Why use a tutoring agency to find a tutor?

It can be cheaper to hire a private tutor directly, so why should you use a tutoring agency?

The biggest reason is that tutoring in the UK is unregulated.  Anybody can set themselves up as a tutor.  They don’t need to have formal qualifications, experience or be particularly skilled in the area they teach.  Tutors working alone cannot process their own DBS check (a DBS check is carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service and is a record of a person’s criminal convictions and cautions).  In order to obtain a DBS check tutors working alone need to go through an organisation such as the Tutors’ Association, but many choose not to join because individual membership is costly.

Should I use a private tutor directory website?

Private tutor directory websites are created all the time and they have thousands of tutor profiles you can browse.  On the face of it that sounds brilliant, but there are significant drawbacks:

  • Many websites list tutors from all over the country and don’t specialise in your particular locality, which means you have to sift through a lot of profiles to find a skilled, local tutor.
  • Not all directory websites undertake DBS checks making it easy for criminal offenders to slip in unnoticed.
  • Most directory websites do not interview tutors face-to-face.  This wouldn’t happen in any other professional field – especially one involving children!  Personal interviews are a vital aspect of the selection process. 
  • If you’re unhappy with your tutor, a directory website will take little or no responsibility for the problem. 

Why use a tutoring agency?

  • Your tutor will have been properly vetted saving you having to ask awkward questions about DBS checks, references and qualifications.  A reputable agency will follow safe recruiting practices by:
    • Obtaining DBS Certificates and reviewing them annually.
    • Obtaining references from previous employers as well as personal references.
    • Verifying qualifications.
    • Interviewing tutors face-to-face.
  • Your child will receive a higher standard of tuition because you will be assigned a tutor who is specifically matched their needs.  When matching tutors and students consideration is given to:
    • Whether the tutor is qualified to teach the subject at the student’s level and beyond.
    • The tutor’s and the student’s personalities.
    • How well the tutor can tailor their teaching to the student’s learning styles.
  • Tutors must agree to follow the agency’s quality standards.  If they do not follow best working practices the agency will act because their reputation depends upon the quality of their home tuition service.
  • Your tutor will be local making it easier to organise regular tutoring sessions at a time that suits you.  They may also have taught at schools in your local area. 
  • If your tutor is ill or on holiday, an agency can find you another tutor to at short notice.

Why choose TutorMyKids?

TutorMyKids is a premium home tuition service, so in addition we:

  • Meet you and your child at home to discuss specific learning requirements and to answer any questions that you have.  This consultation is free of charge.
  • Liaise with your child’s teacher to identify areas of need so that we work with them to ensure your child reaches their full potential.
  • Find you a local tutor.  We specialise in providing maths, English, humanities and language tuition in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.
  • Match your child to a well-qualified, experienced tutor.  With a few exceptions, all of our tutors are qualified teachers working in UK schools.
  • Match you with a tutor who is:
    • up-to-date with the current syllabus;
    • has high learning expectations for all students;
    • organised and prepared so that lessons are structured, active and engaging;
    • able to adapt their teaching to keep motivation levels high;
    • able to form a positive, warm relationship with your child to ensure they achieve;
    • committed to communicating with you after every lesson to discuss your child’s progress and next steps.
  • Provide tutoring in your own home, unless you specify otherwise, so that your child feels secure and comfortable.
  • Talk to you regularly about how your child’s tuition is going, so that if any adjustments need to be made then action can be taken.

Qualified teacher and founder of TutorMyKids, Rachel Law, is committed to helping all children to reach their full potential.  Rachel only selects private tutors who share her dedication to achievement.  

To find out how TutorMyKids can help your child, please get in touch for a free consultation.

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.

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.

Why-getting-a-tutor-early-can-help-your-child

Parents want to help their children, but worry about starting too young.

At Tutor My Kids we arrange private tutors in Cambridge, Ely and the surrounding areas, we don’t believe that tuition should ordinarily be started too early or need to be in place for extended periods.

HOwever, if your child is struggling, it may be worth getting some help in early.

Good reasons to get help earlier

There are good reasons to get help earlier than later.

Some subjects, maths especially, are very sequential; new knowledge is built upon existing understanding. If this base knowledge is not secure, then it can cause problems higher up the school. Very much like building a wall, it make sense to ensure the foundations are secure. Without this help, maths gaps can occur.

Some children, especially those with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, benefit from a lot of repetition, so this can also be a good reason to get a private tutor for your child.

Even relatively young children become aware that they’re not keeping up with their peers and this can cause issues of lack of confidence. Building confidence is probably the main reason that parents approach Tutor My Kids when looking for a private tutor in Cambridge and Ely areas.

How to choose the right tutor for younger children

At Tutor My Kids, the majority of our tutors are teachers – after all, it was founded by a teacher, so it’s one of our core approaches. We think that teachers teach better than non-teachers. For primary aged children, we only recruit fully qualified teachers so that the highly specialised curriculum is taught using the same methodologies as your child’s school.

On top of being a qualified teacher, we think it’s really important to have a teacher who can teach in a really supportive way, especially for less confident and/or younger children. It’s equally important that the tuition feels like a low-key activity rather than a high stakes endeavour.

The location of the tuition is an important consideration too. At Tutor My Kids, our tutors tutor in Cambridge and Ely area in the support and safety of your home, providing, we think, the perfect learning environment for children to learn.

How do I find out more?

We’re really blessed with clients who recommend us – take a look at their testimonials for their generous and kind comments.

To discuss if a Tutor My Kids tutor might be might for your child in Cambridge, Ely, Huntingdon and surrounding areas, please email Rachel or call the office on 01223 858421.

