Latest blog on level sixth form playing field call

** Level sixth-form playing field call ** The government should level the playing field for post-16 education in England, the Sixth Form Colleges Association will tell MPs on Tuesday.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-21579926 >

Shouldn’t funding decisions be dependent on what is being taught and the quality of the teaching however I agree with David Igoe. Why should sixth form colleges be treated differently to institutions providing equivalent qualifications?

The report states, ‘… that sixth-form colleges tend to attract students with lower GCSE grades and higher levels of deprivation than either academies or school sixth forms.’ I fail to see why that is relevant. Are they successful institutions providing quality courses? Surely that is the only reason to level this playing field?

 

 

 

Schools need good wifi access!

Schools lack adequate wi-fi

Only about a quarter of schools in England have good enough wi-fi to get the best out of digital technology, figures suggest.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-21476385 >

Schools obviously need to provide high quality broadband wi-fi to their students but let’s not be too critical. We’re coming out of the worst recession in a generation and many schools are lacking far more than fast broadband. Playing fields for example?

The internet is obviously rapidly becoming an integral tool in education. As MD of http://www.webtutornet.com I obviously have a vested interest in this but I am concerned that the education system needs funding root and branch. Let’s not forget the fundamentals of our schooling whilst continuing to look to the future.

Security is also important. With growth in internet access in schools comes the increased risk of exposing children to unsuitable material.

I love the D of E spokeswoman’s comment, “Head teachers manage their own budgets and are best placed to decide the extent to which they make wi-fi accessible in their schools.” i.e. whatever the issue it’s not our fault.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A PRIVATE TUTOR

You can’t beat being a private tutor according to Edward Kiely!

 

There’s no well defined career path into private tuition however in Edward’s case it was a case of following the family tradition.

 

“I’d undertaken volunteer work while I was at university with an educational group for students with anxiety disorders and found working one-to-one with students really rewarding,” explained Edward who graduated from EmmanuelCollege, Cambridge, with a First Class Honours degree in Social and Political Sciences

 

He went on “My mother has been a tutor for a number of years in Suffolk and because I was interested she set me up with my first student. I spotted a previously undiagnosed learning difficulty and then helped to raise him three grades in his Maths GCSE at which point I started to consider tutoring as a career.

 

“Once I’d moved to London tutoring fitted my lifestyle perfectly as I use my daytimes to work on theatre and comedy projects. I really enjoy working with children and young people but the aspect that I enjoy most is the sense of achievement that comes from having a breakthrough with a student,” added Edward who has been a private tutor for just over a year specialising in Common Entrance English, Maths, Biology and Sociology A-Level.

 

Getting enough work in is a major consideration and to that end Edward has registered with six different agencies including Kensington and Chelsea (KC) Tutors who have been providing personalised private tuition across London and the South East since 2002 as well as, more recently, online face to face private tuition through their Webtutornet technology platform.

 

“I find that KC Tutors manage to be efficient and professional while remaining friendly and supportive. Their invoicing system is simple and they always pay on time, not always the case with some agencies, and they respond to any queries that one may have quickly and effectively.

‘At the same time I feel that they are genuinely concerned about my level of satisfaction in my work as a tutor. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they have found and offered me more work than any other agency in West London.

“KC Tutors e-mails a number of interested tutors with details of a potential student and invites them to apply. While this does mean that you have to be quick to respond your e-mail, it also means that you never feel forgotten and that, if your circumstances change, they are the most efficient at finding and offering you work,” added Edward.

 

It’s not all plain sailing and there have been negative experiences as Edward pointed out: “I had a bad experience recently with one agency who placed me with a very difficult client in full knowledge that they were unpleasant to work for and then offered me next to no support.

 

“When the client refused to pay me for an introductory session, for which I’d been assured that I would be paid, the agency merely said it was ‘out of their hands.’

 

“The support offered by KC Tutors contrasts with that experience. The one and only occasion that I had difficulties with a client that I’d been given through KC Tutors, the agency made clear that the client had broken their clearly-defined terms of service and that I would therefore be paid for all of my time,

 

“This made a world of difference in a potentially difficult situation,” added Edward.

 

Nevil Chiles, who established KC Tutors, has personally interviewed over 2,000 tutors in the past 11 years and with a background in education spanning over 20 years he’s well aware of what will and won’t work for a private tutor.

 

“From our perspective it’s not about simply referring on clients and then taking a fee. It’s about providing ongoing support and feedback on a tutor’s progress and giving them peace of mind.

