Here’s my views on an education news story on today’s BBC website…

Cambridge to tutor A-level physics

Academics from Cambridge University are to help tutor sixth-form physics students across the UK to prepare them better for university study.


Encouraging people to study physics can only be a good thing as we are being left behind by the rest of the world, especially Asia, in this field.

This is also a clear indication of a trend towards online learning. Here at Webtutornet we truly believe that online learning is the future of education.



Web safety is all about parental control in increasingly complicated tech world…

** Web safety lessons urged for infants ** Children as young as five should be given lessons in how to use the internet safely, campaigners have urged.

< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-21328411 >

Much of this is about parental control! As a father of three young children I can see how computer use and the internet is of increasing interest to the young. As children become ever more I.T. savvy it is extremely important that parents carefully monitor the content they are accessing.

Publishers of unsuitable websites aimed at the young should also be held strongly to account.

Also, ever more sophisticated mobile devices are equally if not more problematic as they are far more difficult to monitor.

Follow on Twitter @webtutornet @kandctutors



Income Inequality and the Death of Trickledown

A lot of lessons to be learnt here!

Job Market Monitor

On September 12, 2012, the Census issued its report on Income, Poverty, and Healthcare Coverage in the United States: 2011. While the full report has some nice charts, one that was conspicuously missing was on income inequality. The data for such a chart was in the tables, and so I was able to construct the chart above from them. Mean household (not individual) income for each quintile (20%) is expressed in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars.


One feature that jumps out at you are how relatively flat mean income has been for the bottom 80% over the last 45 years and how much it has grown for the top 20%, from an already high baseline. I thought this merited some further investigation.

If you look at the far left, in 1967, the income difference between the quintiles of the bottom 80% was remarkably similar, less than $17,000 between each group ($16,679 between…

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Exploring the ties between Sociology and Health: British Sociological Association MedSoc Annual Conference 2012

SAGE Connection

Emma Milman, Assistant Books Editor

I attended the British Sociological Association MedSoc annual conference this week at the University of Leicester. The conference is an opportunity for academics, researchers, students and practitioners worldwide to come together to explore the nexus between sociology and health.

Cathy Lloyd, Sharon Boden and Sarah Earle, all based in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the Open University, presented a poster on the health services experiences of women with diabetes during pregnancy and childbirth. The poster was based on a project run recently, in which the authors hosted an informal discussion group where women had an opportunity to discuss their own experiences. One of the key findings of the research was that the women involved in the project felt that the medical treatment for diabetes they had received whilst pregnant had dominated their pregnancy. The authors have now submitted…

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Inequalities in America – 288 times times richer

Job Market Monitor

The wealth gap between the richest Americans and the typical family more than doubled over the past 50 years.

In 1962, the top 1% had 125 times the net worth of the median household. That shot up to 288 times by 2010, according to a new report by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

That trend is happening for two reasons: Not only are the rich getting richer, but the middle class is also getting poorer.

Most Americans below the upper echelon have suffered a decline in wealth in recent decades. The median household saw its net worth drop to $57,000 in 2010, down from $73,000 in 1983. It would have been $119,000 had wealth grown equally across households.

The top 1%, on the other hand, saw their average wealth grow to $16.4 million, up from $9.6 million in 1983. This is due in large part to the growing income inequality…

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Montrose42 Blog


What is expected from teachers from 1 September 2012


The independent Review of Teachers’ Standards, chaired by Sally Coates, was launched by the Secretary of State for Education in March 2011. The Review brought together leading teachers, head teachers and other experts to review the existing framework of professional standards for teachers.  Ministers accepted the Review’s recommendations and a new set of standards, which will set the minimum requirements for teachers’ practice and conduct, became effective on 1 September 2012.The new Standards published by the Secretary of State for Education introduce some significant changes in terms of structure, content and application. The Teachers’ Standards contained in this document replace the existing standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and the Core professional standards, previously published by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA). The new standards will apply to the vast…

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Free schools idea flawed..focus needed elsewhere such as GCSEs!

School funds cut before opening
Government funding to a free school in Bradford is withdrawn a week before it was due to open.

