Why flip flop is ok and flop fip isn't
Why flip flop is ok and flop flip isn’t.

Why we can flip flop but not flop flip.

As adults we instinctively hear and learn the right grammar rules over years of usage. Have you ever thought of why we say things in this order. No me neither – Take a look below.

Why we have hip hop muis not hop hop.

And how about Great, green dragons not Green, great dragons.

I love all these glorious snippets of our English language.

If you’re a teacher who loves imparting English language click the link to find out more about becoming a private tutor in Cambridgeshire or email me, Rachel Law at hello@tutormykids.co.uk to arrange to have an informal chat on the phone.



Can home tuition help behaviour in the classroom?

Poor behaviour in the classroom can have many causes, such as circumstances at home such as bereavement, family separation, changes in work patterns etc. It can also be caused or at least made worse by a poor match of school work to your child’s abilities.

If the work is too hard for your child they will be unable to get on with it and this may result in poor behaviour in the classroom. If the work is too easy, your child may quickly become disengaged because they’ve finished it and/or it represented little challenge.

Pressures on schools to ‘deliver’ the curriculum are huge at the moment, with expectations that children progress. Getting progress for children is of course what we all want, but sometimes this means that teachers are not able to spend enough time on a subject for all the children to become secure on an area. This is especially apparent with the maths curriculum. Classes tend to move on, even if some children have not understood all they need to.

Maths is often more problematic because it learnt in a sequential manner; your child needs to understand adding before they can understand that multiplication is repeated addition. Maths knowledge is built upon a previous knowledge – like a wall. If the previous knowledge is not well understood the wall will never stand up well.

One of our teachers is currently helping a boy who has spent a lot of time out of the classroom due to behavioural issues. He’s severely dyslexic and the work that he was attempting was too hard for him. School are now catering for his needs much more effectively and our tutor is helping him to catch up the missed work.

Tutor My Kids organises tuition in your home, by qualified teachers with UK curriculum experience to fill in the gaps in your child’s knowledge and support their work at school.

Please get in touch with Rachel Law on 01223 858421 or via the website www.tutormykids.co.uk for a free, friendly and informal discussion.

For help and practical support with behavioural issues, please contact Julie Heginbottom, In Safe Hands via www.in-safe-hands.co.uk or on 07885 724662

Teenagers will have to keep
studying GCSE English and maths until they get a C grade.

government has announced plans that teenagers who fail to get a ‘C’ grade in
their English or maths GCSE will need to re-sit them.

At Tutor My
Kids, we find that maths tuition is really effective and can make a big
difference in a short period of time. Teenagers don’t want to ask questions in
class in front of their peers, either because they’re labelled as ‘geeks’ or
they feel that they should know and their peers will judge them for being ‘stupid’.
1-to-1 tuition enables teenagers to ask the questions they need to know, build
up subject knowledge and exam technique.

The big
outcome for these teenagers is CONFIDENCE. Kids that thought they couldn’t do
maths are now finding out that they can.

For more
information please call Rachel Law on 01223 858421 or visit

The link
below gives more information from the BBC on the news story:


What to ask the teachers

Autumn term consultations are more often more about more pastoral issues, such as settling in, friendship issues, especially at primary school.
It is worth asking, at this point in the year, how your child is doing academically, especially if their report from the previous academic year in July was showing them behind where they could or should be, for their age.
At Tutor My Kids, we have had some conversations with parents where their first consultation of the year was very positive and they were only aware of problems when the July reports came out. It’s much easier to tackle these things earlier in the year, if possible.

What school can do to help

School, of course, has a responsibility to do the best for your child, but within a class of 30, it can be difficult to give your child the individual attention they need. School can set differentiated work (work set at the right level for your child) in class.  Ask if they can work with a teaching assistant. Are there intervention groups that they can join?

What can I do at home?

And, of course, equally importantly, ask what you can do at home to help. It’s amazing what 5 or 10 mins a day can achieve with reading, times table practice, etc.

