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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.

 

 

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.

Study smart this Christmas

December 13th, 2017

Gah! Exams always appear at the most inconvenient times, don’t they? When it’s hot in the summer, or just before or after Christmas.

The truth is, exams are a process that we all go through in life. So rather than feel ‘doom and gloom,’ aim to study smart this Christmas.

Here’s our roundup of top tips so you can do just that this festive season:

  1. Hit the target! List tricky subject areas and focus on them, not what you find easy. If you are daunted by something, mooch over to YouTube. Countless teachers now add videos to share. This is especially good if you can’t get on with trawling through exercise books to revise. Targeted revision like this will also mean you have plenty of time to enjoy yourself as well.
  2. Book some fun! Star Wars: the Last Jedi is hitting the screens now. Book advanced tickets, if you’re looking for a galactic buzz this Christmas. If you’re not a die-hard fan, get yourself out the house doing something you love. Jump about at a trampoline park maybe? Or else check out local attractions.
  3. Revise and recall! One of the best ways to retain information is to revise for short bursts (of half an hour) and then apply that knowledge by testing yourself. This way you’ll feel like you’re making solid progress. Maybe do a test on algebra, or study a couple of poems and write a comparison essay? Use online papers from exam boards, or just google it. You’d be surprised by how many free papers are online!

And if you hit a brick wall over Christmas, write a list of the things you struggle with and resolve to do something positive about it when you are back at school.

Arranging a tutor can be one of the quickest and most helpful ways to knock uncertainty on the head. Drop a line to 121 Home Tutors for further advice. With a fab team covering many areas across Cheshire and Manchester, we’re sure to have someone to help you.

May the power of the force be with you this Christmas!

Ready to take on the 11+ competition?

November 26th, 2017

Is your child sitting an entrance exam or the 11+ in the next year? Chances are that you are worried about whether your child will get a place or not? It’s common.

With fierce competition to get into top selective grammar and independent schools across Manchester and Cheshire, it’s essential to do a little homework into preparing your child for what lies ahead.

Many parents start the process by buying a shedload of practice papers and books for their child to wade through – hoping that this will suffice.

Unfortunately, repetitive exam practice – without clear direction – can do the opposite. Children often end up feeling confused and frustrated because they don’t know ‘why’ they’ve got something wrong – or ‘how’ to get it right.

As you know yourself, if you’ve ever scratched your head over a complex 11+ question, the answers are not always obvious.

Then, instead of feeling confident, children start thinking they can’t do it. Once that happens, any future school place could be in jeopardy.

So what is the answer?

How to build your child’s confidence for the best chance of success

  • To do well in any exam, you have to learn the right skills to maintain a high standard under timed conditions.
  • You also need to have a system in place where your child can learn from their mistakes. After all, nobody gets everything right first time.
  • That’s why it’s essential to help your child understand why they went wrong and how best to approach tricky questions. Books can help to a certain degree, though nothing beats the personal touch.
  • Best options are to either teach yourself how to tackle these entrance exams. This option will take time and effort – plus expense. Buying lots of self-teach texts and exam papers does mount up.
  • The other option is to arrange a course of personal tuition with a specialist entrance exam tutor. This option might help your child learn skills faster, and allow them to turn weak areas into strengths without losing confidence.

Chat about exam entrance tuition with a specialist

Considering entrance exam tuition and based in the Wilmslow to Didsbury area? Perhaps you live in Sale or Chorlton – or anywhere across Cheshire and Manchester – please contact Alison and her team here.

Is your quiet child invisible in class?

November 5th, 2017

Well-behaved children at school are the silent majority. And yet, it only takes one or two ‘noisy’ peers in a classroom to disrupt your child’s learning.

While teachers do their best to curtail disruptive children, sometimes the quiet ones are overlooked.

What could this mean for your child and what can you do to prevent it?

Is your child an introvert?

Introverted children:

  • Often don’t get the attention or recognition they need
  • Sometimes have lower self esteem
  • Are not necessarily shy
  • Don’t always feel confident speaking up in class
  • Need longer ‘thinking’ time
  • Can feel emotionally exhausted by school
  • Sometimes fear failure – this might stop them from taking part
  • Might be inadvertently seen as lazy and indifferent

The consequence is that quiet children might switch off learning, stress about going to school or struggle to achieve their potential.