Why-a-maths-assessment-is-key-to-getting-the-best-tutor-for-your-child

At Tutor My Kids, tutors in Cambridgeshire, a maths assessment is a usual part of our process of putting in the right tutor for your child. It enables us to assess your child’s abilities, their maths gaps and how they approach their work. The importance of getting the right tutor in terms of personality and approach, who will bring out the best in your child is, in our opinion, an integral part of getting the best tutor for your child.

Whether your child is struggling with the basics or the more advanced work makes a huge difference in finding the best maths tutor for them. A strong mathematician may benefit from a tutor who can really question and stretch them, whilst an underconfident student needs a much more gentle, encouraging approach. Establishing this can make the all the difference between ‘ok’ tutoring and exceptional tutoring.

Establishing where your child is with their learning

How confident a student is with their maths is a key determiner to the kind of tutor who will work best with them. Students who are working on the higher paper and are looking to get the best grades for sixth form, invariably need a supportive approach, but one which challenges them to think strategically to tackle the type of questions at level 8/9. A student who has always thought of themselves as a weak mathematician will need someone who can fill in missing gaps, gently, to raise their confidence and enable them to gain the marks they need to pass their GCSE maths. The new GCSE exams need a particular set of skills – see What’s different about the new GCSEs and what skills are needed?  Whilst dyscalculia is rare, it can be a problem. At Tutor My Kids, we do offer dyscalculia screening. Take a look at How dyscalculia screening helped a parent. So, it’s absolutely key to establish where your child is with their learning. Then we can look at the personality match between the student and the tutor.

Getting the personality match right

At Tutor My Kids, we think that getting the right personality match for your child is absolutely key to great tuition. We always meet you and your child in your home, to get a feel for your home ‘culture’ and your child’s personality. We establish what kind of approach will best support your child. We meet all our tutors at Tutor My Kids face to face and know the kind of students that they most prefer to work with – some love pushing the most able students, others simply adore helping the students that don’t ‘get’ maths. This joint knowledge and personal approach helps us to get the best possible match of tutor for your child and your family.

Putting it all together

This is where the magic happens. We put together your child’s level, approach to learning, confidence and personality and bingo we get a great tutor matched to your child to help and support them in their goals. It’s brilliant when we get this right! Student’s simply fly! See our client testimonials and tutor testimonials for a taste of this.

If you’d like more information on tutors in Ely, Cambridge, Newmarket and Huntingdon, take a look at our For Parents page, email Rachel or call Rachel on 01223 858421.

If you’re a teacher interested in finding out how to join our amazing team and working with really well assessed students, please take a look at our For Tutors page, email Rachel or give her a call on 01223 858421.

 

Why-getting-the-right-tutor-is-key-to-successful-tuition

With so many sites advertising tutors on the internet, getting the right tutor can be like finding a needle in a haystack, and getting the right tutor for your child is absolutely key for maximising the success of tutoring. Many sites advertise university students with stunning academic credentials, but are they able to teach? Not everyone is. This is particularly important if you’re looking for tuition at primary age as the methods taught (as you may have already realised) are very different from how you were taught. Experience of the marking schemes of exams is also key to maximising grades. Picking a tutor from a list of pictures and some information is a bit like (I guess) Tinder or Grindr. There are better ways! And last but by no means least, how can you be sure that they are a safe person to be working with your child?

Academic qualifications and teaching experience

I do realise that we have a biased view at Tutor My Kids because it was founded by a teacher and almost all our tutors are qualified teachers. Teachers spend years presenting information in ways which make it easier for the students to learn, adapting until they find an approach that works for each student. Highly qualified students lack the experience to be able to do this and can lack the ability to engage with students who find it hard when they have found it so easy. With the new 9-1 GCSEs and A levels, knowledge of the new curriculum and marking schemes is of particular importance now.

Understanding of the exam marking schemes

Understanding the marking schemes has always been important but with the new GCSE and A levels, it’s even more important to understand the marking schemes and grade boundaries. At Tutor My Kids, our tutors know the new marking schemes and can advise where to write at length and where to write concisely to ensure the maximum number of marks are obtained. Technical vocabulary and language is a key part of the exams now and incorporating the correct terms can make a noticeable difference to the number of marks awarded. Applying subject knowledge to a problem is a new facet of the exams too, so students need to understand their subjects very well. They also need to be able to apply this knowledge to other contexts and problems.

Attitude, Rapport and Trust

The attitude of the tutor and the rapport that they build with your child is probably the most important factor that affects the success of the tuition. At Tutor My Kids, we’re all driven by wanting to help; for us and our tutors, money is not our or their primary motivator at all, it’s a real desire to make a difference. Because we’re small and because of the processes we go through before we start tuition, we get exceptionally good matches with our students and tutors – look at our testimonials and tutor testimonials for a feel. Kids find it hard to ask questions in class, so it is so important that they’re working with someone they trust and have a good rapport with.

Safeguarding

As teachers, safeguarding is rather hard-wired into us. At Tutor My Kids, all our teachers have a current enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service Check). This means that any criminal convictions, spent or not, are disclosed to judge if they are safe to work with children or vulnerable adults. We also take up recent references which include any questions about any safeguarding concerns. For our teachers, we’re also able to check their qualified teacher status (QTS) and ensure that they’ve not been ‘struck off’. We are as thorough as we can be in preventing unsuitable and unsafe tutors from tutoring children.

Get in touch

We love welcoming teachers into our happy team, if you’re interested in becoming a tutor, please take a look at our tutor page, and Are-you-a-teacher-who-has-forgotten-what-a-joy-teaching-is.  For information on finding a tutor, please see our parents page, email Rachel or call Rachel Law on 01223 858123.