You are currently browsing the archives for the Learning Support category.



RSS Feed

RSS Subscribe to RSS

Archive for the ‘Learning Support’ Category

Do You Suffer From Homework Hell?

Monday, March 26th, 2018

Homework hell. It can certainly feel like this if your child would rather do anything but! We explored how homework can be a battleground a few years back. Yet clearly this issue has not gone away…

In fact, it’s worsened as a recent Ofsted survey reveals. Though many parents welcome homework as a way for their child to gain independent learning skills, many parents echoed that homework can cause stress at home.

My child has special needs and just doesn’t ‘get’ it

If your child has special needs, the problems can be acute. Because some children just don’t ‘get’ what they have to do, or need help to understand it, they can take longer to complete set work – putting even more pressure on family life.

Some children end up so exhausted by homework that it can destroy their self-esteem. Is your child in this boat too?

It’s not just primary school kids this impacts on. Secondary school students sitting GCSEs and A Levels also struggle to both organise their time and complete set tasks.

How to help your SEND child tick the ‘homework done’ box

  1. Stick to a routine. If your child can have a rest and a snack first, then it’ll be easier to complete homework afterwards. Or if your child finds it easier to do homework first, then stick to that routine. Either way, routine can help you manage expectations better.
  2. Communicate with school if your son or daughter is in constant battle with homework. Ask if teachers can differentiate homework – or at least break down into steps – so your child finds it easier to do. Write in homework planners that your child tried their best to complete in a reasonable time, so your child isn’t penalised for not achieving enough.
  3. Keep a homework calendar so you can check when HW is set, and when due in.
  4. Consider private tuition if your son or daughter needs specialised help to access their learning. This might help if you feel out of your depth, or have work commitments that leave you little time or energy.

In fact, as our team of Manchester and Cheshire tutors find, one-to-one tuition can often turn a crisis round by steering children onto a better learning path.

Get in touch when you’re ready to talk it through with a professional who understands.

Is your child a struggler?

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

With Sats exams, GCSEs and A Levels in sight, the push for success is in overdrive. But what about the child who:

  • isn’t in a top set and feels inferior to his or her peers
  • is home schooled and has gaps in their learning
  • has zero confidence and might dread going to school
  • has a learning problem which seems to affect everything

Here at 121 Home Tutors, we speak to so many parents across Manchester and Cheshire whose children don’t ‘fit’ the media image of a happy child who learns with ease.

More often than not parents reach out to us because they are troubled by their child’s difficulties and lack of progress. Often, many lose hope that things will ever change…

So what does make the difference?

The truth is, every child has needs. Every child hits a wall at some point in their education. And every child needs that little bit extra support to help lift them out of the fog.

Here’s three ideas to help you find a way forward:

  1. Learn what your child is learning. You’ll discover that what your child is learning now is different to what you learnt at school. Apart from your child’s school website – usually packed with information – start here.
  2. Prioritise one problem at a time. Because children can feel quickly overwhelmed by all their problems, try to deal proactively with one issue at a time – reassuring your child that small steps are just as important as huge leaps.
  3. Arrange one-to-one help. A tutor onside can be a marvellous support system. Just having another adult who can share the load can make all the difference. Plus, a tutor who works with strugglers every day will have a range of techniques to whip out of the bag at a moment’s notice.

Don’t struggle on hoping things will change. Call us at 121 Home Tutors…

Could school cuts cost your child’s education?

Monday, February 6th, 2017

Education is facing a financial crisis. With the government shake-up of funding announced recently, could Manchester and Cheshire schools be affected?

Local headteachers say yes! You might have seen alarming reports about the prospect of a four-day school week as heads consider ways to balance the budget. Whether this comes to fruition remains to be seen. What is happening now is a cut in staff and services.

How could a reduced budget affect my child?

With a tightly squeezed budget, your child’s school over the coming year could be forced to:

  • Increase class sizes
  • Reduce 1:1 support outside the classroom
  • Cut teaching assistants
  • Make teachers redundant
  • Cut specific subjects

With further strain on funding for SEND children, plus those with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, where does this leave you if your child struggles at school already?

In short, less support. For instance, teachers who once might have had two classroom assistants in class are now facing losing such vital help. Of course, TAs will still be in schools – there will just be less of them…

Meanwhile, increased class sizes put teachers under even more pressure – through no fault of their own. This means that children who really need extra support often struggle to get it.

Could a private tutor help?

Many parents approach us at 121 Home Tutors worried that their child isn’t coping in class, or has slipped through the net.

In fact, parents of primary and secondary school children with learning difficulties often get in touch at their wits end – unsure how to turn their child’s fortunes round.

Please remember, you’re never alone. And that you’re more than welcome to get in touch with our tutor team who at the very least would be happy to advise you.



Is your child falling through the SEN gap?

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

As a popular tuition service across Trafford, we meet so many parents who have constant worries about their child’s education. This year was no exception…

One of the problems in schools, whether at primary or secondary, is that there is only so much support available to struggling children in the classroom. Unless your child has a full statement, many children simply fall through the gap.