 

“That approach means that tutors can focus on what they do best and deliver the best possible and most effective tutorials to students be that face to face or online through our fast growing Webtutornet service,” added Nevil.

 

As for Edward he’d be the first to suggest a future in private tuition to any potential tutor: “If you’re looking for interesting and challenging work that is flexible and adapts to your lifestyle then I’d definitely recommend private tuition!”

 

For more details visit www.kctutors.co.uk and www.webtutornet.com.

ENDS

ONLINE PRIVATE TUITION PASSES CLOSE EXAMINATION!

With the January exams underway or in prospect for thousands of UK schoolchildren now is the time when a growing number of parents and students are recognising the measurable benefits of private tuition.

 

The growth in modern technology is making the process of delivering private tutorials much easier with platforms such as Webtutornet, part of Kensington and Chelsea Tutors, pioneering face to face online tuition.

 

Established in 2012, Webtutornet is the brainchild of Nevil Chiles who established K&C Tutors back in 2002. Now recognised as one of the premier private tuition agencies in London and the South East, K&C Tutors has helped thousands of students of all ages, from 4 to 84, improve their academic performance.

 

Specifically designed for Webtutornet, the technology allows student and tutor to conduct safe and secure scheduled tutorials over the internet with webcam and microphone allowing for the delivery of a lesson without ever having to leave home.

 

Each tutor and student pays a fee of £50 to register with Webtutornet and they then receive a pack containing a webcam, microphone, mouse pad and pen that connects tutor and pupil allowing for the sharing of online resources, both safely and securely, during a tutorial with no software required.

 

“This is the time of the year when pupils face their first major challenges and parents get to judge where the strengths and weaknesses of their child’s education lie,” explained Nevil “and increasingly the option of topping up school lessons with in person or online private tuition is giving children a much better start in life.

 

“It’s estimated that one in four pupils within London use private tuition. Across the UK as a whole it’s reckoned that one in five state pupils have received personal tuition at some point in time. The increase in demand over the past decade has been considerable and there’s no sign of that reducing despite the economic climate.

 

“On the back of this growth there’s a burgeoning interest in how private tutorials can be delivered more flexibly using online technology and Webtutornet is one of a number of providers that can connect thousands of tutors across a wide range of subjects with students.

 

“We’ve already had pupils engaged in productive one hour and two hour online lessons with tutors who are based on the other side of the planet

 

“There are however inevitably major considerations for parents such as the quality and reputation of the tutor and the safety and security of the system that’s utilised.

 

“This is not some form of Skype style approach but a strictly controlled process in which personally delivered private tuition is mimicked online with defined lesson times and costs.

 

“Webtutornet and K&C Tutors take these concerns very seriously and that is why each and every tutor is interviewed, vetted and CRB checked,” added Nevil who has personally conducted interviews with over 2000 tutors over the past decade.

 

Mother of three Erica from Oxfordshire was one of the first to recognise the benefits of the Webtutornet approach: “When considering online tuition for your children it’s important that the process replicates the nature of a personal visit to or from a private tutor.

 

“Your child has to be ready to start at the preset time or they may miss part of the lesson. This is crucial to structuring their understanding.

 

“Children are frequently more technology savvy than their parents and an online approach to private tuition fits in perfectly with how the Facebook generation communicates.

 

“However, like every aspect of your child’s life, you have to exercise vigilance and common sense at every turn. When the major issues and concerns are taken care of, as is the case with Webtutornet, you can rest easy,” added Erica.

 

Nevil concluded: “We all want to give our children the best start in life. Private tuition is invariably a fun, engaging and productive process that contrasts with the, at times, impersonal nature of school education.

 

“Delivering tuition online is another option for parents to consider. It’s an easy and flexible alternative to the traditional home visit from a private tutor,” he added.

 

For more details visit www.kctutors.co.uk and www.webtutornet.com

ENDS

School playing fields NEED PROTECTING!!!

We need to protect ALL school playing fields from greedy government sponsored developers and two hours a week of sport should be an absolute minimum requirement. This is particularly important in our internet age where youngsters are becoming increasingly sedentary due to the internet, mobile devices and social media.
It is completely typical of the D of E to publish two totally contradictory statements. Firstly saying that they are “putting competitive sport at the heart of the new school curriculum” then stating that regarding a minimum requirement for school sport that “the two-hour target was never a rule. It was an unenforceable aspiration that schools were free to ignore.”
Why can’t it be enforced? Put it in the timetable twice a week!
In my day it was called ‘Games’ which it seems is what the Government is playing with our children’s health, wellbeing and sporting potential!

No surprise that teacher morale is low!

