Streaming and Setting. Should we or shouldn’t we?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-29051923

Surely this is a sensible policy? By reducing standards and allowing almost everybody to ‘pass’ their exams the government has entered into a world where the difference between students is being masked. Not everybody is an academic and that doesn’t matter. Every pupil should be given an equal chance. Gathering people of similar abilities together is surely going to make teaching easier and more efficient. It also introduces (DARE I say it) competition; something that we are surrounded by every day of our lives. Let’s not pretend it doesn’t exist. It’s hard enough taking my 8 year old son to football tournaments where everybody ‘takes part’ but nobody wins. God forbid that somebody should lose!?

Centralise UK Compulsory Education NOW

Imagine if we had just one body setting examinations for 16 year olds in the UK. The government is constantly looking for ways to save money; printing costs alone would save millions. I don’t think parents and the public in general have any idea of the ludicrous work load put upon Examination Officers these days. At many schools it is a full time job! At many private schools children in the same class will be sitting different exams for the same qualification! Mistakes are often made because of the complexity of so many different papers for the same subjects. Results comparisons are meaningless and standardisation is virtually impossible.

We need ONE body setting the examinations for core subjects at 16 and EVERYBODY should sit identical examinations for each subject. This would save money, raise standards, avoid errors and make statistical comparison of results have some meaning.

Bigger classes for budget efficiency – WHAT NONSENSE AGAIN

Does the government just trawl through statistics in an effort to find a way to lower standards through budget cuts? How can anybody seriously put forward the point of view that larger class sizes will not effect standards? Why can’t the government focus on improvement rather than cost cutting?

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-29063679

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: