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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.

 

 

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.

The Science Behind How to Study Successfully

October 5th, 2017

It’s true! Science proves beyond doubt that there are certain learning and revision techniques which just work. If you find studying for your GCSEs or A Levels a hard slog, try these little beauties:

  1. Keep on movin’:

    Yes… Gone are the days where you have to stay cooped up in your bedroom for hours on end. Studies show that the brain is more active if you not only switch study locations regularly, but if you move around every hour too. What’s not to love?!

  2. Exercise your mind:

    Would you believe that getting regular exercise increases your capacity to think, remember information and solve problems? It does. No excuses now!  

  3. Variety is the spice of life: 

    Not only will studying one subject per day bore you silly, it’ll be counter productive over time. Chop and change subjects every hour with a break in between to help memory recall and keep your brain tip top. 

  4. Get some shuteye: 

    What’s just as important as exercise? Sleep! The days of staying up all night revision cramming before an exam are over. Remember: deep sleep nurtures and repairs brain cells. Fact! Interested in more sleep science? Check this link out. 

Study skills rusty? Unsure how to do your best?

Studying isn’t easy – especially when you seem to have a million and one things to do. That’s why it can make all the difference in the world to get some expert help from a one to one tutor.

With private tutors available across the Manchester and Cheshire areas, there’s someone there to help you find your way. With tried and tested revision tips ‘n tricks on hand, you can get through it all with confidence. Get in touch with Alison and the team for a no-obligation chat today!

Is your child struggling in their new school?

September 28th, 2017

Starting Secondary School can be fraught with worry for many children. Will I make friends? Will I cope with loads of homework? Will older children bully me? 

Often, children take to new experiences like a duck to water. Others, however, seem to sink under the weight of it all. But what are the tell-tale signs that your child is struggling?

  • Refusal to discuss school/changes the topic
  • An attitude shift from positive to negative
  • Spends far too long on homework
  • Detentions or messages from the teacher
  • Sleep disturbance, eats less or more

The truth is, because our kids don’t always share things that bother them, a situation can escalate quickly. Troubles don’t always blow over after a few weeks. There could be a real issue brewing.

How to support your child at secondary school

  1. First of all, stay calm and approachable. Anxiety around new situations is common for everyone – not just children. Conflict is part of life. Showing empathy during these rocky times can help to show your child that it can take a while to settle in a new environment.
  2. Ask open-ended questions: Asking, ‘what did you do today?’ will probably return a, ‘nothing!’ reply. Asking, ‘What was the best thing about today?‘ followed by, ‘And the worst?’ your child is more likely to open up. You might even share a tricky experience you had at school at first which was later resolved.
  3. Get them organised and stick to it: If your child is badly organised, telling them off solves nothing. Instead, get practical. Know their timetable and homework timetable – stick it to the fridge. Help them pack their bags the night before. Keep to do lists on mini white boards for each of your kids. Rub off when done!

Still having learning issues? Approaching your child’s form tutor can be a useful first step to see if they have noticed any problems too.

Finally, if your child is still struggling with a key subject and they just can’t get a handle on it, one to one tuition can make a huge difference. Get in touch with us here at 121 Home Tutors.

We’ve a wonderfully supportive private tuition team across Manchester and Cheshire ready to step in and be there…

Do you get the new GCSE grades?

September 3rd, 2017

Have you got your head around the new 9-1 grades yet? It’s a tricky old business if you’ve got used to A*- G grades for the past 30 years! So easy to be at sixes and sevens with it all!

No wonder there has been some confusion, not least because both A and C have two numerical grades – not one. How do they break down?

9 is a super A* grade with only the top 3% of students expected to achieve it. 8 is an A*, whereas 7 translates into a lower A. 6 is a B. C is a 5 and 4. With D as a 3, E and an F as a 2, and G as a 1, it will take some time before we understand these grades back to front.

To C or not to C?

Controversy over what constitutes a C grade has hit the headlines for the past year. Originally, 5 was promoted as being a strong (more desirable) C grade pass.

Education Sec. Justice Greening then stressed that pupils needn’t resit GCSE Maths or English if they achieved grade 4 – leading to the view that 4 was now deemed a standard pass.

