Coronavirus implications for school and college students.

Many students will be affected by the Coronavirus school shutdowns. Looking at the latest information from the government, there will be a small number of year groups (Reception, year 1 and year 6) potentially returning to school after half term in early June. And only the following on secondary students and A level students: “Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays.”

Biggest Impacts – Year 10 and year 12

At Tutor My Kids, we’re looking at where we see the biggest impacts on students.

First and foremost, we foresee that the current year 10 and year 12s will be the hardest affected.

For year 10s and year 12s, at the moment they’ve missed almost a third of this academic year (getting close to 1 whole term). When you look at the entire GCSE or A level course of 5 terms, this makes 1/5th or 20% of their entire GCSE or A level courses missed.

Given the amount that has to be covered, it’s hard to ensure that all the topics are covered in a normal school year. We think this will be doubly hard with such a lot of time lost and leave massive gaps in the learning of many year 10s and year 12s.

Many schools are providing some good input for these students, but it’s not quite the same as being in school and not all students are taking advantage of the lessons and resources that are being provided. I think that there is a lack of understanding of this problem with many parents and students.

Year 5s impacted

In the same way the year 5s will be the next largest year group to be affected.

The primary school curriculum is so full that it is also tough to get children to the right level in time for year 6 SATs, especially those who have learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

I was surprised that the government had proposed returning year 6s to school (unless to help ‘babysit’ the reception and year 1 students). The gaps that they have, will (in most cases) be made up in year 7 as they transition into their secondary schools.

It is the year 5s have a greater need, I believe to be back in school, to prepare them for the SATs and prevent gaps in their learning becoming problematic – see Why-maths gaps occur-and-the-problems-they-cause/

I appreciate that students in year 5 have many years to catch up, but in reality, many primary school gaps in spelling, punctuation and basic maths remain uncorrected at secondary school as the curriculum moves rapidly onto secondary topics, with the assumption that these basic topics are secure.

What can you do to help?

First and foremost, regardless of their year group, take advantage of the resources that their schools are offering – be it remote lessons, links to learning, work set. One of our tutors has been putting together some amazing resources. See Mission-to-the-moon/ This is a great multi-subject topic block for primary aged children.

I know this is incredibly difficult for parents who are juggling work, caring for younger children, so do what you can. No one is expecting you to replace 5 hours of teaching each day! However, IF you’re schedule enables it, an hour a day is a massive help. See How-much-difference-can-an-hour-of-one-to-one-tuition-make/

Can you either remotely now, or face to face later, team up with other parents who can help with the maths, whilst you help out their kids with the English?

Get a tutor – either now or after lockdown. We’re quite busy at the moment, helping out students remotely, and anticipate that we’ll be called upon to help out during the summer (hopefully face to face by then) to help fill gaps ahead of the next academic year in September. Take a look at our ‘For Parents’ page for more details – For Parents.

For an informal chat about possible options for tuition – email hello@tutormykids.co.uk to arrange a time to talk.

Have you thought about getting a Tutor for your child whilst schools are closed?

It’s back to school after the Easter holidays this week, home school of course. It’s not ideal for many, especially as parents are also trying to work from home, help other vulnerable members of the family and generally cope with this whole strange situation we find ourselves in. It does however look to be continuing for some time yet.

Here at Tutor My Kids the Coronovirus lockdown has meant changing the way our Tutors teach. Our professional and qualified teachers are used to holding sessions in clients’ homes but now, with social distancing in place, they are carrying out all their tutoring online, usually via Skype or Zoom. This has been working really very well and we are so pleased we are able to continue to help children learn and help keep up some form of routine for them during this time.

If you are interested in getting some support for your child whilst schools are closed, then please do get in touch with us to see how we can help. It might be that you need to supplement the home schooling you are doing with them, or that you are still working and unable to give much time to teaching them yourself. Our excellent tutors can help to keep the children on track with the national curriculum and ensure their learning at home is effective. 

We can provide

  • 1-2-1 online tutoring in various subjects.
  • small group online sessions, perhaps for your child and 2 or 3 class friends who would like to work together.
  • work setting and marking as part of our tutoring sessions, so the children have work to be getting on with during each week.

