Fostering talent

634. Rafi Cohen (London)

Rafi Cohen, a former teacher from Manchester, set up ‘TalentEd’ in 2012 to support students to reach their potential.

TalentEd brings together high calibre retired teachers and high-ability pupils from low income families to improve attainment and allow them to access higher education opportunities more easily.

Working with schools with a higher than average number of students on free school meals, the young people receive two hours of specialist support each week, working in small groups to foster skills such as debating, revision skills and exam technique, structuring essays and CV writing. A recent study in one TalentED school saw students from the programme achieve double the number of As and A*s compared to a comparison cohort.

In a personal letter to Rafi, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“I want Britain to be the great meritocracy of the world and a fundamental part of this is ensuring all young people get the best start in life. Your innovative work with ‘TalentEd’ is supporting the students who take part in your programmes to go as far as their talents allow.”

Rafi said:

It’s a huge honour to win this award in recognition of TalentEd’s work. When I was teaching in a London inner city school I found it shocking that hugely talented pupils were missing out on opportunities that my friends and I had taken for granted. This was a massive loss for them, their communities and society as a whole.

I’m inspired by the work our expert teachers, Central Team and Board Members continue to perform in supporting out target pupils and this is what drives me to continue volunteering with TalentEd, an organisation I’m truly proud to be a part of. TalentEd continues to grow to help the thousands of young people throughout the UK who can benefit from individualised guidance from expert teachers. We will expand quickly over the coming months and hope to recruit more expert teachers all over the country via our website.”

Joseph Kimmelman, TalentEd Director, said:

“Without Rafi’s vision and energy we would not have been able to unlock thousands of hours of expert support for the young people who need it most. I’m delighted that his work has been recognised, and I hope that this award inspires more expert teachers to get involved as we expand across the country.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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