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.

 

 

 

 

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Summer private tuition for 11+ / Grammar school exam pupils

Here’s my thoughts on a recent BBC education news story about the growth of private tuition for 11+ / grammar school entry exams….

This reflects the trend we have seen here at Kensington and Chelsea Tutors.
Although in the past eleven years we have consistently provided tutors not only for grammar schools but also for selective private and state schools, in the past five years or so there has been a marked increase. I think this is partly because tutoring has moved from being a secret weapon to a mainstream activity. Tutors are out there and parents are increasingly using them to boost students’ prospects at all levels.

It defeats me why Barry Sindall, chief executive of the Grammar School Heads Association (GHSA) says that, “The issue for GSHA is not how do you stop coaching but rather how do you stop coaching making an impact.”

Coaching of any kind is always going to have an impact and that surely is a good thing. Don’t sports professionals train hard to make themselves more proficient in their fields? We (thankfully) live an an open democracy and have freedom of choice – if tutors are out there, why not use them?

Tutoring seems to get criticised almost daily and generally the thrust is one of elitism. The increasingly expensive and exclusive private school system in this country, from Eton on down, seems to be conveniently glossed over. At least tutoring allows help to be given to students whose parents’
wildest dreams don’t even feature the cheapest private schools.

If the argument is that this is unfair then it is something the government needs to look at.

 

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.

 

GCSE changes welcome but why tinker with grading?

Education expert Nevil Chiles, founder of online tuition platform Webtutornet and London and South East private tuition agency Kensington & Chelsea Tutors, gives his views on the GCSE changes announced today…..

 

Finally we seem to be moving back towards a system that actually TESTS students’ abilities but why, why, why change the grading system?? Eight to one?? Possibly a reaction against the unwillingness of Wales and Northern Ireland to endorse the changes?

Time and effort should be employed to make universal changes rather than creating a new grading system and a splintered infrastructure. Should we not be making the system simpler?

I wholeheartedly agree with a move towards more rigorous courses based on end of course examinations; it has been needed for years. Scrapping coursework is also long overdue.

As a History graduate I am delighted that pupils will be required to write essays instead of the nonsense short, pre-structured questions we have become used to.

Actually making pupils think instead of just pass is a giant leap forward if they are true to their word.  Just reading that students will be required to read WHOLE books as if that is something of a move forward is an unbelievable indictment of the present system.

I praise Education Minister, Elizabeth Truss for finally telling the truth and echoing what I’ve been saying for a long time:

“But we do need to start competing against those top performing countries in the world because for too long we’ve pretended that students results are getting better when all that’s been happening is the exams have been getting easier and it’s been a race to the bottom between the exam boards and we need to stop that happening now.”

What needs to happen is that the planned changes need to be implemented as soon as possible but PLEASE with an alphabetic grading system and let’s wave goodbye to the nonsense of A*.

We then need to go further and do a wide-reaching review of course content and sweep away the multiple exam board system. One subject, one examining body. Only then can we have a meaningful comparison of standards within a given pier group.

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

Private tutors offer exam advice..keep calm and carry on!

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!

Private tutors reveal their top ten exam and revision tips

“Keep calm and carry on” is one of the overriding pieces of advice to UK students currently in the midst of GCSEs, A Levels and end-of-year exams from a survey undertaken in May of 500 private tutors.

The eponymous World War 2 poster message, which has become a widely recognised part of popular culture iconography in recent years, is just one of ten ‘tips’ offered by tutors attached to online private tuition platform Webtutornet and Kensington and Chelsea Tutors to help guide students through the stressful ordeal of revision and examinations.

The ten tips are as follows:

1)      Stay calm and don’t panic whether you’re in the midst of revision or within an examination environment

2)      Get a life balance during the exam period by eating well and getting plenty of sleep with early nights. Aim to get up every morning even when you have no exam!

3)      Create a revision plan that involves a clear structure of 40 minutes on and 10 minutes off. Continual intervals from study are essential to learning. One day of revising flat out will negatively affect the following days so spread activity out evenly.

4)     Go through past exam papers on a timed basis during revision and try to understand what the examiner is looking for

5)      Read the question and answer the question! It may seem obvious but ensure your answers are concise, relevant and clearly structured. Your opinion counts but isn’t enough on its own. You need to demonstrate your knowledge of a subject.

6)      Do the questions you find easiest first. Don’t attempt to do them in the order in which they appear on the paper.

7)      Read as much as possible whether relevant or irrelevant to your exams. Reading is a form of brain training that will help with revision and your levels of concentration during an exam.

8)      Avoid long meandering sentences as nine times out of ten these will act against you. Keep your sentences short and sweet.

9)      Towards the end of your exam, if you have time, reread all of your answers. You are bound to come across a mistake of some description and this is the easiest way to improve marks at the last minute

10)  Understand how the marking works for each question and find the marks scheme on the exam board’s website. There’s no point spending lots of time on questions that offer few points to the detriment of more rewarding ones.

Nevil Chiles, who founded Kensington & Chelsea Tutors in 2002 and Webtutornet in 2012, commented: “The tips we received from the tutors surveyed make for interesting reading and undoubtedly reveal that a calm and organised approach to both revision and exams will reap dividends.

“This is the most stressful time of the year for hundreds of thousands of students of all ages and it’s therefore important to prepare in the right way,” added Nevil who has personally interviewed and vetted over 2000 tutors in the past 11 years.

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

ENDS

UK education changes cause pupil anxiety

A recent survey of 200 private tutors has revealed a palpable sense of anxiety and uncertainty about the future on the part of many pupils in primary and secondary education in the light of reforms instituted by the coalition Government.

Around 40% of the tutors surveyed stated that their students were exhibiting a lack of confidence in the many changes being announced by central Government to both GCSE and A Level curriculums.

The survey was conducted by online private tuition platform Webtutornet and Kensington & Chelsea Tutors and posed the following question: “How have the changes to primary and secondary education introduced by the coalition government affected your tuition planning and how have they impacted, if at all, on the confidence and readiness of pupils in their coursework and exam preparations?”

Nevil Chiles, who founded Webtutornet in 2012 and is MD of Kensington & Chelsea Tutors, commented: “Since the coalition Government came into power there has been a raft of announcements about radical changes to education and we often forget the impact all of this has on the pupils themselves.

“What we’ve discovered is that it’s all having a negative impact on the confidence levels for a significant minority particularly those considering the humanities as a path forward at degree level.

“There is a lot of uncertainty out there and a lot of mixed messages coming from those in power in this is only complicated by u-turns and amendments to proposed changes,” added Nevil.

One tutor commented: “Whilst students are certainly as prepared as they’ve ever been for exams there is a distinct lack of confidence as it seems that the exam system, with A* at A Level, is increasingly stifling creative thought.

“With the exam system setting out criteria so precisely following the controversies of the past 12 months it seems students are less prepared to demonstrate original thinking because they are tending to become more risk averse.”

Another tutor noted: “Students seem to be more and more confused about their syllabus and this, in turn, affects their approach to exams. They are unsure as to what formats will be in place next year and simply don’t know what is expected of them.”

“Many pupils recognise that the system is a bit of a lottery and they might work hard and think they’ve done well only to find out they haven’t,” said another surveyed tutor.

Nevil continued: “I have personally interviewed over 2,000 private tutors in the past 11 years and the levels of uncertainty expressed by many of their pupils are a genuine cause for concern.

“All private tutors and teachers have to prepare their lessons carefully but they have to be constantly aware of the prevailing zeitgeist in education and curriculum requirements when the goalposts are continually moving as seems to be the case at present,” added Nevil.

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

ENDS

UK education…GCSE exam changes nowhere near enough!

Here’s my take on the following education story that appeared on the BBC website…

GCSE change unpredictable results

The government’s overhaul of GCSEs in England could see exam results varying more than normal for several years, the exams regulator Ofqual warns.

< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-22448963 >

I agree entirely that the current system allows schools to ‘play the system’
and any way of stopping this should be encouraged. I also believe that some weight should be given to English Language and Maths instead of them being lost in ‘the best eight’.
However, the whole system remains FLAWED. It needs to be simplified so that there is only one exam per subject at compulsory level without multiple boards setting exams. There also needs to be more focus on vocational qualifications for the less academically able. We are still stuck in a results driven culture; top grades mean top students, low grades mean lowly students. The focus should be teaching the right stuff not the grades!
I am pleased that the modular system is being phased out and that extending questions are coming back into the frame. A ‘test’ should be testing; only then can you differentiate between students. Not everybody can excel – many have talents that are beyond the academic. They should not be seen as failing if results are poor they just need to be steered in a different direction.
It will be interesting to see these changes unfold, but they go nowhere near far enough.