At Tutor My Kids, this is a question often asked of us, so I thought it useful to share some thoughts. It depends on many factors: the subject area, the concentration span of your child, if her school has raised any issues and last, but by no means least, is your child aware that he’s having difficulties?

Maths or English?

Maths is very sequential with understanding of one area being prerequisite of another. Gaps in the early maths, can make learning more advanced topics much harder. For example, we recently discovered that one of our year 4 students had missed the difference between odd and even numbers. This is normally a foundation or year 1 topic which rendered any questions relating to this impossible for her. It’s rather like building a wall; if the foundations aren’t secure the whole wall won’t be stable. In this case quick and easy to fix.

English is similar in that gaps can be present, but it doesn’t matter if you teach punctuation before adjectives or visa versa. English topics can often be added in a much more piecemeal way. The exception to that is, however, if there are difficulties with reading and phonics. This can have a big impact on learning to write and progress if not tackled early enough. How able your child is to sit and concentrate will affect the decision to tutor.

Concentration levels

Whilst it’s useful to fill in gaps early to enable new information to be added, it’s equally important that the child is able to sit and concentrate or the tuition will be much less effective. Parents often worry that their children won’t be able to concentrate for an hour at a time. Whilst some children just need to be a bit older to develop these skills, at Tutor My Kids, our teachers find that with a well planned lesson, broken into smaller chunks, most kids focus really well. Our private tutors often tailor the work to a student’s interests, such as football, horses, etc. as appropriate.

School’s view

Some parents believe there’s a problem with how their child is progressing. It’s only natural to wonder if one child has learnt to read easily, but a younger sibling is finding it much harder. Sometimes these nagging doubts can simply be a reflection of the skills that each sibling has, sometimes of something that may be making it harder for one to learn than another.

School’s are usually really good at spotting and communicating if your child is below where they’d expect them to be. Teachers can raise concerns during the school year. Parents’ evenings and school reports tend to be a more formal way of communicating any areas of concern. If you’re concerned that school haven’t raises any issues, it’s always worth booking some time with your child’s teacher to discuss this.

Your child’s confidence

As children become older, they tend to become more aware of any differences between what they are able to do and their peers. We have spoken to many parents who report that even children in Key stage 1 – years 1 and 2, report that their children are coming home thinking that they’re ‘stupid’ because their friends can do better in certain areas. This is such a shame and can put children off school and learning.

So, when is the right time to tutor?

As discussed, it depends on a number of factors: subject, concentration, school’s view and your child’s confidence.

At Tutor My Kids we feel that the child’s confidence is the main hurdle to be overcome. Invariably it’s the word that all our parents use; of course they want their children to progress, but they’re more concerned that their children feel confident in their abilities. It makes perfect sense; we all feel more confident in ourselves when we feel we feel we’re doing a good job.

How do I find out more?

At Tutor My Kids, almost all of our tutors are fully qualified teachers; at primary school level, we insist all our tutors are teachers. So, invariably we suggest that you speak to your child’s class or subject teacher first to get their opinion on your child abilities and if they think he or she is struggling.

Rachel Law, founder of Tutor My Kids, is always happy to have an informal chat – take a look at For Parents and either call 01223 858421, or get in touch by email.

If you’re a teacher who is interested in becoming a Tutor My Kids tutor, please take a look at For Tutors or get in touch be email or by phone 01223 858421


5 Tips to Cope with Exam Stress

Our maths and English tutors in Cambridge, 
Ely, Newmarket and Huntingdon have been helping to tutor GCSE, A level and SATs students for several months now. They’re still supporting our students right through the exams. Here’s our tips to see you through the next few weeks.

Tip #1 – Sleep.

Whilst it’s really tempting to burn the midnight oil, working too close to bedtime will over stimulate the mind and make it harder to sleep. Stop studying earlier in the evening, chill a bit and then get to bed.

Tip #2 – Take a break.

The brain can only concentrate for about 40/45minutes in a block. Take breaks. Your brain will love you for it. Get away from your work for a few minutes. 

Tip #3 – Eat

Your brain needs fuel. Protein, fruit and veg will feed it well. Coffee and chocolate muck around with blood sugar levels and cause big mood swings.

Tip #4 – Breathe

If you’re feeling anxious, slow you breathing – 5 counts in and 5 counts out. It really works to calm you down.

Tip #5 – Laugh

A good laugh is great for cutting through stress. Do plenty of it! Plan how to celebrate the end of the exams.

Please contact us via www.tutormykids for help in finding the right English, science or maths tutor in Cambridge, Ely, Newmarket or Huntingdon. 

The Easy Way to Multiply

This is really interesting. It shows a Japanese way of multiplying numbers together which is very visual and also illustrates place value pretty well too.

It’s arguably slower that a standard compact multiplication method for a student who knows their multiplication tables, but has merit for those who don’t. It also has merit for more visual learners and can be used to promote maths understanding for those who have difficulties understanding maths and those with dyscalculia.

Our maths tutors in Cambridge and Ely find that those children who have difficulties in maths benefit from learning in ways which are highly practical (kinesthetic) and visual in addition to the usual auditory.

Tutor My Kids is always on the look out for great qualified teachers to work as English and maths tutors in Cambridge, Ely, Newmarket and Huntingdon. We work with children from 5 to 18.

Please contact us via www.tutormykids//maths-english-tutor-jobs/ for more information and details of how to get in touch to discuss how this might fit in with your existing teaching commitments.


My child has an NQT this year.

My child has an NQT this year.

Parents who contact Tutor My Kids for a maths tutor in Ely or an English tutor in Cambridge are sometimes concerned that their child’s class teacher is an NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher).

They can worry that their class teacher doesn’t have the experience to teach well.

NQTs vary enormously, but the majority that I meet when teaching in schools in Cambridgeshire, are tremendously well planned and organised. They’re usually well supported by the school and make a difference straight away. 

I’ve had the great pleasure, recently, to work with an amazing NQT who is already a great teacher and will be really interesting to watch over the years as his teaching develops.

His planning is thorough and innovative; his organisation exemplary, which of course means his classroom is stimulating for his kids but also really calm because the children very clearly understand what is expected of them and when.  The routines are clearly clearly set, understood and stuck to. It’s been a real pleasure to see this and work with this class.

Tutor My Kids is always on the look out for great qualified teachers to work as English and maths tutors in Cambridge, Ely, Newmarket and Huntingdon. We work with children from 5 to 18.

Please contact us via www.tutormykids/for-tutors for more information and details of how to get in touch to discuss how this might fit in with your existing teaching commitments.


Tutor My Kids Tutor working with child

Some children have difficulty in understanding maths because of gaps in their understanding; others because they have specific difficulties in grasping number concepts.

Gaps in learning can occur for all sorts of reasons – illness, lack of attention one day etc, which make it difficult for knowledge to be added to it, due to the sequential nature of maths. For example, if you know your number bonds to 10 (which combinations of 2 numbersmake 10) it’s really easy to then link this to 20 (19 +1, 3 +17) and 100 (30+70). If the number bonds are missing, it’s incredibly hard to pick up the more advanced learning.

However, some children have specific difficulties in learning maths. There are a cluster of issues that can point to dyscalculia – a specific difficulty in learning maths:

These include difficulties in recognising patterns in maths (e.g. the end 5 and 0 digits in the 5 times table), how big a number is (e.g. £20 can be seen as smaller than £15.72 because it has fewer digits), telling the time, ability to estimate logically (can show as ‘wild’ estimates that vary hugely),strategies to solve problems that are immature (e.g. older primary children sharing using pictures or cubes when a written methods would be more usual).
One key indicator can be how instantly children can say how many objects there are. (This is age dependent, but most year 5 or 6 children would be able to look at 5 counters and say that there are 5 without counting. This is called subitising.) If a child (or adult) cannot do instantly without counting them, it can be part of the cluster of behaviours that points to dyscalculia.
Helping children overcome missing gaps and/or dyscalculia needs specific teaching to help them link maths ideas to their written form; it is hugely helped by 1 to 1 tutoring by a maths tutor, maths teacher or school intervention.

If you would like to discuss any of these issues, please contact Rachel Law on 01223 858321 or by email hello@tutormykids.co.uk

For more information on Dyscalculia screening, click the link.


Gove is like Mamite

is like marmite.

People either love or hate him.

I can’t agree that knocking our teachers constantly has
helped the education system any, but I do support the need for our children to
be able to spell, write grammatically correct sentences and be numerate.

This term, I’ve seen some great teaching of grammar and
spelling in our local primary schools. Previously, it tends to have been taught
as an add-on, but increasingly, it’s been taught as a main focus. It’s stuff
like correct use of apostrophes – the teachers’ staff room, I’d, won’t. I’ve
lost track the number of times I’ve seen was’ent or similar. It’s about how
it’s taught – if children understand that the apostrophe is showing missing
letters and what it’s a shortening of – it’s so much easier for children to get
it right.

Punctuation can catch children out too – commas often
confuse children and sorting out ways to help them is really useful. Getting
children to work out in a sentence which is the main clause and which is added
information helps to ensure that commas are in the right place. e.g. The boy
walked along the road, towards the swimming pool.  The boy walked along the road is the main
clause; towards the swimming pool the additional information.

Many children find spelling difficult. Learning spellings
by heart is hugely useful, but more so is spelling patterns and looking at
where the difficulties lie. Are there letters we don’t sound – like

It’s great to see our children being more prepared for
the world of work.

Mind the

From September this year, there will be a new curriculum
in our schools.

Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, warned there
could be some difficulties with maths, where more advanced topics are to be
taught at a younger age.
“In maths
you need to learn the early concepts before you learn the later concepts, so
there is a problem that there will be children who have not learned the earlier
concepts before being expected to learn the more demanding ones.”
Mr Hobby said
that there would have to be “a lot of cramming in maths this year” as
whole classes are made to catch up with the new demands. “The worst thing
you can do with maths is rush ahead.”
On 1st
September, he spoke on Radio 4’s Today programme and said that children could develop
gaps in their understanding, particularly in maths due to this need to rush ahead
with new learning without being assimilated.
 At Tutor My Kids, we agree. Maths is very
sequential; children need to understand one concept before they can move onto
another.  Unless this is done, children
develop gaps in their knowledge which make it really hard, if not impossible to
move on and learn new topics. E.g. If your child doesn’t understand that the 1
in 14 is really a 10, they’re going to find it impossible to grasp
hundreds.  The good news is that maths
tuition to fill gaps is very effective 
filling these gaps and enabling your child to move on.

 If you would like to discuss any of these issues, please
contact Rachel Law through the Tutor My Kids website. w

New UK Primary Curriculum from September – Why year F and year 4 children will be most affected.

From September this year, there will be a new curriculum in
our schools. 
In a nutshell, they aim to take children to a more advanced
stage earlier in their school career than in recent years. 

e.g. telling the time in 5 minute increments moves from year 3 to 2, knowing times tables to 12 x 12 (previously 10 x 10) and the associated division facts by the end of year 4, not the end of year 6. In addition there are new areas introduced such as cube numbers (33) and dividing fractions. The same pattern is repeated with literacy.

The new literacy curriculum calls for a much stronger
phonics and spelling base – with specified spelling lists, again at an earlier
age than before. There is more focus on homophones (words that sound alike but
are spelt differently) e.g., wear and where. The use of dictionaries to look up
words that children have read and not understood is strongly recommended. A more
detailed knowledge of grammar is expected too, with children being taught to
understand other forms of verbs and their effect in writing– such as the perfect
and modal forms of verbs. These are not the only changes.

Those children who
are entering year 2 and year 6 is September will continue to be taught the old
curriculum and tested on it. The other year groups will be taught the new
curriculum. The biggest impact will be on the current year F and year 4 – year 1
and year 5 from September who will face the new tests with the least time to
prepare for these changes.

For more information please contact Rachel Law at Tutor My Kids
01223 858123