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Posts Tagged ‘what to look for etc’

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.

 

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…”

http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html

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. 

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.

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 http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/agencies-public-bodies/dbs/services/dbs-subscribe/

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.

 

 

 

 

 

A new year, a fresh start

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

It’s September and the start of a new academic year. It’s the perfect time to set some new year’s resolutions when it comes to school and study!

  1. Concentrate on the positive and going forward. If you had a bad year last year then it’s important to reflect on what happened and how you could improve but you shouldn’t get too bogged down in what went wrong.
  2. Think about where you want to be by the end of the academic year and what you need to do to get there. You might need to spend more time studying or work one to one with private tutoring in Manchester.
  3. Take some time to plan. One of the biggest ‘mistakes’ students make (and we hear this all the time!) is that they don’t plan. We often hear about students doing homework on the bus or cramming for exams at the last moment. And then the results are disappointing. If you plan study then you know what your commitments are, you can stop worrying about them and have more time for fun.
  4. Do you have balance? If you have a heavy academic year coming up then what do you do to relieve the pressure? Think about hobbies or activities that will give your body and brain space to recover.
  5. Learn to share. If a problem comes up then tackle it quickly – find someone you can confide it, a parent, a teacher, a friend or a tutor. If you leave an issue to fester during the year then it’s much harder to sort out.

Here’s wishing a successful academic year for all our students across Manchester, Stockport and Cheshire. If you’d like to know more about our one to one private tutoring in Manchester, Didsbury, Sale, Altrincham and Trafford, Wilmslow and local areas then drop us a line.

 

End of term reports – what do they mean?

Monday, June 25th, 2012

It’s just a few weeks until the end of the academic year and that means school reports will soon be coming home. A school report is a good time to reflect on your child’s progress over the year and start to identify any areas where improvements could be made. At 121 Home Tutors we often get asked by parents to work on specific areas that might be a problem over the summer holidays. This year we’ll also be offering summer schools where your child can have fun and keep up their academic work over the long break.

If this is your child’s first report or they just bring back bad memories of your own school reports then here are a few things to think about:

  1. Don’t think about the report too much before it arrives.  Hopefully by now you have developed some sort of relationship with your child’s teacher and have dealt with issues as they have come up during the year. It’s best to deal with what’s in the report when it arrives rather than second guess the contents.
  2. Focus on what your child has done well. You may have your own expectations for your child but it’s a good idea to praise them for achievements (even the small ones) and positively focus on areas where they struggle. This will help build up their confidence.
  3. Each school will have its own reporting system and if you don’t understand what it means then do go and speak to your child’s teacher. They may refer to National Curriculum, levels and grades. Most schools are happy to hear feedback on reports so if you feel the report isn’t giving the information you need then approach the school to discuss how improvements might be made.
  4. It’s worth remembering that a class teacher has to write reports for EVERY pupil in the class. That’s a lot of reports to write and it does mean you may not always get the in-depth detail you want. Most teachers will be very open to having a chat if you have concerns about the report.
  5. Talk to your child about the report – ask them what they think about it and any areas where they think they need help and support. This is where a 121 private tutor can come in handy – you can focus on a specific area over the summer and ensure your child starts the next academic year in the best shape.

If you’d like to discuss private tutoring and summer schools in Manchester, Stockport or Wilmslow & Cheshire areas (we cover areas including Altrincham, Didsbury and Hale) then contact 121 Home Tutors.

Summer study schools

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

With the summer holidays fast approaching (just a couple of months away)  you might be thinking about how you can encourage your child to keep on studying, stay ahead of the crowd or catch up on a subject they have struggled with during the academic year.

If you are doing A Level or at University, you may want to use this time to find your feet with new topics or build up your confidence before you go back in September. Summer is also a key time to begin preparation for the 11+ (eleven plus). If you already work with a private tutor then you might be familiar with the idea of summer schools. At 121 Home Tutors we are planning a series of small group summer schools in the Manchester and Cheshire areas over the summer period. Here’s a rundown of what will be on offer (we can also design and deliver something specific for your child or a group of friends or in a one to one setting).

  •  11+ summer school. Preparing for studying and taking the 11+ exam and the very specific set of skills required to pass this exam.
  • Primary to KS3 summer school (age appropriate groups). A mix of Maths, English, Science and activities.
  •  Your child can attend for 1 day or up to 3 weeks.
  •  Prices start at £25 per child per day including lunch for 10am-3pm. There are opportunities for you to extend the days at an additional £5 per hour.
  •  The schools will take place in a central location easily accessed from Altrincham, Didsbury, Chorlton, Sale and Trafford areas.

Demand is already high for these courses and places are limited so if you are interested then do contact us soon.

Checklist for choosing a tutor

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

If you’ve never used a tutor before then there are some important question you need to ask before you start the tutoring process. Here is a quick checklist that you can go through with a tutoring company like 121 Home Tutors and any tutor you choose.

  • What tutoring experience does this tutor have?
  • Are they CRB checked? (now called a DBS) Don’t forget a tutoring company is not responsible for tutors being CRB checked or disclosing if their CRB checks are unclean.
  •  Will they tutor in your home or do you have to travel to them?
  •  How long will a tutoring session last?
  •  How will we know we are making progress?
  •  Does the tutor expect me (the parent) to be at the sessions? Or do I have to stay out of the room?
  •  How will a tutoring session work exactly?
  •  How will you initially assess the needs of my child?
  •  Can I see some recommendations from other parents?
  •  Can we meet up before you start tutoring my child?
  •  How much do we pay you and when?
  •  How many tutoring sessions do you think my child will need?

If you need help finding tutors in Manchester and tutors in Altrincham, Stretford, Hale, Wilmslow and other local areas then contact us.