Jamie Calder Sailing Winner

RYA UK Youth National Sailing Championships 2014 in Portugal – Jamie Calder

British Youth Sailing Team 2014 Announced for RYA Youth National Championships

Jamie Calder SailingWe are delighted to congratulate one of our dedicated  Kip McGrath students on his fantastic achievement in qualifying as one of the 12 young sailors who will be competing for Great Britain at the 2014 RYA Youth National Championships in Portugal in July.

Jamie Calder (15) from Edinburgh won his place after five days of events in Weymouth competing against 300 of the best under 19 sailors in the UK. Jamie dominated the Laser Radial class, showing composure beyond his years and posting the most consistent series scores throughout the weeklong event.

Jamie took the lead after a long day’s racing on Wednesday and never relinquished it, extending his point gap over sailors 2 years his senior. The final day of racing saw no races able to be completed and allowed Jamie to be crowned Youth National Champion, the first Scot to take the title since Charlotte Dobson did back in 2004.

Jamie Meets HRH Princess Royal

Jamie Calder Sailing Winner

Jamie Calder meets Princess Anne

In addition to extending his lead at the top of the leaderboard, Jamie also had the pleasure of meeting HRH Princess Royal.

“It was pretty good to meet HRH. It is not something you do every day to meet a Princess. She seemed on good form, I hope she enjoyed her day as much as I did. I think it is great to have her here. Sailing isn’t a very high profile sport in comparison to Rugby or Football so it is great to have her down her to see what we do.”
“I have had to fight really hard for this place and I want to prove to everyone that I have earned it and I want to do as well as possible. I’m going to do it for myself obviously, but also my parents who have put a lot of time and money into my sailing and the rest of my family and my coaches who have helped me so much.”

Achieving a Gold Medal plus an Education.

Jamie is dedicated to sailing and his dream is to ultimately win a Gold medal at the Olympics

As I am training or competing during my time away from school. one of the challenges I face is keeping up with my school work.  Going to Kip McGrath really helps me with this.  My ultimate goal is to win a gold medal at the Olympics but I need a good education too.  I am a competitive person and want to do equally well in my studies and my sailing.  Kip McGrath are helping me to achieve this.”  Jamie

Pip Watt, Centre Director of Kip McGrath Barnton, Currie and Livingston says:

“Jamie is an exceptional young man,  He has been attending our centre in Currie for many years now and is always both cheerful and motivated.  His dedication to both his schoolwork and his sailing is admirable.  I am delighted he has made it this far in this competition.  We wish him the very best of luck”.

Other Newslinks Relating to Jamie Calder and the British Youth Sailing Team

www.rya.org.uk/newsevents/news/Pages/BritishYouthSailingTeamconfirmedfortheISAFYouthWorlds2014.aspx

www.ryascotland.org.uk/news/Pages/JamieCalderisYouthNationalChampion.aspx

www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/175726/RYA-Youth-National-Championships-day-4

www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/175732/RYA-Youth-National-Championships-overall

Tuition for dyslexic children in scotland

Dyslexia Support and Advice for Parents in the UK

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a term many of us have heard and we associate it with people who struggle with reading and writing or confuse b and d but few people know much about this neurological condition which affects 10-15% of the UK population.

Dyslexia, sometimes termed word blindness, has been documented for over 100 years.  The first recorded case of dyslexia appeared in the British medical journal in 1896.  W. Pringle Morgan, described the case of 14-year-old, Percy F, who could not read and wrote his name as Precy, but he could multiply 749 by 887 quickly and correctly.

famous dyslexics Albert EinsteinThere have been many famous dyslexics such as Richard Branson, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney and Agatha Christie to name a few.

Dyslexics tend to be very creative and often Entrepreneurial.

The British Dyslexic Association defines dyslexia as:

“Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills. It is likely to be present at birth and to be lifelong in its effects. It is characterised by difficulties with phonological processing, rapid naming, working memory, processing speed, and the automatic development of skills that may not match up to an individual’s other cognitive abilities”.

In a modern world, where reading, writing and maths are given high status and employment opportunities depend on mastery of these skills parents can become worried when their child is not achieving in line with their peer group.

What should parents look out for?

  • Delayed speech
  • Difficulties in converting speech sounds (phonemes) into written text (graphemes), resulting in their reading and writing being below that expected for their IQ.
  • Confusion over the letters b and d after the age of 8
  • Difficulty in recalling times tables or sequences such as days of the week and months of the year.
  • Poor organisational skills
  • difficulty copying text which is increased when copying from a board
  • Slow reading speed
  • Poor sight words
  • Adding in/missing out letters when reading or spelling
  • Guessing words
  • Reversal of words when reading or spelling (on/no, was/saw)
  • Difficulty mastering new skills
  • Difficulty transferring thoughts to paper

This is not an exhaustive list but good signs to watch out for.

Research into Dyslexia

There has been much research into the causes of dyslexia and this is still ongoing. It is believed that dyslexia is caused by an hereditary gene (although this is not always the case). A dyslexic’s brain works differently to a non-dyslexics and there is less activity in the language areas of the brain during reading and writing.

If you are concerned about your child what can you do?

1) Talk to your child’s class teacher, Special Educational Needs Teacher (SENCO)
2) Request a dyslexia screening test, especially if there is a family history of these difficulties
3) Follow a systematic multi-sensory programme such as Alpha to Omega or Toe by toe
4) Find a qualified specialist to assist

Teaching Methods

A dyslexic student will need a multi-sensory approach to learning reading and spelling. This will need to be very structured in filling in the phonic gaps.

Multi-sensory
Seeing, hearing, saying, writing, feeling/ making. The student will need to engage as many senses as possible in order to stimulate the language areas of the brain.

Handwriting
It is beneficial for the dyslexic to join their handwriting as this helps them to remember the word shape.

Using the sense of touch

The use of sandpaper letters with a blindfold (removing the sense of sight heightens the sense of touch), play dough, sand, drawing in the air/ on the child’s back will increase the number of senses a child uses, stimulating the language areas of the brain.

How Can We help at Kip McGrath?

Kip McGrath Education CentresKip McGrath has over 40 years experience of helping children across the globe do better at school.  The very core of the Kip McGrath programme uses a systematic multi-sensory approach to learning (seeing, hearing, saying and writing).  This approach has been proven to be most effective for dyslexic students.

The Kip software was also designed on a blue background.  Dyslexic students often struggle to read on white.  Many such students read better with a coloured overlay or coloured lenses. Testing to see if this will help your child can be carried out at an optometrist. At home on the computer try changing the background colour or font colour. Writing on coloured paper can also help.  Kip McGrath developed some new programmes in 2008 which develop visual and auditory memory and these are  also valuable to the dyslexic student.

