Food is an integral part of our work at the Centre and has been from Day One.  We wanted to ensure that food was part of our offering as we know from experience in school (and of course ourselves) that you can’t concentrate if your tummy is rumbling.  Rather than this being something else to put onto parents, we thought we would offer food and drink as part of the package. So now all learners get the chance to have toast, biscuits or fruit and a choice of squash, tea or hot chocolate. 

But there are some surprising added bonuses to this.

Younger children are drawn to the hot chocolate and with the promise of it every week, they trip into the centre on a Saturday for their 90 minute session with no problem – we hardly ever get a student hanging shyly round the door after their first time.

It’s also part of the learners choosing what to do.  It is their decision and nobody else’s.  This might sound simplistic, but if a child is with us to boost their self-esteem, this is just another way to help them feel good about themselves and in control of their lives.

Giving food is a way of breaking down barriers.  I was just watching a video on Child Bereavement  and as well as hugging, giving food came high on the best things you can do for someone who is grieving.  It’s the same for us at Red Bird.  Offering food is a way to build bridges and feel the humanity of someone wanting to look after you.  Lesley our Centre Manager (who I always introduce as an Irish Feeder) does a little happy dance when the food and drink that is offered week after week is eventually accepted.  She says it as an acceptance of the situation and a bond has been built between us and the student. 

When a student needs a walkabout, it is easy to wander down to the kitchen and ask for more toast or tea without causing a kerfuffle.  There’s always someone there who will banter about football or you could sneak a tummy rub with Betty the dog. It’s another connection and a great help for learners who need to move about a lot.

So at Red Bird, food is essential and part of our non-negotiable values.  For us it runs though the fabric of what the centre is all about.


Owner of Red Bird Tutoring

Sue launched Red Bird Tutoring in 2018, combining her 20+ years experience as a teacher and school leader with her interest in coaching.

Since its launch, Red Bird has helped hundreds of learners achieve success!