English and Maths Tuition East Kilbride -Preparing for the Transition to Secondary School

Special 10 Week Tuition Programme Week Commencing 15 April 2013

Our Kip McGrath Tuition Centre in East Kilbride is offering a special 10 week tuition programme for Primary 7 students to help prepare for the move to S1.  This course will cover aspects of English, Maths and intelligence development and is designed to help students refresh areas of the curriculum that will stand them in good stead when starting First Year.

Each 80 minute lesson per week will be taught by qualified teachers in a small group although students will follow their own individual learning plan and receive one to one tuition.

The ten week programme starts week commencing 15 April 2013 and various session times are available from 3.30 pm on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  A number of students have already registered and places will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

Why Primary 7 Students Attend our Tuition Programme

Kip McGrath Maths and English TuitionIt is a worrying time for many children making the move from primary school to a new secondary school and there are often many emotional issues to contend with.  Please read our previous article on how parents can help their children prepare for this big transition.  However being prepared academically for the start of First Year and realising that they are on a par with new classmates from other feeder schools can really boost confidence and give children the best start to future learning.

Special Offer

The current cost of an 80 minute lesson at East Kilbride is £27.50 and therefore £275 for the 10 week programme.  However, this course will be reduced to £250 and is available as a Facebook and online offer.  To claim this discounted price, please quote the code EK10 at time of booking.  This discount is only applicable to students attending this 10 week course.

Contact Us

Please contact Margaret Carmichael on 01355 266566 or email margaret.carmichael@ntlworld.com to book a space or to discuss any concerns about your child’s education.  Of course, we still offer tuition to all children in English and/or Maths from Primary 1 to Higher Grade level.


Greenock Tuition in English and Maths Covering Kilmacolm, Inverkip, Gourock and Inverclyde

New Kip McGrath Tuition Centre Opens in Greenock 2012

The latest Kip McGrath Education Centre has opened in Greenock in November 2012.  Based in the Ladyburn Business Centre at Pottery Street, Greenock PA15 2UH, the Kip McGrath Tuition Centre of excellence for education is now open to help youngsters get to the top of the class in reading, writing and numeracy skills.

Former James Watt College lecturer Richard Harrison and his wife Heidi have brought the highly regarded Kip McGrath tuition programme to the area in 2012.

Richard and Heidi Harrison

From their Greenock base they will give Inverclyde children the opportunity to be the very best by offering first class tuition by qualified teachers to help them maximise their full potential in English and Maths.  The Centre offers tuition for children from Primary One through to Secondary and SQA exam level.

A huge advocate of the Kip McGrath methods, Richard believes that the international scheme can help give youngsters in Inverclyde an even better start in life.

A qualified teacher with many years’ teaching experience,  Richard said: “I have spent the last ten years as a lecturer and before that as a high school teacher. I know how beneficial and important it is for young people to reach a high standard in their literacy and numeracy skills.  This is a great opportunity for them to develop the extra skills they need while working in a friendly and relaxed group environment.”

History of Kip McGrath Education Centres

International tuition provider Kip McGrath, first started in Australia in 1977, caters for youngsters of all ages, levels and abilities delivered by qualified teachers.

Richard added: “It is so important from a very young age that children have sound English and Maths skills. This is an ideal environment to strengthen these essential skills.”

How We Teach at Kip McGrath Greenock Tuition Centre

On the first visit children are given a free educational assessment.  From this, our teachers can target specific areas of weakness and create an individual learning programme for each child. No two children follow the same programme as it is based on their individual needs.

The education centre aims to help children in a way that builds confidence and self esteem.

A mixture of unique resources keeps children engrossed in learning by offering courses in reading and comprehension, writing and spelling as well as English and Maths.  We are delighted to be one of the first centres in Scotland (currently 26 in Scotland) to offer the Kip McGrath Insight online programme which the children love and helps to make learning fun.  However, this is only used as a tool to help children complete tasks and learn in a fun and motivating way and never replaces individual teaching.

Each student attends the centre for an 80 minute lesson per week which includes individual teaching and written and computer exercises to reinforce the subject being learned.

Homework at Kip McGrath Education Centres

Goals will be set and a little homework provided which we encourage students to complete on their own without parental help.  Homework is not a test and results ensure that we as teachers can clearly identify areas that still need work.  Parents marking and helping children with homework, although common practice with school homework, does not help us in clearly marking a child’s progress and understanding of a subject.

The Scottish Curriculum and Re-learning the Basics

As qualified teachers, we understand the Scottish curriculum and can easily identify current working levels of children who are falling behind in school and what is required to bring every child up to the level required to excel in school.  Sometimes children fall behind because they have failed to grasp the fundamentals of a specific lesson and this makes it difficult to progress.  Sometimes gaps in learning have formed and at Kip McGrath, we can highlight these gaps and re-teach the lessons, enabling a child to fully understand and catch up.  Some children have to go back to basics before they can move on but once learned, it is surprising how quickly children can catch up with a little extra tuition.

Contact Kip McGrath Greenock Tuition Centre

Your child is in good hands at Kip McGrath and after the initial call, we will arrange to assess your child’s academic abilities which is currently FREE of charge.  Students are made to feel very welcome and our bright, modern tuition centre and fantastic exclusive resources make learning fun in a safe, relaxing but stimulating environment.

Arrange a FREE Educational Assessment

If you have concerns about your child’s education and wish to talk to a qualified teacher in confidence, you can call Richard Harrison on 01475 745600 or mobile 0794 645 5886.  Alternatively please visit the main Greenock website for more information or click here to arrange an assessment online.

GB Olympic Champion Sailor of the Future? Jamie Calder on his way to Fulfil His Olympic Gold Medal Dreams

Jamie Calder – A Remarkable Young Boy with a Bright Future

One of our students who attends the Kip McGrath Centre in Balerno, Edinburgh South has achieved fantastic success in sailing and we would like to showcase his fantastic recent achievements.  Jamie Calder (13) is well on his way to achieving his dream of becoming an Olympic Gold medalist but also realises that his academic achievements are very important and attends the centre for help in English due to his hectic training schedule.

On 11 September 2012, Jamie travelled to Oxford Sailing Club along with another 40 under sixteen competitors for the first of the UKLA GUL Ladder event of the 2012/13 series. He came first!  Jamie has just moved from the Optimist class into the Laser 4.7, which is the same boat used at the Olympics but with a smaller sail. Jamie travelled to Farmoor reservoir in Oxford for his first Laser 4.7 Ladder event, which was also the first selection weekend for the GBR Laser 4.7 Squad. View an article on the results of this day here.

Jamie’s proud dad, Iain Calder, has agreed to be our guest blogger this week and tell us all about Jamie.

Jamie’s Story

As our family have always sailed Jamie has been in and around boats all his life.  He started racing an Optimist dingy at eight years old. The Optimist is the biggest, worldwide, junior class for children under sixteen. More Olympic sailors started their racing in Optimists than in any other class.

At nine Jamie qualified for the Scottish Optimist Squad and a year later he qualified for the Optimist GBR Squad, which is the top thirty sailors in the UK. Over the last four years Jamie has represented GBR at International regattas in Holland, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore and Dominican Republic. Each year the top five sailors from fifty countries are selected to compete at the World Championships. In 2011 Jamie became the fourth Scottish sailor ever to qualify for the World Championships and the youngest at the age of twelve. This year he was the first Scottish sailor to qualify for the Worlds twice.

Jamie’s best results to date are 3rd at the Belgian National Championships, 8th at Kiel German Championships, 9th at Brassemermeer Regatta, Holland, 1st at UK End of Season Championships, 3rd UK National Championships and 30th at Pre World Championships.

The Royal Yachting Association, which is sailing’s governing body, have a structured pathway of classes to identify talented athletes and support them to become future Olympic athletes. Jamie is part of this program with the Optimist class being the start of the pathway.

Jamie Calder

Although Jamie is still only thirteen he has decided to move to the next pathway class as he is getting a little big for the Optimist. He has decided to stick with a single handed class rather than opting to join someone else in a double hander. The class Jamie is now sailing is the Laser 4.7. The boat is an Olympic class although the junior sailors use a smaller mast and sail, with the view to move up first to the radial rig at youth level (under 19) and then the full rig Olympic class.

Having been part of the GBR Squad for the last few years Jamie was keen to continue at this level in his next class. We therefore travelled down to the first GBR Squad qualifying event at Farmoor Reservoir, Oxford last weekend.  Having not raced the Laser he was very much looking forward to the challenges a new class brings. Unfortunately due to a lack of wind there was no racing on the Saturday but a good breeze on Sunday allowed three races to be completed. Jamie finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the races which meant he won the event overall. The second and final Squad qualifier takes place at the end of September at Rutland Water, a reservoir one hundred miles north of London. After this event the Royal Yachting Association will select the top twelve sailors to train together at various venues around the country, including the Olympic 2012 venue at Weymouth.

Winning at Oxford has given Jamie a great start in his new class and he is very much looking forward to the training and competition ahead to try and achieve his ultimate goal of an Olympic gold medal.

Jamie Calder

Jamie has been very lucky to have received the support of several sponsors in the past to help with the cost of competing at this level and would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank the following:

RYA Scotland, RYA UK, Sports Aid, Ground Developments Ltd, Kitchens International, Pensato Capital, Zhik, IBI Sailing, Olimpic Sails, North Sails, James Miller Trust and Royal Forth Yacht Club.

Iain Calder.

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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Tuition in Dunfermline – How to Help Children Learn Times Tables

This is an excellent article written by our Dunfermline Centre. Click on Read more above to view the whole article.

Dunfermline Tuition at Kip McGrath Education

Why is Learning Times Tables Important?

When a child is learning maths concepts at school, it is very important that a child knows their multiplication times tables as this will help them quickly master maths in the future such as division and algebra.  A child who can recite their times table will find it much easier to complete questions in class and cope with higher levels of maths.

It used to be the practice in schools to learn times tables by rote but this seems to have gone out of fashion.  Parents can help their children at home by encouraging them to practice memorising multiplication tables and try to make this a fun activity with rewards.  This will pay dividends in the future as your child is more likely to be confident and able to grasp new ideas.

As a teacher and dad of three young children, I understand how…

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Dunfermline Tutors in Maths and English

The Kip McGrath Dunfermline Centre is now open at a new location and we would like to wish them the very best of luck in their brand new premises!

Dunfermline Tuition at Kip McGrath Education

Why Parents are Opting for Extra Tuition for Children?

Many children sail through school without any problems and go on to achieve great exam results.  However this is not the case for some children and extra tuition may be required at some point.  The tuition industry in Scotland and the UK is booming and “extra tuition” should no longer hold any so called embarrassment for children and parents.  In fact many children who are tutored are high achievers who want to excel academically.

Does Your Child Need a Tutor?

As parents, trust your instinct.  There are many signs that your child may be struggling or falling behind in class:

  • Do they “hate” school and make excuses not to go?
  • Is homework a struggle for both you and your child?
  • Have they become moody or withdrawn?
  • Are they reluctant to read a book, comic or anything other than the school has…

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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

Summer Fun Activities and Learning at Kip McGrath East Kilbride Education Centre

Summer School at Kip McGrath, East Kilbride Tuition Centre

The last thing children want to do during the Summer holidays is learn and for most children 7 weeks playing in the sun (or rain as may be the case in Scotland) is the best thing for them.  However for some children who have been falling behind in school or moving up into an important exam year, a little bit of learning can be a good thing to keep brains active and be prepared for the new term.

We have therefore decided to offer our students the opportunity to continue lessons during the summer and we have two sessions available every Tuesday from 3rd July to 7th August at 9.30 am and 5.30 pm.  Places are also available for new students who perhaps want to come along and try our Maths and English programmes before the new term starts.  Of course, our summer classes will also include a bit of fun too!

Please contact Margaret Carmichael on 01355 266566 or visit our website at www.kipmcgrath.co.uk/East-Kilbride to find out more about tuition at Kip McGrath.

Kilmarnock Tuition in English and Maths At Kip McGrath – Prepare for a New School Year

Summer Tuition at Kip McGrath Kilmarnock

Once again a number of parents have expressed the wish for us to continue tutoring over the summer break at our Centre in Kilmarnock.

Continuing over the summer has the added advantage of allowing your child to catch up even more on their school work, or it could prevent your child from slipping further behind in their English or Maths.

We will also be offering a “Kick-Start” programme into CfE; Standard Grade, Int 2 and Higher Maths and English over the summer.

Primary: (P2 – P7) Maths and Reading, Spelling, Comprehension, English;

Secondary: (S1 – S6); CfE; Standard Grade (F, G, C): Access 3, Int-1, Int- 2, Higher:

Dates and Times of Lessons

The Centre will be closed from Friday 29th June until Sunday 22nd July for refurbishment.

Lessons will be available on Mondays and Tuesdays from 23rd July until 14th August.  There are various 80 minute slots available from 10.am to 3.30pm.  Please book early as spaces are limited.

Normal after school and weekend sessions resume on Monday 20th August.

If you would like to enrol your child, please contact Frank Park, Centre Director on 01563 535533 or visit out website at www.kipmcgrath.co.uk/Kilmarnock to find out more about our Maths and English tuition.

Paisley English and Maths Tuition at Kip McGrath – Summer 2012

Summer Learning at Kip McGrath Paisley

Do you want to keep your child busy, happy and doing something worthwhile during the long weeks of Summer? We are delighted to say that we are running our popular Summer School once again this year.
We know how much parents wish to keep their children in the learning zone during holiday time. We’re here to help!

Last for 1 hour 30 minutes and are based around key skills of Maths, Language delivered through fun activities. If you have specific areas you wish your child to work on we will happily include these.

Tuesday 4.30-6.00 pm and 6.00-7.30pm

Thursday 9.00-10.30 am and 10.30-12.00am

Your child can attend as many classes as you wish. Why not use our double Thursday classes to help with the problem of childcare? Your child will be safe and happy and ‘in the learning zone’.
Classes commence week beginning 2nd July.

Individual class £25
Double class £45
6 classes £125
6 double classes £240
Cost inludes a snack as well as a small gift for those attending 6 classes. Payment should be paid in advance – this is negotiable.

We are enrolling now
Tel: 07943 803 484  or click on www.kipmcgrath.co.uk/Paisley for more information on our Maths and English Programmes.

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.

SQA English Essay Example – Patience by Michael Ahari S4

2008  SQA English Credit Question 11

Michael Ahari is in S4 and attends Kip McGrath Balerno, Edinburgh South for extra tuition in English.  It is days until exam time and we are hoping for excellent results from Michael.  This essay question took only one hour to complete and has not been edited.  Based on his work so far we have a future writer in our midst!


Patience. For some it comes naturally. They can fiddle around for hours on end attempting to piece together an intricately designed car model. Or, they can soak up all of the juicy information thrown at them when reading through a massive book in order to find a specific minute piece of knowledge. However, for others, like me, it does not. The model car would be dropped halfway through in anger and the thick book brimming with facts would not manage to squeeze even a drop of information into my head, having discarded it within five minutes of picking it up. I was quick minded, keen and simply could not find the time to wait. What can you expect from an eleven year old boy? But, as I had come to realise, it was something I would need to get a firm grasp of. Patience is the most valuable lesson I have ever been taught.

I stared at my computer monitor. An error message: “The file has not printed” popped up in the bottom right corner of the screen. The red alert on the printer flashed on an off, on and off, as it briefly lit up the room before disappearing again. This was the third attempt to print my project. And unsurprisingly, the third occasion I had been told that it hadn’t printed. The printer was on, there was ink in the printer and there was paper in the tray. What more did it want? I grinded my teeth together, slammed my fist furiously on the desk, and sighed. A long, stressed sigh.

What was I going to do? Did the computer want me to fail here? I was growing more and more impatient – tapping my feet on the floor. I whispered “stupid”. And then I repeated it. Louder and louder each time until I was screeching at the top off my voice “stupid stupid stupid”. And now I was standing up, and I moved around the room – pacing up and down. My hands tugged heavily at clumps of hair to the point where my whole head itched and ached. Then I started flapping my arms around like a bird in distress, and groaning a deep aggressive bear like groan. I fell to the floor and slumped against the wall: defeat. The computer has won. I had given up. Forget the project. It was all just stupid anyway.

“Michael” my father called, a tone I was all to familiar with to know what was coming next, “What’s Wrong?” I immediately exclaimed that nothing was wrong, but I could see by the look on his face he knew this is not the case. I looked up at him to see him staring back. I switched back to look at the floor, but I sensed him still waiting for a reply. Maybe he could help. So I told him what was wrong. This was followed by a string of what, at the time, seemed like irrelevant questions that I had already answered before weren’t going to make the slightest difference. As I lay there on the carpet – my father sitting at the computer desk – I answered “Yes”, “No”, “Yes”, “Yes, I’ve already told you” so dismissively I wasn’t even listening to what he was saying. I just wanted the problem fixed. Instantly. As I now know, things cannot always be done straight away…

Fifteen minutes have passed. I am now starting to go over the various possibilities for why my project will not print. It’s tedious I thought at the time – I had already been over them and decided that they were not the reason. The computer fan made a light whizzing sound and the chair my dad was sitting in creaked as the metal moved together. Again, I thought about why. Why? Why? Going over and over and over. Then smack. It was like a slap in the face: my wake up call. I had realised the reason – finally! I sprung into an upright position and proclaimed cheerfully “Yes, I’ve got it”.