If your child has been diagnosed as dyslexic, you may wish to consider extra tuition.  Talk to your local Kip Centre teacher to see if they can help.  Many centres have teachers experienced in Special Needs Education.  To find a centre near you, please click on the links below:

Find a Kip McGrath Centre in Scotland >>

Find a Kip McGrath Centre in England, Wales or Ireland >>

What else can I try?laws_mindmap

Magnetic letters for creating words
Mind mapping by Tony Buzan
Recap and Review work frequently
Subtitles on the TV, audio books

A Neuro-Science Solution

Introducing Cellfield

For some children a more intense solution is needed.  When the traditional approach fails and a student hits a brick wall a more drastic solution is required.  As dyslexics under use certain parts of their brain and overuse others (compared to a non-dyslexic reader).

Tuition for dyslexic children in scotland

it may be necessary to use neuro-science research (which shows that the brain can change itself) to treat the underlying cause. Cellfield is an innovative, proven, sustainable treatment for dyslexia and is available in the UK.  Cellfield takes a multi-disciplinary approach, building on neuro-science research to stimulate the auditory and visual parts of the brain and make the messaging between these areas more precise.

Cellfield UKCellfield achieves remarkable gains, on average a child will make 2 years on phonics and 1 year on comprehension after only 2 weeks treatment.  These gains are sustained and increased over 6 months.  Cellfield has assisted with reading accuracy, reading fluency, spelling, memory and maths skills as well as an increase in self esteem.

For more information visit www.cellfielduk.com

clare powellThis blog article was written for us by Clare Powell who is the Centre Director at Kip McGrath Scunthorpe and also Cellfield Reading Matters South Yorkshire.   Clare  holds a Bachelor of Education degree and is an experienced School teacher who has worked with students at Primary, Secondary, GCSE, A level and Degree level and has seen these students make considerable progress.

 

Kip McGrath Scotland – How Learning is Changing with Technology

Insight – The Future has arrived at Kip McGrath

Thank you to Sally and Simon Fisher for the above blog article.  Insight is starting to be rolled out to our centres in Scotland and the students absolutely love it. Good teaching by qualified and motivated teachers is what Kip McGrath is all about but in this era, children expect state of the art technology too to make learning fun and this is what Insight promises to deliver. Thanks to years of planning and investment and dare I say ‘insight’, Kip McGrath centres have the technology to keep up with the fast paced changes that no doubt will keep coming without impacting on the existing teaching methods by qualified teachers we currently offer.

kipmcgrathashford

by Sally Fisher

If you remember when;

ATARI was a state of the art video game system.

Mark from Eastenders was Tucker Jenkins.

And Frank was saying ‘GGGGGGGO!!!!’ on Runaround

The kids on “Why Don’t You” looked old… and cool…

K-Tel was a major force in music.

Wham Bars, Spangles, Pacers and Banjos were playground currency

David Hasselhoff  wore clothes and talked to his car.

‘Charlie said’ don’t do it – and you didn’t

Then you’ll also remember this: the good old BBC Acorn computer from your school days. I still recall waiting patiently for my spreadsheet to be printed out by the dot matrix printer – remember that funny thin paper?  And don’t forget about the floppy disc!

The classroom of today looks dramatically different.  The classroom of 2012 is almost unrecognisable.  The blackboard/whiteboard has been firmly replaced with the interactive whiteboard which gives teachers the opportunity to cater…

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The Best Start in Life – ITV1 Tonight Show Exposes Pressures On Children and Private Tuition in UK 2012

Tonight Show – ITV1 8th November 2012 – The Best Start in Life

http://www.itv.com/news/2012-11-08/the-best-start-in-life/

I just watched the ITV1 Tonight’s programme about education, the booming tuition industry and whether too much pressure was put on young children to achieve academic success.

I have to say, as a mother of three children, a grandmother, an ex deputy school teacher and reponsible for Kip McGrath Education Centres in Scotland since 1999, I wasn’t exactly surprised at the content of the programme in general.  I introduced Kip McGrath Education Centres to Scotland in 1999 and we now have 26 centres throughout Scotland providing maths and English tuition to children from age 5 to 18 right up to Higher Secondary Level.  We also have over 200 centres throughout the UK in England, Ireland and Wales and I have been chatting to them this evening about the programme.

The programme was right in that the tuition industry is booming throughout the UK.  Scotland was not really focussed on in the programme but certainly here we are experiencing higher than ever demands for tuition from parents.  That includes children from Primary 1 to 6th Year Secondary.  .England, Ireland and Wales Kip McGrath Centres are also achieving unprecedented enquiries for assessments for children from year 1.

Kip McGrath Education Centres

I was slightly annoyed that a national tuition centre was featured in the programme who are not in the main qualified teachers.  Many of their centre owners are not qualified teachers and employ “instructors” to tutor children in English and maths with repetitive worksheets and computer exercises which some children who have turned to Kip have reported as being very repetitive.  Whilst this method can help some children, at Kip McGrath Education Centres, as qualified teachers, we teach children to re-learn areas of weakness or gaps in learning that may have occurred.

Kip McGrath Tuition Centres UK

I felt it important having watched this programme to emphasise the difference in Kip McGrath tuition as opposed to other national tuition centres and private tuition.  I felt personally that the Tonight Show, focussed on extreme cases and neglected the bigger picture.  A 2/3 year old has no need of tuition.  Some parents do wish to give their children a greater start in education and enrol their children at an early age.  Most children engage a tutor from year 2 onwards when certain difficulties are identified.  At Kip McGrath Education Centres, every one of our 200 centres in the UK is owned and run by a qualified teacher.  Every centre employs Maths and English tutors but they must be qualified and experienced teachers and be experienced in teaching.  THIS IS NOT THE CASE WITH OUR COMPETITORS!

Our Reaction to the ITV1 Best Start in Life Programme

Many of my fellow Kip McGrath Teachers throughout the UK have contacted me who have watched the show and this is some of the comments they would like to make:

Kip McGrath Lisburn Tuition Centre

One of the reasons that Kip McGrath  after school tuition franchise has become so successful with teachers (there are now over 200 centres open in the UK and Irleand) and what sets it apart from other companies offering similar services to parents is the fact that all Kip McGrath franchisees have to be qualified and experienced teachers. Martin Rimmer who runs the Lisburn centre along side his wife Clare explains. “The philosophy of the Kip McGrath founders, “any child can learn if they are taught properly” really resonated with us when we first starting looking into starting our own tuition business. All the centres are run and owned by local teachers and their teaching skills and years of experience prior to owning the business mean that the service parents can expect is tailored specifically to every child’s needs.  Excellent teaching is what the Kip McGrath method of tutoring is based upon and the Kip McGrath resources along side the support of having a franchisee network with a huge pool of experience mean  that the tuition provided is of the highest quality.

Kip McGrath Dumfries Tuition Centre

Only a few children were featured in the ITV1 programme – all being very intensively taught (I would say probably at the expense of their emotional and social welfare). Kip McGrath  tutors are trained to teach each child at their own level and certainly not to demand several hours of study at home each evening.

