Categories

Archives

RSS Feed

RSS Subscribe to RSS

Latest News

Is tutor regulation the way forward?

June 26th, 2013

Last month was packed full of news about private tutoring and whether it is a good or bad thing. And we’ve spotted a few news items discussing whether tutoring needs more regulation. The Centre for Market Reform of Education is making plans to set up the first national association for tutors.

The idea is such an association would develop industry standards and improve the consistency of tutoring. It is just at the consultation phase, but it would require all tutors to be vetted (checking background information) and to have a minimum set of qualifications. This minimum level would mean all tutors would have to have a degree in their specialist subject (so to tutor GCSE Maths they would need a degree in Maths) if they were tutoring children over the age of 11. For younger children the tutor would still have to have a degree but in could be in any subject.

There are no plans to make membership compulsory for all tutors.

At 121 Home Tutors many of our tutors do have degrees but we don’t think insisting on that level of education is always needed. We always ask our tutors to be at least one level above the students they are teaching (so they must have a degree in English to tutor A Level English). We agree that that a specialist subject tutor with a degree is a good idea for secondary school students but it’s not always needed for younger children.

We’ve found over the years that undergraduates can make fantastic tutors as they are enthusiastic and students often relate very well to younger tutors. We realise there is a need to ensure tutoring is being carried out correctly and we encourage all our tutors to learn and understand the correct curriculum. We also offer ongoing support to our tutors and encourage them to take teaching qualifications or gain teaching experience.

In our experience good tutors continue to find work through word of mouth and recommendations from other parents. On the other hand ‘bad’ tutors tend to be known locally and quickly find it hard to get work. It’s also worth remembering that you are rarely ‘stuck’ with a tutor as they are on a week by week basis.

Our major concern is that if you insist that all tutors are graduates you make tutoring much more exclusive (and expensive) and then there’s no opportunity for the very students who need the help to access tuition.

If you’d like to know more about our approach to private tutoring in Manchester and Cheshire (Sale, Trafford, Didsbury, Heaton Moor) then contact 121 Home Tutors today.

 

 

Is your child sitting SATs?

April 14th, 2018

Sitting exams is an inevitable fact of school life. The two key tests at Primary level are the Year 2 and Year 6 SATs.

As a parent, it’s natural to worry about how your child might do. However, it’s important not to be over-anxious about them.

Primary school can be a tough environment for our children anyway. Children constantly compare themselves to their peers, and get worried if they don’t feel as good as everyone else.

You’ll know if your child comes home saying they’ve been moved up or down a class/table, how much they care about doing well. The excitement and disappointment is felt in equal measure.

In the face of school targets and expectations, we think it can help to put them into perspective. Here’s some advice from our Manchester and Cheshire tutor team on how to do just that.

Surviving SATs with a smile

  1. Encourage your child to see SATs as just one part of their whole education. The ability to think for themselves, to be kind, to help others, to work as a team, to care about others are just as valuable…
  2. Read for pleasure with your child. If you as a parent can make time to read, it’s surprising how valuable children will see it. Why not read with your child too? Publications like The Week Junior are a great opportunity to read with your child. Get them to skim and scan for information – a great tip for negotiating the Reading test.
  3. Tests are like solving mysteries. Get your child to imagine they are a detective cracking a case. For English tests, they are always looking for clues. (quotes and information) For Maths, they have to crack codes and numbers to solve challenges.
  4. Have fun with Maths. Search for multiplication tables games online, or you could use a simple pack of cards to practise addition, subtraction, division or multiplication. Also, get in the kitchen: it’s surprising how many Maths calculations you do when baking!

Our advice is to try and help your child keep these exams in perspective by not making them the be all and end all.

Of course, some children need that extra push and support when feeling under pressure. It’s something our children have to replicate at GCSE level too, so it makes sense to support them early on with a healthy mindset.

If you want to chat about how a course of tuition lessons could help your child do just that, do get in touch with our tutor team today.

Remember though: try to stay calm yourself. Your children will make their way in the world in spite of exams and tests…

Do You Suffer From Homework Hell?

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.

Help! I can’t cope with exams…

March 15th, 2018

This time of year feels like GCSE and A Level students are wading through a mud swamp!

With teachers still completing the syllabus, practicals and coursework to finish – and endless mocks on top – it’s not surprising if your teenager feels up against it just now.

What can your son or daughter do to avoid burn out this time of year?

