Last semester, we welcomed the ACE Team to our London and Birmingham campuses. TheAcademic Community of Excellence  Team are highly experienced academic study tutors who assist students in many aspects of academic life, from academic reading and writing development to coping strategies and time management.

Across the ACE Team, 84 sessions were delivered in their first semester, amounting to 60 hours’ worth of sessions, supporting students in a range of academic development areas, building confidence, performance and good study habits.

Here, we catch up with Lesley, an ACE Tutor in London, to reflect on their amazing achievements so far and discuss the Team’s future plans.


Hi Lesley, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Firstly, can you tell us a bit about your background and how it sits with the wider team?

No problem. Well, I taught English as a second language in Further Education in England, as well as working in Japan. Whilst I was in Japan I studied online with distance learning courses in TESOL, I then came back to the UK and gained an MA in Education TEFL and a PhD in Applied Linguistics.


Can you briefly explain what the ACE Team do and who you are?

We are a team of academic study tutors who help students with a range of academic areas, from academic reading and writing to interpersonal and presentation performance. We run drop-in sessions and hold appointments.

I find ACE is attractive to talk about as it’s positive, it’s talking about ‘excellence’ rather than a negative. Our slogan is ‘where better learning begins’ and we do that through a holistic offer to students from developing coping strategies to how to use Blackboard. These services aim to facilitate students’ positive learning strategies.


You’ve delivered a lot of sessions worth many hours! How have you found your first semester here?

We have all agreed that the exam period is extremely busy. Often, we are developing ideas through brainstorming, going through different study approaches and discussing lifestyles for time management to meet academic deadlines. So with all these considerations, it’s been a very busy semester!

We never quite know what we are going to get with the drop-ins, we have some students who come in pairs and many individual regulars too. In the quiet periods, the team get together and discuss ideas for additional or refined services, so overall a good first semester!


Have you had a particular highlight so far?

My personal highlight will have to be delivering training to the faculty here in London. This was a deeper introduction to ACE towards encouraging increased 2-way engagement between the team and academics to raise our effectiveness for students. Feedback from this has helped refine ACE services.

Of course, we have had many beaming students report back to us on their good grade and it’s always rewarding to see how proud they are!


There are students joining us this week, and many returning for another semester, what would like to say to them?

Just to say, at the very least, come and visit us if they have any specific needs, but also do drop by to discuss general assignments and work out strategies on how to tackle it. We are here to meet the challenges you face and with ACE you can exceed your expectations.

For example, you can really boost your grade if you reference your work to an academic standard, you hit a ceiling if you don’t at this level, so book an appointment or drop-in for a session on citations that will allow you to take that next step.


Great advice! Finally, what are the ACE Team’s plans for this semester and beyond?

Yes, as I said in the quiet periods we come up with ways to improve the service! We are looking to produce more ‘how-to’ guides and reflective writing reports and also run more workshops covering essential skills.

Looking to the future, we have been monitoring student requirements with a view to tailoring the service; streamlining what we do depending on the trends. Beyond, we are looking to develop a range of documents online, as part of our efforts in increase access points to our services.


Sounds good, we look forward to seeing this happen! Thanks Lesley and good luck for the upcoming semester.

The ACE Team are here to help you succeed. Come by the library for a 30-minute appointment or drop-in session (you’ll be able to spot their orange t-shirts!) or drop them an email at: