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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.

 

 

Learn a Language, Transform your Career

July 24th, 2017

If you’re a secondary school student, in the 6th form, at University or even considering a career change, have you ever considered what learning a new language can do for you? You should. The opportunities are vast!

Did you know that the following languages are not only in the top ten of most spoken languages globally, but they have been cited as being in the top ten list of languages needed to secure the UK’s future!

  • Chinese Mandarin
  • Spanish
  • English
  • Russian
  • Japanese
  • Italian
  • German

Is it smart, then, to learn more languages? You bet it is! No wonder the government has included a language requirement in its full slate of EBacc subjects.

Locally, too, more schools across Greater Manchester and East Cheshire are offering a wider range of languages. Manchester Grammar offers GCSE Russian, for instance!

Open doors to an exciting future

Nelson Mandela once said, ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.’

There’s no doubt whatsoever that learning one of these aspirational languages can offer untold career and social opportunities to young people. Learning intercultural skills also helps you become more resourceful, independent and respected.

Lucrative career opportunities abroad are waiting to be snapped up by forward-thinking people who have another language or two on their belt. Will that be you?

Language tutors aplenty

Here at 121 Home Tutors, we have a clutch of fantastic language specialists available.

So, when you fancy taking advantage of some Russian tuition in Wilmslow or the Alderley Edge area, trying out Japanese or Mandarin, or perfecting a European language, call us straight away.

Summer Term Results a Wake-Up Call?

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.

The essential school holiday checklist for stress-free parenting

July 7th, 2017

Summer will be gone in the blink of an eye, and yet the holidays themselves seem to stretch on forever. It can be a stressful time planning activities for the kids, working and yet being organised in time for September.

Tempting as it is to drop everything and wait until the autumn term, we’ve some handy hints to help you through the summer holiday frazzle-free:

Shop ‘n label now

Sort out school uniforms, stationery and school bags now while the back-to-school sales are on over July and August. You’ll not only save money, but your sanity too!

Sorting uniform labels now will also make life easier in September if you’ve a gaggle of children to organise! Do two an evening, and before you know it you’ll be done.

Book haircuts and health

You’d be amazed how many of us leave it to the last minute to book a haircut! With your children likely to resemble scarecrows by the end of the summer, it’s wise to book an appointment 6 weeks ahead.

Why not MOT your kids’ health this time of year with eye checks and dentist appointments?

Book some playdates

Other frazzled parents will snap your hand off if you offer to book in some playdate times with your children’s friends. Of course, do make sure they reciprocate!

Keep brain drain at bay

Get ’em reading online with an app such as Reading Eggs. Packed with interactive fun and activities, they’ll find it hard to put down. Give it a try!  Teach your monster to read is also a fun app for the early years.

Struggling with a subject still?

Many local parents across Manchester and Cheshire book some intensive tuition sessions during the summer hols while the pressure of school is off. It can be a fantastic way to not only prepare for the new term, but to blitz some of those pesky learning problems from last term.

Contact the 121 Home Tutors’ team if you feel a spot of tuition would make all the difference. We’re here to help…

How to Stop Summer Brain Drain

June 27th, 2017

The dreaded ‘brain drain’ strikes again! It’s a proven fact that children can lose two months’ worth of knowledge if their brains are not academically challenged.

And worse, once back in September, they can take up to a month to get into the swing of things. That’s a quarter of a year of learning lost every year!

With the long school holiday beckoning, what can parents like you in the Manchester and Cheshire area DO to stop brain drain from happening?

Discover the world

Day out with the kids offers plenty of opportunities to get out and about and LEARN. Museums, Discovery Centres – the works! Here’s some top ideas for the Manchester area!

Learn a language

MUZZY is a fun, interactive programme to help your child learn a second language.

Read ‘n Write

Even if your child can’t stand reading, there are still ways to inspire them to grab a book!

  • Start with their interests… If your child loves sport, find a non-fiction or autobiography to read or listen to on audio
  • Check out Love Reading 4 Kids. Their Summer Reading section even separates reading ages out. AND gives you downloadable extracts before you buy
  • Get them to write a review of each book or audio. They could even create a WordPress blog for free and do it online! A great way to hook their interest in reading. Plus become an online author!

Tuition for smart learning

Is your child taking the Trafford test, or school entrance exam in September – or starting in year 7, year 10 or year 12? A smart move could be to book a summer holiday tutor to get them ahead of the game!

It’s the ideal way to not only address any weaknesses left festering at the end of term, but it’s a great opportunity to help your child truly leap ahead.

Call our 1-2-1 Home Tutors team when you need any help with your child’s studying. From Maths, English and 11 Plus, to language learning and science subject support.

 

Is Your Child ready for the Trafford Grammar School Exams?

June 12th, 2017

With just 12 weeks to go until the exams themselves – and a fortnight until most application deadlines – this is the best time of year to step up a gear with grammar school entry planning.

