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Archive for July, 2013

Tutoring for gifted children

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

A few weeks ago a report published by Ofsted stated that clever children are being failed by our schools. Ofsted inspectors are concerned we have a culture of low expectation, meaning brighter children aren’t recognised or pushed to achieve higher grades.

It’s a problem we see here at 121 Home Tutors. Class teachers often don’t have the resources or time to dedicate to a child who needs pushing. Bright kids can be problematic in the classroom if they become bored. If they aren’t stretched they can switch off and start to be disruptive in the classroom.

So if you have a bright child what can you do to help?

  • School is the first place to start. Talk to their teacher and see if there are ways they can be challenged within the classroom environment. There are various ways this can happen – from setting them harder work to working with an older pupil. A good school will recognise the challenges of each individual pupil and do what they can to accommodate them.
  • Another option is to work with a private tutor. You can work around the school curriculum or you can stretch your child by tutoring them in something entirely different – a new language maybe. It doesn’t have to be about racing ahead at school – the aim is to keep your child engaged in learning.
  • Find alternative ways to develop your child outside of education. Sign them up for activities and clubs – their social development is as important as their academic excellence.

If you’d like more information on tutoring for gifted children at primary or secondary level in Manchester and Cheshire call 121 Home Tutors today. 


The summer holidays are here!

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Most children have now finished school for the long summer holidays (or it’s your last week next week!). So how can you balance fun with a bit of education over the next six weeks?

  • The first thing we advise is that for a week or so you just forget learning. Give yourself and your children a complete break and refresh. Some children, especially those who have had significant exams, may need a much longer break. And that’s fine. Most children can cope well returning in September even if they haven’t studied over summer.
  • Remember if you do want to ‘keep your hand in’ with education that it isn’t school – make learning fun and be led by what your child wants. Take them to the library and choose whatever book they want (they are still reading) or find a fun museum to visit (MOSI in Manchester is fantastic).
  • If you want to be more structured about it then a summer club or tutor can offer educational opportunities that are still fun – there are science camps, maths clubs and physical activities (that’s still learning!).
  • If your child has fallen behind during the academic year then the summer holidays can be the perfect time to catch up and start with renewed energy and enthusiasm in September. Look for a tutor who can offer a structured way to get them back on track but keep it fun. Make sure you build in lots of rest and breaks so they don’t enter the new school year tired.
  • Don’t forget the simple things that encourage learning – board games, shopping (great for maths skills) and trips to the park for nature spotting.

If you’d like to know more about summer tutoring in Didsbury, Sale, Altrincham, Wilmslow and Northenden (Manchester and Cheshire) call us today. 

How young is too young for tutoring?

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Would you hire a private tutor for your two year old?  Believe it or not some parents do. Recent reports have suggested that parents are signing very young children up for elocution lessons to prepare them for future educational settings such as prep school or Oxbridge.  So is tutoring at such a young age necessarily a bad thing?

  • Many parents argue that they have to get a tutor for their young children not because they want to but because of the education system. It’s not an issue in every part of the country but in London there is fierce competition for good state schools and many parents turn to paid for education and entrance exams to give their child a decent education. What this does mean is that some children need some help to prepare for those tests and so tutoring might be a necessary evil.
  • Children are meant to learn – it’s what we’re programmed to do. Most children, given the chance, will absorb huge amounts of information and love learning. That doesn’t mean that tutors should be the ones doing the teaching but parents are busy and sometimes might need a bit of a support (but we do think teaching for young children is best done by those closest to them).
  • We’ve written before about tutoring for primary school children and how it can help with confidence and teach them to love learning.  There are plenty of reasons why using a tutor when your child is 5, 6 or 7 might be a good thing.

If you’d like to know more about tutoring for younger and primary aged school children drop us a line. 121 Home Tutors cover Manchester and Cheshire.


The end of the 11+?

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Chelmsford County High School for Girls recently announced they will be replacing the 11+ (11-plus) with a new selection system. The headmistress of the school took this step because she felt the existing 11-plus discouraged girls from applying because their parents couldn’t afford the tutoring required. The new test is designed to be ‘tutor proof’, meaning everyone who applies has a fair chance.  Other schools in the south of England have made similar decisions after seeing a tutoring and coaching culture develop.

The tests that are being used to replace the 11+ are supposedly more unpredictable, and able to distinguish those who are naturally bright from those who have been intensively tutored. Our concern is that rather than creating less demand for tutoring the unpredictable nature of the test will increase the need for tutors.  These schools are not stopping selection just changing they way they do it. Selection on academic ability must always require some testing, for which there will (and always has been) tutoring.

We haven’t yet heard of the 11 plus style selection tests being scrapped or replaced in Manchester or Cheshire but we will watch closely what is happening in the rest of the UK. Manchester Grammar School do carry out an assessment day and interview as part of their selection to try and  lessen the focus on tutoring to get a place.

We do agree that parents panic when it comes to selection and the 11+. Over the last few years we have had enquiries for younger children. This seems to be because parents are told by school or other parents that the ‘best’ tutors are booked up years in advance (this usually isn’t the case) and they need to get their name down. We do agree that pressure at such a young age isn’t ideal and much of the ‘preparation’ work with younger children should be done at home in a fun way.

If you’d like to know more about 11 plus (11+) tutoring for Trafford and other Manchester grammar schools call us today.