Does your child need a Tutor?
I was recently invited to write an article for The Nursery and School Guide Magazine (Glasgow and Edinburgh) on how parents should find a suitable tutor for their child in English and/or Maths. As a former Deputy Head Teacher with 40 years of teaching experience, I hope parents will find this article helpful in making their decision.
Milestones in Early Years
All parents would like their children to be the best they can be. When our children are toddlers, there are ‘milestones’ in child development at every age. These ‘milestones’ can reassure parents that all is well or trigger warning signs that there may be a problem, in which case they may seek out specialist assessment for reassurance.
Every child is unique and will grow at their own pace. Many children who do not reach ‘milestones’ in certain areas will eventually catch up and go on to flourish. However these ‘milestones’ in early child development are a useful tool for parents to follow as it identifies easily their children’s progress and gives parents the tools to react to their children’s needs.
Milestones in School?
When a child reaches school age there aren’t clearly defined ‘milestones’ and we have to rely on parents’ evenings and our intuition as parents to discover how our children are performing.
So how do you you know when your child isn’t performing as well as they could? Obviously Parents Evenings will give you an idea but this only happens twice in an academic year. In Scotland, we used to have national assessments in English and maths every year and this was a good indication of how quickly our children were reaching each level. However, since the introduction of Curriculum for Excellence in 2010, assessments will now only be taken at the end of Primary 4 and Primary 7.
How do parents gauge therefore what level their children are performing in reading, spelling English, writing and maths? You may be told that your child is coping well ‘at his/her level’ in class, but what level is that? Is your child doing well in English or maths in the lower group in class but others in the class are months ahead? Are you content with that or would like to see your child move up a group or even two?
Reasons you may wish to consider a tutor.
Primary School Children
Use your intuition as a parent.
- Does your child struggle with homework and make a fuss about it?
- Is your child anxious before a test?
- Does your child complain that they are not as clever as other children in class?
- Is your child shy and lack confidence
- Is your child bored and not being stretched to reach their full potential?
- Do you think that your child should be performing better?
Secondary School Children
Talk to your child. At this age, they should be able to tell you about how they are coping at school. Are they struggling with a particular subject? Do they feel that they are falling behind and need lessons to catch up? Do they know how to study for exams and know the techniques involved passing exams? This has to be started earlier rather than later. There is no point in hiring a tutor a month before an exam.
If you are trying to gain entry to a school and your child will sit an entrance exam, it is important to engage a tutor well in advance to prepare.
What to do Next
Once you have decided you want to consider employing a tutor, how do you decide what option is best? You can ask other parents and the school for recommendations. You can search in the phone book and on the internet under tutoring. You have the option of hiring a private tutor who may come to your house (or your child goes to theirs) or your child can attend a tutoring Centre like Kip McGrath Education Centres. So how do you know which option is best for your child?
A Private tutor may be an option where your child is shy or easily distracted and you feel that learning in the home would suit the child on a one to one basis. If you employ a private tutor these are some tips to follow:
- Recommendations from school or other parents are good
- Check credentials and qualifications – Is the tutor fully qualified and a member of the General Teaching Council?
- Ask to see their enhanced Disclosure Certificate. Make sure your child is in safe hands
- Do you like and trust the tutor?
- Is your tutor a good teacher? Like teaching, tutoring is a professional skill. It is not resources that will help your child. It is the way a qualified teacher uses these to help your child.
- Have they fully assessed your child’s ability and understand the key areas where tuition is needed? (An assessment should be free and take at least 30 minutes) It is not enough to take a school report to assess a child’s ability. What assessment tools is the tutor using to prepare an appropriate lesson plan?
- Does your child feel comfortable with the tutor?
- What resources will the tutor use?
- Ask for regular feedback from the tutor and child.
Tuition at Learning Centres
Why choose a Centre as opposed to private tuition?
- In a centre, children gain a sense of purpose from children around them
- The tutor does not hover over them but allows some independent work whilst at the same time being there for support.
- Students more quickly become independent learners if shown what to do and then to be given space to do it on their own.
- Learning Centres have valuable teaching resources readily at hand.
- Students feel less isolated and provide motivation for each other in a group situation
Kip McGrath Education Centres throughout the UK are owned and run by fully qualified teachers, members of the General Teaching Council and must hold full, enhanced disclosures. It is always important to check that the tutors are qualified teachers.
About Kip McGrath Education centres
Kip McGrath has a 36 year history and an international reputation as a trusted and innovative deliverer of quality supplementary education.
Kip McGrath Education Centres provide tutorial assistance in reading, spelling, comprehension, English and maths, to students who are having difficulty with their school work or just want to do better. This is done in a positive learning environment through the use of proven teaching methods and programmes and is delivered by qualified and experienced teachers.
The tutoring programmes are designed to give students the motivation to succeed. Progress is at the students’ own pace so they are never overwhelmed. Students try when they attend because achievement is there for them all. This achievement is not only rewarding but it is fun.
From the moment students walk into a Kip McGrath centre there are clear messages given to them; ‘this is a place where I can learn and this is a place where it is fun to learn.’
The unique Kip Maths and English programmes help students overcome learning obstacles by giving them a much needed boost of confidence. We provide a caring environment that makes learning fund again. The Kip Expert Programmes are designed to challenge young minds in a supportive environment that gets the very best from them in a fun and stimulating way.
In Scotland, Kip McGrath offer tuition in the following subjects:
- Intermediate/Standard Grade English and Maths
- Higher English and Maths
Why choose Kip McGrath Education Centres Scotland?
Margaret Carmichael, a former Principal Teacher at Paisley Grammar, introduced Kip McGrath Education Centres to Scotland in 1999. Connect with Margaret Carmichael, Kip McGrath on LinkedIn. There are now 28 centres in Scotland. Every centre is owned and run by fully qualified teachers who share my love of teaching and rejoice in the dramatic results of our students by using the Kip McGrath method of teaching combined with the Scottish Curriculum.
Following a detailed assessment (free and without obligation), results will be discussed in full with the parent. If there appears to be an issue with English and/or maths, and you wish to enrol your child with Kip McGrath, our teachers will prepare an individual programme of learning designed to concentrate on areas of weakness. Students attend the centres each week for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The classes are split into 20 minute sessions which will include individual teaching, written and computer work. Kip McGrath Tutors will provide regular feedback on your child’s progress.
To arrange a FREE educational assessment with your local Kip McGrath centre, use the postcode search tool on the main website at www.kipmcgrath.co.uk The main website will also provide you with full details of the Kip McGrath maths and English Tutoring Programmes, including parent testimonials. Alternatively, click on the centre link on the right hand side of our blog to go straight to your local centre.
Margaret Carmichael, Scottish Kip McGrath Master since 1999
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