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!?

Gove exists in parallel universe – stop politicising education!!!

Gove wants tests for four-year-olds

Education secretary Michael Gove strongly indicates that he wants to introduce formal assessments for four and five-year-olds when they enter school in England.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/uk-26008500

 

On what is Mr Gove basing his sweeping self congratulation? Mr Gove appears to live in some fantasy parallel universe.

 

‘State schools will be able to stay open longer, so that there is more time for after-school activities, and the education secretary has repeated calls for tougher discipline.’

 

Has anybody consulted teachers on these life changing statements? How will teachers be empowered to toughen discipline? Will legislation be passed to allow punishments without the possibility of litigation?

 

Regarding the criticisms by Sir David Bell; I entirely agree. ‘Sir David was part of a group of business leaders and academics who published a report last week calling for a more independent, non-political approach to education policy.’

 

At last somebody talking sense. Michael Gove needs to stop looking in the mirror and actually try and improve the education system apolitically.

 

For me what credibility he might have had is now non-existent.

 

Although Tristram Hunt is commenting from a purely political standpoint (always say the opposite of the other side), I entirely agree that there should be, ‘… a qualified teacher in every classroom.’

 

Be interesting to see what happens with that if Labour get in.

As IT moves forward we should seek to tackle cyberbullying

Cyberbullying on rise – Childline
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-25639839 >

As a father of three and Managing Director of a company providing web-based learning this a very worrying report. For children today the world is a very different place than it was for myself growing up in the 1970s and 80s.

Sadly, bullying and racism were ever present then as they are now.

In a pre-internet world these issues were somewhat easier to identify. The problem now is that in a Facebook / social media world it is easier for cowardly bullies and racists to remain faceless and untraced.

ChildLine should be praised for giving young people a place to turn.

My eldest, at nine years old, is only too well aware of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat etc.. It is up to me as a parent to police it. In my opinion facebook should have an age ceiling of at least 16. There is so much out there that is unsuitable it cannot be filtered by parents with increasingly computer savvy children; they should not be allowed to access it.

The world has changed and we should embrace the change. However, it is happening so fast that it is difficult to keep up and therefore difficult to understand what our children can get access to via the internet.

Also, for children, there is bound to be pier pressure, as there are bound to be children who’s parents allow them to access social media when they are younger. It is also easier for us beyond a certain age to forget that all this content can be accessed on mobile phones – no computer necessary.

So when should I allow my children to have a phone? Great for parent to child contact and safety, but the rest?

This is a debate that will run and run as information technology gallops forward. As a parent I find it all very worrying.

The fact that Webtutornet records all lessons and allows no computer sharing is for a very good reason.

 

Start education at age 6 or 7 is a good idea!!

Here’s my take on the following story from BBC education

School should start above age five

Children should not start formal school lessons until the age of six or seven, a group of educationalists says.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-24058227

 

I broadly agree with this report. With young children of my own I can see how they would benefit from less formal schooling in the early years. An early start to the ‘three Rs’ also means that the spectre of super competitive parents begins earlier in a child’s, life bringing with it the associated pressures.
Younger children should be allowed to play more; it helps them develop as people and the interaction that it inevitably entails will help to build their social skills.
Perhaps Elizabeth Truss should meet up with her Parliamentary colleagues to discuss how the gap between rich and poor can be narrowed through good governance rather than framing educational issues against a social background.
Talking about testing and evaluating reception age children is truly idiotic – let the teachers teach. Just more political nonsense.

 

 

 

 

A broken teaching system

Teacher training system is broken

http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-23491085

The Schools Direct programme undermines teacher training at a time when we are desperate for new blood. The uncertainty of the present system means established higher education training providers will be less inclined to provide the training for which they have a proven record. More glossy political spin camouflaging cut backs that are short-termist and damaging.

 

 

Summer tuition? The key is balance!

Here’s my take on a recent story on the BBC education news site…

Summer tutoring awaits many pupils

http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-23465178 >

I must say that despite being the owner of a tutoring company I find this trend slightly worrying. When I swap my business hat for my parent hat and look at my children enjoying their summer break I find myself being delighted that they are having such a great time in the sunshine. Obviously it is important to keep up with reading and summer homework but I also think that a break is good, especially for younger children.
We are living in a very competitive world and all parents should want their children to maximise their potential. For some the summer break may be a good time to help a struggling student, the key is getting the balance right.

 

Pupils ranked at 11..disappointing and destructive

Here’s my take on the recent news that 11-year-old pupils will be ranked against peers…

** Pupils face national rankings at 11 ** Primary school pupils in England could be ranked directly against their peers across the country, under plans to change performance measures.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-23334334

Disappointing and destructive is exactly how I see these proposals! Has this really been thought through? Raising the standard to an 85% pass mark of an assessment that hasn’t even been decided upon yet??

As a father of three children I feel strongly that to constantly label younger children is very damaging especially to those that are doing less well.
Surely this measure would mean a huge increase in workload for already overworked teaching staff. Why do politicians keep making new policies which are obviously just measures to try to demonstrate that they are doing something.

Please can we let teachers teach not pile them high with more bureaucracy.

 

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?

 

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