The program completely neglected the Scottish education system. There was also an absence of children who had slipped behind for any reason and needed the help for which Kip McGrath was originally designed.
“As any parent will tell you; their world is their child and their child means the world to them.  As such they deserve the best that they can give them.

http://www.itv.com/news/2012-11-08/the-best-start-in-life/

If you haven’t already watched ‘Tonight’s ITV News’ then take a look.  They are featuring some of the extremes of tutoring.  I would say that some of the points raised are valid – we will have to be able to compete with China and the Far East in the not too distant future as this is where the huge economic growth is taking place. 

However, tutoring can be used very successfully, without the pressure, and used to develop skills and confidence for many aspects of a child’s life – not just their ability to pass a test.  I would argue that attending Kip makes them a more rounded and happy individual, learning skills that will allow them to overcome any obstacle put in their way, regardless of how big or small that obstacle is or becomes.

All too often kids who are quiet get left behind because teachers are too busy dealing with those students who don’t want to learn.  This is an all too frequent reality in most state schools up and down the country.”

Kip McGrath Bexleyheath Tuition centre

Tutoring can be used very successfully, without the pressure, and used to develop skills and confidence for many aspects of a child’s life- not just their ability to pass a test.

Contact Your Local UK Kip McGrath Centre to Arrange a Free Assement

With 26 Kip McGrath Centres and over 200 throughout the UK, if you are considering private tuition for your child, then contact us to arrange a FREE EDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT and talk to a fully qualified teacher in confidence.  Visit our website at www.kipmcgrath.co.uk to find your local centre now.

Technology of the Future in the Classroom – Glimpse into the Future

Thanks to our Dunfermline Centre for sharing the above blog. What a fascinating insight into the future of technology.

Dunfermline Tuition at Kip McGrath Education

Technology in the Classroom

The advancement in technology within schools is incredible!  Whiteboards and ipads are becoming commonplace with ICT an important subject in the classroom.  Many children are coming home and showing their parents how to navigate a computer!

A Tablet and a Pencil!

I was watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie the other day (which was a favourite TV programme of mine from my childhood) with my children and they were very confused at what a writing tablet was for.  They were very amused to see the classroom environment from those days and astonished at the basic materials children had.

My youngest asked me “Dad, did you have to use a writing tablet when you were at school in the olden days?”  Needless to say I found this highly amusing.

Nevertheless, it made me think about the advancements in technology in schools even…

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English Education v Scottish Education? Which is Better?

Michael Gove

The English and Scottish Education systems are completely different and certainly in recent weeks, Michael Gove, The Education Secretary has come under attack.  There are many articles such as this “Michael Gove has made a cruel mess of exam grades”.  The English education system does seem to be in a bit of a turmoil but is the Scottish education system really much better? 

Less publicised but still causing headaches for many Scottish schools is the introduction of new National 4 & 5 exams introduced as part of the new Curriculum For Excellence and only time will tell if this transition runs smoothly in the next few years.

Why Scotland’s approach to publicly funded education works

I came across this interesting article online by Melissa Benn of the Guardian and I wanted to share.  I would be interested to hear your point of view.

Guardian Article in Full

Last week, a British education minister spoke eloquently of the necessity of a highly qualified teaching profession, free university learning and the vital importance of public education as a “societal, not just an individual, good”.

Michael Russell

No, Michael Gove has not had a radical change of heart over the summer break. The minister in question was Michael Russell, cabinet secretary for education in the SNP government. He and I were sharing a platform at a packed session at this year’s Edinburgh book festival on “the value of education”, with many cogent and passionate contributions from leading academics and educationalists.

The most immediate thing to strike a visitor from Planet Gove is how very different the atmosphere and assumptions are on this subject north of the border. With its proud tradition of the “democratic intellect”, long history of compulsory education and world-renowned universities, the Scots seem genuinely to value their school system.

Here one finds very little teacher-bashing and scant reference to market solutions to social problems. At the Edinburgh event, the overriding concern was how to improve access by poorer students to higher and further learning and keep universities free, despite considerable pressure from an unholy alliance of English newspapers and Scottish conservatives. There is a heartening and robust belief in publicly funded, publicly accountable high-quality education.

Is this perhaps the very reason we in England hear so little about Scotland‘s education system, bar some envious carping at its avoidance of tuition fees? While every fashionable free-schooler or educational conservative has rushed to bash underfunded Wales as proof of comprehensive failure, or bemoaned attempts in Northern Ireland to eliminate its outmoded selective system, there is little discussion of the evident strengths of the Scottish comprehensive system.

In fact, Scotland has deliberately rejected what Russell accurately labels the Germ (Global Education Reform Movement) approach so beloved of the coalition, with its commitment to privatisation, competition and deregulation.

He is rightly scathing of the “three initiatives before breakfast” policy-hyperactivity of the current English government. At the Edinburgh session he declared himself “stunned” at recently announced English plans to allow unqualified teachers into classrooms. Rigorous teacher training is at the heart of the Scottish approach, and there are plans, modelled upon the Finnish example, to require every teacher to possess a master’s in addition to a first degree.

Scotland publishes no official league tables, although individual schools obviously release their results. (Even Wales now publishes the results of secondary schools grouped into one of five bands.) The Scottish government is moving towards greater school self-evaluation and has, over the past decade, slowly rolled out a progressive “curriculum for excellence”, in stark contrast to our own government’s speedily devised, overly prescriptive and increasingly contested programmes for learning.

And it seems to be working. Results for Scottish highers, a formal examination taken between 16 and 19, have slowly climbed over the years and are up again in 2012, with no serious claims of grade inflation. From this year, pilot schemes will be rolled out, with the ultimate aim of each child learning two languages in addition to their own. And only last year, the Royal Society praised the high numbers of Scottish students – 49.7% – who study science to the higher levels, and suggested that the rest of the UK should emulate Scotland in this regard.

Denominational schooling is still a huge issue and while some indicators suggest that Scotland is better at educating its poorer students than we are in England, it remains, like all parts of the UK, dogged by an unacceptable attainment gap based on social class.

Acknowledging this, Russell points to “some spectacularly good practice” on improving the performance of low-income students in Glasgow’s toughest schools. It is an approach, says Russell, consistent with Scotland’s belief in “collaboration rather than competition”. He adds succinctly: “We do not believe that poverty is destiny. But Kipp (a reference to the US Charter model) would not work for us.”

Not perfect but improving: that seemed to be the general, modest consensus up in Edinburgh. Indeed, it may be that modesty and consensus-seeking are the hallmarks of Scotland’s approach, in marked contrast to the “quick fix”, grandstanding approach of Germ guerillas everywhere who deliberately seek to undermine public trust and confidence in the role of the state.

Scotland offers another model, celebrating both the possibilities of good government and education as a public good. As a result, it could well nudge ahead of busy old England in the years to come

Tuition in Ayr – Kip McGrath Tuition Centre Celebrates Relaunch with Grand Opening

Kip McGrath Ayr Education Centre Grand Opening 31st August 2012

We are delighted to announce that Elizabeth McKay is the new owner of the Kip McGrath Tuition Centre in Ayr.  To celebrate the re-launch of this fantastic centre at 21 Wellington Square, an Official Opening Event will be held on Friday 31st August 2012 from 7.00pm until 9.00 pm with wine nibbles and a bit of fun.  All are welcome to come along and enjoy the festivities.