It is hardly surprising that teacher morale is low. Government  incompetence continually undermines the profession.

Free schools and academies complicate and dilute an already flawed system.

Poor exam quality does not adequately differentiate between student abilities.

The English Baccalaureate is a poorly researched political knee-jerk reaction. Constant criticism systematically undermines professional confidence.

Budget cuts further handcuff teachers. All that Mr Gove and the government have is the usual spin about what super things they’re doing.

Mr Gove behaves like a new factory manager implementing change to demonstrate action without actually having any idea about the product or how it is made.

 

Military in schools…a great idea with caveats!

** £2m boost for military in schools **
Projects which put former servicemen and women in England's schools have been given a £2m government boost.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-20642796 >

It is a shame that National Service was abolished in the UK. I think this idea of military style training is excellent. It instills discipline and comradeship; arguably greatly lacking from society as a whole. However, I do not agree that there should be an easy way into the teaching profession. A degree should be a necessary stepping stone to teaching – after all without the background knowledge how can a teacher be expected to thoroughly grasp their subject? I wholeheartedly agree that ex forces personnel should be encouraged into teaching. If they do not hold a degree perhaps the government could subsidise candidates through a degree course? Potentially excellent candidates should be encouraged. Would that not be money well spent?

WORDS and WAFFLE from DoE

** UK education sixth best in world **
An international education league table puts the UK among a leading group of countries headed by Finland and South Korea.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-20498356 >
The Department for Education must have a filing cabinet somewhere labelled ‘staple responses’.
“We are driving up standards right across the board by bringing the best graduates into teaching, developing a world-class curriculum, and restoring order to our classrooms.” Are they?; there are many, many people who would strongly disagree.

“We are driving forward the academies and free schools programmes with more than half of secondary schools now enjoying academy status.” So academy status is a good thing? Free schools are an excellent idea? There are many Juries and lots of them are still out.

“We have introduced the EBacc so more pupils are encouraged to study the core academic subjects that universities and employers demand and we will be introducing a new, far more rigorous examination system.” Will be introducing…? Do we want an EBacc system? All of this is still being vigorously debated; once again a D of E spokesperson comes up with what they do best. Words and waffle.

Global League tables are a useful indicator but we should be very careful about comparing systems from societies that are culturally disparate. Is it really possible to meaningfully compare the education system in Hong Kong with the UK?

The frustrating thing is that the answer should not be difficult. Hard compulsory exams at 16 containing information that school leavers might actually be glad they learned if they never open another book. Tandem vocational qualifications for those less inclined towards academics. A Levels should be kept but rolled back to when they were challenging. Hard exams for 18 year olds will give us a clear picture of abilities. Universities and employers will be able to trust the grades and know the calibre of candidate they are getting without having to re-check. Let’s get away from this ridiculous situation where the sole driver seems to be everybody passing and going to University. Pretending everybody is an academic could lead to a future with the potential to have generations of ill-educated, debt ridden ex-students.

What makes a career adviser?

** Most schools cut careers advice**
Research suggests careers advice has been in reduced in eight out of 10 schools in England this academic year.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-20452398 >
I’ve never really been a fan of careers advice. In the mid 1980s I was told that the best way forward was to be a tree surgeon when all I wanted to do was fly fast jets or play football for England. Not particularly realistic goals but you need to dream.
I’m not knocking tree surgery but believe me that was not the right path for me. Who are careers advisers? Have they had long successful careers and are spending their dotage giving advice on how to replicate their success? If not, I’d like to know how they qualify.
I’m all for helping people make wise choices but shouldn’t we worry more about the shocking state of secondary academic qualifications first?

PLEASE SPEND EDUCATION MONEY WISELY!

** Poorest pupils weaker at maths**
Research suggests the poorest children are twice as likely to struggle at maths than their classmates.
This shows just how effective one-to-one and small group tuition can be. At Kensington & Chelsea Tutors (www.kctutors.co.uk) we were involved with a similar scheme with Westminster Council called Making Good Progress. This involved ten one hour lessons of Maths and / or English for struggling students in mainstream education. They had great success but as with so many things the budget was cut and the service removed.
Why is it that money cannot be found for such schemes when so much public money seems to be constantly wasted? Take the recent rebranding of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). From December 1st 2012 it will be called the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS). We as a registered body have received multitudinous letters and paperwork, they have issued (and we have had to order) new application forms, they have a splendid new logo but absolutely nothing about how we carry out checks has changed. We have also been told we have alter all of our paperwork and websites etc. to reflect these changes.What a monumental waste of everybody’s time and so much money.