Whether this is understood in the wider world just yet remains to be seen. Certainly, future employers in the Manchester and Cheshire areas will need to be educated themselves about how the new system works. But let’s be positive…

Let’s embrace change

Despite all the controversy, numerical grades are here to stay. And while it is tempting to try to compare them to previous years, it is pointless to do so since the exams have changed in nature. English and Literature GCSEs are all closed book exams with no differentiated tiers.

And with Maths – though still offering higher and foundation tiers – there’s no doubt that the higher papers have much more demanding content than ever before.

And while the new exam specs are different to before, it’s better to see them as do-able challenges rather than horrible hurdles.

Your child is more than a number

As ever, it will take at least another year or two before everyone gets to grip with the new numerical system. By 2019, numerical grades will be phased in across all subjects anyway.

Ultimately, for new students just about to embark on their GCSE courses this year, it’s essential to remember that you are more than a number. If you are finding it hard to get to grips with your GCSEs, always ask for help. Of course, our team of top tutors are always on hand…

Help others achieve their dreams: be a home tutor

August 24th, 2017

Every year when the A Level and GCSE results are due, we wait with bated breath to see how our students have done. And every year our hearts swell with pride when we find out they have smashed their predicted grades!

It’s one of the best feelings in the world, knowing that you have been part of that young person’s future. When all that hard work and encouragement pays off, there’s nothing better…

Tutoring is a truly wonderful career. Have you considered it? Every wondered what it is like?

The highs of being a private tutor

In short,  being a private tutor allows you to give time to students in a way that you rarely can in the classroom. Not just that, but working one to one means you can get to know a student inside out.

This in itself has all sorts of benefits. Once mutual trust and respect builds, we regularly see previously negative, switched-off students find their mojo again.

We see youngsters who have failed a year respond to new ways to succeed next time. Plus, by helping them find the confidence, or in some cases, regain it – you can help people believe in themselves.

Ultimately, you can give young people an opportunity to live their dreams…

Join the 121 Home Tutors team

Whether you are a classroom teacher, have left the classroom, you’ve a degree and been tutoring for some time, or you are highly qualified in a specialised field and have always wanted to teach, why not get in touch?

We’re always on the lookout for tuition talent across Manchester and Cheshire – especially this time of year when parents are looking for tutors! Check out some of our vacancies here, then drop us a line.

 

Can your dreams come true?

August 3rd, 2017

What dream future has your child set their sights on? Maybe they want to be a scientist, a teacher, travel the world, be a doctor…

Whatever the dream, education will help them move towards achieving those goals. Except, while that sounds fantastic, life can sometimes get in the way.

For instance, many enquiries we receive from worried parents stem from a mix of the following:

  • My child is struggling at school and seems to be going backwards
  • My child has lost confidence after switching classes/schools/teachers
  • A terrible report/exam failure has knocked my child’s self-esteem
  • My child just can’t keep up/is behind/gets little support in class
  • My clever child is overwhelmed by the thought of sitting an entrance exam

Often that dream can disappear altogether while you battle your child’s everyday problems… The good news is, those dreams are still there. What matters now is how to help your child handle feeling down.

Here are some useful pieces of advice our fantastic tutors across the Manchester and Cheshire area have shared:

Be a role model

If you hit a problem, get something wrong or forget something, admit it out loud and then suggest what you could do next time rather than getting angry or berating yourself.

Inspire with success

If your son is struggling with being dyslexic or dyspraxic, for instance, remind him that he has plenty of talent and that this learning issue is only one part of him. Mention how many famous people there are who haven’t let Dyslexia or Dyspraxia stop them: Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Daniel Radcliffe…

Keep it in perspective

Encourage your child to take up extracurricular activities such as sport, drama, singing, ballet – whatever your child is interested in. This way, it will keep everything in balance and help your child to realise that a special need isn’t a life sentence!

Encourage positive talk, not negative

If your child comes back from school saying,’ I’m so stupid at Maths’ or ‘I’m useless at reading’ try to steer them towards more positive thinking:

Reading can be tough sometimes. Show me what was tricky today and let’s work on it together.‘ Or, ‘It might feel that you are stupid, but you’re still learning. It’s hard to get everything right first time. I never did. Let’s look at one of the sums etc you struggled with..’

As we approach a new term, your child’s negativity might be triggered by previous experiences. Always try and nip it in the bud by doing something positive rather than giving into negative thinking.

Before long your child will see those dreams reappear… If you are still struggling, give us a call. We’re specialists at turning children’s fortunes around…

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.