Our special guest of honour is Lorna Dempsey who has just been voted Scotland’s Role Model of the Year 2012 by No.1 Magazine.  Lorna is the founder of the biggest and most talked about events in Ayrshire, Butterfly Events.  Lorna has been organising her events voluntary in aid of Cancer Research UK since 2007, raising £194,000 and more importantly cancer awareness through thousands of people.

She also works full time and volunteers for her local Scout and Girls Group in her village of Dalmellington.  We are proud to support Lorna.  You can find out more about Lorna’s fundraising at http://www.butterfly-events.org/about/ and take part in future fun events to raise even more money for Cancer Research UK.

Open Day on 8th September

For those who cannot attend the grand opening, we are also holding an Open Day on Saturday 8th September from 2.00pm until 4.00pm.  This gives parents an ideal opportunity to visit our teachers, view the centre and our fabulous resources and speak to our teachers.

About Kip McGrath Education Centre Ayr

The Kip McGrath Centre in Ayr is run by Liz McKay who is a fully qualified Maths Teacher and has been teaching in local schools since 1981.  Sometimes children need a little extra tuition in English or Maths to achieve their full academic potential.  I love to teach but was finding in the classroom that I was unable to spend enough time with every student in the way I knew would make a difference.  This opportunity at Kip McGrath is fantastic for me because I can devote one to one time with every student and really make a difference very quickly to my students’ education.

I am a Maths Teacher to Higher Grade but I also employ fully qualified teachers to tutor our students in English and Computing up to secondary level.  All teachers are highly experienced in the local school curriculum and Kip McGrath have provided us with fantastic teaching resources to assist teaching including our exclusive new online programme called Insight which the students love.

Contact Us

If you would like to find out more, please call Liz McKay on 01292 260101 or visit our website to find out more.  The Centre is based at 21 Wellington Square, Ayr, KA7 1EZ.

Tuition in Edinburgh – Fantastic Scottish Exam Results at Kip McGrath Edinburgh Central Tuition Centre

Scottish Exam Results 2012

It has been a record breaking year for Scottish exam results according to this article by the BBC.  At our 28 Kip McGrath centres in Scotland, we are also receiving texts and calls from excited students who have received the passes that they have been working so hard for in the past year.  Congratulations everyone!  There are so many fantastic success stories, we can’t possibly share them all so this week we have asked Indleeb Walayat (Indy) of Kip McGrath Edinburgh Central to be a guest blogger and share her and her students’ stories below:

Spotlight on Edinburgh Central Kip McGrath Tuition Centre

Kip McGrath Education Centres has been established in Edinburgh  for many years and we have many centres providing first class tuition in English and Maths throughout Edinburgh.

I am Indy Walayat and I became Centre Director of the Kip McGrath Edinburgh Central Tuition Centre  in January 2009 and since then the centre has grown from strength to strength.  I am a fully qualified teacher and have been teaching since 1991 and have taught from age 3 to adults. Within my employment history, I  have worked as a primary teacher, nursery teacher, Acting Principal Teacher,  teach maths to advanced Higher level and also embarked upon the chartered teacher programme.

I also employ highly qualified and exerienced teachers to tutor our English students.  Most teachers are currently teaching in local schools so have up to date knowledge of the school curriculum.

Summer School 2012

At our very successful summer school we have run sessions throughout the summer. Students from age 4 to adult have attended. Most students have attended to get a head start for the new school term and beat the summer brain drain.

Gallery of Some of our Students

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Our Successes in 2011/2012

Our students have worked incredibly hard this term and we have had record breaking numbers of children attending our centre for extra tuition in English and Maths from primary 1 to advanced Higher level.  These are a few of our proudest moments:

  • Children gaining entry to private school of choice including some gaining 100% scholarship.
  • Students with additional needs such as  autism, dyslexia and dyscalculia making fantastic progress.
  • Students coming to the centre with limited reading now being able to read, spell and write sentences.
  • One student in S2 arriving 2 1/2 years ago with the mathematical ability of a child in P2 now able to enter Intermediate 2 maths exam later this year .
  • ‘H’ who joined Kip McGrath in August last year who has advanced from being at the bottom of the class in P4 with the mathematical ability of a P1 student to now being the average.  Her school reported that ‘H’ had made more progress than any child in the school.
  • Our pre-schoolers enjoying the multisensory approach, working through early reading and writing skills and making a head start to school.
  • Children who initially were unwilling are now writing pages.
  • Children who are new to English well prepared and supported with key skills such as speaking, listening, reading comprehension and vocabulary development.

Record Scottish Exam Results 2012

This has been a fantastic year for our exam students with many students attaining 1’s and A’s in their exams this session including ‘B’. who started attending Kip McGrath to support with Int 2 maths for which she achieved an A and now also achieving A in Higher maths.  Below are a selection of text messages I have received from successful students:
  • Beth got B pass and is delighted as it has been her big worry this year. It was her lowest mark but she thought she had failed and could only Appeal with C from prelim. Now for Advanced Highers and bigger worries. She says ‘Hello and Many Thanks’.
  • Hi thank you, delighted I got a 1 thanks for your help. Megan.
  • Ellie got an a A in Maths.  Thank you for all your effort and hard work.
  • Thanks Indy. Anna was very pleased & relieved to get a B for her English Higher (plus 4 As! In other subjects!). Thanks for your help. Christine.
  • Rebecca did very well and got an A for English. Thanks for your help, Alison.
  • Hi Indy just to say thanks to you and Jim. Victoria got 7 x 1 passes and 1 x 2  pass in her exams.  The 2 pass was for Modern Studies and with your help and Jims she got a 1 for English so so pleased. Thanks, Avril.

Maths and English Tuition at Kip McGrath Edinburgh Central

If you would like to arrange a free educational assessment or find out more about our English and maths tuition at Kip McGrath Edinburgh Central, please call Indy on 0131 610 6110 or click here to visit main website. The Centre is located at 1 Huntly Street, Inverleith, Edinburgh EH3 5HB and covers the areas of Morningside, Comely Bank, Stockbridge, Blackhall, Trinity, Abbeyhill, Willowbrae, Craigleith, Sciennes, Morningside, Marchmont, Bruntsfield, Leith, Comely Bank, Meadowbank & Inverleith.

Alternative Kip McGrath Centres in Edinburgh and the East

We also have highly successful Kip McGrath centres throughout Edinburgh and East and West Lothian.  Please click on the link below to find your local centre:

Edinburgh West – Opening Autumn 2012

SQA Exam Results 2012 – What To Do If You Fail Exams Or Don’t Achieve The Pass You Expected

SQA Exam Results are Announced on 7th August 2012!