Many parents struggle to find the time and/or don’t have the skills needed to support their children at home. Tutor My Kids provides teachers who work as private tutors in Ely, Cambridge, Huntington and Newmarket. Take a look at How much difference can an hour a week really make?

Please contact Rachel Law on 01223 858421 for email Rachel for a confidential chat about private tuition.

New Spelling and Grammar Test for Year 6s


6 to be Tested on Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar.

For the first time, year 6 pupils will be sitting
the new SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation And Grammar) test in May 2013.

The new test is a significant departure from current
practice, whereby ‘phonetically plausible’ spellings have been acceptable for
SATs; those that sound right, e.g. thort for thought.

Children will be expected to demonstrate the correct
usage of a wide variety of punctuation, sentence structure and grammatical
features, as well as accurate spelling.

This will impact year 5 and 6 the most, as the test
is new this year and they will have less time to incorporate this new approach.
Other year groups will naturally have more time to ensure this knowledge and
understanding is in place before year 6.

The following links provide more information. The second link shows exemplar  questions.

Many parents contact Tutor My Kids when their children are in year 5 or 6 looking for a home tutor in Cambridgeshire to help their children in the lead-up to SATS. 

How do the National Curriculum levels work?


How do the national curriculum levels work?

This is a question that is often asked by parents who are seeking help for their children when they approach Tutor My Kids for home tuition in Cambridge, Ely or Newmarket areas.

At primary (junior and infant) schools in England and Wales,
the levels go from level 1 to level 5 or 6.

I’m confused with the letters after the numbers

Each level is divided into 3 sub-levels. The lowest sub-level being c,
then b then a. e.g. 2a is higher than 2b, which in turn is higher than 2c.

I’ve listed the levels below. Your child will progress through these from the bottom upwards:





What level should my child be at?

There is no ‘should’ as there are many reasons why your child is where
there are, but there’s value in discussing national expectations.

The government measures schools on a number of factors:

The percentage of children who leave key stage 2 (year 6 at primary or
final year of junior) at a level 4. This is known as attainment.

The percentage of children who make 2 levels of progress from Key Stage
1 (end of year2 or infant school). This is known as progress.

Why is level 4 important?

Level 4 is the level that it is hoped that all children will reach at
the end of year 6. This is a key level because it correlates very strongly with
GCSE success at secondary school; children who do not attain level 4 at primary
school tend not to achieve their maths and English GCSE.

Why is level 5 important?

Level 5 and 6 is important for higher achieving pupils because most
secondary schools ‘set’ or stream for ability. This means that the better the
levels your child achieves the higher sets they will be in at secondary. This
is important because generally speaking the higher sets suffer less with
disruptive behaviour and more productive learning occurs.

What are the expectations for Key Stage 1 (infant school)?

Schools aim to get all children to level 2 at the end of key stage 1
(year 2) because children who get level 2 at this age tend to get at least
level 4 at the end of primary school.

Children who get level 3 at key stage 1 tend to get at least level 5 at
the end of year 6.

How much progress should my child be making each year?

From year 3 to year 6, it’s expected that a child should progress 2
whole levels. If your chid leaves year 2 at 2c, they’ll be expected to reach 4c
by the end of year 6.

In addition, because children don’t tend progress in regular intervals
– very much like children tend to grow in spurts – schools plan for your child
to make 2 sub-levels (2/3 of a level) of progress a year. E.g. if they start
year 3 at 2c, at the end of year 3, they should be at 2a.

Those of you who paid attention in maths will have noticed that 2/3 of
a level each year for 4 years (year 3 to year 6) makes 2 and 2/3 of a level
progress over 4 years. This allows for accelerated progress and/or for periods
when children consolidate their learning.

Will my school tell me the levels at which my child is working?

Talking to parents who approach Tutor My Kids for home tutors in
Cambridgeshire, school are happy to discuss levels with them; the problem tends
to be that parents don’t know what to ask or know how to interpret the
information given.

Good questions to ask are:

Is my child working at, above or below national expectations?
How has my child progressed since the start of the year?
What level is my child working on for writing, reading and maths?
How can I help them at home?