What is important at this stage? Knowing which schools set which exams.

Need-to-know School Entry Facts

  • Urmston, Stretford and Sale Grammar schools – as well as Altrincham Grammar for Girls – are part of the Trafford Grammar Schools’ CEM Consortium. This means your child will only need to sit the one set of exams if applying for more than one of these schools.
  • The Consortium use the Durham CEM multiple-choice exam format. Therefore, it’s essential your child gets to grip with Maths, Comprehension, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning techniques.
  • Check out this super useful Familiarisation booklet if your child is sitting the Trafford CEM exams.
  • Altrincham Grammar for Boys sets its entrance exams using GL Assessment comprising of Maths, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning – with a creative writing element too.
  • Similarly, St Ambrose College uses GL Assessment papers as well – although it sets Arithmetic, Verbal Reasoning and English tests.
  • Loreto Grammar, meanwhile, follows a similar pattern except it creates its own traditional (non multiple-choice) Maths paper.

Should I opt for Entrance Exam Tuition?

Certainly a question many local parents ask themselves this close to the Autumn term exams. Of course, if you have the time and expertise to support your child over the summer, then we’d say opt for that initially.

That said, if you feel a little out of your depth with some of these papers (and you wouldn’t be alone!), it can make the world of difference to book a series of lessons with an expert tutor.

Helping your child secure their skills, increased confidence and making every second count are just some of the benefits to 11+ private tuition.

If you are interested in hiring one of our wonderful home tutors from now until September, do get in touch with us fast.

 

Eat Smart to Boost Exam Performance

May 25th, 2017

Did you know that food CAN improve exam performance? In fact, when you ‘eat smart,’ you can give your brain a massive dose of much-needed energy. Essential when you’re flat out revising and sitting exam papers…

Tasty tips to feed your brain

  1. Don’t skip meals… Breakfast has been proven to be the best meal of the day for teenagers sitting exams. Not only will you perform better, you won’t be struck with hunger pangs just at the moment when you’re trying to think of that quote or formula! Opt for energy-giving porridge and oat brekkies. Nosh on protein such as eggs and nuts to fill you up for longer.
  2. Drink like a fish. Water hydrates you, whereas sugary drinks eventually zap energy. If sipping water isn’t your thing, add sugar-free juice to water instead. It’s a much better option than fizzy colas or sodas as it helps keep you alert, keeps headaches at bay, and helps you perform for longer. Milk is fab too!
  3. Snacks to snaffle. Exams can drain your energy big time! Tempting as it is to raid the biscuit tin as soon as you get home, nibble on nuts instead! Fancy a fruity something? Opt for bananas and apples which slowly release energy into your bloodstream helping spread your energy out over the day.

And if you are a ‘stay-up-late-to-revise’ type, aim to get some shut-eye earlier than usual. A lack of sleep can affect your memory, as well as slow your thinking down. So get yourself tucked up in bed by 10pm!

Whether you’re in year 5, 10, 11 or 13, a healthy mind and body will boost your chances of passing those pesky entrance, GCSE or A Level exams first time round.

Call the tuition team

And don’t forget, when you need an extra helping hand, our team of tutors are on hand with support, motivation and learning techniques. Spanning the Manchester and Cheshire areas, there’s always someone here to help you through.

Is your child a struggler?

May 4th, 2017

With Sats exams, GCSEs and A Levels in sight, the push for success is in overdrive. But what about the child who:

  • isn’t in a top set and feels inferior to his or her peers
  • is home schooled and has gaps in their learning
  • has zero confidence and might dread going to school
  • has a learning problem which seems to affect everything

Here at 121 Home Tutors, we speak to so many parents across Manchester and Cheshire whose children don’t ‘fit’ the media image of a happy child who learns with ease.

More often than not parents reach out to us because they are troubled by their child’s difficulties and lack of progress. Often, many lose hope that things will ever change…

So what does make the difference?

The truth is, every child has needs. Every child hits a wall at some point in their education. And every child needs that little bit extra support to help lift them out of the fog.

Here’s three ideas to help you find a way forward:

  1. Learn what your child is learning. You’ll discover that what your child is learning now is different to what you learnt at school. Apart from your child’s school website – usually packed with information – start here.
  2. Prioritise one problem at a time. Because children can feel quickly overwhelmed by all their problems, try to deal proactively with one issue at a time – reassuring your child that small steps are just as important as huge leaps.
  3. Arrange one-to-one help. A tutor onside can be a marvellous support system. Just having another adult who can share the load can make all the difference. Plus, a tutor who works with strugglers every day will have a range of techniques to whip out of the bag at a moment’s notice.

Don’t struggle on hoping things will change. Call us at 121 Home Tutors…

What’s your secret revision weapon?

April 24th, 2017

Facing GCSE or A Level exams can feel like you’re stepping into battle! And there’s no turning back…

So, you have to decide right now: are you going in fully armed ready to take on anything? Or will you have no plan of attack and simply try and dodge the bullets?

Metaphors aside, what’s one of the smartest secret weapons you can use in your run up to the exams? The internet! Where a treasure trove of past papers doth lie. YES! That’s the secret. Practice papers…

Better still, most exam board websites have them – including marking schemes. Dynamite!

Why are practice papers such a fantastic resource?

Simple! They:

  • Help you familiarise yourself with what to expect in a typical paper
  • Reduce your stress levels since the more you practise, the better you become
  • Allow you to check your answers against the examiners’ marking scheme
  • Help you get used to juggling different topics at the same time
  • Give you an opportunity to test yourself to exam conditions
  • Give you insight into the range of answers that examiners are looking for
  • Help you highlight weaker areas to focus on as part of your revision

Of course, there is only so much you can do in the lead up to your exams. That’s why testing yourself against exam standard materials can’t be beaten!

How to win the long term learning battle the smart way

If your child is in year 10 or 12, the smartest move is to plan ahead.  As our local tutors and teachers across Manchester and Cheshire say every year, they always come across a stressed-out teen who’s left revision to the last minute.

Far better to iron out any learning hurdles this year, than have a huge mountain of them next. Booking a tutor early rather than leaving it to year 11 or 13 is also a clever move. Many of our tutors are so popular that they are booked ahead.

If you don’t want to miss out, contact Alison – 121 Home Tutors’ head tutor – for a chat to discuss the best plan of attack!

Four fab stress busters!

April 10th, 2017

Have you noticed your child showing signs of stress? Given that over half of schools across the UK recently reported an increase in kids feeling more anxious, stress is becoming a more common childhood experience than ever before.

With endless pressure to pass exams and achieve – on top of the usual hormone battles – the mix is a potentially damaging one.

Firstly, bad stress impacts on learning. Anxiety stops the brain from processing and retaining information. As a result, frustration can set in – leading to children feeling overwhelmed.

Of course, stress can be a motivator. It’s a natural part of life… That’s why it matters that we help children to feel more empowered by the challenges ahead, not daunted by them. Here’s four ways to do it.

Strategies to beat stress

  1. Set realistic goals: Rome wasn’t built in a day. When you help your child win the smaller challenges, it helps build their resilience to cope with the bigger ones. Achievable step-by-step targets across several months also break down the enormity of the final exam.
  2. Make mistakes: Making mistakes helps children learn. If your child writes a story or essay, or does a subject practice paper and the result isn’t what they expected, encourage them to think about the result differently. Rather than dwelling on negatives, get them to ask: what could I have done better? Or What worked well? Reflecting on what went wrong and right, encourages a more balanced response.
  3. Think positively: Negative self-talk is something we all need to deal with at times. But in children looking for acceptance and success in life, it’s even more important that we teach our children to feel good about having a go, to accept failure and then move on to the next challenge. Encourage your child to see that doing their best on the day is good enough.
  4. Pamper yourself: Exams are not everything in life. Help your child get what their body needs: sleep, nourishing food, relaxation, fresh air. Don’t pass on your deep worries about them passing or failing exams; just try to encourage them instead. This will help them relax during downtime rather than dwell on problems.

Top local tuition to fix learning problems

Whether you live in the Manchester area, or across Cheshire, it can make a difference to seek out support with an experienced tutor. Our 121 Home Tutors team can be reached by getting in touch today.

Is your child shy or sensitive?

March 27th, 2017

Is it true that children these days are more confident than we ever were? In some cases, yes. However, the truth is that many children are not as outgoing as we think they are.

In fact, many shy or introverted children would rather disappear in a classroom than take centre stage! Is this your child? Introverted children typically:

  • Get on with their homework quietly
  • Rarely ask for help in class
  • Don’t make their feelings or thoughts obvious
  • Think through things, rather than react straightaway

Sensitive children, on the other hand:

  • Often take things personally
  • Cry or get upset easily
  • Can’t handle criticism well
  • Dislike being the centre of attention

And yet, it’s important to know that shy or sensitive children are usually very good-natured and kind too. Wonderful qualities… This is why shy or sensitive children need a little more patience and encouragement to help them see that they, too, can achieve.

The power of kindness

Because shy or sensitive children are disposed to low confidence, it’s essential to adjust your approach. Try these useful ideas:

  • Praise your child for trying, not just achieving
  • Share that you too make mistakes so they know getting things wrong is part of learning
  • Give your child the choice to make good decisions. ‘Do you want to learning spellings first or some Maths?’
  • Speak calmly, without raising your voice
  • Don’t let your child dwell on the upset. Change subject or do something else to help them move on

Tuition that nurtures

If your child is behind or not meeting expected levels in primary school, or is underachieving in GSCE or A levels, a one-to-one tutor can make all the difference.

At 121 Home Tutors, we have a team of the kindest tutors you’ll ever find across the Manchester to Cheshire area. Speak to Alison at head office to find out more.