How to help your quiet child achieve

  1. Speak to the class teacher if your concerns continue. If nothing changes, raise your concerns with the head of department or head of year. Moving class might be one option if nothing improves.
  2. Encourage extra curricular interests to draw out your child’s voice. Sometimes, a child can come out of their shell by doing something they love. Check out the different clubs and after school opportunities.
  3. Ultimately, celebrate your child’s creativity and personality. After all, being who you are is fantastic.

Of course, if your child continues to struggle at school and you need that extra hand at home, a private tutor can make all the difference.

Whereas a quiet child would rarely ask for help in class, you’ll find it’s different in a one to one setting. In fact, our Cheshire and Manchester tutors are quietly changing children’s lives week in week out.

Get in touch with our renowned tutor team today.

The Power of Praise

October 27th, 2017

When your child comes home devastated if they’ve done badly in a test, didn’t secure the ‘expected’ levels or has bombed in an end of term mock exam, the first reaction is often to panic.

If you find it bewildering how to help your child overcome disappointment, you’d not be alone. Some children don’t just ‘brush off’ a feeling of failure – and focus instead on the fail not the gain.

Praise, however, is something which can break down that wall of shame. And, over time, it can truly change your child’s thinking. Let’s look at one way you can help you child out of a dark hole:

Give specific praise

When I was a child, my teachers would often write ‘Good’ in exercise books, or ‘This is worrying’ without further comment. I was left wondering what was actually good, and – worse – the generic negative comments made me feel such a failure.

What would have helped? If you give your child specific feedback about an aspect of their work or attitude, they’ll feel as if they are still heading towards their goals.

Saying ‘You came up with some fantastic ideas there. Well done! Now let’s try to work on…’ you can praise something specific and build challenge into it.

Once they appreciate the mini achievements along the way, you’ll find them develop a more resilient mindset to disappointment. Mindfulness is something none of us should take lightly.

When to call in a private tutor?

Sometimes, children tumble backwards and end up in a stressed heap. You’ll spot there’s a problem when your child talks more negatively about school or him/herself.

With everyone busy and you having all the kids to manage, it can be hard to set aside time to go through your child’s schoolwork in depth. Plus, as many parents find, you might even feel a little out of your depth too…

Instead, a one to one tutor – who’s experienced at helping kids out of a jam – will help to turn things round so that your child can keep things in perspective.

Working with a private tutor also means they can cover tricky subjects in a safe space without other kids winding them up for being last in the class.

Get in touch with Alison and the 121 Home Tutors team today. With a terrific team of tutors across Manchester and Cheshire, we can help.

 

Why hire a private tutor?

October 15th, 2017

Why are more and more parents turning to private tuition to support their child achieve? Everyone has a personal reason, of course.

However, as one of the top tuition services across Manchester and Cheshire, here are just four reasons we constantly come across:

A confidence booster

If your child is struggling at school, and just can’t get a handle on a weaker subject, private one to one tuition can help your child get to grips with a tricky topic fast.

Unable to ask for help

Many children are introverts, and hate asking for help in class. Usually the fear of looking ‘stupid’ in front of peers can scupper them from sticking their hand up. Over time, struggling becomes the norm, followed by plummeting grades and student stress.

One snag is that if you went to school in the Dark Ages (!!), you’ll know that many subjects are taught differently nowadays.

So if you don’t feel confident teaching trigonometry, Science subjects or 19th century literature, a private tutor can help! Besides, most children prefer their parents to be parents – not teachers.

Teacher change/issue

Some children feel lost when their teacher leaves – often finding it hard to transition to a new one.

Sometimes, too, teachers are so busy fire-fighting poor behaviour in class, that your child’s problem gets inadvertently over-looked.

Quality time with a tutor can help your child re-engage with the subject again.

Lagging grades

If your child or teen comes home from school with a bad report and shame written all over their face, you’ll know how hard the fall is when grades slip. And worse, some children find it so hard to claw back by themselves…

A private tutor will not only help your child work out why their grade slipped in the first place, but help them develop new strategies to ace it next time.

Finally, a good tutor will help your child believe in themselves more rather than feel such shame at failing. After all, learning from failure is the way we all learn in life.

Call 121 Home Tutors today

Call Alison and the team if your child is struggling, if they need a boost to their grades, or you want your son or daughter to prepare for an entrance or mock exam.