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Archive for October, 2011

Is your nest empty?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

If your child has gone off to university then you might suddenly find yourself with a quiet house and some spare time on your hands. Lots of people love this new freedom but many parents struggle with empty nest syndrome. No doubt the last few weeks have been hectic and emotional – getting your son or daughter ready for uni, shopping trips for house essentials and then that final trip to drop them off. It’s a big change for both of you. But what next as a parent?

One thing you can do is view this as an opportunity – to reclaim a sense of self, carve out some much needed personal time and expand your life through new hobbies and interests.

  • You might have spent the last few years investing in education and tutoring for your child. How about investing that money in your own education , for example we offer one to one drawing and painting tutoring with art teachers in Didsbury, Manchester. Or if you’ve always fancied taking up a musical instrument, now could be the time, at 121 Home Tutors we have tutors offering music theory and composition across Didsbury, South Manchester and Wilmslow. They teach instruments including piano, flute, guitar, sax and oboe.
  • Maybe you fancy living abroad or just spending a bit more time in another country?  Parents of children we tutor tell us they’ve suddenly found they have the time to consider a more peaceful life, choosing to spend time in countries such as France, Spain or Germany. It could even be the start of a whole new life!
  • Have you held back on your career development? You might have been stuck in the same job for years. Now is your chance to start a new career and private tutoring can be a great way to take the first step. If you’ve been out of education for a long time then the support of a private tutor can help you to get the best out of any course. 121 Home Tutors can also arrange intensive tutoring in specific areas which mean you can learn quickly in a very personal and supportive environment.
  • We have a number of tutors who work in professional areas, such as accountancy. If you want to take the next step in your current career then they can help with exams and general confidence in your subject and workplace.
  • We know you’ll never forget about your kids but it’s worth remembering that uni students struggle with study too. We have a number of university students who come to us for private tutoring and we are able to find tutors for most degree subjects in Manchester and Cheshire (we cover central Manchester and outlying areas such as Wilmslow and Cheadle).

If you’d like to chat to 121 Home Tutors about adult tutoring in Manchester, Heaton Moor, Wilmslow, Didsbury and surrounding areas then call us on 01625 531360


Year 13, UCAS Applications – time to decide which university is right for you

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

If you are in Year 13 and deciding about your next step after A Levels then you are probably in the midst of completing your UCAS application form. It maybe that you’ve already decided what you want to study and where you want to go. But if you are struggling with the decision then here are a few places to look for more information and some hints on making that all important decision.

This week (15th October) is the UCAS application deadline if you want to apply to study medicine or dentistry, veterinary courses or want to go to Oxford or Cambridge. We’ve written before about Oxbridge entry and we have specialised tutors at 121 Home Tutors who can help with Oxbridge entry.

  1. The first part of your decision is whether you want to go university or not. It’s easy to get pushed down a road of going to university by over enthusiastic parents, especially if you’ve no idea what you’d like to for a future career. We’ve written a blog post here about the drop out rates at universities and some questions to ask yourself before you complete your UCAS form. There are alternatives to university – a great place to look is And there are plenty of successful people who didn’t go to university.
  2. If you decide that university is the right choice for you then you need to do your research. There are comprehensive guides to the universities by subject and you need to read these as well as the prospectus for the specific university you are interested in.
  3. There are a few things you need to consider when choosing a degree course. It’s a good idea to choose something you are interested in and/or show a flair for because you will be studying it for at least the next three years. But it’s worth thinking beyond graduation. What kind of career prospects will your chosen degree give you? . For example did you know Medicine and dentistry have the highest rates of employment – 87%  of Medicine and 83%  of Dentistry students  find jobs immediately after graduation, and they earn more than other graduates – around £30k a year.
  4. It’s important that your decision is your own. Try not to be influenced by where your friends are going – you’ll make new friends.
  5. If you’re struggling to make a decision then talk to your careers advisor. You can also ring prospective universities and ask to speak to course tutors, they are usually very happy to help.

If you need help with tutoring in Year 13 or help with your UCAS personal statement then 121 Home Tutors can help – we cover areas across Manchester and Cheshire including Wilmslow, Didsbury and Alderley Edge. It’s easy to get in touch.

GCSE’s, iGCSE’s, EBacc’s and certificates

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

In the last few years there have been significant changes to qualifications at GCSE and A Level . The content has been regularly reviewed and the format of exams and gradings  has changed to include an A* for A Levels. The modular exam route for both GCSE’s and AS and A2 levels has increased in popularity – a subject is assessed in smaller chunks and modules can be sat again (resits) to improve grades. These changes have fed debate about academic rigour leading to a review of these qualifications  and a limit on the number of resits allowed.

One of the qualifications increasing in popularity within the private sector is the iGCSE (international GCSE). They were first developed by the University of Cambridge International Examinations for use in overseas countries (including the UK) who wanted  a qualification that was viewed as academically rigorous. The iGCSE is often compared to O Levels rather than the more modern GCSEs and recent changes to traditional GCSEs in science, maths and English have meant even more independent schools are switching to iGCSEs.

iGCSEs are taken at the same age as conventional GCSEs across 500 schools in the UK but to date are not accredited for use in state schools. Edexcel wanted to bring the success of the internationally recognised iGCSE to  UK state schools and so they have introduced ‘certificates’ equivalent to the iGCSE in Maths, English Language and English Literature (with Science to follow). Cambridge offer iGCSEs in 18 subjects including languages.

As we’ve discussed before we think languages can open up fantastic new career possibilities for young people and we see the introduction of advanced standards as a great move forward for education in the UK. It does seem a shame to have titled the state iGCSE equivalent as a certificate, in this country we get certificates for running races and swimming a length and so it seems an inappropriate name for a qualification that holds itself to these higher standards.

In January this year, for the first time, school performance league tables also included the percentage of students who received the new EBacc qualification (English Baccalaureate).  This is awarded to students who have passed GCSE in Maths, English, Science, a language, geography or history at grade A*-C.  The EBacc was originally introduced to encourage children from low income neighbourhoods to take more traditional subjects, enabling them to gain places at top universities.  Unfortunately recent evidence suggests this is not the case – an Education Committee inquiry into the EBacc found no evidence that the flagship reform will improve the life chances of low-income pupils. With next year bringing £9,000 a year fees for some universities it seems backwards to introduce a qualification that might help a child obtain a university place that they don’t have the financial means to take up.

We have tutors who work in both state and independent schools and are familiar with the requirements for the iGCSE and what is needed to improve grades for the EBacc. Alison, our MD, recently wrote a Chemistry iGCSE course.

If you’d like to know more about iGCSEs, the EBacc and tutoring in these subjects including languages, maths and English (across Manchester and Cheshire including areas such as Wilmslow) then call us on 01625 531360.