There are only a few days to go until the 2012 Scottish Exam Results are received by students in Scotland.  Waiting for important exam results like these are extremely nerve-racking for students and parents alike.  As a teacher of so many exam students, I am also waiting to hear results with a lot of expectations as I know my students were ready and capable of a great pass.

SQA Exam Results Day 2012

Exam results will be arriving by mail on Tuesday, 7th August 2012 for Scottish exam students.  For those who have chosen the option, many students will be receiving their results by an online method.  I remember when my daughter’s exam results came through in the post many years ago and she had just gone abroad on holiday.  I had to wait for over a week until she returned and opened her results!  I was desperate to open the envelope but I managed to control myself and wait patiently.  It was so worth it to see my daughter’s face  when she realised that she had passed in all of her subjects and her hard work had paid off!

What do I do if Exam Results are Not What I expected?

We hope that every student receives the exam result they were wanting but, if for some reason that does not happen, what can parents do to help their children keep their goals on track?

Scottish Exams Appeal

If you have not received the grade that your prelim and course work has expected you to, you can appeal.  Contact your school immediately.  This is advice posted from the official SQA website on who is eligible to appeal and what meets the criteria for appeal:

Before exams take  place, your school or college sends us an estimate grade (the grade they think  you will achieve). To be eligible for an appeal, you need to have achieved an exam grade that is lower than the one your school or college estimated for you. You must also meet these conditions:

  • Your estimate grade needs to be higher than a 7 (for Standard grades) or higher than a D (for Intermediates, Highers  and Advanced Highers)
  • You must have completed all parts of Course that are externally assessed. External assessments are marked by specialists hired by SQA, whereas internal assessments are marked by your own teachers/lecturers.
  • Your school/college needs to send us convincing evidence (eg a prelim) that demonstrates that you previously managed to achieve a better grade than the one you got in the real exam. The evidence must reach us by the closing date.

I have a College/University Place but I didn’t achieve expected exam results.

If you did not achieve the exam results you needed to gain a place at College or University, please try not to panic. There is a course of appeal that you can take and the phone number and email address for Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) are available at http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/32810.html.  Please talk to your lecturers and contact them for advice on how to proceed.

Another Chance?

At the end of the day, if you do not achieve the results you expected, there are other options available to you.  If you are in 4th or 5th year then speak to your Guidance Teacher and teachers.  Could you benefit from some extra tuition to help you prepare in studying techniques?  If you have not achieved  your goals this time then perhaps there is a reason for this.  Speak to your teachers and talk about your future.  How can they help you achieve your dreams?

There is always another option.  Many students take a year out to travel.  Many students are mature students who return to education in later life.  Failing or scoring poorly on an exam is something that most of us do at some point in our lives.  It is important not to dwell on this.  These things happen!.  The important thing is to decide that this is not going to happen again – I am going to make a plan and talk to my teachers, school, college, parents and this time next year I will be back on track!

Olympic Champions of the Future – How London Olympics 2012 is Inspiring Children

London Olympics 2012 – Day Five

I am thoroughly enjoying watching the Olympics and today delighted in the two Gold medals won by the Great Britain team in womens’ rowing by Heather Stanning and Helen Glover and also of course Bradley Wiggin’s success in the mens’ cycling time trial.  Well done team GB!

Children and the Olympics

There has been so much excitement and chat amongst my students about the Olympic Games and it is great to see children being involved and so inspired.  These Olympic Games have always championed the “athletes of the future” and this was demonstrated at the opening ceremony when seven bright stars of the future were chosen to light the Olympic Torch at the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.  After all the hype on social media networking sites, how inspirational was it to choose unknown youngsters for this important role rather than a well known star?  I thought this was fantastic! I already posted my thoughts on the opening ceremony here.

What makes a Future Olympic Champion?

I have been on granny duty this week to George and Katie (both primary age students) and wondered how on earth I was going to keep them entertained.  We have had a few visits to the park and cinema but I have also had to work.  I needn’t have worried, my grandson George is obsessed with the Olympics and is following all sports avidly waving his Great Britain flag.  He is trying to decide before he returns to school what sport he will specialise in and become a future Olympic Champion!

Katie, who is a little younger, is decidedly not interested in the Olympics at all and is growing up very quickly.  Feeling very guilty today at the amount of work I had to do, I asked them “would you like Granny to take you to the park?”  George replied “no Granny, I want to see the cycling” and Katie replied “no granny, I want to find out what happens in my book!”

My heart is full!  I have a future Olympian and a future J K Rowling in the making!  Whether they achieve that or not I will make sure that they have all the encouragement and praise they deserve on their future achievements.

An Olympic Education by Danny Boyle at London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony

The Games Have Begun!

At last the London Olympic games have started and we can begin to enjoy the events.  There has been so much build up and excitement to the games and the whole of the UK has been involved it seems.  I for one, and many of my students, had a wonderful day when the Olympic torch was carried through my town centre!

I was surprised that Danny Boyle had been chosen to direct the opening ceremony.  He is a wonderful director of many great films though not an obvious or safe choice!  However, the ceremony was spectacular, very British with a twist and thoroughly entertaining.

Highlighting the history of Great Britain using fantastic props, and a very well selected catalogue of British music was inspired.  The volunteers did an amazing job and must have rehearsed for hours – how did they keep that a secret?  The industrial revolution segment was amazing.

Very funny and totally surprising moments included Mr Bean playing with the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra in a rendition of “Chariots of Fire” and James Bond escorting the Queen to the games, parachute and all!

It was marvellous to see the National Health Service and Great Ormond Street Hospital getting some recognition and I had no idea when watching that the dancers/actors were actually mostly NHS employees who had been sworn to secrecy.

Education

I was then absolutely delighted to see the tribute to British literature, especially childrens’ books being highlighted.  Watching visual images of Mary Poppins and Harry Potter and listening to J K Rowling reading a passage from J M Barrie’s Peter Pan was wonderful.  Children’s literacy and education is an area that I am passionate about and I applaud Danny Boyle for including this in the show.  I am very proud to be British but can I just mention that J M Barrie and J K Rowling are also Scottish?

An Interview with Danny Boyle

The day after the ceremony I obviously read a lot of articles about the success of the Opening Ceremony but I also stumbled upon this interview with Danny Boyle explaining his vision.  Read full article here.

Speaking before the spectacular began, 55-year-old Danny told how he set the  scene with an impression of England’s green and pleasant land.

He said: “It is something which is deeply embedded in our consciousness. We  represent it in a kind of lovely, quirky way.

“Then it becomes part of a much bigger sequence with the transformation into  the industrial revolution.

“It is begun by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who represents the genius engineering  that is present in our country”.

He then goes on to talk about all of the segments in the show.

My Favourite Quote from Danny Boyle

“We wanted to show the delight and importance of reading and writing. If you can read and write, you are free — or you can fight for your freedom”.

I love this!  Thank you Danny Boyle for directing such a wonderful show and highlighting childrens’ literature and what Great Britain is all about!  You have won many Oscars and I am sure you will win many more accolades for the London Olympics 2012 Opening Ceremony.

