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Archive for March, 2011

Maths GCSE revision tips

Monday, March 28th, 2011

It’s just a few weeks until Easter (can you believe it!) and that means revision season is on us once again. Over the next few weeks you’ll see lots of hints and tips from 121 Home Tutors on how to get the most from your revision. This week we’ll focus on a particular subject area. Yes, it’s the dreaded Maths (we can hear the groans already).

Maths is one of our most requested subjects for private tutoring in Manchester and South Manchester. We have private Maths tutors that start at primary level and go right up to AS, A2 and A Level but most of tutors work with secondary level students who are fast approaching their GCSEs .

So here are our private tutors’ top seven tips for GCSE Maths revision:

1.      Our number one top tip is to know exactly what you need to revise. Carefully check the syllabus and know the topics you need to revise. If you are unsure then ask your teacher. It’s also a good idea to ask your teacher if you need to learn any formulas or if they’ll be printed on the exam paper.

2.      Start with the basics first. Once you know what you need to revise then tackle the basic topics first. Maths builds on basics and as you move up in school you’ll find the basics you’ve learnt are integrated with each other and across topics.  Try breaking harder problems into smaller sections rather than trying to tackle the whole thing in one go. This means you’ll devote the most time to the trickiest parts and not get overwhelmed when you get close to the exam.

3.      Don’t be afraid to use revision guides and GCSE revision books (make sure you pick the right one for your syllabus). There’s also lots of great information on websites like BBC bitesize. Finally don’t forget your textbooks, teachers and if you have one, your private Maths tutor.

4.      Past papers. If you can get hold of them (ask your teacher) then these can really help focus your mind on the sort of questions you might have to tackle in an exam. As your revision moves on try completing a past paper in a set time frame to give you an idea of how you’ll cope on the actual day.

5.      If you struggle to sit down and stare at papers for hours then try a revision study group or try mental maths.

6.      Start early. Revision is really hard if you are rushing or stressed. Plan your revision out, including breaks.

7.      If you are struggling ask for help. If something just isn’t sticking during revision then ask a friend, parent or call in a private tutor. They can help you work through any barriers.

If you need a tutoring to help you with Maths or Maths revision in Manchester or South Manchester (we cover all areas including Altrincham and Hale) then call or email 121 Home Tutors today.

Homeschooling and private tuition

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Homeschooling (sometimes called home learning or home education) is teaching children at home, often by parents but frequently supported by a private tutor.  Some private tutors carry out full time homeschooling instead of parents. Homeschooling in the UK is a legal alternative to your child attending a state, public or private school. It is estimated there are somewhere between 20 and 80,000 home educated children in the UK.

Why homeschool?

Here are the some of the reasons we’ve heard from parents:

–          Bad school environment, or a particularly bad local school

–          Bullying in school

–          To achieve better grades and results

–          Religious reasons

–          A feeling that it will develop a strong independent personality

–          Unable to afford private education but value the smaller class sizes

–          The one on one attention afforded by home education

–          Objecting to what is taught in school

–          A lifestyle/parenting choice

–          Not living near a school

–          Child has a long term health condition

How does it work?

As we mentioned above it’s often the parents who do the teaching but they sometimes work hand in hand with a private tutor or a tutor does the teaching.

×        You don’t need to be a qualified teacher to teach your children at home

×        You don’t need to follow the National Curriculum

×        You don’t need to have a set timetable or structure

×        You don’t need to carry out Key Stage or Standard Assessment Tests.


1. You do have to ensure your child receives efficient full time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude and any special educational needs they may have  (Section 7 of the Education Act 1996).

2. Many Local Education Authorities (LEAs) offer help and guidance on homeschooling and they are websites and forums where homeschooling parents exchange information and ideas (Education, and

3. You are free to use libraries, different publishers’ resources and distance and online learning.

4. There are a growing number of local homeschooling groups which can help with the social and outing side of education.

At 121 Home Tutors we have primary and secondary level tutors who specialise in daytime tutoring. These tutors cover most subjects at primary and secondary level including essentials like Maths and English. If you’re a homeschooling parent then you might particularly struggle with subjects you didn’t study at a higher level at school – so for whatever reason you didn’t do Geography or History GCSE or O Levels. This is exactly where a private tutor can be a godsend, they can bring their expert knowledge to fill in any gaps you have and ensure your child is get the rounded educational experience you want for them.

If you’re looking for a private tutor who specialises in daytime or homeschooling tuition in Manchester and Cheshire (covering all primary and secondary subjects including English and Maths) then give us a call.

We have tutors who specialise in daytime tutoring, in areas across Manchester and Cheshire including Didsbury, Stretford, Sale, Urmston and Wilmslow. Call today and we can help you find the right tutor.

Jamie’s Dream School – what we think

Monday, March 7th, 2011

We’re all educators at 121 Home Tutors (and quite a few of us are teachers) so we were glued to the screen on Wednesday night for the first instalment of Jamie Oliver’s new programme, Jamie’s Dream School

If you’ve not heard about or watched the programme then we’ll give you a quick rundown of what it’s about. Jamie Oliver, successful chef, author, entrepreneur, businessman and campaigner decided he wanted to see if truly inspirational people could help turn around failing children and their future prospects. Jamie left school with 2 GCSEs and in the first programme pointed out that around 50% of school children now leave school without the ‘magical’ 5 GCSEs Grade A-C (the grades usually required to move onto A Levels and University).

Jamie set about bringing together some of the most inspirational people in the UK and turning them into teachers. People like David Starkey, the historian (who ran into controversy in the first programme), scientist Professor Robert Winston (famed for developing IVF) and Rolf Harris (a brilliant artist as well as TV presenter). Their task would be to work in the Dream School and find exciting ways to teach and engage 20 young people who’d left school with few or no GCSEs. The hope is to persuade these young people to give education another chance.

The first programme was fascinating. David Starkey insulted a pupil by calling him fat, horrifying the real-life headmaster. Robert Winston almost cleared the classroom by cutting a pig up. Actor Simon Callow struggled to teach Shakespeare against a tide of chatter and disaffected teenagers.

What it did show is that controlling a classroom is a real art (and one many of our tutors know all too well!). But there were glimmers of hope, one student asked pertinent and intelligent questions during a rat dissection. Maybe an indication that a fresh way of teaching had hit home? At 121 Home Tutors some of our private tutors aren’t teachers, they come from professional backgrounds and we know this can often be invaluable in a one on one tutoring situation. They aren’t constrained by ‘classroom rules’ and can reach a child precisely because they do things differently. Private tutoring is a bit like a dream school – you get an expert who can provide you with their full attention and find ways to get you fired up about your subject again.

Our tutors are telling us they’ll be tuned in on Wednesday night and we hope we’ll see lots of students who find their enthusiasm for education again.

What do you think about Jamie’s Dream School? What do you think would help these pupils?