National curriculum changes

Here’s my take on the following UK education story…

** Curriculum to match world’s best **

A revised national curriculum for schools in England is to be published later, with the aim of catching up with the world’s best education systems.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-23222068 

I’m all for improvements in the curriculum but am also always wary of politicians making crowd pleasing statements. How can such changes realistically be implemented by 2014?

As for the content, politicians should leave well alone. Let the educational community decide on content; teachers are the people on the ground who best understand what is required and / or possible.
It also brings into question the whole system of academies. If academies are now the majority of secondary schools why on earth are they not expected to follow any new curriculum.

In the long term, with an increased number of academies, won’t changes in certain aspects of the curriculum be pointless?

 

Technology is changing the face of private tuition

The internet and information technology are changing the way we view the world and they are now playing their part in changing the face of private tuition!

 

Despite the economic situation the demand for private tuition continues to rise, particularly for those in private education, with a growing number of enquiries that we receive from parents and pupils specifically requesting an online variation.

 

Although there will always be a place for conventional face to face tutorials, the days of tutors travelling through rush hour traffic to deliver a lesson at a pupil’s home are becoming somewhat numbered.

 

Online tutoring allows pupils and tutors to connect wherever they might be in the world. For example at Webtutornet we’ve already seen lessons delivered by tutors in Australia as well as to pupils abroad on holiday facing imminent exams.

 

It represents a wholly flexible approach and is clearly the way forward for today’s media savvy ‘Facebook’ generation.

 

They are far more used to communicating face to face online through MSN or Skype than my own generation. However, it is the concerns of parents that frequently have to be countered.

 

There are a number of online tuition resources and platforms which represent the future face of private tuition and most of the solutions available charge a registration fee and offer parents essential peace of mind with a safe, secure and closely monitored service.

 

It’s critical that each and every tutor delivering private tuition is comprehensively vetted by their agency. Every tutor applicant interviewed by Kensington & Chelsea Tutors undergoes a series of strict checks including Vetting & Barring Service (VBS) Enhanced Disclosure checks before they are appointed.

 

Having vetted over 2000 tutors since 2002 and being a father myself I’m well aware of the importance of this process and the integrity and credibility it offers.

 

Because by its very nature online tuition does not always allow an in person interview webtutornet has been designed to maximise student security. There is no computer sharing or exchanging of personal information necessary to have an excellent online lesson with an expert.

 

 

The trend towards online resources is one of a few that we have identified in recent times. There has been a 20% increase over the course of the last 12 months in 6-11 year-olds opting for extra curricular tuition due to the introduction of 7+ tests and pupils themselves are increasingly taking the initiative and organising their own lessons.

 

The number of students contacting us direct has doubled in the last year and that maybe down to a growing awareness of the importance of getting a good start in life and an evolving knowledge of how lessons can be delivered just as easily online. It’s still the parents who will pay the fees though!

 

From the start with K&C Tutors in 2002 we’ve seen a consistent 60%-40% split with more females opting for private tuition. Perhaps the girls are more conscientious?

 

Returning to online private tuition perhaps it’s good to get the expert’s perspective? Angad Rihal, a maths teacher who has used Webtutornet extensively, explained: “This is a truly bespoke solution that has been developed for the student with teaching in mind. The ease of use clearly shows it has been masterminded by people in the industry and is far superior to just using dabble board or Skype.

 

“This is finally bridging the gap between the internet and private teaching which is long overdue and fitting given the tech savvy zeitgeist.

 

“It also saves a lot of time on travelling to the homes of students which, with traffic the way it is, can be a priceless advantage!” added Angad.

 

Online private tuition allows tutors and pupils to be anywhere in the world when conducting lessons. It is inevitable that this approach will become the norm!

 

The future is here and it’s clear that the face of private tuition is changing!

 

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

 

Exam grading based on birthdate ….give me strength!!!

Here’s my take on this recent story that appeared in the national media

Summer-born need exam score boost
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-22469216

Are there really people sitting around thinking up this nonsense? Can you imagine the arguments? When would the cut off date be? How would it be quantified? Some things in the world are not perfect; there are probably only a limited number of parents who think about the academic year when producing children!

There is no doubt that somebody born on September 1st is likely to be at an advantage in comparison to a child born on August 31st however grade inflation is a ridiculous, divisive answer.

It would be fair to cite birth dates as a mitigating circumstance but grade changing is an unworkable answer. If younger children are struggling they should be helped and encouraged by their teachers. Do we tell younger students they don’t have to try so hard and older ones that their hard work will be less well rewarded.

Does an argument based on such spurious evidence as this carry any weight?

“More than 60% of September-born pupils achieve five A* to C grades, compared with less than 54%”
Is it me or is that not virtually the same?

“August-born students are also around two percentage points less likely to go to university when they leave school, one percentage point less likely to attend a leading university and one percentage point less likely to complete a degree.”
1%? 2%?
We are also told younger children, “… are more likely to start smoking younger than their relatively older peers.”

Give me strength!!!.