Now I have to work out how to watch all my favourite events!

What Did you Think?

Did you watch the London 2012 Opening Ceremony?  What did you think of the show?  Do you think Danny will get a knighthood for this?  Could we be referring to him as Sir Danny soon?  According to this article by a tabloid paper bookies are slashing the odds.  Please feel free to leave a comment.

Summer Fun Activities for Children in Falkirk – Come to our KipCamp 2012!

What’s on in Falkirk for Kids in July and August 2012

Details of the Summer Camp at Kip McGrath Falkirk have been announced.  Running over 5 weeks in July and August, each week is a different theme of fun learning activities designed to  keep brains active, to enhance memory, concentration and communication skills but most of all to have fun.

Parents can enrol their children for one week or all five depending on their interests.  The themes include Suvival Skills, Music & Theatre, Water Sports,  Archaeology, Adventure Planet and Treasure Trail.  To find out more, please contact Janice Rough on 01324 682 077.  To find out more about English and Maths Tuition classes outwith the Summer months, please visit the Falkirk website at www.kipmcgrath.co.uk/Falkirk.


Summer School Tuition in Ayr 2013 – Get Ready For School

Kip McGrath Ayr Summer School 2013

Once again a number of parents have requested that tuition is continued during the summer break.  We understand that you want to keep your child’s English and maths skills fresh, so we are delighted to run a summer school at our Tutoring Centre in Ayr.  Classes will last for 80 minutes and will focus on reinforcing key skills as well as fun learning activities.  These activities will be tailored to your child’s needs.

We will also be offering a “kick-start” programme into  CfE, National, Intermediate and Higher English and Maths over the summer.

Getting Ready for School

Most children just love the summer holidays but sometimes seven weeks is just too long for children to neglect their studies, especially if a child is moving up to an important year at school or has been falling behind in class.  The parents of our existing students have requested that we open during the summer but classes are open to new students also on a first come first served basis.  As qualified teachers in maths and English, we are able to advise parents at what level their child is working and highlight areas of weakness or any gaps in learning that may prevent children from moving on.  We can also reassure parents if children are working well and on course for their age.

Ayr Summer School 2013

Lesson Times

Our Summer School will run for 6 weeks on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9th July until 14th August 2013.  You can choose to enrol your child for one or two sessions for just one week or for the while six weeks – it is your choice.  The session times available are:

Session One:     10.00am – 11.20pm

Session Two:     11.40 am – 1.00pm

Session Three:   2.00pm – 3.20 pm

Contact Us

If you would like to reserve a place, find out more or talk to our teachers, please call 01292 260101.  Please also visit our website at www.kipmcgrath.co.uk/Ayr or join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KipMcGrathAyrTutors

We also run classes in normal term time after school and these will recommence on Monday 19th August 2012.  Please see our website for more information.

Goldilocks and The Three Polar Bears – An Illustrated Essay by Finlay Currid (aged 8)

Finlay Currid is aged 8, in Primary 3 and attends the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Falkirk for help with this Reading and Writing.  His teacher, Janice Rough, is so proud of the hard work and excellent progress Finlay has been making she wanted to share his latest exercise with the whole world.  We have to admit we are pretty impressed with Finlay’s story about Goldilocks the Mermaid in the Arctic Circle.  Well done Finlay!!

Please click on the first box below to read the story in full screen!

To contact the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Falkirk, you can contact Janice Rough on  01324 682077 or visit the website at www.kipmcgrath.co.uk/Falkirk.

How to Study for and Pass Secondary School Exams – Top Five tips for Students and Parents

Exams in 5 Weeks – is it too late?

The countdown has begun to the 2012 Scottish Secondary Exams which commence on Wednesday 25th April.  This is a time when students and parents alike start to worry and panic can set in if the child does not feel they are fully prepared.  If this is the case, then now is the time to take action.  The student probably knows more about the curriculum than they think but perhaps the actual exam process itself is causing worry.  Students may be re-reading subject notes but their study technique is not effective.  Do they feel they have too many subjects and not enough time to prepare?  Are they stressed, anxious or distracted?

Although teenagers often do not want interference from their parents, if there are concerns perhaps it is time to sit down and ask if you can help but only in a way that does not cause additional pressure.  Offer practical advice and support.  Perhaps you can offer to mark past papers under exam situations?  If you have a busy, loud household try to ensure that study time is quiet and without distraction.  Encourage your child and praise their efforts – a teenager will not learn any more if they are under pressure from parents and sulking.  Encourage them to do the best they possibly can and as long as they put in the effort, you will be proud of them.

5 Weeks to Go to Exams- The countdown has begun!

Time is tight and students should have already been preparing but here are our top tips to help students get on track and be as prepared as they can be:

1.    Find out the dates for each exam and note them in either a computerised or written diary

2.    Create a timetable for studying.  Work around extra curricular activities and choose a maximum of two hourly slots to dedicate to studying a particular subject when distractions are at a minimum

  • Do not study for more than 2-3 hours at a time and ensure you take regular snack breaks
  • Follow the timetable religiously and make sure your family also knows your timetable and you are not to be disturbed
  • Turn off mobile phones and other distractions like loud music

3.    Be organised – prepare proper notes.  In class, students will probably by now be revisiting the Curriculum. It is important to take proper notes in class:

  • Highlight any points when the teacher says “this is important”!
  • Highlight any areas you feel you have a weakness or don’t fully understand – When home make sure you read about this and fill in the blanks
  • If your notes are messy and incomplete, when you get home, rewrite them as bullet points in your own words (don’t just copy) and do some further research online or from books to gain as much information as possible.

4.     Past Papers

  • Obtain past exam papers for the last 5 years and sit one now but ensure you are uninterrupted and that timescale is adhered to.  Do not refer to notes and cheat.  Have someone mark your score realistically using the score guidelines
  • If there are questions that you do not perform well in, make sure you concentrate on these areas for next study practice and learn it.
  • Try another test paper and repeat the same
  • Practice makes perfect – Study the results and try to notice a pattern of what examiners are looking for.
  • Getting used to what examiners are looking for in each subject will help you

5.   The Week of Exams

  • Exams may take place over the course of a few weeks – Once you have sat an exam do not dwell upon it and move on to the next.  If you think you have failed or done badly, there is nothing you can now do but prepare for the next.  Most students think they have done badly but can sometimes be very pleasantly surprised
  • Ensure you eat well and get plenty of sleep – there’s no point in worrying now – you can only do your best
  • Do not listen to stories from fellow students.  It does not matter how they perform – only how you do.  They do not know how prepared you are and deep down they will be as uptight as you, even if they choose not to show it.

After the Exams

After the exams, take some time out for yourself and enjoy the summer.  Results will come and for now there is nothing you can do so relax.  When the big day comes, if you have received the results you wanted then a huge congratulations is deserved.  If your results are disappointing then it is not the end of the world.  You have time and options to get there.  Next year you should be more prepared.  My colleague has written a very good blog on this subject on how to deal with disappointing exam results. and we will follow up on this soon with our own tips.

Kip McGrath English and Maths Tutors – Why Choose Kip McGrath Education Centres?

Is a Tutor Qualified & Regulated to teach children?

This may seem such a simple and logical question but you may be very surprised to know that the tuition business is unregulated and that anyone can advertise their services as a tutor.  Many tutors offering their services call themselves “instructors” and this applies to both private tutors as well as multi-national tutoring centres.  The majority of these “instructors” are not qualified teachers.  Many do not have the qualifications or skills to prepare lesson plans and actually teach your children.  If they are not a qualified teacher, how can they possibly assess your child properly and work with the teaching curriculum? Many international tutoring centres offer repetitive worksheets which parents mark.  This may be fine for some students who need help with their times tables but for most children who are falling behind, this just isn’t enough.

Is a tutor qualified?

In addition to being unqualified, private tutors can also set up a tutoring business without undergoing an enhanced disclosure check or declaring their income for tax purposes. You would not entrust your child with an unregulated childminder or without taking references out  so why should tutoring be any different?

How can you make the right choice when choosing a tutor for your child?

Here is a check list to help you make the right decision as originally posted by my Kip McGrath colleague in Lisburn.

  • Is the person a member of the General Teaching Council of Scotland?  Ask to see their certificate of registration as this is also proof that they have been properly police checked.
  • Can they conduct an assessment to allow them to gauge exactly where your child’s strengths and weaknesses lie?  This is essential to ensure that the tuition is targeted at the correct level to enable the tutor to bring your child up to a level that is appropriate in their class or for a test.  All children are different and come to tuition with different levels of ability and therefore the starting point is never the same.
  • What feedback will the tutor provide me?  One of the benefits of having your child tutored should be that unlike school you receive detailed feedback after each lesson.  This allows you to discuss their progress and any areas that your child is struggling in.
  • What resources will the tutor be providing?  Make sure the resources that are being used are up to date and appropriate for the curriculum that your child is following.  Will the tutor be able to cater for the specific learning needs of your child – a wide range of resources should be available including professionally designed worksheets, modern textbooks, computer software and multi sensory learning aids.  If you are having your child tutored for a test ask about the types of past papers being used and the other materials used to reinforce this.
  • Where will the tuition take place?  Will the tuition take place in your house/their house – in which case you will have to make sure that the area chosen is quiet and without distractions.  Or will the tuition be provided in a professionally equipped tuition centre?
  • Is the tutor paying their taxes?  Ask no questions and I’ll tell you no lies is not always the best policy!  It is easy to turn a blind eye and say this doesn’t matter, however please bear in mind that tax is paid by you and I so that money is available to spend on public services used by everyone and that this year the government is having a crack down on tutors that do not pay their taxes.

At our Kip McGrath Education Centres in Scotland we provide parents with peace of mind.  Our tutors are:

  • Fully qualified and registered with the General Teaching Council of Scotland.
  • We provide a FREE assessment that enables us to identify any strengths and weaknesses and develop a programme of study designed to target these areas and bring your child up to a level that allows them to be comfortable in their class or to achieve their academic goals.  Assessment is ongoing and embedded in every single lesson.
  • We provide detailed feedback after each lesson.
  • Our centre is professionally equipped with a wide range of resources including professionally designed worksheets, modern textbooks, computer software, multi sensory learning aids, a wide range of past papers and appropriate stationary.
  • Tuition is provided in a professionally equipped centre where every care has been taken to create an atmosphere conducive to learning.
  • We are professional tutors and that means that as well as being fully qualified, highly experienced and well equipped, we also pay our taxes.

Finding a Kip McGrath Centre in Scotland

To find a local Scottish Kip Centre, either click here, choose from the list of centres on the right or use our postcode finder.  To read more about the programmes in English and Maths we offer, please click here.

Scottish Children’s Book Awards – Children Choose the Best Scottish Books

The winners of the Scottish Children’s Book awards 2011 were announced yesterday in Edinburgh in a hall packed full of Scottish Children.   I watched the highlights on STV News (click to watch video) and how I wished I could have been there to see so many children take delight in their love of reading!

What is even more wonderful is that all of the books nominated were read and voted for by 23,000 children in Scotland,which is up by 42% on last year. Let’s hope that number will increase again for next year’s vote and inspire many children to develop a true love of reading!

The winners were:

Bookbug Readers (Category 0-7)

Dear Vampa by Ross Collins is a beautifully illustrated book about a family of vampires.  The little boy vampire writes to his Grandpa and is amazed at the strange new family who have moved next door.  They are very different! They even stay out all day in the sunshine.  Perhaps he shouldn’t have passed judgement too quickly because they may not actually be as different as he thinks.  Definitely a book for the older kids in this category.

Young Readers (Category 8-11)

Zac and the Dream Pirates by Ross Mackenzie -Everybody dreams. That’s the problem. Good dreams are sweet. Bad dreams are scary. But what happens when the worst sort of nightmares take over? Zac Wonder is about to find out. On the stroke of midnight, he follows his mysterious grandmother into the worst blizzard for fifty years, and winds up discovering an extraordinary world on the other side of sleep. Is he still dreaming? Has he gone nuts? Or is he really meant to save us all from the devious dream pirates who threaten to hijack our dreams…and turn our lives into a waking nightmare?

Older Reader Catgeory (12 – 16)

Jack worships luck and decides his actions by the flip of a coin. No risk is too great if the coin demands it. Luck brings him Jess, a beautiful singer who will change his life. But Jack’s luck is running out, and soon the stakes are high. As chance and choice unravel, the risks of Jack’s game become terrifyingly clear. An evening of heady recklessness, and suddenly a life hangs in the balance, decided by the toss of a coin. In the end, it is the reader who must choose whether to spin that coin and determine: life or death.

Congratulations to the winners.  To read the nominees and further details, please click on the main Scottish Book Trust Website.

My Opinion

As a teacher, parent and grandparent, I have always tried to encourage book reading from an early age.  It is so important for our children’s education and to develop good literacy skills.  I feel so disheartened when a child comes to Kip McGrath who is struggling at school with English, particularly in basic reading and writing and I discover that they do not read any books at home. There was an article recently which I blogged about that according to the National Literacy Trust  4 million children in the UK don’t own a book and I posted a few book ideas for reluctant readers.

Having said that, I am so encouraged by yesterday’s Scottish Book Awards announcement and love the fact that so many Scottish children read and were discussing characters in the books with each other.  What a great incentive and I hope this is rolled out to many more children in our schools this year.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous if instead of swapping Moshi Monster cards at play break, children could be swapping books!!

Tips for Parents of Reluctant Readers

No matter how clever a child is, parents and teachers must encourage children to read for the fun and love of it.  If your child is reluctant to pick up a book what can parents do?

