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Posts Tagged ‘tutor’

Is tutor regulation the way forward?

Wednesday, 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.



Private Tutoring in the news

Monday, June 17th, 2013

It’s been a busy month in the world of private tutoring with coverage across the media on whether tutoring is a good or a bad thing.

A Guardian investigation said that modest income and ethnic minority families are behind the boom in tutoring.

At 121 Home Tutors our students come from a wide variety of economic and ethnic backgrounds with very differing needs – some want more intensive coaching to the pass the 11+, while some just need an hour a week to help with a tricky topic or subject area.

Radio 4 discussed tutoring on You and Yours and The Guardian ran a letter from a university lecturer about what she perceived as the downsides of tutoring.  There has also been plenty of coverage of Ben Thomas’s (headmaster of Thomas’s prep school in Battersea) tirade against private tutoring. His main concern was that childhood is being swallowed up by the emphasis on tutoring to get into certain schools.

If you’d like to know more about our approach to private tutoring in Manchester and Cheshire you can call 121 Home Tutors.


What motivates us to learn?

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

At 121 Home Tutors we constantly exploring ways to engage students who have fallen out of love with learning, Our tutors are often faced with children (and adults) who have given up. Maybe they struggled with a topic for so long that learning became a chore. Maybe they struggled in the classroom because of a lack of confidence or dyslexia. Whatever the reason instead of learning being a wonderful way to discover new things and develop new skills it becomes a bore.

So why do some people love learning and enjoy it? And how can we ‘switch’ on those who have lost their way? We gathered some resources together for you to explore your own motivation.

What motivates us to learn

What motivates us to learn foreign languages

The truth about what motivates us 

The top three tips to come out of all these resources are:

–       Punishment and reward isn’t a good way to motivate learning and can often crush creativity and the desire to learn.

–       Students need an intrinsic reason to learn (something within themselves) rather than an outside motivator, that could be something as simple as being able to communicate with a  friend who lives in a foreign country.

–       All learners need to work towards being good at something (mastery) rather than setting themselves up to fail by thinking they are dumb (or smart, which can create just as many problems).

If you’d like to know more about how one to one tutoring can help with motivation then call 121 Home Tutors today. We cover Manchester and Cheshire.

The Child Driven education

Monday, May 13th, 2013

TED is an organisation devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It’s a fantastic resource for students (and teachers) to watch inspirational speakers talk about a variety of topics. We recently came across educational researcher Sugata Mitra talking at TED about children and teaching.

“There are places on earth, in every country, where, for various reasons, good schools cannot be built and good teachers cannot or do not want to go…”

There are some fascinating insights on why and how children learn. There’s a very powerful message about children being interested in something in order to be educated.

We frequently find students who come to us for tutoring aren’t interested in either the topic or the way it’s being taught in the classroom. It becomes our job to find new ways to engage a child, either by taking a different approach to learning (so  we might ditch the books and use videos, or turn off the computers and try drawing mind maps and using pens and paper). What we find, as Arthur C Clarke says in the video, is once a child is interested it becomes education.

If you’d like to know more about how one to one tutoring (covering Manchester, Hulme, Trafford, Heaton Mersey, Wilmslow and other areas) and how it can change your child’s approach to education call us today. 

How to become a private tutor

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

At 121 Home Tutors we regularly get calls and emails from people who are interested in becoming private tutors. Some of these people are already teachers, have teaching qualifications, have tutored in the past or have some sort of educational experience. However,  many have no teaching experience or qualifications at all and want to take the first step into tutoring. Here’s a quick guide for those who want to start a new career in tutoring.

  • You’ll need a specialist subject and usually at one level above those you are teaching. So if you want to teach A Level Maths you’ll need a degree in Maths (or a closely related subject).
  • If you only have industry experience you may still work as a tutor but it’s a good idea to try and get some work experience in tutoring or training.  One way is to offer to volunteer in schools.
  • You generally don’t need a PGCE (teaching qualification) to tutor but it may be worth exploring further qualifications to enhance your CV.
  • In general most tutors are self-employed so be prepared to find your own work and to have ups and downs in your income. Tutoring often happens in evenings and at weekends to fit around school times.
  • Many tutors work in their students’ homes so you’ll need transport and may have to pass a DBS (previously known as a CRB) check.
  • Depending on what you are teaching you will need to be aware of the syllabus for the subject you are teaching and any educational changes that impact on your tutoring.
  • Remember when you apply for a tutoring post to put together a well-composed CV and letter and proofread it very carefully.

If you’d like to know more about private tutoring in Manchester and Cheshire you can contact us here or you can apply to be a private tutor through our website.

Is it worth investing in a private tutor?

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

A recent article in the Telegraph discussed the pros and cons of using private tutors for children who are already privately educated. The issue being discussed was whether, if you are already paying a substantial amount for your child’s education, should this be topped up with private tuition (and if so when do you need a tutor). Some of our students go to independent schools but many are in the state  school system – we feel the issue of whether to work with a tutor doesn’t depend on whether or not you pay school fees. At 121 Home Tutors we believe if you are trying to decide whether your child needs a tutor then your child is where you should start.

  • Tutoring can be used for many different reasons – it maybe that you want your child to go to a particular school or university and you want to help them ‘get to the top of the pile’. It may be that your child is struggling with a particular subject or topic within that subject. Or they may lack general confidence or study skills they need within the educational environment. In some instances you may be able to find additional support within school but often educational problems become linked with school and a learning situation away from that can help. We’ve seen many students have sudden breakthroughs with a tutor after months of struggling with a subject at school.
  • Observe your child. It’s important to listen to what teachers are telling you but you also need to listen and watch your child – their reluctance to complete homework could be a sign they are struggling, do they suddenly not want to go to school? The signs can often be much more subtle than this and an experienced tutor can quickly distinguish between genuine issues and laziness.
  • For children that are falling behind or have developed a negative relationship with learning just a few months of tutoring can turn them around. It boosts confidence in general and can make them fall in love with learning again.

If you’d like to know more about one to one private tutoring in Manchester and Cheshire at primary and secondary level (covering all subjects including Maths, English, French and Science) then call us today.

Postgraduate degrees – what does the future hold?

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

At 121 Home Tutors we think it’s important to know what is going on in every area of education. Although the majority of our students are at primary and secondary level we also offer support and tutoring to A Level, University, adult and postgraduate students.  Our adult and post grad students sometimes come to us because they need subject specific help but often because they may have been out of education for some time and need help with skills such as essay writing or formulating arguments.  Many of our tutors hold postgraduate degrees and qualifications and we were saddened to read last month that support for postgraduate degrees seems to be on the decline.

Last month eleven leaders of universities, from varying types of institution across the UK, said there was an imminent postgraduate crisis as it was revealed that research councils are withdrawing support for taught master’s courses. These courses are integral to the success of certain academic and professional careers. The university leaders recognise that if less people are able to take these courses then it could have a considerable impact on our economic growth. Last year fees for postgraduate courses rose by an average of 11%, meaning further study may only be available to the wealthy.  The numbers of people taking masters and PhDs has already begun to decline.

For many people graduating with a BA or BSc isn’t enough to put them ahead of the pack, what they need to succeed is postgraduate education. The concern is that if this isn’t affordable for most then it could leave talented people behind.

If  you’d like to discuss postgraduate or adult one to one tutoring in Manchester & Cheshire then contact 121 Home Tutors. We cover most postgraduate subjects.

Disclosure and Barring Service and Tutoring

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Many parents will be familiar with a CRB check.

For certain jobs in the UK, including those that involve working with children, you are usually  required to have an enhanced CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check.  When a company request a CRB check a person’s details are checked against various sources including the Police National Computer. The check reveals if they have a criminal record and any convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings. It may also show if an applicant has been barred from working with vulnerable groups.  Tutors have not always been required to have a CRB check as most tutoring is carried out in the home and classed as a domestic arrangement.

