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A-Level Reforms – Changing for the better?

December 9, 2014

A-Level Reforms – Changing for the better?

Michael Gove’s proposed A-level reforms are due to be introduced into the teaching curriculum in 2015. However, there has been little evidence to prove that the change in the teaching and examination methods will provide any added benefit for pupils. In fact many influential voices have joined the A-level debate. Particularly those from Schools and Universities who have argued the contrary, that these reforms are short-sighted and could severely harm pupil’s education, their learning and chances of getting into top Universities.

A-levels have been the standard qualification pupils need to obtain for access to higher education since the 1950’s. In the past 20 years however, there has been a crisis of confidence in these examinations. With more and more students dropping out of school prior to taking their A-levels, in conjunction with those that sit their A-Level examinations are failing to meet necessary grades for entry into higher education.

The A-level reform timeline

The reforms in 2000, and the introduction of the AS saw a move away from the traditional examination methods and a wider range of subjects introduced to revive the qualification and make it more accessible to a wider cohort of students. However, evidence of grade inflation as well as talk of  ‘modular mayhem’ meant that many institutions found the AS system somewhat lacking. The less intensive academic structure of the AS level meant that students were perhaps less prepared for the demands of university courses, and even the A2 level, with many failing AS Level. Schools clamoured for an alternative and as a result of this the Cambridge Pre-U examinations were introduced, in 2008.

Traditional A-level structure?

However Michael Gove’s 2015 A level reform proposals now suggest a revision back to the traditional A level structure, a two year course offering robust and in depth knowledge of the chosen subject. This is to be offered alongside the AS level which will be taught in the first year and will be co-teachable, taught alongside the A-level course. The first year will cover the same content as the two year A-level, however choosing this option now no longer allows students to use their first year results as a contribution to count towards the full A-level qualification.

While Gove’s reasons for this are understandable, and are clearly an attempt to move towards a more robust qualification which is appropriate for different cohorts of students, there are severe issues which have made academic institutions very nervous. Disruption for both students and teachers will be unavoidable. Schools will have to come up with revised, and undoubtedly complicated teaching schedules with resources and teachers catering for both the AS and A level. The assessment system will now be changed with a single examination at the end of the two year period for A levels, but an assessment for AS at the end of the first year which will be a standalone result. Gove’s argument that a return to the linear two-year A level system will provide a narrower, more focused purpose is negated by the fact that co-teachability will work directly against that. Insufficient teaching resources could also be an issue across many establishments with lack of books and papers budgting constraints, resulting in Schools and pubils being put at an immediate disadvantage.. The fact that the A level reforms are only currently being adopted across England could also mean that pupils will be treated unfavorably compared to those in the rest of the country when competing for top university places.

The likelihood is that due to the proposed new structure, many Schools will now drop the AS level option altogether, therefore entirely reverting back to the ‘one size fits all’ system. Students will also therefore feel the added pressure of the single examination being the determining factor as to whether they will get in to their desired university, or higher education course, and this could work against them, particularly those who are less academically able.

Why is the A-level reform beneficial?

Perhaps the only positive that may come from the proposed A-level reform is that the return to the structured two year course should see a better standard of knowledge and understanding instilled within pupils, leaving them arguably better prepared for continuing into higher education. However this may only be applicable to the more academically gifted with others having their chances of reaching their full potential unavoidably damaged by the new structure. The reforms seem to have overlooked the fact that it has already been proven that a single system and assessment method simply does not work across a group of students with different interests, and abilities. Furthermore, the obvious resistance from those who now have to deliver the reforms at ground level really does speak for itself.

Contact Tutor House for education advice or for a free private tuition consultation.

Tips on Time Management during this festive season

Tips on Time Management during this festive season

This time of year is a favorite for many people packed with lots of recreational activities, social meetings and much needed relaxing. It is no wonder why this festive season is so looked forward to each year.

With time off during this period it is also an ideal time to finish off assignments and gain a head start in revising for upcoming exams. So how do you make your time productive and make the most out of your break?