What should I be concerned about?

If your child is working significantly behind national expectations and
the school’s interventions are not improving that situation, it might be time
to talk to school again and maybe look at additional tuition.

If your child is not making the progress the school would expect, it’s
probably worth some additional investigation. Some schools do not stretch their
gifted and talented children – those children who are ahead of expectations,
which means that they do not maintain that lead; they slip t being ‘at

Sometimes your child can be ahead of expectations in some areas –
reading and maths tend to be typical, and maybe a bit behind in writing.
Many parents contact Tutor My Kids looking for a home tutor in
Cambridgeshire when their child is in year 4 or 5 and they want to ensure that
their child will be on track for a good result in SATs at the end of year 6.

For more information on ‘Quick Wins to raise attainment and SATs
levels’ please see our other blogs and 
also our regular column in ‘Primary Times’ in Cambridgeshire.

Why do children find maths so hard?


Why do kids find learning maths so hard?

This is a question that is often asked by parents who are seeking help for their children when they approach Tutor My Kids for home tuition in Cambridge, Ely or Newmarket areas.

Learning maths is like building a wall.

Strong foundations are essential to ensure learning has a secure base to build upon. Children often struggle with maths because the foundations are not in place. This might be because key topics were covered when they were ill or because they simply didn’t ‘get it’ first time around. 

e.g Your child needs to understand that 2 x 7 really means repeatedly add 2, seven times 2+2+2+2+2+2+2. Without this basic knowledge they can struggle with times tables, working out areas and other more complex maths.

1-2-1 home tutoring is perfect for situations like this because it can very quickly address specific gaps in knowledge which can then put your child back on track for learning maths well and enjoying it again. 12 sessions with a Tutor My Kids home tutor in Cambridge, Ely or Newmarket can often be all that’s needed for your child to regain their maths confidence.

How can I help at home?

I’m a great fan of ‘kitchen table maths’. Simple maths games and puzzles to stretch your children when they’re least expecting it. 

e.g. We were planning a trip to the cinema recently whilst visiting my sister. I set my 13 year old the task of working out the cheapest option between two cinemas for 3 adults and 2 children. He researched the prices online – taking into account that one cinema charged a ‘teen’ rate, the other a child rate. Then he had to take into account that one cinema had a 10% discount if booked online. 

We got an answer to our problem and he practised  his applying maths and problem solving skills. Win win!

Please see our other blogs and  also our regular column in ‘Primary Times’ in Cambridgeshire.

Primary aged boys who are ‘reluctant’ writers

At Tutor My Kids, we provide home tutors in Cambridge, Ely and Newmarket. 

We’ve noticed a particular need for primary aged boys needing a home tutor in Cambridgeshire who are ‘reluctant writers’. They tend to be academically ahead in reading and numeracy (maths) but below expectations in writing. There are several causes.

In some cases it’s down to lack of confidence; maybe their work has been harshly criticised in the past. Sometimes it’s a lack of understanding of how to construct a sentence in order to make writing more advanced. Connectives or conjunctions are one way to make writing more sophisticated by joining 2 short sentences into 1 longer one. e.g. The book was interesting. It had lots of description in it.  becomes… The book was interesting as it had lots of description in it. Why do children, especially boys, find this hard?

Schools have such a lot to fit in and many boys struggle to manage to take on board multiple sets of instructions. Teaching boys techniques to remember this and other tips can make a huge difference to their writing and their levels in school.

Parents often start to worry about their son’s writing as year 4 or 5 advances and the prospect of SATs or common entrance exams approaching start to bring the discrepancy of their levels to their attention. It’s often at this time that Tutor My Kids are called and asked to provide a home tutor in Cambridge, Ely or Newmarket to help to raise the levels of their son’s writing to match that of their reading and numeracy.

If you have concerns over your child’s learning and would like a free consultation to discuss their needs and the prospect of home tuition, please get in touch with Rachel at Tutor My Kids.  

For Parents