  1. Get positive feedback. If a recent test in school has left your child demoralised, speak to the teacher about what you can do to help. Dwelling on a bad result is a sure-fire way to knock confidence at such a critical stage.
  2. Chunk big challenges into small ones. Stress can strike overnight when a student feels overwhelmed. Help your teen break down a big challenge into several parts. This way, your son or daughter needn’t be floored by challenges, but will be able to work through them.
  3. Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking is tricky as you can end up doing a 1000 things at once and not achieving anything. Instead, encourage your teen to work on top priorities first, and then dividing up time between them. It’s worth checking with the school about deadline dates too.
  4. Don’t leave things ’till the last minute. This happens ALL the time! Nothing can bring a bout of stress on than being late, not being organised, leaving everything to the last minute. Get a calendar just for your child’s studies to add exam dates, list things needed for specific dates, and deadlines. This will help you plan ahead!

Be wise and revise

If your child needs an extra burst of energy, confidence or practical knowledge, arrange a private tutor.

With the Easter holidays in sight, it makes sense to make the most of the Easter holidays by planning out revision and addressing any difficult areas before the summer term.

Just reach out today to our fab tutor team here at 121 Home Tutors across Cheshire and Manchester.

 

Is writing a write-off for your son?

March 5th, 2018

Is writing a write-off for your boy? Research shows that there is still a gender gap between boys and girls. In fact, girls are twice more likely than boys to get writing outside of lessons. Plus, girls enjoy writing far more than boys in school.

Is your son the same? It’s a worry as writing is an essential life skill.

Writing helps to formulate thoughts, and nurtures self expression – empowering young people to go out into the world and be heard. Writing letters, advertising one’s business, persuading a future employer to give you the job all involve having top notch communication skills.

That’s why it’s vital to nurture a love of writing from the word go. Even if your child is older, it’s not too late!

How to ignite your boy’s interest in writing

  • Tick their boxes. Boys will be more willing to get writing if it’s connected to something they love. It might be dinosaurs, superheroes, X Box gaming or football? Get them to make up a story where they are sucked into their console game; perhaps a Superhero gets lost and crashes into your school instead; maybe they time travel in a Tardis, open the door only to find themselves in a Jurassic universe!
  • Create a comic strip! Boys are often visual learners. Get them to design a comic strip adding in the pictures, story and speech bubbles as they go. Or they could use an app by capturing phone shots they’ve acted out, and then uploaded to the app with the story line. Brilliant app idea here.
  • Harness the digital revolution. Kids LOVE internet apps. Little wonder: their generation has grown up with them! Why not encourage their natural instinct to go online by encouraging literacy games such as these?
  • Get competing! Boys love a good old competition. This Wicked Young Writer Awards could do the trick! Deadline for this year is almost up, but the site is fab as it’s full of great ideas to get your boy’s motivation pumping! Get them to read previous entries… There’s a non-fiction entry for 15+ young people too. Worth a go to get your teen interested in something real.

Need to switch on your child’s writing mojo?

Speak to us here at 121 HomeTutors about arranging private English or Literacy lessons with a fabulous tutor. Whether your child is in KS1 or 2, sitting entrance exams or GCSEs, mastering English is essential.

With tutors across the Manchester to Cheshire areas – including Stockport, Bramhall, Wilmslow and Altrincham – get in touch now.

Just how DO you improve your 11 Plus vocabulary?

February 24th, 2018

Is your son or daughter preparing for a Common Entrance exam, the 11+, or grammar school entry this year?

One of the key skills you need is a breadth of vocabulary knowledge – certainly for the English papers as well as Verbal Reasoning.

You’ll know (if you’ve already bought practice papers) that the level of vocabulary required is quite advanced. Given that your child might not read enough challenging texts – including classic literature – let’s look at how you can help to stretch their vocabulary!

How to Master words

  1. Enjoy a classic book and movie together. Everyone loves Disney’s The Jungle Book! But has your child read Rudyard Kipling’s masterpiece? It’s a fab read – and full of stretchy language. Don’t forget to look up any new words you discover! Try The Hobbit, Treasure Island, or Robinson Crusoe..
  2. Play the synonym/antonym game. Download a blank board game template online, and start adding some verbs and adjectives. The idea is to land on the words, then award points for how many synonyms and then antonyms you can think of for each one.
  3. Dig that word! Another game. Pick a root word, then add as many prefixes and suffixes as you can. Take it in turns to see who can come up with the most! Try comfort, friend, point, kind, motor, judge…

  4. Practice makes perfect! Check out apps such as Word Builder. There’s all sorts of little gems in here to keep your child busy for ages.

Of course, passing any exam isn’t just about knowledge. It’s also about using different techniques, managing time and thinking fast on the spot.

That’s how our team of local entrance exam tutors can help. From Bramhall, Cheadle and Hulme, to Stockport or across Manchester and Cheshire, we’ve a fabulous entrance exam expert at the ready.

Get in touch today to have a chat about how one of our private 121 Home Tutors can support your child to success.

 

I just can’t revise!

February 5th, 2018

How many times have you heard your son or daughter say this in the last year? It’s a common phrase our local tutors across Manchester and Cheshire hear ALL the time.

And it’s a worry because effective revision really is the key to success in GCSE and A Level exams. But what does effective revision look like?

For starters, we know what doesn’t work. Just re-reading, highlighting and copying out chunks of a text, or cramming is a sure-fire way to forget information instantly.

Instead, you have to train your brain to remember more. Here’s how to do it!

3 Fail-Free Revision Strategies

  1. Go graphic! If you re-create information you’ve learnt into a visual text, you’ll be more likely to remember it. Think Venn diagrams, spider, web or mind maps. Typical ideas could be: draw a Venn diagram to compare two poems for your English Anthology poetry. Draw a chain of bubbles for a historical event to order the main facts and reasons in your head.
  2. Take proper notes! Try the Cornell note taking system if you go to a revision class or tuition session. Basically, you split an A4 sheet into three: Notes where you bullet point ideas and information that you hear. Cues where you ask questions, draw visual cues to jog your memory. And finally a Summary section where you summarise the most important points.
  3. In a minute! With a friend or family, talk for a minute on the term or topic you’ve been revising without hesitating or stopping! This recall game makes learning much more fun, while isolating areas that you are still unsure of. If you focus on explaining a topic out loud or on paper if you wish you’ll know the information came from your memory. That matters! 

Need specific subject support?

If you are really struggling, worried about how to remember lots in such a short space of time or just can’t get your head around a topic, get help.

With a fab tutor team spanning Manchester, Stockport, Wilmslow and Cheshire – including many other local towns and villages – we’ve a GCSE or A Level tutor ready to help.

I’m rubbish, I’ve failed! What to do if your child says this!

January 24th, 2018

Hands up who’s heard these heartbreaking words? You’d not be alone. These days, there is so much pressure for children to be perfect, to ‘win’ all the time and be as good as everyone else at everything.

Sooner rather than later, insecurity rears its head and you’ve one unhappy child with zero confidence on your hands.

For most parents, it’s not the cry about failure that hurts. It’s them questioning their own self worth that’s truly worrying. Where has it come from and what can you do about it?

Who says you have to be perfect?

The pressure to achieve, to look good, to be popular, to be perfect is everywhere – across social media, TV, at school.

In primary schools, children are ranked against each other. There are top sets and bottom sets. Children move up to a high performing table – leaving other kids feeling they are not quite good enough. While others have to endure the shame of being moved down…

At secondary school, target grades are coming out of young people’s ears!

Hardly surprising that with all this competition and perfectionism, something has to give. Stress and anxiety are becoming far too common now…

The fact is, we can’t all achieve all of the time. In fact, it’s unhealthy to think that this is even possible. Yet, many children aren’t tuned into this thinking yet.

How to handle failure

  • Accept that failure is a normal part of life. While it’s disappointing to not do as well as expected, it’s not the end of the world. We’d go so far as to say that it’s critical that children learn to face life’s knocks.
  • Try to see failure as an opportunity. The old saying about ‘learning from your mistakes’ rings true every time. It’s important that children see that there is no shame in failing – and that in most cases it’s the only way to learn.
  • Accept that you can’t be good at everything. Few of us are! Some are better at scientific, mathematical subjects, while others are more creative and arty.

No wonder our fab tutors across Cheshire and Manchester are so successful. They help their tutees to accept that it’s OK to fail, praise them for trying, and then show them how to work through the steps to achievement. Not giving up is the real winner!!

If you are worried about your son or daughter’s results or their ability to cope with the pressure, or you want to boost their confidence before things slide, get in touch with our tuition team here at 121 Home Tutors.

Helping students through KS1 and 2, up to GCSEs, A levels and beyond, we’ve a cracking team of professionals ready to help.

How To Stay On Track This Term

January 15th, 2018

Is your child is facing end of year exams this year? Whether in year 6, 11 or 13, this can be a stressful time for everyone.

With the Christmas holiday break, short days, endless rain and cold weather, your child might be less than enthused about school work this term. How do you get them back on track?

For some children, the enormity of what lies ahead can de-rail them at any second. That’s why it helps to set some smart goals this time of year to help your child stay positive.