Tutor House has put together a few handy tips to help you with effective time management skills:

1. Set a Goal

Make a realistic list of goals you would like to achieve during your time off. This can be as small as finally conquering that chapter in Maths you haven’t quite got your head around or taking a subject and beginning your revision for your upcoming exams.

2. Have a Timetable

By having a rough timetable you will naturally allocate time and energy to achieving your set goals whereas you may have otherwise filled it with alternative activities.

3. Have ‘all rounded’ days

Many students will tend to dedicate a few days to finalising their homework, assignments and revision. But it may be an idea to have an hour or two each day of studying and thereafter go on to reward yourself with a fun packed activity with family and friends.

For further information and advice on how best to utilise your time without compromising your time for enjoyment and relaxing contact Tutor House’s team of educational consultants by sending an email to info@tutorhouse.co.uk.

 

Studying with Friends

Studying with Friends

Friends can sometimes be our best teachers and they can explain and articulate topics in a way which is relevant and makes sense. So why not try leaning on friends more often for help with assignments and revision. Finding the right friend to study with can often be tricky. We all have friends who we know that no matter what pressures we are under we will never be able to study with them. So how do you know which friend you can study with?

Firstly, it is important to ensure that you are at the same level. If for example, one of you is in the top set for Science and the other is in the middle set then you will both have different topics and levels to reach.

Secondly, are your attitudes towards academia similar? Through sharing similar views and opinions regarding learning you can be sure that your friend will take your study sessions as seriously as you.

Thirdly, do you share similar study habits? For example, if you can only concentrate for an hour before needing a short break, however your friend is able to study for a longer duration before requiring a break then you may find there to be a mismatch in routines which will ultimately disrupt how productive your sessions will be.

To discuss this topic further please contact Tutor House by emailing us – info@tutorhouse.co.uk.

Revise and Ski this Easter

November 7, 2014

Revise and Ski this Easter

Easter may seem like a long way away, however many families will be looking to book their annual Easter Ski holiday now. An annual Ski trip for most families is a tradition and one that is not forgone either.

As Easter is a crucial time for many students to revise and ensure that they are ready for their upcoming exams, many will want to spend some quality time studying during this period.

This academic year Tutor House is offering an opportunity to ‘Revise and Ski’ at a popular ski resort, Val D’Isere. Classroom exam revision courses will be offered in key GCSE and A-Level subjects with highly experienced teachers focusing primarily on past exam papers and exam technique, with the chance to head to the slopes in the afternoons.

Simply complete this form

For more information or to register your place please contact Tutor House by emailing info@tutorhouse.co.uk

GCSE-tuition-courses
Why our London GCSE Christmas revision courses can be so beneficial to students

November 4, 2014

Why our London GCSE Christmas revision courses can be so beneficial to students

Sometimes a little extra push can go a long way, and at Tutor House we strive to ensure that we get the most from each and every one of our students. Tutor House offers GCSE revision courses in London to help get the very best results – ones that we know our students deserve.

GCSEs are becoming increasingly important with many universities now requiring students to obtain top grades in core subjects like Maths, English and Science to be considered for a place. So why are GCSE revision courses so useful? We’ve put together a few reasons to help you make up your mind.

1. They allow students to focus on specific subjects

Not all subjects are as easy as others, and all students, at some point, will find there will be a time where a topic or subject is difficult to grasp. Some students will excel at Maths and English while struggling with the Sciences. Others will find History a breeze but Geography completely daunting.

At Tutor House we provide private tuition in London for a wide range of GCSE subjects to ensure students are able to secure the grades they need. Our knowledgeable team of top London tutors have carefully designed a week of well-structured Christmas revision courses to ensure our students are at their most receptive, productive, and willing to learn, just in time for the January exams.

Unlike many schools in London where a teacher will have to attended to up to 30 children in one class, our GCSE revision courses have been designed to allow our tutors to spend enough quality teaching time with each student.

Our tutors will identify key weaknesses in specific subject areas or modules for each student and address them accordingly.

2. A proven track record

We have a proven track record and we are proud to say that thanks to our tailored courses, students who have studied with us have achieved better grades every year. Setting out to help students improve their grades, get their first choices when it comes to A-Level courses, Colleges or Universities is so important to us, and their success is what we care about most.

3. Experienced, knowledgeable, friendly private tutors

Our tutors are welcoming, experienced and professional. They have all worked in schools, and all have a University degree in their teaching subjects and the majority of them are Oxbridge graduates. We make sure all our private tutors are carefully chosen and are not only experts in their respective fields, but are also dynamic and inspirational too.

4. GCSE private tuition is proven to be the best way to get great results

Many students feel an immense and understandable amount of pressure as their GCSE exams approach. We will work with your child to relieve that stress and anxiety, and help them to feel confident and prepared for exam day. There is a great deal of evidence that one-one tuition is the best way to revise and achieve optimum results, and that revision that is planned and structured is the ideal way to learn.

We will not only focus on difficult subject matter and GCSE revision guides, but also on exam techniques by answering questions and working through past papers. We come up with realistic and effective revision structures to enable students to retain the knowledge, and attain the best grades they can. We have had some excellent feedback about our GCSE revision courses, with nine out of ten students saying we helped them revise more effectively.

5. Knowledge that productive revision is getting done

During the school term it is easy to put your trust in teachers to ensure that subjects are being covered, and work is being done. However when the holidays are upon us it can be difficult to be sure that work is being completed.

Naturally you want your child to do the best they possibly can in these important exams, but you don’t want to push them too hard! At Tutor House our receptive, approachable staff will be able to assess your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and come up with a targeted work plan that will ensure they get most out of their time here, as well as keeping you updated on their progress every step of the way.

So why not relieve stress for all the family this Christmas and enlist on one of Tutor House’s Christmas GCSE revision courses today?

To book your place on our Christmas GCSE revision courses in London please E-Mail us – info@tutorhouse.co.uk

What to do if you fear you have fallen behind?

October 31, 2014

What to do if you fear you have fallen behind?

It can sometimes be very easy to fall behind on classroom work, homework and assignments and subsequently students may be left feeling lost and confused with a sense of having no way out. Many students at some point will have had the experience of falling behind, it is not uncommon. However there are various ways you can handle this:

–          Speak to your teacher

Your teacher will be able to guide you on how to get back on track by perhaps sitting down and going through subject material again with you, setting you some extra work to reinforce your understanding etc.

–          Form your own study group

Many students find it easier to learn from their peers. They feel more comfortable asking those questions they would have otherwise felt shy or embarrassed about in a classroom setting.

–          Seek a private tutor

A private tutor will be able to help you work through subject material at your own pace. If you don’t like to ask questions in class and as a result you have fallen behind, then why not think about having a private tutor. With a private tutor, you will not only be able to work at your own pace but you will also be free to ask all those questions you were afraid to ask in class.

For more information, you can contact Tutor House by sending an email to info@tutorhouse.co.uk.

10 GCSE Revision Tips for Half Term

October 17, 2014

10 GCSE Revision Tips for Half Term

This Half Term is the critical time for GCSE revision. With the exams fast approaching, ensuring you are revising in the most effective way possible, is key to success. London’s leading private tutoring agency, Tutor House has organised a Half Term revision course, which aims to improve students confident ahead of their GCSE exams.

Click here to register your interest:

I’m interested in the half-term revision course

Half Term Revision Course:

Contact Tutor House for more information on GCSE revision courses in London – 0203 9500 320.

It is important to make the most of your time and revise efficiently, try implementing the following 10 tips and we’re sure you’ll see a noticeable improvement with your GCSE revision this Half Term.

1. Organise Study Groups

It’s sometimes a bad idea to tackle revision all by your lonesome. Try and organise a study group that meets during the week and you’ll soon start seeing the benefits. Different people have varying strengths, so when you put everyone together in the same room you’ll be able to bounce ideas off each other and learn something new every time. If you are struggling to make up numbers for a study group or you wish to participate in a study group run by an expert then come along to Tutor House’s Half Term revision course!

2. Talk to a Private Tutor

Tutors can be tremendously helpful in filling in any potential cracks. The fact is that teachers can’t always cater to your full individual needs, meaning that sometimes you’ll miss something crucial.

Tutors, however, can give you short bursts of individual attention that can help take your revision to another level. All it takes is an hour or two of one on one private tuition over the Half Term. Contact Tutor House for more information and a free consultation.

Contact Tutor House:  info@tutorhouse.co.uk

3. Stay Organised

When doing your revision, you want to be performing like a well-oiled machine. You don’t want to waste time by doing idle revision. Instead, make sure you get yourself a plan and stick to it. Keep it somewhat flexible so that it’s realistic, otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time readjusting your schedule!

Set yourself timed deadlines throughout the day. Giving yourself something to try and work towards is often a great motivator to take your mind off the hours of work you are putting in.

4. Let People Know You’re Revising

 There’s nothing worse than phone calls or knocks on your door when you’re trying to revise. It can seriously hamper your efforts, as your concentration is constantly being broken by random distractions. To remedy this, let your friends and family know that you’re revising. Tell them you’ll be busy and kindly ask them to leave you to it!

It is also sensible to stay away from social media while you’re revising. There is nothing worse than having Facebook open on your computer while you’re trying to revise, you will always end up getting distracted by something!

5. Take Breaks

It may seem counter-intuitive, but taking breaks will actually help you in your revision efforts. Your brain needs a breather every once in a while from all that knowledge you’re cramming in or it’s going to suffer some serious overload.

Combat this by taking 5 or 10-minute breaks every hour or so. Walk around the room, get some fresh air, or make yourself a nice cup of tea.

6. Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleep is essential, that’s all there is to it. It can be tempting to shave off a couple of hours out of your nightly rest, but doing so is a big mistake. The fact is that your body needs time and rest to replenish itself.

While you’re asleep, your brain ‘connects the dots’, so to speak. Withholding this crucial period won’t help you at all and is counterproductive.

7. Don’t Panic!

The worst thing you can do is pile on extra stress. It’s good to have a small amount of nerves to help you be at your best, but if you let it go overboard you may find yourself freezing up during exams. If you have done enough revision then there is no need to panic, you’re prepared! If you haven’t, then you have the whole of Half Term to revise!

8. Mock Examinations

Getting ready for an exam isn’t just about knowledge. You also need to know how to implement it in an exam situation. Get yourself a collection of past papers and simulate exam conditions. That will help you get used to what you can expect and you’ll figure out how much time you need to allocate to certain types of questions. After you have finished, go back through your answers and critically mark them according to the mark scheme – there is always room for improvement! Mark schemes are key to success.

9. Healthy Diet = Healthy Mind

Red Bulls, loads of coffee and sweets are all sure-fire ways of sabotaging your revision efforts – fans of the Inbetweeners will know this! Ditch the junk food and eat well. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel. Fish and blueberries, for example, are the best ‘brain foods’.

Check out our ‘Five Super Brain Foods for Students’ blog for more healthy eating ideas.

10. Creatively Revise!

Studying and learning are more than just reading from a book. Our minds learn in different ways, so try fitting in audio and video into your revision as well. Record yourself going over your notes or try and watch a relevant show or documentary during your downtime. Try utilising spider diagrams and mind maps, they’re a fun and creative way of revising. They’re also a good way to use short-hand and bullet-points.

These tips will undoubtedly help you take your GCSE revision during this Half Term to new heights. Start early and implement them at the start of the break and hopefully you’ll see your results skyrocket.

 

If you want additional revision support, then contact Tutor House. Tutor House are running Half Term revision courses and also have expert private Tutors covering all GCSE subjects and exam boards.

5 Must-read Books on Dyslexia

September 25, 2014

Being the parent of a child who suffers from dyslexia can be challenging, however with the right assistance & support your child need not face any disadvantages or be held back in realising their true potential.

Luckily, there are several fantastic books on the subject that can help you to better understand dyslexia, how to deal with it and help your child along the way.

Of course we’re not suggesting that you can learn everything there is to know about dyslexia by just simply reading these books, as almost every individual case will be unique. However, with more information in the subject matter you will be in a better position to understand what your child is going through.

1) Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level by Sally E. Shaywitz

Overcoming Dyslexia is very helpful in explaining what dyslexia is from a more scientific perspective. There is plenty of information in there to help you understand how the dyslexic brain learns. The book has been written in a very positive tone, helping to remind us that those with dyslexia are intelligent and gifted people, who just happen to learn in a different way.

It also provides some very helpful tools that will serve any parent or teacher to help struggling students to succeed. This includes brain exercises and a home program to enhance your reading.

Click here for more information on Overcoming Dyslexia.

2) Secret Life of a Dyslexic Child by Robert Frank

This book is less scientific than some of the other books on this topic, but helps to give a great insight on what a dyslexic child actually goes through. It shows you that dyslexia not only affects reading, but also other areas of your life and how difficult this can be.

By understanding what a dyslexic person goes through, you can feel better equipped to teach them and help improve their academic achievement. The author himself suffers from dyslexia and offers and insight on how he continues to deal with it as an adult.

3) The Gift of Dyslexia: Why Some of the Smartest People Can’t Read…and How They Can Learn

by Ronald D. Davis, Eldon M. Braun

This book offers a great first-hand account of what it is like to live with dyslexia, while also offering advice on how to eventually conquer it. Not only do you gain a better understanding of what it is like to live with dyslexia, and how difficult it can be at times, but it also offers an insight into how the dyslexic mind works.

The book offers an encouraging view on dyslexia; with the author explaining that it is essentially a different way of thinking rather than viewing it as a disability.

Click here for more information on The Gift of Dyslexia.

4) The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain by Brock L. Eide, Fernette Eide

This book helps to explain all the advantages and disadvantages that come with having dyslexia. Although it can pose problems when it comes to literacy, it also offers interesting skills and talents.

While those with dyslexia can struggle in certain aspects of their lives, they can also excel in other areas. It also provides some excellent examples, tips and training suggestions to help you deal with dyslexia.

Click here for more information on The Dyslexic Advantage.

5) The Everything Parent’s Guide to Children With Dyslexia: All You Need To Ensure Your Child’s Success by Abigail Marshall

This quick and easy read is a fantastic book for all parents of dyslexic children. This comprehensive guide offers a great deal of advice on how to help children to overcome their dyslexia.

It is a great practical guide that you can apply to everyday life, including tips on diet, learning tools and how to get an IEP set for your child. This is a fantastic book for any parent looking to better understand dyslexia and get hands on with treatment programs.

Click here for more information on The Everything Parent’s Guide to Children With Dyslexia.

So there you have it; 5 of the best books out there to give you all you need to know about children that struggle with dyslexia. At Tutor House we have a good selection of some of the best special education and dyslexia tutors in London. Contact us on info@tutorhouse.co.uk for more information.

Benefits of Yoga for Children

September 16, 2014

Benefits of Yoga for Children

As well as physical benefits of flexibility, strength and improved posture, Yoga also has many benefits for the mind which are very helpful for learning.

Yoga meaning union or yoke is a practice of bringing stillness to mind by focusing on breath and posture. In today’s fast paced and competitive world, children are under immense pressure causing emotional and physical stress. By attending a Yoga class once a week or cultivating a self practice, students will observe huge benefits which will help them cope with the stresses and strains of life.

Benefits include:

Enhances Flexibility, Balance and Coordination

Children learn to use and exercise muscles in their body they may not otherwise use through various challenging yogic postures. This provides physical strength alongside mental clarity and stability which accompanies the postures, particularly the balancing poses.

Enhances Focus and Concentration

The single focus required for achieving yogic postures with a steady breath will help students clear and focus their minds more readily. This will help them with their concentration levels at School and whilst completing assignments and homework.

Boosts Self-Esteem and Confidence

Yoga teaches students to persevere and be patient in order to achieve a yogic posture whilst at the same time remaining compassionate and kind to where they are at in their practice. With dedication and focus students gradually begin to achieve more and more challenging postures which will instil confidence in their abilities.

Why not try it out and see the benefits for yourself!

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