  • Try focusing on what interests they have and not what you think they should be reading
  • Do they watch particular television shows or films?  Many shows also have a series of books or annuals.
  • Let children read what interests them.
  • Arrange a visit to the local library and let them pick a book that interests them on any subject at all.  Let them make the choice (as long as it is age appropriate)
  • Ask your child to write a very short book report or even to choose a time when your child can tell you about the story giving your undivided attention.
  • Ask questions and be positive! Give lots of praise and attention.
  • Why don’t you choose a child appropriate book to read also and do the same?  Make it a regular fun event.
  • Let your children see that you also love to read
  • Buy book tokens for gifts

Is your child struggling with reading?

If you think that your child is not just a reluctant reader but is falling behind at school and perhaps struggling with reading and English, then perhaps there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.  At Kip McGrath Education Centres, our qualified teachers will assess your child’s abilities in a free educational consultation and will advise you of any weaknesses.  This may just give you peace of mind but if there is a problem, we will create an individual learning programme that your child will follow in conjunction with the school curriculum to help them catch up.

To find a local Kip McGrath Tutoring Centre in Scotland, use our postcode finder tool to find your local centre.

10 Tips to Help your Child Become an Independent Learner

10 Tips to help your child become an Independent Learner written by Angela Giglio of Kip McGrath Musselburgh in East Lothian, Scotland. This is a fantastic article for parents on how to encourage their children to become independent learners. Excellent advice for parents.

Kip McGrath Musselburgh blog

 

I’m up early this morning planning for my sessions down at Kip McGrath Education Centres in Musselburgh. Thursday is a busy day for us and I’m very much looking forward to tutoring English, French and Maths to all our wonderful Primary and Secondary students. Can’t wait to see 8-year-old Becky beat her times tables record again. She’s become so confident with the table she’s been practising that she’s even beating the Secondary kids! Way to go Becky!

 Independence in Scotland

The news in the background that Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting Edinburgh today to discuss the issue of Scottish Independence, has reminded me that I need to get back to one of my parents with a few tips on how to help her little boy become  more independent with his homework. As a former Head of Department, transforming children into independent learners was always high on the…

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Why teach handwriting in the digital age?

To read the full article click on the Link above to Kip Lisburn’s original article – this is our response.  As kindles replace books, as ipads replace jotters in schools and our children learn to “text speak” on their mobile phones, I worry about the future of childrens’ literacy, grammar and handwriting. However the digital age should be embraced by teachers (it’s not going away). I wonder if in 10 years time teaching children the art of hand writing an actual letter may be part of the curriculum? I hope so.

Struggling Pupils don’t catch up according to Department of Education

In a report published by the Department of Education in England, just one in 15 (6.5%) pupils starting secondary school in England “behind” for their age goes on to get five good GCSEs including English and maths, official data shows.  Read more details of the report as reported on bbc.co.uk here.

Obviously this report applies to the English education system.  Scotland has a completely different curriculum.  However the statement that “struggling pupils don’t catch up” is not only true for England. It applies anywhere.

The number of children our qualified teachers at Kip McGrath assess who are struggling with basic literacy and numeracy skills is a concern, especially in those pupils making the transition from Primary seven to S1.

This is one of the main reasons students come to Kip McGrath (or any tutor for that matter).

At what level is your child really performing academically?

Early intervention with a structured consistent approach is necessary.  Reading problems must be tackled early since it affects maths and how the wider curriculum is embraced.

Parents must ask teachers specific questions to establish exactly how their child is performing within the class.  I hear many parents mentioning a common phrase used by teachers at parents’ night “your child is performing well at his/her level” without actually revealing which level the child is on compared to his/her classmates.  If your child is coping well but is in the bottom group for maths or English, is this acceptable to you? How can you help your child move to be “performing well” in the top group?

Is your Child Actually being Assessed?

Under the old 5-14 assessment guidelines, every student was assessed regularly and parents could see from certificates which level their child had reached and from the guidelines assess if their child was on target for their age group.  As part of Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland, this is no longer the case and I wonder if this is why we at Kip McGrath are receiving many more calls from concerned parents requesting an educational assessment by our qualified teachers.

Expectations and Aspiration

Another issue is expectation. If teachers set low expectations for children this will become a self fulfilling prophecy.  Some students have been discouraged to sit exams at certain levels as the teacher believed they would struggle.  Many parents refuse to accept this and enrol the services of a tutor.  At Kip McGrath we have heard many variations of this. This was a comment from a very happy father at our Kip Edinburgh South Centre in 2011.
OMG.  Graham got a credit 2 and Craig got an A! Thanks,thanks,thanks!  I can’t begin to tell you what you have done for my sons who both hated English.  Craig was told he was going to fail Higher English by the school and thanks to you he got an A!  Graham got a Credit 2 and now English is his favourite subject.  I have no qualms about recommending your services to the school.”
To read more examples of these testimonials please click here.

How can Parents Help Children?

Our children deserve the best education possible and in Scotland many of our schools and teachers are performing exceptionally well with excellent student exam results. Sadly, this is not always the case and many students are ‘slipping through the cracks’. Longer working hours for teachers and large class sizes contribute. Some teachers are exceptional and can motivate struggling students whilst others struggle. I would urge parents who have concerns that their child is under-performing to talk to the teacher and discuss options that you can put in place to help your child reach their full academic potential.  Don’t settle for “performing well at his/her level”. It is not too late to help your child get back on track and aspire to achieving the best education they can.

10 Questions to ask at Parents’ Evening

My colleague at Kip McGrath Luton has published a blog entitled “10 questions to ask at parents’ evening” and we would like to list the questions we feel parents should be asking of teachers:
  1. Is my child happy at school?  This means on an emotional and social basis.
  2. What is my child’s attitude to learning?
  3. Can he/she make friends easily?
  4. Does he/she contribute to class discussions?
  5. What does my child enjoy doing? Does my child prefer practical subjects (eg P.E, art, Design Tech), sciences (eg maths, science, geography) or humanities (history, English)?
  6. What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
  7. How can I help at home?
  8. Is he/she at the right/expected level for his/her age group? Don’t accept “performing at his/her level”.  Ask which group he/she is in and how you can help your child reach the top group.   If you are worried about your child having learning difficulties then bring this up as well.  If your child is getting extra support at school then ask for details so that you know exactly what is being done to help your child.
  9. For older children ask about any outstanding work and when school exams are.
  10.  How much homework should my child be getting?

What Next?

If after having talked to the school you remain unsatisfied, you may wish to consider extra tuition for your child.  At Kip McGrath, our fully qualified teachers will provide a full FREE educational assessment and will advise you exactly how your child is performing.  If you wish to enrol your child, an individual learning programme will be created to concentrate on specific areas of weakness. To read our full learning programmes and further information please visit our main website at www.kipmcgrath.co.uk.

You may also wish to consider other tutoring agencies or a private tutor.  These options are discussed in our article “Does your child need an English or Maths Tutor?” and may help you make the right choice for your child.

Author

Margaret Carmichael is a former Deputy Head Teacher of Paisley Grammar and Master Franchisee of Kip McGrath Education Centres Scotland since 1999 and has over 40 years teaching experience in Scotland.