It’s important to remember that an SEN child can be highly intelligent – often gifted. Aspergers and dyslexic children, for example, are smart cookies! 121 Home Tutors often support SEN children preparing for local Grammar or independent school exams too.

The problem is that a learning difficulty affects day-to-day progress, and can wipe out confidence. That’s why it makes such a difference to have one-to-one support with a patient teacher who can turn a child’s fortunes round.

And then there’s the issue of children who are not diagnosed; we see this a lot. Children, for instance, who struggled like mad in primary school with writing, reading and communication – are then later diagnosed with conditions such as Sensory Processing Disorder.

Overwhelmed and need help?

Private tuition is not just about helping a child with an academic subject or learning problem. It’s about giving emotional support and confidence too.

If you’re worried to bits about your child, and don’t know what to do for the best, call 121 Home Tutors.

With years of experience in helping parents get through tough times – not to mention incredible success with children who’ve fallen through the net at school – we are there for you too.

Is tutoring too tiring?

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Over the last few months there have been lots of reports that tutoring can be damaging to children. Just this month one headmaster said private tutoring overloads children with work and makes them too tired.

If you’re thinking about hiring a private tutor how do you ensure it’s a positive experience that benefits your child? Here are our top tips.

  • Work with an experienced tutor, checked by a reputable company. That will mean they will understand how tutoring works and what an ‘average’ child can cope with.
  • If you decide to use a tutor then be prepared to spend some time with the tutor explaining what your child is like, what you think they can cope with and what ‘normal’ is for your child. A good tutor will also get to know and read your child but no one knows them better than you.
  • Make sure your tutor has a plan and that it fits in with other activities and isn’t overloading your child on any day or week.
  • It depends on your child but we wouldn’t normally recommend tutoring for more than 2 subjects at any one time.
  • As soon as you start seeing signs that your child isn’t coping with tutoring or it is negatively affecting their performance in school then reassess things with the tutor.
  • Ask your child how they feel – can they cope? Are they too tired?
  • Build in plenty of down time for your child – they need to blow off steam!

If you need help with finding a private tutor in Manchester (we cover all areas) or Cheshire (Didsbury, Wilmslow) then call 121 Home Tutors today.


We hope you all have a fantastic Christmas break and look forward to seeing you back reading our blog in 2014.


The Child Driven education

Monday, May 13th, 2013

TED is an organisation devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It’s a fantastic resource for students (and teachers) to watch inspirational speakers talk about a variety of topics. We recently came across educational researcher Sugata Mitra talking at TED about children and teaching.

“There are places on earth, in every country, where, for various reasons, good schools cannot be built and good teachers cannot or do not want to go…”

There are some fascinating insights on why and how children learn. There’s a very powerful message about children being interested in something in order to be educated.

We frequently find students who come to us for tutoring aren’t interested in either the topic or the way it’s being taught in the classroom. It becomes our job to find new ways to engage a child, either by taking a different approach to learning (so  we might ditch the books and use videos, or turn off the computers and try drawing mind maps and using pens and paper). What we find, as Arthur C Clarke says in the video, is once a child is interested it becomes education.

If you’d like to know more about how one to one tutoring (covering Manchester, Hulme, Trafford, Heaton Mersey, Wilmslow and other areas) and how it can change your child’s approach to education call us today. 

Summer study schools

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

With the summer holidays fast approaching (just a couple of months away)  you might be thinking about how you can encourage your child to keep on studying, stay ahead of the crowd or catch up on a subject they have struggled with during the academic year.

If you are doing A Level or at University, you may want to use this time to find your feet with new topics or build up your confidence before you go back in September. Summer is also a key time to begin preparation for the 11+ (eleven plus). If you already work with a private tutor then you might be familiar with the idea of summer schools. At 121 Home Tutors we are planning a series of small group summer schools in the Manchester and Cheshire areas over the summer period. Here’s a rundown of what will be on offer (we can also design and deliver something specific for your child or a group of friends or in a one to one setting).

  •  11+ summer school. Preparing for studying and taking the 11+ exam and the very specific set of skills required to pass this exam.
  • Primary to KS3 summer school (age appropriate groups). A mix of Maths, English, Science and activities.
  •  Your child can attend for 1 day or up to 3 weeks.
  •  Prices start at £25 per child per day including lunch for 10am-3pm. There are opportunities for you to extend the days at an additional £5 per hour.
  •  The schools will take place in a central location easily accessed from Altrincham, Didsbury, Chorlton, Sale and Trafford areas.

Demand is already high for these courses and places are limited so if you are interested then do contact us soon.

Is there ever a stupid question?

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

New research suggests that secondary school pupils are so scared of looking stupid in maths lessons they will not tell their teachers if they do not understand. The survey found that most children would rather ask friends or family than risk the embarrassment of getting the answer wrong and many felt like they should already know the answer.

As adults we know this feeling isn’t restricted to children. How many times have you been sat in a conference or meeting wanting to ask a question but unable to do so in case you look daft? Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t want to double check something in case the person accused you of not listening? And we know you can all remember being in the classroom and hearing ‘weren’t you paying attention in the last lesson’ ‘do you ever listen’ ‘you should know that we covered it last week’. So if we feel like this as adults then how can we expect children to enthusiastically thrust their hands up to answer in a classroom situation?