At 121 Home Tutors we have always required our tutors to have a basic CRB check. In the last few weeks the CRB  has become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).  The idea behind the change is to bring the functions of certain checking bodies together – the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and reduce the number of people being checked.  The change also means the certificate will be sent to an individual who can challenge the information before it reaches an employer.  It will also see the end of a new check every time a new job is taken, with updates to a certificate now possible.

What does this all mean for tutors?

It won’t make a great deal of difference day to day. All new certificates will be branded DBS and old certificates still stand. You will now be able to port your certificate to a new job from Spring 2013.  If you are a self-employed tutor you still can’t apply as an individual  – you can use an umbrealla organisation or you may be able to apply through a trade or professional body. You can find all about the changes here

If you’d like to know more about tutoring for 121 Home Tutors (covering Manchester and Cheshire) you can contact us here.


Is tutoring really worth it?

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Last week we stumbled across this article from Canada about whether private tutoring really offers students any advantages.

The article states that about a third of Canadian parents hire private tutors. In the UK, according to the Sutton Trust charity in 2005 around 18% of 11-16-year-olds received some private or home tuition. Last year that number had risen to nearly 25%. With increasing competition to get into grammar schools some parents see tutoring as a necessity rather than the luxury it once was.  There has been concern expressed on both sides of the Atlantic that the rise in private tutoring will widen the gulf between those that can afford it and those that can’t – creating an unbalanced education system that favours those with money.

In our own private tutoring company we see parents from a wide mix of backgrounds, some with money, some with not so much. Their reasons for accessing tutoring for their children vary – some see academic success as an important measure of future success, others just want to help their child be better at Maths or English. Either way we hope we offer a service that allows children and parents to access the education they need.

If you’d like to talk to us about private one to one tutoring for primary or secondary aged children in Manchester or Cheshire (Bury, Levenshulme, Heaton Moor and other areas) then get in touch.






Please help me revise! Part 1.

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

This month we hit exams and it’s serious revision time for all students especially GCSE, A2 and A Level students. But it’s also the time of year when most people struggle with revision. We asked some of our students why they find revising particularly hard – do you relate to any of these answers?

–          My friends seem to have everything under control and want me to go out

–          I’m tired and feel I need a break [always!]

–          It’s great now the weather’s getting better, but I don’t want to be stuck indoors

–          I’m finding revision boring so always find better things to do

–          This far into the year I’ve just lost my motivation

–          I don’t get it/understand the subject(s)         

–         The exams are still a few days/weeks off and I’m not worried

–          The exams are really close and I’m panicking and it’s stopping me working

Because these are the most common problems (or excuses!) we hear at 121 Home Tutors we thought we’d tackle each one.

My friends seem to have everything under control and want me to go out

Chances are they aren’t being wholly truthful with you and are just as scared as you. Maybe they are burying their hand in the sand a bit? If you need to revise then you need to stand strong – but there’s no reason you can’t plan your social life into your revision schedule, in fact breaks are incredibly important. Or how about suggesting a study group with friends?

I’m tired and feel I need a break [always!]

We’ll admit things can get a bit tricky when exams approach and the days merge into one with nothing other than revision and more revision to do but it’s ok to have some time off, the trick is not to let things slide so much you end up having two weeks off and then trying to cram all the work into the weekend before an exam. Think about setting a small amount of time aside each day (how about an hour in the evening when everyone is winding down?) or schedule time off in your plan and then stick to it.

It’s great now the weather’s getting better, but I don’t want to be stuck indoors

There’s no rule which says you have to revise indoors or at a desk. Grab your books or laptop and find yourself a sunny spot in the garden or park. Taking any form of exercise will help to keep you mentally fresh so ensure you’ve got outside breaks planned into your revision days. Remember you don’t have to be stuck to a book the whole time, you could put notes on your ipod and listen while you walk or invest in downloads from itunes. If you need more maths revision tips have a look here.

If you’d like to know how you deal with the most common revision problems then watch out for the second part of the Please help me revise blog (please help me revise part 2).

If you’re struggling with revision for exams and you’re looking for a tutor in Manchester, Stockport or Wilmslow Cheshire areas (we cover areas including Altrincham, Stretford, Didsbury and Hale) then contact 121 Home Tutors.