Did you know that families who home educate are often advised that home schooled children require 1 hour of tuition a day, or the equivalent of 10 minutes for every hour they are in school, due to the one to one attention they receive? This advice varies slightly between local authorities but one hour seems a common guide. This figure is also in keeping with the tuition provided by local authorities to sick children who are unable to attend school, where they tend to provide around 5 to 8 hours tuition a week.

Even one hour tutoring a week with one of our experienced teachers whilst schools are closed could make a huge difference to your child. It can help to ensure they don’t get out of the learning habit, that they are working effectively and that they progress during this time.

If you’d like an informal chat about getting a tutor for your child, take a look at our For Parents page or call 01223 858421 or email Rachel Law to schedule a chat

All our tutors are fully qualified teachers and have been DBS checked.

Spotting English Language Features and Explaining the Effect they have on the reader

Key skills for year 10s to master now for the GCSEs in 2021.

Lyn Moulding has been tutoring English language and literature for Tutor My Kids for many years now and has shared these nuggets of wisdom for year 10s to get ahead, especially in this break from formal lessons, due to the Coronavirus:

Language features – adjectives, adverbs, metaphors, similes, personification etc.

A skill that is tested in all four GCSE English language and literature exams is being able to spot examples of language features and explain the effect they have on the reader. The skill of being able to write using examples of language features is tested in section B ‘creative writing’ on English language component 1.

So, it’s really important that you are confident and skilled in spotting, explaining and writing using language features. Why not try the following revision tactics:

  • Make ‘flash’ revision cards or a language features poster. 
  •   Adjectives = describes a noun – the highly polished, antique, pine table

BBC Bitesize lists many language features and provides great examples and explanations

  • Try reading a passage from one of your GCSE texts. Spot the language features and work out the effect they may have on a reader.

A Christmas Carol – ‘as solitary as an oyster’ = simile – oysters remain closed and ‘isolated’ for most of their lives so the simile emphasises just how isolated Scrooge is. 

Context = Oysters were a main component in the Victorian diet.

  • Write a basic story following the ‘mountain plot model’ and then add examples of language features to make the story more interesting and engaging for the reader.

The platform was packed = the platform was a mass of heaving humanity (alliteration)

The more revision you can do now, the easier it will be next year!

It’s never too early to start revising!

If you’re a qualified teacher and/or have tutoring experience, take a look at our For Tutors page, for information on becoming a tutor in Ely or Cambridge.

If you’d like an informal chat about getting a tutor for your children, take a look at our For Parents page or email Rachel Law to schedule a chat.

8-Tips-for-Summer-Holiday-Learning

The summer holidays are here! Children are excited to be free from the classroom and they’re ready to enjoy a well-earned break. It’s a time for families to create special memories together in the sunshine (with luck!).

As a parent, you may have mixed feelings about the long summer ahead. What if the break has a negative impact on your child’s learning? Most studies indicate that children do forget over the summer holidays, losing at least one month of classroom learning.

So, how can you prevent learning loss and at the same time have plenty of fun together?

Here are some ideas…

Car journey games

  • Break the tedium of long car journeys and at the same time practise intellectual skills, listening, observing, patience and turn taking with these alternatives to ‘I Spy’:
  • 20 Questions. Somebody thinks of a person; it could be a famous person, a cartoon character, a family member – anybody. The other people have to guess who the mystery person is by asking twenty questions.
  • I Went on a Picnic and Picnic Whispers – see ‘Picnics’ below.
  • Punch Buddy. Every time someone spots a Ford Fiesta (for instance) they gently punch the person next to them.
  • Which Animal? One person thinks of an animal. The others find out what the animal is by taking turns to ask a question. The question can only receive a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. For example: ‘Does the animal have four legs?’ ‘Can it be kept as a pet?’ ‘Does it live in the jungle?’
  • Would You Rather? Everyone takes a turn to ask and answer a question which makes them choose between a rock and a hard place. For instance, ‘Would you rather eat a worm sandwich or pour icy water over your head?’

Feathered friends

  • Make a bird feeder.
  • Watch and identify birds using the RSPB bird identifier.
  • Photograph birds.
  • Paint birds with watercolours/pastels by copying photographs or pictures from bird books.

Holiday clubs

Holiday clubs offer a wealth of activities. There’s usually something to suit every child’s interests: archery, arts and crafts, circus skills, dance, drama, go-karting, sports, swimming, trampolining and much more.

Type ‘summer holiday clubs near me 2019’ into an internet search engine.

I love books

Reading stretches the mind and encourages imagination. Children spontaneously re-enact stories or write their own stories if they are inspired enough. Set a book challenge: how many books can you read over the summer?

10 of the best books for pre-schoolers

The top 100 fiction books all children should read before leaving primary school

Keep fit

Keep children mentally and physically active:

  • Cycling
  • Football
  • Frisbee
  • Skipping games
  • Swimming
  • Swing-ball
  • Table tennis
  • Team games like Hide and Seek, Tag, Stuck in the Mud, What’s the Time Mr Wolf.
  • Tennis
  • Walking. Motivate reluctant walkers with geocaching.

Search the internet for team game instructions and skipping games.

Picnic food

Make a picnic together. Cooking involves reading and following instructions, weighing and measuring ingredients, as well as culinary skills such as chopping, mixing, and whisking.

Children could research where ingredients come from and how they are made. For example, they could discover how flour is made or find out where sugar comes from. Always check YouTube videos are suitable before children watch them.

Picnic games

Picnic games are great for developing listening skills, physical skills, social skills and the ability to pay attention in order to follow instructions.

Blanket Volleyball

Make two teams. Each team holds a blanket which they use to launch a beach ball back and forth.

Dance-off

Everyone takes turns to dance to music. The person who receives the loudest applause wins.

I Went On a Picnic…

People sit in a circle and one person says, ‘I went on a picnic and I bought…’ and they say something like ‘an apple’. The next person might say, ‘I went on a picnic and I bought an apple and some sandwiches.’ The game continues with each person repeating what has been said before, adding a new item.

Picnic Whispers

Picnic-themed Chinese Whispers. People stand in a line. One person whispers a message to the next person in the line, eg. ‘Dad likes lettuce, cucumber and cheese sandwiches for his picnic’. The whispered message continues down the line. The last person tells everyone the message.

Relay Race

Use your empty picnic boxes as batons. Divide everyone into two lines. The first person runs, grabs the container and gives it to the next person in the line. The first person goes to the back of the line and sits down. The first team with everybody sitting down wins.

Scavenger hunt

Encourage children to be observant with scavenger hunts. Make a worksheet and attach it to a clipboard with a pencil. Here are some ideas:

Can you spot these minibeasts?

Find 8 round things and then draw them.

20 things to find. (This is a list of random objects to tick off, eg: pine cone, paper clip, daffodil, calculator).

Tremendous trees!

Visit the park or woods to collect leaves and photograph different trees. At home, identify the trees using the Woodland Trust’s leaf ID chart.

Make some leaf art. Type ‘leaf art’ into pinterest.co.uk for some brilliant ideas!

Take a look at our other blogs on summer learning:

Encouraging-reluctant-readers-by-taking-reading-outdoors.

10-awesome-summer-projects-for-children

Summer Tuition – A great help or pushy parenting?




10-awesome-summer-projects-for-children

Are you looking for summer activities children can get their teeth into? Here’s our list of projects to keep them gainfully occupied.

Animation creation

Watch an animation like Morph or Shaun the Sheep for inspiration. Make up stories from scratch, re-tell stories from books or films, or create animations to match poems. Ideas could be storyboarded first. Make characters from clay, playdough, Lego or any small world toys. When the animation is complete hold a film premiere with dim lights and popcorn.

Download a stop motion animation app and off you go!

Business start-up

Help your child to turn their passion into a business.

They could:

  • Bake cakes or sweets.
  • Make hand-designed t-shirts, candles, jewellery, lemonade, or soap.
  • Knit, crochet or sew crafts/toys.
  • Create works of art – framed paintings, clay models, cross-stitched pictures etc.
  • Write stories (which they can self-publish and sell).

Think of a service to offer such as babysitting, dusting or washing cars.

Entrepreneur Europe explains how to help your child to take their business from idea to market. In doing so they develop skills for life: communication, organization, money management, and problem-solving.

Butterfly garden

Grow your own butterflies with an Insect Lore kit. Keep a butterfly diary by photographing/drawing each stage of development and writing captions.

Read books about the butterfly lifecycle such as Eric Carle’s The Hungry Caterpillar and A Butterfly’s Lifecycle by Mary Dunn. Make butterfly crafts.

Alternatively, find other live bug kits on the Insect Lore website.

Family tree

Together research your family tree. Talk to your child about your own childhood and show and discuss photographs. Ask grandparents and other family members questions too.

