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GCSE results today: Have they been tampered? Goal posts moved? Or is it just a coincidence?

August 23, 2012

GCSE results today: Have they been tampered? Goal posts moved? Or is it just a coincidence?

A spokesman from the Department for Education said, “It’s right that minimum expectations of schools should continue to rise.” In addition Michael Gove, the Education Secretary has said in the past that he wants to abolish GCSE’s and introduce ‘explicitly harder’ O-Levels.

Tampering 1 – Coincidence 0.

Around 650,000 teenagers throughout Britain will have opened their GCSE results this morning. Usually some will be in shock, this year however, most may well be in shock. Results have fallen for the first time in 23 years! That is significant. Many teachers, especially English teachers have voiced their concerns that the exams were marked far too harshly leaving pupils a grade or so short of what they were predicted. Simply, the powers that be have significantly increased the grade boundaries.

Goal posts moving 1 – Coincidence 0.

The counter argument is of course that GCSE exams are easier, take a question from a Physical Education paper, ‘which is not an invasion game? Football, Netball, Hockey, Tennis?’ I teach P.E as well as Psychology, but that question is a bit ridiculous. That is more or less giving marks away. However, (I’m not sitting on the fence) P.E is regarded as a soft subject whereas Mathematics and English are not, so you wouldn’t expect to see questions like that in ‘academic’ subjects.

For schools these results have serious consequences; some face closure, others takeover whilst others could be turned into academies. This seems harsh seeing as the government has, as the scores above show, augmented the grade boundaries. For the first time this year schools have been ‘forced’ to ensure that 40% of pupils gain five ‘good’ grades, including high grades in English and Mathematics. That is a big ask, up from 35% last year!

For teacher these results also have potential detrimental consequences; at best a change in the head of school and perhaps new management appointments but at worst searching for a new job. It’s difficult; obviously teachers want to put faith in their Schools, their pupil’s and the Government but with this drop, this shifting of the goal posts how can they? Let’s not forget what Gove said back in July this year, “teachers are born, not made.” That I’m afraid is what teachers are up against. In other words ‘you failed this year, you will next.’
What do you think? As a teacher of 7 years I’m a bit angry, a bit confused really. Teachers seem to be working harder than ever. Working towards days like today, only to feel upset and unsure what the next step will be! Confidence is a huge thing; I personally don’t have a lot in Gove.

For pupils getting their results today the first thing I would say is don’t be disheartened. Why? Well firstly the boundaries have moved, yes and yes you’re a grade shy of what you thought you would get, but so is the whole country! The boundaries go down for every single student. If you were on the B/C boundary and you received a C, so did the next person so don’t worry. On paper is doesn’t look fantastic, but schools and colleges will be a little more lenient this year, well they should be.
You will now need to focus on your A-Level choices following your GCSE results; you need to look forwards onto University and beyond.

I saw a great tweet today: “To the 640,000 sixteen-year-olds who have just had their GCSE results tampered with by Michael Gove: use your votes wisely in 2015.”

I hope everyone achieved the grades they wanted today.

Which A-Levels to choose after you’ve received your GCSE results?

August 21, 2012

Well there are a few factors to consider before making your choices.

First off, which qualifications are you going to undertake? There are three main choices:

• A-Levels
• Pre-U (Pre – University)
• I.B (International Baccalaureate)

A-Levels are the most common. They’re more flexible than Pre-U, you can re-sit them twice in a year. There are two sittings for A-Levels, January and June. That means that if they don’t go according to plan first time, you can always retake them. In fact you can sit an A Level unit as many times as you want, although the government is looking to stop this. (You’ve still got a few years!) A-Levels are said to be slightly easier than the Pre-U or I.B qualifications. There is not as much content as you focus on your three chosen specific subjects.

The Pre-U exams are sat at the end of the two-year study period, meaning that you only have one shot! You have to sit the whole course again from day one should you fail! So, while the Pre-U is in no way as flexible as A-Levels they are better regarded. Introduced in 2009 the Pre-U qualification is very popular among leading Schools and Colleges throughout the country, e.g Oundle and Charterhouse. In addition universities now consider Pre-U to be ‘above’ A-Levels, they believe Pre-U is a tougher qualification, thus rating it higher than A-Levels. However, this is not universal, most Universities require points for entry. (120 –A, 100-B, 80-C, 60-D and 40-E.)
Although Pre-U is considered harder than A-Level and more in-depth, many good Universities accept it.

Garry Linker certainly does not like the Pre-U structure!
(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1305427/George-Lineker-fails-university-dad-Gary-insists-school-blame.html)

I.B. The I.B is as it sounds, worldwide and international. You can sit the I.B anywhere really and all universities accept it for entry into University. The Diploma Programme for 16-19 year olds takes your depth and knowledge on a range of subject’s to a new level. Over the course of the two-year programme students study six subjects chosen from six groups, write an extended essay, follow a theory of knowledge course and take part in creativity, action and service.

Once you’ve decided on one of those options, there is then the matter of which subjects to choose?
What do you want to do at University? That’s not an easy decision to make. There are so many choices. You can do a joint honors degree (two subjects) a degree in Law, Medicine, Psychology, English or how to be Lady Gaga. (Well, not yet, but I’m betting 2014!)
Another factor to consider is what specific subjects do Universities require for entry? Obvious ones like Medicine require Biology and Chemistry, not so obvious is Mathematics as a pre-requisite for some Psychology courses. You really should take the time to have a look at the course structure and entry requirements.
Finally, although it’s not easy you really need to undertake a subject that you enjoy, that you have a passion for, which really excites you.

My advice here would be to speak to an educational adviser, who can go away and work out the best options for you.

Best of luck for Thursday everyone.

http://tutorhouse.co.uk

I didn’t achieve the A-Level results I wanted, so what are my options now?

August 18, 2012

Well, first of all what ever happens don’t worry or panic (Many people will!)
I would say that these are your best options- all are creditworthy and all will help you to succeed in the future:

Go through clearing, do a short retake course, go on a gap year or become an olympic handballer?!

1) Clearing – how does clearning work? As soon as you have your results call your first and second choice Universities and see what they say. Make sure you sell yourself, make sure you put up a fight. Little things help, mention your sporting acheivments, mention work experience you’ve done, mention jobs you’ve had as every little helps. This year with fees putting off up to 10% of University applicants, you’ll have more of a chance than the last few years. If this fails, go onto the UCAS website, click clearing and type in your chosen degree and have a look at what is on offer at Universities throughout the country.
You must make sure you do this on A-Level results day, 16th August 2012. Phonelines will be manic, so be patient, also have access to the internet to check on-line. Students always want to check on line but if you call you can sell yourself and chat with someone about your options. Don’t just go for the easy option!

2) A Short Retake Course – these courses are seriously intense, so you have to hit the ground running. You’ll have to sit exams every week and revise every day, it’s hard but worth it in the long run. The ideal goal would be to sit a short retake course, sit your exams in January and then have some time off before University next year. Results for the January sitting come out at the beginning of March 2013, so if all goes well your then ‘free.’
You can undertake these short ‘crammer’ style courses over a 4 or 8-month period. Colleges and tutoring companies can support you. Private tuition is of course a very good option, as this will allow you to focus on specific problem areas on a one-one basis. Private tutoring always achieves the best results. Financially it makes sense as well. I would suggest at least 20 hours private tuition before your exams, perhaps even book block sessions every week. Make sure tutors are CRB checked and have tutoring experience!
Make sure you highlight modules/units that you didn’t do too well in; you may not need to re-sit every unit again! ☺ Also, take the time to work out your UMS score, which can be found on your results certificate.

3) Gap Year – as fun as it sounds do not sit on a beach in Thailand sipping cocktails! We would all love to do that and if you’ve retaken some exams and passed, then yes go and sit on that beach and have one for me! However, there are so many amazing, positive and influential gap year options that you can do whatever you want your career to be.
What helps a C.V and a personal statement? (For UCAS)
Well, there are many options, sometimes too many. Make sure you do something worth-while for example teach English in a school in Sri Lanka, help regenerate a conversation area in South America or work in a hospital in India. The sky is the limit. Look around and check out a firm’s credentials and how they operate. Remember have fun and be social, but think about what you want to achieve in the long run as well.

4) Olympic Handball – I’ll get back to you ASAP on this one. One question to ask- are you over 6”2? If so, best of luck!

Good luck with whichever choice you make. ☺

 

Why go on a gap year?

Why Go on a Gap Year?

Well first off, a ‘gap year’ is too long. There is no need to go away for a whole year. If you do, you must do something productive! A gap year is a fantastic opportunity to work somewhere unusual or inspiring. It’s really Important to grab this chance while you can. The options available to you are vast and sometimes confusing.

I would suggest this, do something worthwhile, if only for a month or so. Work in a school in Sri Lanka for example teaching English to young children. You get to interact with the local community, teach, organise activities and absorb the culture. It really is an inspiriting opportunity. You can’t to that on a ‘standard gap year’ travelling up the east coast of Australia. Other countries I would suggest are India and Nepal. You can work in conservation areas, work in schools or even shadow doctors in local hospitals.
Working is an absolute must in my opinion, of course working in a bar is fine, but it’s these more obscure and valuable gap years that you really must do.

The major benefit of these sorts of gap years is that they look fantastic on your C.V and at this stage, more importantly, your personal statement for UCAS. Universities love the fact that you’ve worked hard and set yourself goals. Also, even with a drop in university applicants, the competition for places is still fierce. The next person may have achieved ABB at A-Level, but if you’ve been teaching in Sri Lanka for 2 months and they’ve been on the PlayStation, you’re basically in they’re not!

The great thing is that the choices are endless; just make sure you take the time to way up all your options. Quite often students will need to retake exams, although initially when you get your results you’ll be upset, don’t, see it as a great chance to achieve something amazing. Re-sit your exams in January and then go away for 4-5 months. What a fantastic year. I would do anything to be there!

I didn’t achieve the A-Level results I wanted, so what are my options now?

August 9, 2012

Well, first of all what ever happens don’t worry or panic (Many people will!)
I would say that these are your best options- all are creditworthy and all will help you to succeed in the future:

Go through clearing, do a short retake course, go on a gap year or become an olympic handballer?!

1) Clearing – how does clearning work? As soon as you have your results call your first and second choice Universities and see what they say. Make sure you sell yourself, make sure you put up a fight. Little things help, mention your sporting acheivments, mention work experience you’ve done, mention jobs you’ve had as every little helps. This year with fees putting off up to 10% of University applicants, you’ll have more of a chance than the last few years. If this fails, go onto the UCAS website, click clearing and type in your chosen degree and have a look at what is on offer at Universities throughout the country.
You must make sure you do this on A-Level results day, 16th August 2012. Phonelines will be manic, so be patient, also have access to the internet to check on-line. Students always want to check on line but if you call you can sell yourself and chat with someone about your options. Don’t just go for the easy option!

2) A Short Retake Course – these courses are seriously intense, so you have to hit the ground running. You’ll have to sit exams every week and revise every day, it’s hard but worth it in the long run. The ideal goal would be to sit a short retake course, sit your exams in January and then have some time off before University next year. Results for the January sitting come out at the beginning of March 2013, so if all goes well your then ‘free.’
You can undertake these short ‘crammer’ style courses over a 4 or 8-month period. Colleges and tutoring companies can support you. Private tuition is of course a very good option, as this will allow you to focus on specific problem areas on a one-one basis. Private tutoring always achieves the best results. Financially it makes sense as well. I would suggest at least 20 hours private tuition before your exams, perhaps even book block sessions every week. Make sure tutors are CRB checked and have tutoring experience!
Make sure you highlight modules/units that you didn’t do too well in; you may not need to re-sit every unit again! ☺ Also, take the time to work out your UMS score, which can be found on your results certificate.

3) Gap Year – as fun as it sounds do not sit on a beach in Thailand sipping cocktails! We would all love to do that and if you’ve retaken some exams and passed, then yes go and sit on that beach and have one for me! However, there are so many amazing, positive and influential gap year options that you can do whatever you want your career to be.
What helps a C.V and a personal statement? (For UCAS)
Well, there are many options, sometimes too many. Make sure you do something worth-while for example teach English in a school in Sri Lanka, help regenerate a conversation area in South America or work in a hospital in India. The sky is the limit. Look around and check out a firm’s credentials and how they operate. Remember have fun and be social, but think about what you want to achieve in the long run as well.

4) Olympic Handball – I’ll get back to you ASAP on this one. One question to ask- are you over 6”2? If so, best of luck!

Good luck with whichever choice you make. ☺

Learn more about Short retake courses at tutor house

http://tutorhouse.co.uk

Music tuition at tutor house.

August 2, 2012

Hello Everyone,

This is a quick blog to let you know of the large extension of the music branch at tutor house. There are several new and exciting ideas currently in the pipeline to be rolled out this academic year. This includes a series of short videos, a series of master classes, and new music packages.
We are starting with piano techniques such as, arpeggiation, chromaticism, repeated notes, etc. before moving on to elements of music tech such as micing positions for a rock band, acoustic guitars etc. followed by music theory techniques like four part harmony, fugal writing, and other more basic elements. (Depending on popularity there may be many more of these.)

