Symptoms of a bankrupt GCSE system…

Heads say exam watchdog failed

From the ridiculous to the back peddling. This whole situation with the grading of English GCSEs is a disgrace. How can there ever be any justification for changing grade boundaries for an identical exam in such a short space of time? This is just another symptom of the bankruptcy of the GCSE system; please let’s sweep it away to make way for worthwhile examinations.

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., 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 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 or follow on Twitter @webtutornet.



By Nevil Chiles, founder of

With an increasing number of parents considering the possibility of using private tuition to assist with their child’s educational development it’s important that they have all the facts at their fingertips.

Having been involved in the provision of private tuition for thousands of families across London and the Home Counties for a decade through K&C Tutors I’ve decided to compile a list of the ten most asked questions from parents.

Here they are:

1) What subjects can you get private tuition for?

You can get private tuition for literally any subject you like. Our own database of tutors grows by about 40 a month with more than 100 subjects currently covered.


2) Does it fit in with the National Curriculum?

Good tutors will always tailor their lessons for each individual student. If the subject is mainstream then the tuition provided will invariably fit in with the National Curriculum as required.


3) Are the effects of private tuition measurable?

It is difficult to define the effects of tuition but if students are getting bespoke targeted help can it be anything but beneficial? It is important that parents have a good idea in mind as to what they want private tuition to achieve for their children.


4) How long does private tuition last on average?

How long is a piece of string however for exam-based subjects tuition tends to run throughout the academic year until the exams are taken. For subjects that are not building towards exams – languages for example – the pattern is far less uniform.


5) Is it costly and is it a price worth paying?

The costs vary but in the case of K & C we currently charge £40 per hour of single tuition for levels up to A Level. Groups and higher levels of education are dealt with individually. You will of course find tuition available for more and less. Education is paramount and is surely a price worth paying to get your child on the right track in any particular subject.


6) Are the tutors vetted in any way?

Like most private tuition providers all our tutors have recent Enhanced Disclosure, Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) background checks. We interview all our tutors in person to insure we continue to provide an excellent service through the highest calibre tutors and I’ve interviewed over 2,000 tutors personally to date.


7) What sort of backgrounds do private tutors have?

Our tutors come from a wide variety of backgrounds. They range from talented and ambitious new graduates to retired teachers and everything in between. Our ethos is to provide an excellent service so we are continually interviewing new candidates.


8) Can we change a tutor if our son/daughter does not like them?

Tutors can be changed at any time. We want people to be delighted with the tutor we provide.


9) Are there any statistics to prove that private tutored pupils perform better in exams?

There are no statistics that I know of but there’s clear evidence that there has been a considerable growth in private tuition over the past decade as parents seek to give their children the best possible educational start in life.


10) How long does each private tuition session last and how is the ‘average’ session structured?

Most of the lessons we provide are two hours long although one hour is often more appropriate for younger students. All lessons are tailored for the individual and there’s really no such thing as an ‘average’ lessons.


For more information about the benefits of private tuition please visit

Performance Related Pay for Teachers…impossible to quantify!

Here’s my take on the story that appeared on the BBC website yesterday regarding proposals to introduce performance related pay for teachers….

Performance related pay in the teaching profession is surely impossible to quantify?

Every lesson in every classroom on any given day presents different challenges. The variables are endless; class size, location, age, demographic. Along with that each and every cohort is unique; possibly similar or totally different from the last and the next. And how do we measure performance? Exam results? Disciplinary record? Attendance?

As well as that, performance related pay naturally introduces competition which can breed disharmony. Teachers should be paid equally and fairly.

Would love to know your opinion!


This story recently caught my eye ( about competition for state funding and a Government initiative to award £10,000 ‘pupil premium’ prize for schools that help pupils from poorer backgrounds.

I personally believe that competition for funding in a state run school system is completely divisive and likely to cause unrest within the teaching community.

I completely agree with Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, that ALL schools should be fully funded.

The Government needs to listen to representatives of the education sector. I think if the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers and the Deputy General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers fundamentally disagree with their policy then Government really ought to listen.

They understand education and the issues the sector faces and recognise the integral importance of a well rounded schooling for all pupils. Turning it into a competition will only exacerbate splits and divisions.

Tell me what you think!

Top Marks for Private Tuition when emphasis is on Fun!

Whether it’s getting your child to learn a completely new subject, or topping up their existing knowledge, private tuition offers a host of tangible benefits for parents.

You’ll find few stronger advocates of the process than Paula and Baden O’Connor from Kensington who have been using the services of Kensington and Chelsea Tutors for the past year to assist their 11 year old son and 7 year old daughter.

They couldn’t be happier with the service they’ve received as Baden explained, “This is an important investment in the future of your children and it’s crucial that you get the right level of service and the right people.”

“We approached K & C Tutors in March 2011 with a view to arranging piano lessons for our daughter and Latin lessons for our son and have since applied the same principle to other subjects including preparing our son for his 11 plus exams.

“The Latin lessons were outstanding and, as a brand new subject, we’re pleased to say that our son loved it. One of the main reasons for this was the quality and integrity of the tutor.

“Her preparation for each lesson was thorough and her manner impeccable. The strong relationship they built up made the process of learning so much more fun for our son. Solid foundations were laid that will assist our son with his future foreign language development.

“In the case of our daughter the piano lessons soon evolved into singing and performance as well. Just like our son, the relationship established with the tutor played a big part in the success of the lessons.

“We specifically asked for a tutor who would not be too pushy or severe and we’ve seen a noticeable increase in our daughter’s performance. Once again the emphasis was on fun and this makes all the difference.

“We went on to get private tuition in English and Maths for our daughter and requested a similarly easy going tutor for these subjects. That’s exactly what we get and it says something when your child looks forward to private tuition after a day at school,” addedBaden.

Nevil Chiles, who established K & C Tutors in 2002, is clear as to why so many of his clients speak in glowing terms about the services they receive: “It’s about maintaining the highest of standards when it comes to the tutors used.

“Each and every one is personally vetted and interviewed by K & C. I certainly would not want to entrust my children’s education in the hands of a tutor that is not up to the job and that is why we’ve conducted over 2000 interviews over the past decade,” added Nevil.

The final word belongs to Paula who is now a real convert to private tuition: “Dealing with an organisation like K & C has always been very easy and they’ve always interpreted our requests accurately. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to any parents looking to follow a similar path for their children.”

“All in all I’d give K & C and their committed tutors ten out of ten and I intend to use them on an ongoing basis.”

For more details visit You can follow Nevil on Twitter @kandctutors