Sketch out your family tree as you know it. Research missing ancestors and/or decide which branch of the tree to explore further. Focus on the life story of a particular individual who has piqued your child’s curiosity.

The Devon Family History Society: Acorn Club website is available to all and will get you started. It features practical advice and links to research websites.

Herb garden

Plant herb seeds in empty yogurt pots using compost rather than garden soil. Choose herbs that can be used in salads or regular family recipes. Place the potted seeds in a light place indoors and encourage children to keep the soil damp.

Planting a herb garden engages children’s senses and gets them interested in gardening, cooking and healthy eating. For recipe ideas see 26 recipes to get the most out of your herb garden.

Insect hotel

Attract bees, butterflies, ladybirds, spiders and all sorts of insects to your garden by building an insect hotel. Type ‘bug hotel’ into Google Images for inspiration.

You will need wooden shipping pallets (you decide how many), hollow stems (eg. bamboo), pinecones, rocks, soil, sticks, and straw. Stack pallets on top of each other and stuff pallet openings with the other materials.

Use a magnifying glass to observe the features and behaviour of these creatures, and find relevant books in the library to learn more.

Newspaper creator

Get your child designing, writing and stretching their imagination by creating a newspaper. The content might include:

  • Comic strip
  • Craft idea
  • Horoscopes
  • Interview with a friend or family member
  • News (invented news, or something that’s topical locally or nationally)
  • Problem page
  • Puzzle (crossword, maze, wordsearch)
  • Recipe

Newspapers can be hand-made or designed from online templates.

Photograph album

Go out for the day and encourage your child to photograph anything that sparks their interest (strange shaped trees, beautiful plants, animal antics, interesting buildings or objects, people’s expressions etc). Take simple snap shots or experiment with photographic effects by zooming in and out and taking photographs from different angles.

Back at home, choose favourite photographs and make a physical album. Write captions to give photographs meaning in future.

Sewing, knitting and crocheting

Sew toys, bags, clothes, cushions – anything! Use a kit brought from a haberdashery or follow a free, online pattern. Fabric doesn’t have to be expensive. Recycle old clothes or curtains from charity shops or markets.

Knitting and crocheting are relaxing, rewarding hobbies. If you don’t have the skills then you can learn with your child. Type ‘learn to knit’ or ‘learn to crochet’ into YouTube for instructional videos.

World adventure

Pick a country and find out about it using a child-friendly search engine.

  • What is the environment like?
  • What food do people eat?
  • What do they wear?
  • What traditions do they have?
  • Is there a traditional dance?

Follow up with some activities:

  • Write a weather report.
  • Cook food from your chosen country and have a feast.
  • Search Pinterest.co.uk for craft activities linked to that country’s traditions.
  • Under supervision, search YouTube for traditional dances and learn some moves.

World adventure develops children’s geographical knowledge and fosters respect for other cultures. It’s the perfect summer project for children who might be dreaming of holidays and exotic, faraway places.

More summer activities to keep your children busy:

Encouraging-reluctant-readers-by-taking-reading-outdoors.



Encouraging-reluctant-readers-by-taking-reading-outdoors.

How can you encourage your child to read?  According to research conducted by King’s College London, most children learn better outdoors.  They feel more curious, motivated, and happy to concentrate when they’re outside.  

Share stories under a tree, in a tent, on a picnic blanket or snuggled up in a pile of cushions and blankets.  With a bit of preparation you can go out whatever the weather. The worse the weather, the more exciting it can be!

Find stories and non-fiction books your child will love by browsing together at the library, and by picking out books that you think they will enjoy.  Extend your child’s reading with activities linked to books, and join in with activities yourself – enjoyment and enthusiasm are infectious.

Here are some examples of how to get your child interested in reading through story themes.   

Potions

Picture books:

Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski

Potion Commotion by Peter Bently and Sernur Isik

Paperbacks:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

Activity

The child makes a magic potion by mixing natural ingredients (stones, soil, weeds, leaves) with water.  Add a sprinkle of bicarbonate of soda and a dash of vinegar for a magical fizz. Encourage the child to jot down the ingredients on a sparkly notepad as they go.

Once the potion is made, the child writes a recipe, giving it a name e.g. ‘Invisibility Potion’, ‘Wishing Juice’.    The child reads their recipe to you. If you have written a recipe too, you can swap and read each other’s.