I am personally totally opposed to the whole ‘Free Schools’ enterprise. If there is one thing that requires a carefully managed, centralised system it is surely compulsory education. How can we possibly standardise if we encourage a sub system that is virtually autonomous?


There are many problems with the present system, not least the woeful standard of GCSE qualifications, but surely we should be working towards changing and improving the system, not looking for cheaper alternatives beyond government control?

Face to face online private tuition that’s NOT Skype!

A pioneering new online tuition service has recently launched in the UK that will revolutionise the delivery of private, personalised, home-based learning for English, Maths, French and many other subjects.


Webtutornet.com, established by Nevil Chiles of Kensington & Chelsea Tutors Ltdhas been in development for two years. It allows teachers and tutors to deliver personalised lessons to students using the internet.


Nevil, who has worked within education both in the UK and abroad for over two decades, explained: “This is the first online tutorial resource that has been specially designed to exactly mimic the experience of a one-to-one lesson without leaving home.


“This is not Skype! We have written the software specifically to do the job. It has all the facets of a live lesson but teacher and pupil could be on opposite sides of the planet! It is the result of two years of hard work,” added Nev.


Teacher and pupil can see and hear each other, share and annotate documents and ‘write’ on documents using a specialised mouse. There is a virtual notepad, Open Office to work with popular document formats and a number of other innovations and features.


The new site features a number of informative videos that clearly explain the process for both tutors and pupils.


Nev went on “Initial feedback from both students and tutors has been immensely positive. Home visits for private lessons will continue but I firmly believe that this offers an excellent alternative for the delivery of private learning.”


After registering, each tutor and student receives a set of equipment that includes a headset, a webcam and a mouse pad with specialised mouse that is used like a pen. There is no software to download as the system is entirely web based but files and documents can be safely and securely shared online between tutor and student.


Nev added: “The ethos behind webtutornet.com is more than just to provide a way of delivering lessons online, it is also to create a social network for learning.


“The tutors set their own rates of pay and you can study their profiles and availability to select the tutor that best fits your needs. It offers all the subjects you would expect but the sky really is the limit, both in subject matter and the location of teachers and students,” added Nevil who set up Kensington & Chelsea Tutors in 2002.


One of the first tutors to use the system gave it a definite thumbs up. Angad Rihal, who provides tuition in Maths, amongst other subjects, commented, “Webtutornet offers an innovative method for delivering lessons to students. As a tutor it provides me with unrivalled flexibility and helps to incorporate technology and IT into private teaching.”


As Adrian Chiles, who hosts the site’s video content, says, “Learn about anything, at anytime, anywhere. It’s just like having a personal tutor at home, virtually!”


For more details visit www.webtutornet.com or follow on Twitter @webtutornet.




Students choosier with fee rise
With A-level results approaching, a study says that higher fees are going to make students in England more &quot;choosy&quot; about their university decisions.
If I were applying to be an undergraduate in late 2012 (thank God I’m not!) I too would look very carefully at the institutions and courses. With so much likely debt it is very important to choose a course that carries some weight after graduation. Only then can you begin to pay back that massive loan!
At least this is an indication that students are thinking about the courses they are applying for and not just ducking out of work for a few years and (dare I say it) having fun.
At least I was fortunate enough to be able to study and have fun without accruing enormous debt. Those were the halcyon days of student grants and before tuition fees had to be paid by the student.


New playing space rules opposed
Critics warn new rules on outdoor space for pupils in England to do PE will make it easier for schools to sell off playing fields.
In a country with a growing population it is difficult to see that any selling off of school sports facilities is justified. Surely schools should be allowed to expand existing facilities through government funding? Obviously there will be some exceptions where schools are closed or moved to a different site but the whole concept of selling any sports fields seems to me to be absolute nonsense. Changing labels to talk of ‘outdoor space’ is just another way to make them fit for sale. If the statistics below are correct then this situation needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency:

  • ..an estimated 10,000 playing fields were disposed of between 1979 and 1997 when the Conservatives were in power.
  • 213 playing fields were approved for sale between 1999 and April 2010, under the last Labour government.
  • The education secretary had approved the sale of 21 school sports fields in the past two years.