Patience. I now understand that although you may not be born with it, you most certainly develop it through experience – even experiences like the one I had when my project would not print. My anger and frustration got the better of me and my whole thought process became irrational. Although my dad told little to me about patience itself, his actions most certainly allowed me to realise that with any issue there is a resolution, you just need to take the time to find out what that may be. When I was calm I sat down, and thought through thoroughly and eventually the problem was able to be solved. It’s the reason I can tackle problems such as intricately designed car models or read through gigantic manuals to obtain information, among the many other that I have to face in daily life.


Maths and English Tutors in East Kilbride – What’s Happening at Kip McGrath Education?

Kip McGrath East Kilbride Tutoring Centre

It’s been a wonderful term at our Tuition Centre in East Kilbride.  With the exception of our Scottish Exam students who are studying for very important exams, our students are currently on holiday for the Spring Break.  We hope all of our students have a lovely break.

Scottish Exams start in just over a week and we would like to wish every student the best of luck.  You have been working hard towards this and we have every confidence that you will receive great pass results!  Be confident!

Last month, we had a professional photographer in our centre at East Kilbride taking photographs for our webpage and they were so good, some photos have made it onto the national website!  Thank you to our students for posing and to Lenny Warren of Warren Media for taking such great photos at such short notice.

We are in the process of adding photos to our webpage but have created a Youtube video in the meantime of some of our students.

To arrange a FREE assessment in confidence, call Margaret Carmichael on 01355 266566 or click here to visit our main website.

Death’s Sick Game – an Essay by Tom Sichel

The azure sky covered the dark, arid landscape. honour, courage, Pride: These were the things that kept him sane through war’s horrors and deaths. Staring deep into a blue eyed man’s eyes, it all seemed too easy. The rifle man sat next to his fellow companion – hidden from sight. Sweat sweltered like scolding water down their red freckled necks. Crows squawked incessantly.

Far away from the rifle man the blue eyed man sat under the large shading tree- the only living thing left after war’s ordeals. The blue eyed man’s gun lay far from reach and unloaded. He was eating a sandwich and starring deeply into the azure sky. He was young; he was naïve- naïve to the fact that the sands of life were running quickly down his hour glass.

Back in the trench, the rifleman took aim with his gun; the blue eyed man was its victim. The two dark barrels leered at its prey’s every movement, eager from the excitement to kill, quivering from the exhilaration and thrill. All the rifleman had to do was slide his strong finger down the trigger; but he was too late. The thundering sound of planes came over head. Angels of death loomed like stars in the sky. No longer could he hide. Death’s batter and ‘bang’ came with little time to respond. Hot like the sun- it became unbearable. Shrapnel fatally impaled his companions’ soft, tender jacket. The rifleman was blessed with only the blow of a stone to his head. Surroundings became blurred, speech became slurred. The rifleman staggered towards a deep abyss made from a detonated bomb. He laid his pounding head against the edges of his safe haven. Vision became a long narrow tunnel …

His heavy lead limbs began to gain normal feeling. His lungs inhaled a frantic breath and eyes quickly gapped in alert to his quiet surroundings. No blue eyed man was in sight. Death had begun to play its sick game. He sat still in the sticky swampy mud of his flooded trench. His hands clumsy from the cold, his feet left with little feeling. The wind penetrated his rough, thin jacket. Rain had made the mud take his shape like a relaxing bed, but the cold was unforgiving and brought stiffness and aches. His gun lowered despondent of no kill.

Slowly turning his head his gaze met with something so startling no war experience could prepare him for. He stared deeply into its dark hollow eyes, the lifeless corpse of his friend was not a sight he could come to terms with. His fist clenched like knives into the palms of his hands. Turning his head away in despair he looked outward to the vast landscape of no man’s land. His hands trembled as the thought of war came flooding through his mind. He daringly began to crawl through no man’s land in search for a safety.

Every manoeuvre came with hesitance. His gun courageously scoured the arid landscape. A set of broken spectacles lay stuck in the mud. He gazed at a reflection; a shattered reflection of his crooked nose and unshaven face – it reminded him of how shattered his spirit had become.

It was not long before death’s smell infested the air nearby. Only this time it was that of the enemy’s. A lifeless deformed figure lay still on the floor. Deep Inside of the rifle man a raging fire burned; His eyes became hot coals from the pit of a fire. He stared piercingly into the hollow eyes. His vision then met the glint of a silver shining necklace. The necklace lay clenched in the dead body’s hand. Bending down to pick up the necklace, the rifleman began to read the writing inscribed.

All of a sudden that deep fiery hatred turned into sickness- Sickness of death’s sick games, Sickness of war’s terrors and pains. