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Archive for the ‘Secondary school’ Category

Summer Term Results a Wake-Up Call?

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

No parent wants to admit that their child is struggling with a subject or behind. But the facts speak for themselves…

Year 10 and 12 students often face mock exams in the summer term – only to find they are not where they need to be. With two full terms to go before, panic can easily set in.

Year 6, transitioning into year 7, will be either inspired by their SATs results or gutted by them. Even though this year’s end of primary SATs results were slightly up – with 61% of children reaching the expected standard in reading, writing and maths – this still leaves almost 40% of children struggling…

And worse, as they head off to enjoy a taster day at secondary, tucked in the back of their minds is that they’ve failed their first six years’ of education…

I’m rubbish

Though failure is part of life, there’s no mistaking how hard it can hit our children. Some feel ashamed that they don’t measure up, while others dread going back to school for fear of being teased.

Others, however, take it personally – as if their results are a reflection of them as human beings. If your child has ever cried, ‘I’m rubbish!’ or, ‘I hate myself’ you’ll know how devastating it can be.

That’s why it’s essential to fight feelings of failure head on:

  • Praise your child like mad. Never underestimate the power of accepting your child for their efforts as well as achievements – however small
  • Help them put the exam grades in perspective. Rather than bemoan the marks with them, discuss how to improve in the future. This will encourage them to see that failure is something to learn from
  • Arrange a spot of tuition over the summer holidays and even into the autumn term to help your child get back on track

Look forward, not back

Student stress is well documented – sadly. That’s why it’s even more important to support our children earlier to help build resilience and coping strategies as they go through their education.

If summer tuition could help your child look forward, not back, please get in touch for a no-obligation chat. As many parents across Manchester and Cheshire tell us, it’s so nice to speak to someone who understands.

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.



How to choose a secondary school

Monday, October 20th, 2014

If you are one of hundreds of parents across Manchester and Cheshire choosing a secondary school for your child, you’ll know it can be a tough decision.

Nowadays, it’s not just a case of proximity. Although how near you live to the school gates is often an admissions criteria important to consider. With organised open days and glossy brochures aplenty, how do parents see the real picture?

  1. Visit the school. After presentations, wander round talking to teachers and pupils. Is there a relaxed, happy atmosphere? How do students interact with teachers? Pop into different classrooms to get a ‘feel’ for the learning environment.
  2. Listen to the grapevine. Parental talk at the school gate is often enlightening. While no school is perfect, speak to other parents whose children already attend there. Chatting at the school gates can be an eye-opener.
  3. Keep an open mind. Ofsted reports don’t always reflect the true picture. If you want statistics, far better to look through league tables. Focus on value-added stats and expected progress figures rather than A*-C percentages. Academic success is undoubtedly important. So do remember that any year’s results depend on that particular year’s cohort. Hence why it’s not ideal to determine a school’s worth on whether its grades have improved by a percentage!
  4. What’s extra? Schools are not exam factories. Check out extra-curricular clubs and opportunities beyond the classroom. What after-school facilities are there?
Finally, always ask: will my child fit in, and be happy there? Hope that’s helped…

By the way, if a place at your chosen school depends on an entrance exam, chat to 121 Home Tutors today. We’ve expert tutors ready to help…

Shorter school holidays make for more successful students

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Last month Michael Gove, Education Minister, argued that pupils in England should spend more hours in school each day and have shorter holidays.

Speaking at an education conference he said that the most successful education system (in East Asia) has both longer days and fewer holidays. He argues that our education system was designed to work around an ‘agricultural system’, maybe harking back to a time when children had to be in the fields helping their parents with the crops and animals. As we are now in more modern times Mr Gove thinks we need to have children in school more to compete with more academically successful countries. He also made the point that longer days combined with shorter holidays would make life easier for working parents.

And maybe in this respect Mr Gove has a point – in families with two full  time working parents early school finishes and long summer holidays can cause real childcare headaches and have a considerable financial impact. If you aren’t lucky enough to have friends or grandparents who can do the school pick ups or act as holiday cover then you can incur huge costs for after school clubs and holiday play schemes.

Many parents and teachers have objected to the idea of longer days because of the pressure many children already find themselves under, especially with the introduction of testing at a younger age (SATS).

Although there may be some benefits to what Mr Gove is suggesting at 121 Home Tutors we’d like to see some research done into the pros and cons for both students and teachers before these steps are taken.

If you’d like to know more about one to one private tutoring in Manchester, Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton and surrounding areas contact us today.


State, independent, religious – what will you choose?

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

On 1st March Year 6 students found out which secondary school they will be going to. In the news last week Nick and Miriam Clegg announced that their son will go a state catholic school. This has caused some controversy, as Nick Clegg has been vocal about the fact he is an atheist. However, his wife is Catholic, their children are being raised in that faith and their son has attended a state catholic primary school.

If you are fast approaching the time when you have to make the choice about secondary school it can be very confusing. For some it’s a simple choice but often good local state schools can be oversubscribed or where you live in relation to the school you want can cause problems. We’ve written before about what to think about when choosing a secondary school for your child but in this blog we’ll explore the main differences between state, independent and religious secondary education.


In the UK to provide free education to all children at primary and secondary level the government funds state schools. There are some state boarding schools that charge fees. There is a vast array of state secondary schools but all follow the National Curriculum. There are state Faith Schools, they have formal links with religious organisations and this religion would form part of your child’s education. These schools often have religion in their admissions criteria. Most grammar schools are state schools with a few fee paying.  There are some schools that receive other kinds of funding; these are known as foundation schools or voluntary controlled schools.


Independent schools, sometimes known as private or public schools, are independent from the Government for the purposes of funding and governance. That means you have to pay fees to go there. Some independent schools have a religious affiliation.


As mentioned above both independent and state schools can have a connection to a particular religious organisation and require you to follow that faith to attend the school. Most faith schools also allow non-religious people to apply to attend the school.

There are a number of other variations in secondary education and you can read more about them here.

If you need help with choosing a secondary school or private tutoring at secondary level call 121 Home Tutors in Manchester & Cheshire.


Secondary school – did you get your first choice?

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

On 1st March Year 6 primary school children found out which secondary school they will be going to. Some local authorities report that over 90% of children were allocated their first place school. But data from 2011 shows those numbers vary depending on where you live. For many parents and children not getting into their first choice can be a crushing disappointment – it can cause practical problems such as transporting children in different directions and emotional issues such as facing being separated from well-established friends.  So if your child didn’t get their first choice what are your options?

  • Don’t discount any route at this stage – you can accept a place at one school, appeal to others and go on the waiting list of other schools.
  • Give your allocated school a chance – go and visit, speak to the head and teachers. Form your own opinion and look objectively at any practical issues getting in the way.
  • If you do want to appeal then focus on the school you wanted and what it can offer your child over and above the school they have been offered a place at.
  • If you are appealing understand the grounds on which you can appeal, be prepared to be specific and offer lots of evidence. It is worth revisiting the entrance criteria for a school.
  • The appeal process needs to be based on fact, not your gut feeling or local gossip. Roughly 1 in 3 appeals are successful.
  • If your child didn’t pass the 11+ then take a moment to reflect – maybe grammar school wasn’t the right path for them?
  • Have a Plan B if your appeal isn’t successful – could you consider independent schooling or home schooling, even for a short period?

If you need advice on tutoring at secondary school level in Manchester or Cheshire (Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton, Heaton Moor, Wilmslow) for Maths, English and many other subjects, contact 121 Home Tutors.