Monsters

Picture books:

Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman

Not Now Bernard by David McKee

Paperbacks:

Fing by David Walliams and Tony Ross

Tom Gates: What Monster? By Liz Pichon

Activity

Make a monster by pressing clay onto a tree and adding natural materials for features.  The child writes a fact card for their monster detailing the monster’s name, age, special powers, what it looks like, what it eats, where it lives, and what it likes to do.  Ask the child to read their fact card (and yours too, if you have joined in).

Picnics

Picture books:

Florentine and Pig Have a Very Lovely Picnic by Eva Katzler

The Teddy Bears Picnic by Gill Guile

Paperbacks:

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Activity

Support the child to read and follow instructions from a children’s cookbook to make picnic treats (Florentine and Pig contains recipes).  Write a picnic shopping list together and, as you shop, encourage the child to read and follow their list.  

Before the picnic, the child writes invitations to toys or friends.  After the picnic give the child an attractively presented thank you letter from a guest (the letter should be at the child’s reading level).   

Gentle Giants

Picture books:

George’s Amazing Adventures: Jellybeans for Giants by Adam & Charlotte Guillain

The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Paperbacks:

The BFG by Roald Dahl

The Gentle Giant by Michael Morpurgo

Activity

Outside, hide a letter from the story giant.  The letter should provide details about the giant and its life and also ask the child questions about themselves.

The child finds the letter by following props or footprints relevant to the story.  For instance, The Smartest Giant in Town props could be a trail of discarded clothes.

Once the child has read the letter, they write a reply to the giant.

Treasure!

Picture books:

Mr Men: Adventure with Pirates by Roger Hargreaves

The Pirates of Scurvy Sands by Jonny Duddle

Paperbacks:

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Scarlet Silver: Swashbuckle School by Sarah McConnell and Lucy Courtenay

Activity

Write and hide clues that lead the child to hidden treasure (perhaps chocolate coins).  Make the clues descriptive, incorporating some directional language: ‘Turn right by the garden table and walk towards the flower bed’.  For extra engagement, write some clues in secret writing.    

Once the child has completed the treasure hunt, they could create one for you to follow!

What else can you do to encourage a reluctant reader?

At Tutor My Kids we believe that with the right support reluctant readers can be inspired to read for pleasure.  

  • Set an example.  If your child sees that you love reading, they soon will too.
  • Read to them.  They are likely to appreciate exciting stories that are above their current reading level.
  • Motivate children through their interests.  Encourage them to choose books independently, and at the same time introduce them to books you think they will enjoy.

Remember, writing is everywhere – indoors and outdoors.  It’s on signposts, labels, instructions, cereal boxes, flyers and so on.  Wherever they are, encourage your child to engage with the written word and they will soon be a fluent, interested reader.

How-long-should-my-child-have-a-tutor-for?

How long you engage a tutor for will very largely depend upon the outcome or purpose of the tuition and the academic starting point of your child. Tutor My Kids provides tutors in Ely, Cambridge and surrounding areas and work with a huge variety of students from age 6 to 18.

Purpose and outcomes of tuition

There are many reasons that you might choose to engage a tutor to work with your child. It might be because of upcoming exams where you’ll need a GCSE tutor to support your child through the exams, or following a dyslexia or dyscalculia screening or assessment or concerns raised by your child’s school teacher that they’re below expectations for their age. The length of time that you work with a tutor can vary hugely, depending on the reason for seeking help in the meantime.

For GCSE tuition, we tend to suggest that year 10 is a good time to start looking at this. It’s not unusual at Tutor My Kids for all our GCSE tutors in key subjects to be fully booked by September of the year preceding the exams, so it’s good to think about this sooner rather than later. It may be that in fact, your child doesn’t actually need help until year 11, but by getting in touch with a tutor or tutoring company early, you can get on a waiting list early. Equally, if they’re struggling and not keeping up, there may be value in doing some groundwork in year 9 to put them in the best possible position to succeed in years 10 and 11.

You may find out at a parental consultation or end of term report that your child has fallen behind and is below age-related expectations. This means that they’ve not attained the knowledge and skills that would be expected for their year group. There may be many reasons for this: summer-born children can be behind because they’re younger and less mature when they start school, your child may have missed school due to illness when some key areas were taught – this is particularly prevalent with maths and can create maths gaps (take a look at maths gaps – why they occur and the problems they cause). There may also be general or specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, global delay, ADHD, Autistic Spectrum disorders which make it much harder for students to concentrate, process information, retain information and therefore be at or ahead of age-related expectations.