Let’s get practical

  1. Get into a routine and stick to it. With 16 weeks until the exam season, it can help to set out your short term and long term goals. Prioritise the key subjects you KNOW you need, and whittle down the key areas you struggle with. Once you do that, set aside some time during the week and weekend to focus on them.
  2. Keep a tick-list with built-in rewards. Reward yourself with something fun and relaxing each time you tick a goal off your list. Create playlists on Spotify that relax you so that you enjoy your downtime. Get some brain-boosting exercise!
  3. Fight negativity. If you’re at your desk and boredom creeps in, or nothing’s going in, cut yourself some slack. Instead of feeling frustrated, go and do something physical rather than forcing yourself to stay at your desk. This way you’ll keep your stress levels in check and will come back to the task refreshed.
  4. Keep the end game in sight. Write your goals on a sticky note or create a poster. Perhaps you have a long term dream? Even if it’s just to go to college, have a swish car one day, or to travel, do this and you’ll have a daily reminder that this study time is short lived. Remember: this is the final push before your future happens. Keep telling yourself, ‘I CAN DO THIS!’ 

Still struggling? Help is here

If you’ve lost sight of the future, are wracked with worry or feel stuck with a key subject you simply HAVE to pass, consider a course of private tuition.

With a choice of GCSE or A Level tutors handpicked for you, you can be back on track in no time!

  • In Wilmslow, Bramhall, Urmston or Trafford and need a Maths or Science tutor?
  • In Bramhall or Chorlton areas and looking for a fab English tutor?
  • Perhaps you need a language teacher? If you’re in Altrincham, Didsbury, Saletown or Trafford, you’re in luck.

Get in touch with our popular tutor team today.

Six signs your child could benefit from private tuition

January 5th, 2018

Are you a parent who’s worried about your child’s future? Perhaps their behaviour or grades have concerned you and you’re unsure how to help? Maybe you’ve been thinking about hiring a personal tutor for some time, but are unsure whether your child needs individual support?

When is it time to get outside help?

Your school years aren’t always the happiest days of your life. We all hope they will be, but in reality children can be beset with problems, frustrations and worries.

Perhaps you recognise some of these signs in your child?

  1. Falling grades/effort.
  2. Regular homework meltdowns/tantrums.
  3. Refusal to let you help them/go to school/talk about problems in school.
  4. Angry or anxious behaviour at home.
  5. Your child avoids/delays/says they hate doing homework/projects
  6. Your child’s confidence plummets.

That’s some list… Teachers, of course, are overworked and stretched. They simply have so little time to spend with strugglers that many children fall right through the net.

Even children in independent school or local grammar schools across Manchester and Cheshire can feel overwhelmed by a subject. With a faced-paced curriculum – whether at junior school, or at GCSE or A Level – children often fall behind if they misunderstand something.

Within weeks, the problem can snowball.

Sadly, there’s no doubt that the more competition in schools, the more struggling children feel inadequate. What can you do about this?

What’s the answer?

It might be that your child needs time management support, exam technique practice, or perhaps help to lift their confidence levels? One to one tuition can help them get back on track.

And if your demotivated son or daughter is in danger of failing this year, it might be time to call in tuition experts before things get worse..

If you would like to have a no-obligation chat with an experienced tutor here at 121 Home Tutors, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. At the very least, we’ll give you some good old-fashioned advice about where to go from here.

Which GCSE subjects do you NEED to pass?

December 27th, 2017

Have you just sat your mock exams? If so, or you are about to, you might be worried about how you’ll do in the ‘real’ exams coming up in just a handful of months.

Mock exam results can be a shock to the system. Achieving below C grades can cast your immediate study plans in doubt. And if you achieved 2s or 3s (E and D equivalent), you might be panicking about how you’ll do in the summer.

The truth is, as important as all your subjects are, some are more crucial than others. That’s why it helps to sniff out what the entry requirements are for further education colleges and 6th forms.

What are the typical entry requirements?

In many cases, you are expected to have at least 5 GCSEs at grade C or above – with English Language, Maths and Science usually specified as essential. This is certainly the case if you want to pursue A levels.

If instead you have your eye on a BTEC or vocational course – vocational level 2 or above – you need to check as many courses still require minimum 4 GCSEs with English Language and Maths as standard.

Some colleges such as Loreto in Manchester expect you to have a minimum of 6 GCSEs with at least 2 at grade 6 or above – B equivalent – in order to study there.

How to achieve the grades you really need

  1. Over the next few weeks, why not prioritise those key subjects you KNOW you need in order to move forwards after the summer exams. In reality, you have 16 weeks from now to shape those grades up.
  2. Re-taking isn’t an easy option these days, so it makes sense to try your level best first time round. Narrow down where you went wrong in your mocks – which key subjects, papers, areas of study – and focus on those as part of a revision plan.
  3. Arrange tuition with a professional, private tutor who has supported previous students in your position through their final exams.

Where to go from here? With some experienced English, Science, and Maths – plus 11+/entrance test – tutors across South Manchester and Cheshire on the team, we can get you ship shape in no time.

And if you are in WilmslowDidsbury, Sale or Chorlton, we’ve a tuition team ready and waiting to help. 

Ready to explore how personal tuition can work for you? Please contact Alison at 121 Home Tutors today.