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Archive for July, 2015

GCSE Exam System Shake-up From September 2015

Monday, July 27th, 2015

The long awaited new GSCEs are almost here! Starting in September 2015, the first cohort of year 10 students will be studying the new English and Maths qualifications, due for sitting in summer 2017.

And it really spells quite a marked change from the previous generation! Here are a few questions and answers to help you understand what’s ahead.

How will numerical grading work?

For starters, the graded A*to G system has been replaced by a numerical scale from 1-9 – with 9 replacing the previous A* grade. Grade 4 roughly equates to a C grade, leaving grade 7 to match a low grade A and grade 1 covers the previous F and G grades.

This will take some time to get used to, for both students, parents and (no doubt) future employers.

Will course content change too?

Apart from grade changes, content has also had an overhaul. All subjects will be linear in nature, meaning that assessment isn’t staggered through a two year course any more. Instead, students will sit an end of course exam.

Here’s more information regarding the Maths GCSE changes, and English.

Will the exams be harder?

We think they will as higher and foundation tiers are being removed. And without coursework to fall back on, the new year 10 cohort will need to draw on different skills: memory, exam technique and essay skills, for instance.

Inevitably, special needs students with memory issues (such as Dyslexia) or those who struggle in exams will need more support than ever. And because English now gives more weighting for grammar, it will be essential for students about to embark on the new syllabus to brush up on the basics.

Can private tuition help?

Definitely – especially with exam technique. If your child is about to start year 10, give us a shout. We’ve a team of experienced English and Maths tutors across the Manchester and Cheshire area ready to help…


How to turn a bad report into a good one

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Just like adults, children are very sensitve about criticism. And just like adults, they struggle to articulate how they feel sometimes.

When it comes to school, dealing with the disappointment of an end-of-year report can be tough. Some children shrug their shoulders to give you the impression they’re not bothered – when in fact they are really upset about it.

Struggling children already feel different to their peers. They see class mates getting consistently top marks. Teachers sometimes seat them on a table of ‘other’ strugglers – even announcing to the class that those with special needs ‘sit there.’

An end-of-term report often compounds feelings of failure. Even though plenty of positive comments are made, children with knocked confidence often sieze upon the negative ‘must try better’ comments as an affirmation that they are rubbish.

Poor behaviour in class, or a child who is often distracted from the lesson, could be a sign that he or she is struggling with that subject.

Turn a negative into a positive

Instead of telling your child off, or stressing they must try harder next term, it can help to have a relaxed chat about the report. If you struggled at school in a subject, tell them. Share your experiences, use empathy.

This approach is more likely to make your child feel they are not alone, and that certain subjects such as Maths, English and Science are tricky for other people too.

Also, over the summer, see if you can build in some opportunities to help your child with the subject they are struggling with. There are some fantastic resources nowadays. Or you can call us – of course – if you are in the Manchester or Cheshire area, to arrange for one of our fab tutors to come along to work one-to-one.

Holiday tuition can give your child a huge boost before they go back to school in September. Sometimes, all it takes is a few sessions to completely change a child’s view of a subject. Or to clear up any confusion.

Just give us a ring or email the team to find out how it works…