Dyslexia, dyscalculia and other learning difficulties can make it really hard for students to learn at the same rate as other students.

Length of tuition

The length of time that you have a tutor is really largely dependent on their academic starting point. For GCSE tuition, if they’re just a grade off where they need to be, to start in year 11 is usually fine. If they’re well below the level that they need to be in year 11, then earlier intervention is invariably better.

If your child is behind because of gaps, and no learning issues, then tuition usually fills those gaps and no further tuition is needed after that initial period, unless other gaps in learning occur.

Learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and dyscalculia can make it incredibly hard for students to keep up at school and it’s not unusual for attainment to remain below expectations for many years, through no fault of the student, teacher or parents without help. Additional tuition can make it easier for your child to learn and retain the information. One-to-one tuition can make a massive difference in situations such as this, but often this help will be needed for many years in order to get the students the grades they need to pursue their goals.

If you’d like more information on dyslexia or dyscalculia screening, or tuition please contact Tutor My Kids at hello@tutormykids.co.uk or call the office on 01223 858421.

If you’re a teacher who is interested in beoming a tutor in Ely, Cambridge, Newmarket or Huntingdon, please take a look at our tutor page and get in touch by email to arrange an informal chat to discover if it might fit with your present commitments.

Mental-health-disorders-in-children-on-the-rise

Mental health issues amongst our young people are rife at the moment, with bullying, exam pressures, social media and school anxiety a huge problem. According to NHS Digital, in 2017, 12.8% of children and young people aged 5-19, have at least one mental disorder. This was an increase from 10% in 2004. This change was largely driven by an increase in emotional disorders (including anxiety and depression), which for 5-15-year-olds rose from 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2017.

I had the great pleasure to meet with a parent recently, who’s supporting her child with a bullying problem. The school have been really supportive and she’s enlisted the support of The Diana Award, set-up by Princess Diana, and has trained to be an anti-bullying ambassador to take the message to local schools.

We spent time also discussing the power of social media to affect children and their self-esteem. And given how connected our children our, it’s also incredibly difficult to get away from their bullies online too. I also spoke with a friend who told me her daughter was being targeted by a ‘friend’ on social media with some really vicious posts. I do think it is so much harder for our kids that it was for us, when typically the bullying stopped at the school gate.

At Tutor My Kids, we work with many students in the Cambridge and Ely area whose mental health is preventing them from attending mainstream school lessons and support them with one-to-one lessons either in school or in their home. Our amazing tutors in Cambridge and Ely have the skills to support them with their academic work and have the pastoral skills to support them with their self-esteem too. Usually, this is provided and funded by schools but sometimes privately by parents.

Mental health is a hugely complex area with few obvious solutions. But do talk to your children, the school and get support sooner rather than later.

Daytime-tuition-the-game-changer-to-make-private-tuition-an-alternative-to-classroom-teaching

Tutoring during the daytime can be the real game-changer when considering if you could earn enough from tuition alone. Tutor My Kids, provide one-to-one tutors in Cambridge, Ely, Huntingdon and Newmarket for private and school clients. We’re increasingly working with local schools and have opportunities for great teachers to teach some fabulous kids during the daytime.

Daytime work

We support schools in Cambridgeshire with a variety of teaching and tutors during the daytime, during the school day. Students have the benefit of additional teaching from our private tutors in Cambridge, Ely and surrounding areas. Sometimes these sessions of tuition are at local schools and sometimes they are in the parents/carers’ homes.

These students are having extra lessons for a variety of reasons: additional sessions to supplement their learning ahead of exams, teaching outside of the classroom because they’re unable to join mainstream classes. Often this is due to anxiety and occasionally due to behaviour. The interesting thing is that invariably the behaviour stems from poor self esteem, personally or educationally and in the vast majority of cases these children thrive in a one-to-one situation.

All our tutors in Cambridge and surrounding areas, tell us just how rewarding it is to work with these students. We change lives.

Which subjects are most in demand?

As with most of our clients, we have the most need for English, maths and science tutors in Cambridge and Ely. Generally, we recruit qualified teachers, but we also have opportunities for non-teachers who have the right experience and aptitude.

Most students are KS3 and KS4, so an understanding of the GCSE maths, English and science curricula are important. Sometimes there are gaps stemming from the primary curriculum, so primary school teachers who are able to tutor the GCSE subjects are particularly useful. In fact, increasing numbers of our primary tutors are skilling themselves up to meet this need.

What personality traits are needed?

The students we work with need warmth, encouragement and support to bring out the best in them. Some need firm boundaries and expectations set. Sometimes the anxious students are able to engage with the tuition one day but unable to do so another day, so flexibility and understanding is key to keeping the tuition going for a period of weeks or months.

How do I find out more?

Please email Rachel Law to arrange to have an informal chat on the phone to find out if this might suit you.

Thinking-of-getting-a-tutor-for-your-child-for-the-first-time?

If you’ve never considered a tutor for your child before, it can be a bit daunting to know where to start. The following will give you some pointers to ask the right questions. We’ll discuss the various options available and additional things to think about. Many of our clients have never had a tutor before and find our advice helpful.

What are the options?

There are a number of options to consider:

  • One-to-one tuition
    • In your home
    • At the tutor’s home
  • Group tuition

One-to-one tuition

One-to-one tuition is one tutor working directly with your child. This ensures that the teaching is focused entirely on the needs of your child, rather than being split across a group of students with potentially very different needs. This is felt to be the gold standard of tutoring, however, it does of course, as with all tutoring, hinge entirely on how good the tutor is. This can be in your home or at the tutor’s home.

If the tutoring takes place in your home, you know that your child is in a safe environment, you have greater oversight over what is being taught and it is often more convenient, especially if you have a busy schedule and/or other children. At Tutor My Kids, our tutors in Cambridge, Ely and surrounding areas, always see clients in their homes as we think that this gives the best results.

Many tutors prefer to tutor in their homes because they can tutor a greater number of students in the time they have available. There are undoubtedly some great tutors who tutor from their own homes. Over the years, however, we’ve had a few horror stories: One parent was regularly collecting her daughter from the tutor and finding her sitting at a computer playing a (good and useful) word game, but one that she could have done at home to supplement the tuition, but not as tuition. Since she swapped to Tutor My Kids and the tutor comes to her in Cambridge, she knows exactly what her daughter is learning. Another client felt that her daughter wasn’t getting the best focus from visiting her tutor in Ely at his home because the house was noisy and there were interruptions from his children.

Group tuition

Group tuition scores because it is a more cost-effective option that one-to-one tuition, but there is, of course, a dilution of the focus of your child, especially if their needs are different from the children around them or there are stronger personalities in the group. Potential problems can also occur with focus on areas that are not needed and not enough focus on the areas that your child needs. For example, we worked with a year 4 student who was regularly attending a training centre and her ability to manipulate numbers was very impressive, but when Tutor My Kids assessed her, it revealed some very significant gaps in her maths understanding, which was resulting in poor scores in her tests at school. Her mum and dad thought they were helping her, but it wasn’t addressing the problems that she had.

With group tuition it is very hard to tailor the tuition to the individual student and often the curriculum taught is fixed with the whole group moving onto the next lesson, whether or not it has been understood by all the students.

Additional things to think about

As already discussed, whichever options you look at, they are as good as the tutor who is working with your child. It’s always wise to take-up recommendations where possible. At Tutor My Kids we’re incredibly grateful that most of our clients come in from recommendations from friends and family who are seeing the benefits of working with our amazing tutors in Cambridge and Ely areas.

It’s important also that you know who you’re letting into your home. If you’re not working with an agency such as Tutor My Kids who vet their tutors thoroughly, do ensure that they are DBS checked. In addition, we always insist that there is an adult in the house whilst tuition is occurring and that it happens in a family-friendly, downstairs room, such as a kitchen or dining room.

At Tutor My Kids, most of our tutors are qualified teachers because we know that they have more experience of teaching in a variety of ways to help students understand. It’s certainly worth asking about the background of any potential tutor. If the tutor is for your primary-aged child, this is particularly key as not following the methodologies taught in school can cause further confusion, rather than providing help.

Get in touch

For a free, informal discussion with Tutor My Kids about getting a tutor in Cambridge, Ely, Huntingdon and surrounding areas, please contact us at hello@tutormykids.co.uk to arrange a time to chat.