We are also beginning a series of master classes for music, again covering mostly on classical piano, classical theory, and elements of music technology to begin with, before looking at other subjects.
We are introducing some new packages to group certain subjects together for a discount!
There will also be an influx of available tutors in the music department, with extra instrumentalists, music theory tutors, a-level and GCSE tutors and several others. We will be operating throughout London, but mostly in Fulham, Kensington, Notting Hill, Putney, Knightsbridge and Chelsea. All of our tutors have full CRB checks and are individually interviewed by tutor house for your piece of mind.
This year is a very exciting one for everyone here at tutor house especially for the musicians!

What makes a good tutor?

July 24, 2012

What makes ‘a good’ private tutor?

1. CRB and security checks – It’s very important for tutors to be CRB checked. It’s best to hirer a tutor through a company, as they should hold tutors CRB certificates and reference for tutors. Make sure you ask when speaking with the company.

2. Private tutor experience and knowledge – The tutor should ideally have a minimum of two years tutoring experience. Ideally they are teachers from local schools or colleges. A PGCE is preferable but certainly not compulsory, many teachers work for 20 years not having a PGCE but they are fantastic tutors and sometimes are more flexible and understanding than qualified peers.

3. Knowledge of exams and boards- All tutors should have an in-depth knowledge of exam structure, typical questions and key word answers. In addition it’s important that tutors understand the differences between exam boards, often there are big differences. For example A-Level psychology AQA board covered many different topics and is assessed via essay exam questions and short answers, whereas OCR psychology is based on case studies and answers to questions are completely different.

4. Recourses, exam papers and mark schemes – It’s paramount that tutors have sufficient exam past papers, mark schemes and key words and phases that answer questions. An important role that tutors should play, which some schools almost disregard is concentrating on past exam papers. You wouldn’t sit your driving test without any lessons! Same thing applies here, exam papers are so important.

5. Feedback and update on progress- Tutors should ideally give the student feedback once a week and the parents once every other week. This helps to set goals and make sure student complete homework. It also helps to keep parents abreast of what tutors and children are achieving in the lessons.

6. Fun and rapport- This is one of the most important tips. Education can, as we know be boring, tutors must be enthusiastic and really enjoy what they teach! They just gel well with the children and work closely with them. A tutor must be engaging and keen to help.

7. Working with a company – The best advice here is that tutors should really work for a tutoring company. Why? Well for piece of mind really, tutors will have to be CRB checked and you have someone else to talk to in times of trouble. Also the tutoring company that you decided to use should be helpful and provide additional tutoring services. There should be someone else on the end of the phone or email.

8. Exam techniques and study skills – A tutor and indeed a tutoring company should help children with additional study skills and educational support. This can be anything from folder organization and devising a homework diary to helping dyslexic children realize their potential by providing techniques that can really help them use their strengths.

Contact tutor house for the best tutors!

Calling all tutors, join tutor house this year.

July 15, 2012

Dear Tutors,

Tutor house is recruiting for the new academic year. We are a private tutoring company based in Soho, London operating throughout London and the home counties.

Tutor house specialises in A-Level, GCSE and Common Entrance tuition, but also offer dyslexia support, IELTS tuition, UCAS advice and short retake courses, which are full time tuition, Offering a wide range of Subjects including: Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology and Economics, we do of course offer all subjects and all boards.

Tutor house also offers other fantastic opportunities, including working abroad, Christmas and Easthttps://tutorhouse.co.uk/educational-support/homeschooling/er revision courses, residential courses and home schooling.

Keen to know more about how it works? check our How it works page and do not forget to register yourself.

Tutor House: The home of tutoring.

Music tuition in Fulham with tutor house

June 25, 2012

Morning everyone,

This is just a quick blog to let you know about tutor houses’ exiting plans for next academic year. We are set to introduce specialist music courses for GCSE and A Level students as well as individual and group private tuition.

Our team of music tutors will help you with composition, reading music, learning specific songs and well, just enjoying to learn music. Tutor houses’ team of music tutors have many years of experience, they are all CRB registered and have been working with many students throughout London.

Our music tutors operate through London, but specifically they tutor in Fulham, Kensington, Notting Hill, Putney, Knightsbridge and Chelsea.

Watch this space…