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Archive for September, 2013

My child is struggling with phonics – do we need a tutor?

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Most children in the UK learn to read using phonics. We know some parents struggle with how to support their child, especially if they aren’t familiar with how phonics fits with learning to read and English.

Recently we had a call from a concerned parent in the Knutsford area. Her daughter has just gone into Year 2 at a local primary school. They’d worked hard over summer, continuing to read books and working on sounding out words she was struggling with. Her mum told us that she’d come home from school one day in tears, they’d been working on phonics in class and writing stories. Her daughter feels like she isn’t as good as her friends at reading and writing and her confidence is really starting to suffer.

Some parents don’t think it’s appropriate for primary age children to have tutors. But tutors at this age aren’t focused on hot-housing or helping children pass exams. Their focus is on helping a child learn fundamentals (such as the building blocks of English and Maths) so they can progress through school as confident and happy pupils.

We asked our tutors for their top three tips for helping primary age children with English basics:

  1. Make it fun. Kids feel enough pressure at school so ensure any reading and writing activities at home are light and enjoyable. Remember you can read anything with your child – a comic, packaging, a website – anything that gets them comfortable with language.
  2. Be supportive. Focus less on what your child is doing badly and heap praise on anything they do well. This well help to build their confidence.
  3. Consider a private one to one tutor, someone who can come into your home and support your child’s learning. Look for someone with relevant experience with children of a similar age.

If you’d like to know more about primary tutoring for English and other basic subjects in areas including Macclesfield, Knutsford, Cheshire and Manchester contact 121 Home Tutors today.


How to write a personal statement

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

If you want to go to university in 2014 then you’ll probably be applying right now. For most people the hardest part of the UCAS application is the personal statement section. We’ve put together some top tips on crafting a great personal statement.

1. Your personal statement is 47 lines (4000 characters) which tells the university you are applying to why they should offer you a place. It’s your chance to explain exactly why you want to study on that course and at that university. It’s also a chance to blow your own trumpet about what a good student and well-rounded person you are.  Admissions tutors will use this (and sometimes an interview) to decide how well-suited you are to a course and university.

2. You need to be aware of the UCAS deadlines (some have an early October deadline) and decide which course you want to study. It’s better if your personal statement relates to the course you want to study for.

3. Start with writing down some general ideas. You might want to think about why the course interests you, any work experience you have, why that particular university appeals to you, any committees or out of school clubs you are involved in, any hobbies you have, any awards you have won, examples that show you are a contentious student.

4. On a separate sheet clearly define why you want to study a certain course – your passion has to jump off the page.  It’s a good exercise if you want to check that a specific course is the right one for you.

5. Have a look at example personal statements to help with language and layout but remember your personal statement has to come from you.  It has to be honest and reflect who you are, but keep it positive and enthusiastic.

6. Think about your format – it’s best not to write in one big block, consider breaking your statement down into sections such as introduction, work experience, interests outside of school (remember to focus on those that show you’re a responsible, confident person who sticks at things).

7. Always do a rough draft first and then edit down.  You don’t have to write precisely 4000 characters.  If you are struggling then check university websites to see if they have any advice on writing personal statements as this will give you an idea of what they might look for.

8. Finally check the UCAS guidelines for formatting your personal statement – remember the 47 line/4000 character limit.

If you need help with your personal statement one of our personal tutors based in Manchester or Cheshire can help, just call 121 Home Tutors today. 

Religious Studies tuition

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

One subject we get regular calls about is religious studies. We have private tutors who cover Manchester and Salford tutoring in Religious Studies to GCSE level. Parents often call us because it’s not a subject they feel comfortable supporting their child with or don’t feel they have the materials they need to tutor in their own home.

So what do you need to know about religious studies?

  • You don’t have to believe in a specific religion to study RS (sometimes called RE).
  • In the UK all state Catholic, C of E (Church of England) and Jewish schools provide compulsory religious education. It covers a variety of faiths but in most schools does focus more on Christian education.
  • The syllabus for religious studies is agreed by each local authority and there is no national curriculum – your school should be able to show you a plan of what they intend to study during the academic year.
  • As a parent you have the right to withdraw your child (with the schools agreement) from religious education.
  • If you are interested in some of the topics that your child might cover at GCSE level you can find some great introductory information on the BBC Bitesize website. 

If you would like more information on religious studies tutor in your own home call 121 Tutors today. We cover Manchester (including Salford) up to GCSE level.