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Archive for March, 2013

Postgraduate degrees – what does the future hold?

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

At 121 Home Tutors we think it’s important to know what is going on in every area of education. Although the majority of our students are at primary and secondary level we also offer support and tutoring to A Level, University, adult and postgraduate students.  Our adult and post grad students sometimes come to us because they need subject specific help but often because they may have been out of education for some time and need help with skills such as essay writing or formulating arguments.  Many of our tutors hold postgraduate degrees and qualifications and we were saddened to read last month that support for postgraduate degrees seems to be on the decline.

Last month eleven leaders of universities, from varying types of institution across the UK, said there was an imminent postgraduate crisis as it was revealed that research councils are withdrawing support for taught master’s courses. These courses are integral to the success of certain academic and professional careers. The university leaders recognise that if less people are able to take these courses then it could have a considerable impact on our economic growth. Last year fees for postgraduate courses rose by an average of 11%, meaning further study may only be available to the wealthy.  The numbers of people taking masters and PhDs has already begun to decline.

For many people graduating with a BA or BSc isn’t enough to put them ahead of the pack, what they need to succeed is postgraduate education. The concern is that if this isn’t affordable for most then it could leave talented people behind.

If  you’d like to discuss postgraduate or adult one to one tutoring in Manchester & Cheshire then contact 121 Home Tutors. We cover most postgraduate subjects.

State, independent, religious – what will you choose?

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

On 1st March Year 6 students found out which secondary school they will be going to. In the news last week Nick and Miriam Clegg announced that their son will go a state catholic school. This has caused some controversy, as Nick Clegg has been vocal about the fact he is an atheist. However, his wife is Catholic, their children are being raised in that faith and their son has attended a state catholic primary school.

If you are fast approaching the time when you have to make the choice about secondary school it can be very confusing. For some it’s a simple choice but often good local state schools can be oversubscribed or where you live in relation to the school you want can cause problems. We’ve written before about what to think about when choosing a secondary school for your child but in this blog we’ll explore the main differences between state, independent and religious secondary education.


In the UK to provide free education to all children at primary and secondary level the government funds state schools. There are some state boarding schools that charge fees. There is a vast array of state secondary schools but all follow the National Curriculum. There are state Faith Schools, they have formal links with religious organisations and this religion would form part of your child’s education. These schools often have religion in their admissions criteria. Most grammar schools are state schools with a few fee paying.  There are some schools that receive other kinds of funding; these are known as foundation schools or voluntary controlled schools.


Independent schools, sometimes known as private or public schools, are independent from the Government for the purposes of funding and governance. That means you have to pay fees to go there. Some independent schools have a religious affiliation.


As mentioned above both independent and state schools can have a connection to a particular religious organisation and require you to follow that faith to attend the school. Most faith schools also allow non-religious people to apply to attend the school.

There are a number of other variations in secondary education and you can read more about them here.

If you need help with choosing a secondary school or private tutoring at secondary level call 121 Home Tutors in Manchester & Cheshire.


Secondary school – did you get your first choice?

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

On 1st March Year 6 primary school children found out which secondary school they will be going to. Some local authorities report that over 90% of children were allocated their first place school. But data from 2011 shows those numbers vary depending on where you live. For many parents and children not getting into their first choice can be a crushing disappointment – it can cause practical problems such as transporting children in different directions and emotional issues such as facing being separated from well-established friends.  So if your child didn’t get their first choice what are your options?

  • Don’t discount any route at this stage – you can accept a place at one school, appeal to others and go on the waiting list of other schools.
  • Give your allocated school a chance – go and visit, speak to the head and teachers. Form your own opinion and look objectively at any practical issues getting in the way.
  • If you do want to appeal then focus on the school you wanted and what it can offer your child over and above the school they have been offered a place at.
  • If you are appealing understand the grounds on which you can appeal, be prepared to be specific and offer lots of evidence. It is worth revisiting the entrance criteria for a school.
  • The appeal process needs to be based on fact, not your gut feeling or local gossip. Roughly 1 in 3 appeals are successful.
  • If your child didn’t pass the 11+ then take a moment to reflect – maybe grammar school wasn’t the right path for them?
  • Have a Plan B if your appeal isn’t successful – could you consider independent schooling or home schooling, even for a short period?

If you need advice on tutoring at secondary school level in Manchester or Cheshire (Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton, Heaton Moor, Wilmslow) for Maths, English and many other subjects, contact 121 Home Tutors.

Choosing A Level subjects

Monday, March 4th, 2013


It’s that time of the year when students in year 11 are deciding if they want to go onto sixth form or college and study A Levels. This is also the time when they have to decide what subjects they want to study. So if you are in this position how do you begin to pick the right subjects for you?

  • The first thing to do is not panic! Not many people have a good idea of what they want to do with the rest of their life at 15.
  • If you have a rough idea of a future degree or career then you’ll probably need subjects in that area. But it’s also worth considering a back up plan. So, for example, if you want to study Medicine and become a doctor you need specific science subject. You might also want to consider taking something that sits well alongside (such as psychology) to give you alternate career/degree choices or something entirely different (such as French) if you decide that career path isn’t for you half way through your A Levels.
  •  Always check university requirements in detail, if you have an idea of what you want to study at Uni thenyou need to check if they have any specific A Level requirements. Not all courses or universities do but make sure you know this before making A Level choices.
  • The Russell Group is an association of 24 UK Universities. These tend to be quite prestigious and they publish a list of “facilitating subjects”, the advice is to pick two of these as A Levels if you want to apply to a Russell Group Uni.
  • Don’t be pressured into taking subjects you don’t like or don’t want to study – two years is a long time to stick at something you hate.

You can find more useful advice in this article. If you want to know more about one to one private tutoring at GCSE or A Level in Manchester or Cheshire you can contact us here.