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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.



Avoid the summer slump

July 3rd, 2018

Brain drain… Is it a ‘thing’? Yes, without doubt. Many studies over the past 20 years have concluded that summer learning loss is real – not a myth.

The facts are that children can:

  • lose months of reading skills over the summer holiday
  • take 6 weeks to regain skills that they ended the previous academic year with
  • struggle to engage with school again after such a long summer break

If your child is starting a crucial year come September – where they might be sitting SATs, School Entrance exams, GCSEs or A levels – it might be worth encouraging your youngster to keep on learning.

Let’s look at how you can do just that!

How to combat brain drain this summer

  1. Get reading! It’s a great opportunity to keep up reading, or discover reading for the first time. Whether you read on a Kindle, listen to audio, or pick some books to read on holiday, reading will keep your brain cells ticking over. And if parents read along with kids, it’ll set a precedent.
  2. Discover the world! Educational visits to museums, grand houses, or historical sites – both in the North West near us and abroad – can enrich your child’s knowledge.
  3. Get blogging or Instagram-ing! There are loads of internet sites and apps that your child or young person could use to record their summer holidays. You could keep a daily account in a snazzy journal (if a younger child) or if a teen you could upload pics and captions to Instagram – or use cool apps such as Steller to create a visual magazine.
  4. Start the school year with a bang! Private one to one tuition over the summer can not only stem the worries from this academic year, but can boost your child’s confidence for the year ahead.

Here at 121 Home Tutors in Wilmslow, Cheshire, we get many requests from parents every year looking for a tutor to help their child over the summer hols. Not just in south Manchester either.

Perhaps you need a GCSE or A Level Chemistry or Biology teacher to help your child revise tricky topics from last term?

Perhaps your child is sitting an exam for one of the local independent or grammar schools and need to brush up their overall skills before the busy term starts again?

Whatever the subject or stage your child is at, get in touch with our experienced tuition team if you need to chat about tuition for your child.


Change your career – become a private tutor

June 27th, 2018

Working in education is one of the best careers in the world! You can become a life changer and dream maker…. It’s true.

Imagine a child with zero confidence who doesn’t believe they are worth anything. Under your guidance, they start to feel more confident and skilled – leaving them feeling they can achieve anything! And they do…

Why private tuition is a fantastic career:

  • You can inspire and equip children to sit and pass their exams – whether entrance tests, SATs, GCSEs or A Levels
  • You can truly make a difference to individuals, compared to spreading yourself thinly working in the school environment
  • You can give children and young people the opportunity to follow their dreams
  • You can reverse a flagging child’s fortunes giving them a sense of achievement and self-worth

Is private tuition for me?

  • Perhaps you’ve worked for a few years in the classroom, but you want to take your career in a new direction?
  • Perhaps you just want to get your life back, but not give up a career in education?
  • Perhaps you have children now and want a teaching role which offers you complete flexibility without the stress?
  • Perhaps you are looking for a change of career?

When you join 121 Home Tutors as a personal tutor working across Manchester or Cheshire, you’ll find too that your time is respected. And that you can boost your income doing a worthwhile, utterly rewarding job.

Tuition opportunities available across Manchester and Cheshire

Right now, we’re recruiting new tutors to our popular tuition team. If you can offer private tuition across any of these areas or further afield, please get in touch with head tutor Alison today:

  • Didsbury, Wilsmlow, Stockport
  • Sale, Altrincham, Alderley Edge
  • Bramhall, Chorlton, Stretford
  • Trafford, Macclesfield, Warrington

When is it time to call in a private tutor?

June 5th, 2018

You know yourself that life doesn’t always go to plan. As adults we learn to pick ourselves up and keep going. At least sometimes…

Our children, however, might feel so stuck in a learning maze that they can’t find the obvious way out. And it happens a lot more common than you’d think.

Has your child missed school?

Perhaps your child has been ill, had an injury or moved areas? Maybe you are waiting for a school place as you’ve changed schools for whatever reason, and need a spot of home schooling to keep your child on track?

With such a fast-paced curriculum these days, your child can miss out on so much in a short space of time. That’s where a private tutor can step in to help.

Not only can a personal tutor help fill the gaps in your child’s learning, but he or she can also help reduce the emotional stress a change in circumstances can inevitably create.

Does your child struggle like mad?

There’s so much to get through in a year, that a child who isn’t a natural at the subject can often fall behind. All it takes is confusion over a concept or topic to knock your child off course.

Instead of racing ahead, it seems as if they end up lagging behind without a hope of catching up. Sadly, our 121 Home Tutors team see this happening all the time – at every level of education.

Sometimes, a child carries their subject worries from junior school into secondary – eventually affecting their GCSE chances.

Here’s where private tuition can change your child’s life. By stepping in at the right moment, a caring tutor can change things round.

Just imagine… Your unmotivated teen inspired again. Your lost child grasping Maths or Science concepts for the first time ever. Your child hooked on reading!

Summer tuition to get your child back on track

As we head into June towards July, now could be the perfect time to take stock of your child’s learning needs. What difference could a tutor make to your child’s learning fortunes in the days ahead?

Contact our wonderful tutor team for a chat located here in Cheshire and across Manchester. We cover countless villages and areas from Stockport to Wilmslow, Macclesfield to Altrincham, Cheadle Hulme to Alderley Edge.

Expect the unexpected in your exams

May 24th, 2018

Every year, the GCSE and A Level examiners outdo themselves by throwing in cryptic questions which only Sherlock Holmes could crack!

This year is no exception – if the Science and English exams are anything to go by… How can you get round this? It’s all bananas … or is it?

How to handle the unexpected

  1. Learn to think. First, exams are not designed to get you to merely regurgitate facts. It might seem like that, but in reality, education is designed to make you THINK on the spot. Many exams ask you to solve problems, or use the information you’ve learnt.
  2. Take a deep breath. Does an awkward question throw you off beam? Don’t let it. Sit with it for a minute or two. Try to re-think the question in your own words – in your head. Even write notes round the question to generate ideas. Sometimes, abstract questions need a little more thought. Take a deep breath, don’t let it outface you, read it again and again.
  3. Don’t expect the obvious. English Literature exams are perfect examples of this. Students pray that the main characters come up in the questions, and then when they are nowhere to be seen, internal panic spreads across the exam hall like wild fire. (Cue Lord of the Flies!) It makes sense to learn about some of the other characters and poems in your texts. But, more importantly, if you know WHY the writer included them in the first place – and there is ALWAYS a reason – then you won’t find it so tricky if other characters are the unexpected stars of the exam paper show.
  4. Practise practise practise. This goes without saying – the more you practise exam questions, the more you’ll be able to fend off an attack of nerves when a ‘bonkers’ question pops up.

If you are in year 10 or year 12, it makes sense to start your exam prep early so you can handle those tricky little beasts with ease. Your final year flies by so fast, that it’s worth taking this on board early.

If you’ve still got two weeks of exams to go after half term, spend half term planning for the unexpected. As you just never know…

As ever, contact our tuition dream team here in the heart of Cheshire if you want to get cracking early. With a bunch of the best tutors across the Manchester area too, we’re ready when you are.

How to get yourself through the exams

May 10th, 2018

Exam season is finally here – whether you are sitting SATs exams, GCSEs or A Levels. Tutoring young people day in day out, we understand how important this point in your life is to you.

We also know what a struggle it can be to get through it all – especially when you are not feeling confident.

So, our fab tutors across Manchester and Cheshire would like to share some thoughts with you to help you on your way.

  1. Keep going, don’t give up. It takes courage to sit any exam, and you have loads of it. Look at all of your achievements so far. Those practice exams you didn’t think you could do, those quotes you remembered, the way you picked yourself up after not doing so well and kept going… Incredible. You CAN do this!
  2. Keep trying. Tempting as it is to think you are rubbish at a subject that is important, don’t listen to negative thinking. Instead, do something positive today to help you tackle your fears: create mind maps to single out areas you know about to give you confidence. Then mind map the areas of the syllabus you are still unsure about. Tackle those first.
  3. Take each day as it comes. Every day is a new day. If yesterday’s revision didn’t go to plan, let it go. Instead of dwelling on what went wrong, think about what you can do to put it right. Struggling with something specific? Get help with it. Ask teachers, look online, arrange a tutor.

Remember: worrying gets you nowhere. Your worth in life is not measured by your SATs scores, or your final exam results.

While exams can open up doors and offer opportunities, there is so much to experience in life and look forward to.

Give your all to these exams now, and try your best. No one can expect anything more of you.

Then look forward and focus on your next challenge in life without looking back or worrying about how you might have done.

Last minute exam support is here

If you need a burst of confidence, practical knowledge or techniques to take you through the exams ahead, call our 121 Home Tutors team today.


Beat exam anxiety this summer

April 26th, 2018

Is your child facing GCSEs and A Levels this year? Look out for signs of panic: sleeplessness, complaints that they just can’t revise, restlessness and moody behaviour.

The problem with stress is that it stops you from thinking straight. If you can’t think, you can’t process information. And when that happens, an already anxious head becomes overwhelmed fast.

How to help your child stay calm in a crisis

  1. Practise deep breathing techniques. Spend some time practising breathing in for five counts, and then exhaling out for twice that. It really DOES work!
  2. Focus more on key subjects.  If your teen needs specific subject grades to go onto further study, help them focus on those subjects now. Ideally, list any areas (for each subject) that cause anxiety and then make a plan of action to confront them. Ask teachers for specific help, add to revision timetable, enlist support of a private tutor.
  3. Put health first. If your teen eats well, sleeps well, gets fresh air – and doesn’t stay glued to revision every minute of the day – they are more likely to do well. Less sugary snacks and drinks – and more water, fruit and veg – are natural brain boosters too!
  4. Talk Talk Talk! Exam nerves are normal… Keep reassuring your teen that it’s OK to feel anxious to help them keep the exams in perspective. Use lots of positive talk, not negative ‘if you don’t pass…’ type language.
  5. Look online… Childline is a fantastic resource. There’s hints and tips galore to help your struggling teen manage their exam nerves this summer. Check this out!

As ever, our experienced tutor team across Manchester and Cheshire know all about exams!

When you need some last minute support for this year, or you want to help support your child taking exams next summer, get in touch with us here at 121 Home Tutors.

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.