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Archive for July, 2012

News: 100 new schools approved

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Last week Education Secretary Michael Gove announced that 102 new ‘free schools’ have been approved. Many people aren’t really aware of what free schools are because they are a relatively new concept introduced after the last election. Free schools are free to attend, non-selective (no entrance exam) and paid for by the taxpayer but not controlled by the local education authority. There are set up in reponse to what local people say they want from a school and what will work for their community. The Free Schools Programme means that teachers, parents, businesses and charities can come together to create a school which really works for the children in their area. If anyone wants to set up a free school they have to put forward a proposal to the Department of Education.

The latest round of free school approvals means there will be 200 primary and secondary free schools, 50 schools will open this September with the rest to follow in 2013 and beyond.

The supporters of free schools hope they will drive up standards and allow more freedom in the way children are educated. Some people worry that free schools only benefit those with the time and money to set up such schools and that they will divert much needed money away from other schools.

You can find out more about free schools on the Department for Education website.


What to do over the summer holidays – Primary

Friday, July 20th, 2012

If you have children in primary school then you are probably already in the summer holidays or fast approaching them. If your child is in reception then this could be the first time that you are faced with six weeks trying to keep your child occupied. We thought we’d round up a few ways to keep your little ones busy over the summer…

  1. It is the holidays so why not start with some duvet days, forget the rushing about and rules. Grab a few DVDs and snuggle up. One of the best ways we know to spend a rainy day.
  2. Go to your local tourist information centre. This might seem a bit odd if you live locally but they have so much great information about what’s on in the local area and you might just find some new places to explore.
  3. Consider signing up to cost effective organisations that means you will get out of the house, The National Trust and Wildlife Trust have places you can visit right across the UK.
  4. Don’t forget the library. As well as a great place to spend a few hours when it’s raining they often run events for children of different ages. You could also set a fun project and use the library as a basis for the project (maybe something like bulding a paper mache dinosaur and they have to find out all about dinosaurs).
  5. Talk to mum friends and check local noticeboards to see what’s happening on your doorstep and then arrange group visits or play dates.
  6. If your child has struggled this year then it’s a good idea to take some time out to do a bit of academic catch up. That could be in the form of a summer study school or some specialist one to one tutoring.

If you have older children then you’ll find some great ideas to keep them occupied here.

If we can help with primary level tutoring in Manchester, Stockport and Wilmslow, Cheshire areas (and summer schools near Altrincham, Didsbury and Sale) then contact us today.


Exams – what happens if it all goes wrong?

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

If you are in Year 10 (or your child is) then they are probably right in the middle of taking GCSE exams. Next year will be one of the most significant years of your life – when you will sit the majority of your GCSEs. What happens during that year can determine where you go to college or work and what career path you may end up taking.

Many people dismiss year 10 exams because they think they can just resit them or make up the grades in Year 11. However, what happens in Year 10 can have a real impact on your GCSE performance in Year 11. If you don’t put the effort in Year 10 exams and fail (or fail because of other reasons), it means you can enter Year 11 lacking in confidence and behind academically. Some schools may even recommend you take different college courses based on your Year 10 performance.

If your child starts Year 10 this September then they will take their exams in 2014 – there will no longer be the option to take some exams in Year 10 and then resit if they fail.  So with this in mind what happens if it all goes wrong and you fail an exam?

  1. Don’t panic. If you are currently in Year 10, you will have the option to resit the GCSE in Year 11. Do keep in mind this will mean extra work during Year 11 when you will already have a lot to deal with.
  2. Ask your teacher (or ask your parent to ask them) if you can sit down with them and talk about where things went wrong. It could be one area where you are failing and you can use the summer break and the help of a private tutor to get back up to speed.
  3. Although we need a break over summer considering using some of the holidays to work on weak areas so you enter next year ahead rather than behind – consider a private tutor or summer school.
  4. If you worked hard and still failed then focus on what you achieved – you studied well and actually sat the exam, don’t let one fail put you off how far you have come.
  5. If you slacked off and failed then maybe it’s time to put a study plan in place, one that fits around your life and having fun but ensures you get the results you want.
  6. Failing a GCSE isn’t the end of the world but it can influence what happens in the next stage of your life so if you are struggling now then ask for help.

If you need helping preparing for GCSEs or summer catch up tutoring help and you live in Manchester or Cheshire (Heaton Mersey, Trafford and more) then call 121 Home Tutors.