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Archive for the ‘Literacy’ Category

Tutoring and education news

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Here’s a round up of what’s happening in the world of education and tutoring…

Did you know you can get a ‘placement consultant’ to help get your child into the ‘right school’. A kind of head hunter for 8 year olds!

Four and five year olds will be tested on literacy and reasoning from 2016

What does the gender gap mean for boys and girls in school (and once they leave)

University applications on the rise

If you want to chat to us about anything that’s happening in the world of education and tutoring you can find our details here. 

Literacy and maths in the UK – are we failing our children?

Friday, October 25th, 2013

This month the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released the results of a large study measuring the literacy and numeracy skills of 16 to 24-year-olds  across the world. The results for England were shocking – 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy out of 24 countries in the study.

The study involved testing 166,000 young people and adults (age 16-65) from different countries including the UK, England and Northern Ireland. The study looked at literacy, numeracy and digital skills. Japan and Finland topped the tables while the UK lagged far behind. One of the most worrying findings was that in the UK the younger population fared badly compared to older people (in most industrialised countries younger people do better). This shows a continuing decline rather than improvement in skills.

There have been calls in the last couple of years to ‘toughen up’ the UK system, reintroducing exams and getting rid of coursework in a bid to improve skills. The study throws up a number of questions around testing of children in the education system – because despite a year on year increase in GCSE results between 1997-2010 the study has shown many young adults lack basic skills in key areas.

It’s vital we tackle this issue right now, not only for the future careers of our children but also to put the UK in a strong position in the global workforce.

If your child needs support with basic literacy, numeracy or digital skills then one to one private tutoring with 121 Home Tutors can help. We cover Manchester and Cheshire (Didsbury, Sale, Trafford) – call us today. 

Is txt speak the future?

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Did you know 20 years ago this month the first ever text message was sent. A Vodafone employee sent a message from his computer to a colleague’s mobile phone – then known as a telenote message (and for those interested it said ‘Merry Christmas’). Fast forward twenty years and telenotes have become texts and around 3 billion texts will be sent in the UK this week.

From an educational point of view texting has had a huge impact – with an estimated three-quarters of 10 years old owning a phone. Many schools have now banned phones within schools because of the disruption they cause in class but the introduction of texting has been much more far reaching. Texting has changed the way we communicate, making it instantaneous but at the same time slightly removed. We can’t see the face of the person we are talking to or pick up on subtle expressions that tell you more about what a person is saying. Texting is very easy to do – a quick message dashed off without thought, especially from another child and without context, can upset your child. On the plus side it allows children who might otherwise be shy face to face a way of communicating and building friendships.

It has also significantly changed the language we use, from the introduction of text speak to disappearing punctuation. We often hear from parents that they are concerned about text speak replacing conventional language and that it might impact on their child’s academic achievement.  Although the last thing we want to see is bad grammar and sentence construction we view language as constantly changing. We feel encourgaging any form of communication and language use is a good thing and you can always modify how your child uses language as you go along.

If you have any concerns about your child and their literacy skills then one to one tutoring (we cover Manchester and Cheshire) can help, contact 121 Home Tutors.

How did you learn to read?

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Can you cast your mind back and remember how you learnt to read? How does it compare with how your children have learnt to read? In most UK schools children are taught to read using a phonics system (decoding words by sounds) but the debate about whether this is the best method continues to rumble on.

Alison,  our MD recalls how she learnt to read…”I remember being read bedtime stories , my mum thought I could read but then worked out I’d memorised the stories! Then I just remember reading lots books  alone. I can’t really remember any school input though do remember lots of copying [but think that was handwriting lessons!]”. There’s a great opinion piece here on the best way to teach children to read and we thought we’d share some top tips from our tutors who have helped hundreds of primary and secondary children improve their reading skills.

  • Phonics might feel very foreign, especially if you didn’t learn to read that way but it’s worth improving your own knowledge (buy a basic phonics book or ask your child’s class teacher) as it’s a great way for most children to learn the basics of words and reading.
  • A word of caution about phonics – it doesn’t work for all children, some really struggle and if your child doesn’t seem to grasp the basics then it’s time to sit down with their teacher (and possibly a one to one tutor) to develop different learining to read strategies so they don’t lose confidence and fall behind.
  • Make sure that you instill that reading is fun. There may be important school books to read but magazines  and websites are just as good. Your child is more likely to want to learn if they are enjoying themselves.

Our last tip would be to give your child access to reading books, whether that’s buying them or using your local library or charity shops. If you think your child needs support with reading then we can help – call 121 Home Tutors and chat to us about reading support at primary and secondary level across Manchester and Cheshire (Heaton Mersey, Northenden, Cheadle, Alderley Edge).