If the fear of looking silly is totally natural then how we help children (at both primary and secondary level) overcome their fears and get the most out of their education?

  •  Tell them it’s natural! Talk to your children, explain that you felt the same way when you were younger and that even as an adult you experience those same feelings. Children feel less alone when they know someone else is going through the same thing.
  •  Work on classroom confidence – this is one of the main reasons people come to 121 Home Tutors. We can work on subjects slowly and build up confidence so students feel they have a sufficient depth of knowledge to answer a question well.
  •  Focus on internal success. Your child doesn’t always have to shout out. Sometimes it’s enough to say the answer in your head and have it confirmed by what someone else says.
  •  Write it down. If your child feels like they can’t say things out loud then get them to write questions down and discuss them with their teacher (or even you) at home.
  •  Teach your child there is never a stupid question. Some of our biggest leaps in knowledge happen when we take risks and make mistakes.

Did you know private tutoring can help with classroom confidence? We have English, Maths and German tutors at primary and secondary levels across Manchester and Cheshire). Contact us today.



Tutoring and Dyslexia

Friday, July 30th, 2010

We often get enquiries from parents of children with mild to moderate dyslexia. They often want to know whether we can help, and whether or not tutoring is effective for individuals with the kinds of difficulties with literacy associated with dyslexia.

The short answer is yes – we can almost always help. However, we do come across a few common questions:

Should I hire a subject tutor, or a specialist dyslexia tutor?
At 121 we specialise in tutors for English, Maths, Science and many other subjects, offering help to students at Primary through to A-level and beyond. In our experience, dyslexic students with difficulties in particular subject areas do very well with standard subject tutors.

If your child has substantial problems with dyslexia, the chances are that he or she already gets additional help in school. An external dyslexia tutor may not be able to add much to that, and probably won’t be able to give the subject-specific guidance that older children, in particular, need.

Will my dyslexic child struggle with a tutor?
Most children with dyslexia can work with a tutor just as effectively as other children. Nearly all of our tutors have experience of dealing with dyslexic students in classroom situations. In fact, students with problems like dyslexia may derive particular benefit from working with a tutor, as it allows topic areas to be covered in a way that suits the individual student’s learning style.

It is worth remembering that “dyslexia” is something of a catch-all term that is used to describe a relatively wide range of specific problems, all broadly associated with processing written information, and which may have an impact on your child’s reading or writing abilities, or both. It is not a question of intelligence – in fact, some children with dyslexia-type problems are very bright indeed. Very many children have some of the difficulties associated with dyslexia, and most have mild or relatively mild problems that can be overcome with help and effort.

Very severe dyslexia requires in-depth specialist attention. However, the majority of students with dyslexia-type problems can benefit from tuition in much the same way as other students.

What does the tutor need to know?

Before starting tuition, it would be useful to know a little about the specific problems your child has experienced in the past, especially with reference to the subject being tutored. This might include problems with the spelling of particular scientific terms or difficulty making sense of long Maths problems. Usually, however, your child will be best placed to explain to his or her tutor the nature of the difficulties faced, and the steps that have been taken in school to address them.

I think my child might be dyslexic – can you help?
If you think your child might have a problem with reading comprehension or fluency – which, very broadly, are the most common difficulties that the general term “dyslexia” is used to describe – it is important that you talk to his or her school in the first instance so that a proper assessment can be carried out. If your child is well into secondary school, it is likely that any severe problems would have been spotted before now, and that he or she has evolved coping strategies to deal with minor difficulties. However, if in doubt, it’s always best to raise your concerns with your child’s teachers in the first instance.

Will my child get extra time in exams?
If you child has a dyslexia-type problem or other learning disability, there’s a very good chance he or she will get extra time in examinations – it is worth checking with your child’s teacher and/or examination officer that the exam boards have been made informed. Some children with specific learning difficulties are also allowed to type answers on a laptop or have an amenuenis (someone to write the answers for them).

For most children with dyslexia, extra time can make a substantial difference. In our experience, many don’t even use the extra time – just knowing that it’s available helps them stop worrying that their dyslexia is going to have an adverse effect on their results.

However, extra time and other concessions are only available to students whose dyslexia has been formally identified – another reason why, if you’re in doubt, you should talk to your child’s teachers.

My child has a different condition – can s/he still work with a tutor?
Special educational needs aren’t limited to dyslexia. In our experience, children with other learning difficulties – such as behaviours on the autistic spectrum, or hyperactivity and attention disorders – can also do well with one-to-one tuition. Many such children actually thrive with an individual tutor in a way that they find difficult in a classroom situation.

Of course, everyone’s circumstances are different. If you’re thinking about taking on a tutor to work with your child, but you’re not sure where to start or what exactly is needed, feel free to get in touch for a no-obligation chat. 121 Home Tutors can help with students with independent and grammar school entrance tests, GCSEs, A Levels and more and we have qualified private tutors in Manchester, Stockport, Wilmslow & Cheshire areas.