FOLLOW NEVIL ON TWITTER @webtutornet / @kandctutors

Tackling the issue of cowboy tutors…

Here’s our take on a recent article about ‘cowboy’ tutors that appeared in the Telegraph …link here for original article http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/expateducation/10000247/Aspirational-parents-should-be-wary-of-cowboy-tutors.html
This is very interesting for all of us at Kensington & Chelsea Tutors and Webtutornet. The article asks the question, “how reliable are tutors, and how do you find the best option while overseas?”.
We think we have the definitive answer to both questions. The only way to ensure the quality of tutors is to source them from a reliable agency that has interviewed and vetted them – that is after all by definition what an agency should do. Over the past 10+ years at K & C we have personally interviewed and vetted every single one of our 2500+ tutors. We continue to interview approximately 40 new candidates a month. This ensures that we are not only supplying high quality tutors but also that we can deliver an excellent service to an increasing quantity of clients.
From an overseas point of view Webtutornet enables students to have lessons from tutors who are located all over the world. As Webtutornet grows we are encouraging people to get in touch with us if they can’t find the tutor they are looking for at the site. Because of the connection with the two companies we can and do encourage those applying and tutoring for K & C to join the Webtutornet community. That means if an overseas student is looking for something specific we can almost certainly find the right tutor to fit the bill. Have a look at the sites:
 

THE PRIVATE TUTORIAL SET TO CHANGE FOREVER

– Easter is the time when demand for private tuition starts to increase with end of year exams on the horizon

– The number of parents enquiring about online face-to-face tuition is on the rise

– 60% of those taking private tuition are female

– Tuition requests for the 6-11 age group up 20% due to 7+ exam

– Tuition requests from pupils direct doubled in the last year

– Mothers continue to be the main drivers when it comes to opting for private tuition

 

The face of private tuition looks set to change forever according to education expert Nevil Chiles!

 

Despite the economic situation the demand for private tuition continues to rise with a growing number of enquiries from parents and pupils specifically requesting an online variation.

 

That’s the finding of Kensington and Chelsea Tutors, a private tuition agency that’s operated across London and the South East for the past 11 years, and its associated pioneering online platform Webtutornet which allows pupils and tutors to connect for face-to-face private tuition over the internet.

 

Webtutornet, and other online tuition resources, represent the future of private tuition according to founder Nevil Chiles, MD of K&C Tutors: “Delivering private tutorials online will soon become the norm as today’s media savvy Facebook generation recognise the inherent advantages.

 

“The days of tutors travelling through rush hour traffic to deliver a lesson at a pupil’s home are numbered.

 

“Webtutornet is one of the solutions available that offer parents peace of mind with a safe, secure and closely monitored service.

 

“It costs £50 to register with everyone who signs up receiving a pack with webcam, microphone and smart pen and pad to allow for the online sharing of resources. No software is required.

 

“We are approaching the busy period for private tutors. Easter tends to be a watershed with many parents and a growing number of pupils themselves, recognising the importance of topping up their classroom education and preparing effectively for those all important exams in the summer.

 

“We’ve seen a very clear increase in the numbers requesting an online approach and that trend is sure to continue,” added Nevil who has worked within education as a teacher and academic for over 20 years.

 

That trend is one of a few that Nevil and his team have identified. There has been a 20% increase over the course of the last 12 months in 6-11 year-olds opting for extra curricular tuition due to the introduction of 7 plus tests and pupils themselves are increasingly taking the initiative and organising their own lessons.

 

“The number of students contacting us direct has doubled in the last year,” continued Nevil “from one in twenty to around one in ten but mothers continue to be the main driving force when it comes to extra education.

 

“From the start with K&C Tutors in 2002 we’ve seen a consistent 60%-40% split with more females opting for private tuition. Perhaps the girls are more conscientious?” added Nev.

 

One recent convert to online private tuition is mother-of-three Mrs Rifat from Oxfordshire but she had her initial concerns.

 

“The single most important consideration as a parent is that the system is safe and secure and that the tutor involved has been vetted by the tuition facilitator.

 

“You have to have peace of mind if you are to entrust your child’s education into the hands of a relative stranger online and I found it important personally to chat initially online with the tutor that we use. That puts your mind at rest.

 

“Secondly you must be confident that the information shared during the lesson remains confidential and secure and this is very much the case with solutions such as Webtutornet.

 

“Since then each and every lesson has gone very smoothly and it’s a simple and easy way of delivering private tuition,” added Mrs Rifat.

 

Each and every K & C tutor is personally vetted by the company. In fact Nevil himself has interviewed over 2,000 to date with every successful applicant undergoing strict checks and CRB accreditation.

 

There are significant advantages from the tutor’s perspective as Angad Rihal, a maths teacher engaged by Mrs Rifat, explained: “This is a truly bespoke solution that has been developed for the student with teaching in mind. The ease of use clearly shows it has been masterminded by people in the industry and is far superior to just using dabble board or Skype.

 

“This is finally bridging the gap between the internet and private teaching which is long overdue and fitting given the tech savvy zeitgeist.

 

“It also saves a lot of time on travelling to the homes of students which, with traffic the way it is, can be a priceless advantage!” added Angad.

 

Nevil summarised: “Systems such as Webtutornet allow tutors and pupils to be anywhere in the world when conducting lessons. It is inevitable that this approach will become the norm!”

 

The future is here and it’s clear that Webtutornet is in the vanguard of the changing face of private tuition!

 

For more details visit http://www.webtutornet.com

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

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?

Teacher morale is extremely low right now – action required!

** Teachers who quit up by a fifth **
The number of teachers who quit their jobs in English state schools rose by almost a fifth in one year, according to government figures.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-20585457
This is hardly surprising. Teacher morale is extremely low whatever the government would like us to think. The teaching profession has been increasingly undermined for years with the introduction of ever more complicated teaching structures, relentless inspection, an inability to discipline and constant criticism from above. Confidence is further undermined by suggestions that unqualified teachers be allowed to step in. De-regulation with free schools and academies only makes things more complicated and continues to knock away at the foundations of the profession. Current economic conditions have also exacerbated the problem through knee jerk pension cuts and pay freezes.
Teachers are the bedrock of future generations. However hard it is, the government needs to find a way not only of improving standards but also of paying teachers what they deserve along with guarantees on pensions. Morale would rise and teachers might remain teachers to properly educate our children. If morale and standards are low, so will be the calibre of school leavers.
Follow me on Twitter @webtutornet / @kandctutors