategic direction and overseeing its financial management. She is also our Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Kimberley Rose MCIPD

Kimberley Rose MCIPD

Position - Acting Vice Chair of Trustees

Kimberley is an experienced HR professional with over 15 years’ experience across a range of roles, industries and countries.

Jeanette Sadler

Jeanette Sadler

Position - Administrator

Jeanette has worked in a number of administration roles across the education and child support sector.

Kevin Senior LLB FCA

Kevin Senior LLB FCA

Position - Trustee

Kevin was a partner in a major international accountancy firm from 1996 until his retirement in 2016.

Lynne Sonley

Lynne Sonley

Position - Tutor

Lynne has worked in the primary sector all her working career since achieving her degree.

Sarah Stewart

Sarah Stewart

Position - Tutor

After 20 years teaching in Key Stage One and Reception, Sarah has a lot of experience in making learning engaging, practical and fun ...

Anna Thomas

Anna Thomas

Position - Tutor

Anna completed her teacher training after a degree in English and Drama.

Ally Walker

Ally Walker

Position - Teaching Team Assistant

Ally joined Quest for Learning to assist the teaching team in coordinating their programmes within schools.

Ned Wells

Ned Wells

Position - Trustee

Ned is a marketing consultant with over 20 years' experience working for businesses and charities across the UK and Europe.

Our vision

A future in which children from all backgrounds can succeed equally in education and in life.

Our mission

To work collaboratively to close the disadvantage gap in children’s literacy and numeracy skills.

Our values

We are:

Child-centred We recognise each child’s individual abilities and needs, keeping them at the heart of what we do

Empowering We support our beneficiaries to increase skills, improve their self-concept, and take ownership of their learning

Evidence-led We continually review our impact and adapt our processes in line with emerging evidence

Co-operative We value the expertise of schools and other charities, and actively seek opportunities for collaboration

Our goals

We intend to:

Address the disadvantage gap in educational attainment through our charitable activities

Be widely recognised as a trusted partner by schools

Be widely recognised as an expert voice by educational policy makers and other key stakeholders

Drive third-sector collaboration in the field of educational disadvantage

Support us

Our work in helping some of Oxfordshire’s most disadvantaged primary pupils is more vital than ever, but we are funded almost entirely by donations. All donations, no matter how big or small, will help us in our quest to improve the life chances of thousands of children.

At Quest for Learning we firmly believe that education expands our horizons, fires our imagination, and gives us pleasure and opportunity in life. But not all children flourish at school and unfortunately our programmes remain as relevant, in demand and impactful as they did 27 years ago when we were founded.

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