Tech startup Curvestone helps disadvantaged children with homework

The attainment gap between children on free school meals and those at private schools is huge. This tech initiative aims to narrow this gap.

According to the Sutton Trust Mobility Manifesto, in 2010 around 60 per cent of pupils who receive free school meals do not pass their maths and English GCSEs.

Curvestone wants to solve this problem with its latest project, On-Demand, in partnership with Tutorfair. On-demand is an AI-focused start-up, it’s a WhatsApp-style app that connects underprivileged students with tutors to help them study for their maths GCSE.

The idea is that pupils will gain access to help they otherwise couldn’t afford, promoting social mobility and supporting disadvantaged children.

Curvestone and Tutorfair have received a £150,000 grant from Nesta to launch On-Demand. The startup is currently running a pilot programme with 36 London-based schools, all of which have over 50 per cent of students receiving free school meals.

The organisation travel to schools and trains up the teachers and students on how to effectively use the platform. It is live during homework hours, 6-9pm during the evenings and at the weekends. Students simply need to take a picture of the question they’re struggling with and post it on the app, and then a tutor will respond.

The CEO and co-founder of On-Demand, Dawid Kotur, has said, “disadvantaged children don’t feel entitled or sometimes don’t know how to ask for help. If you go home where maybe there isn’t a full family there or the family works shifts, the last thing they think about is to ask for help.

“The cool thing is that they don’t need to know how to ask for help. All they have to do is take a photo and the tutor will figure out what help they need.”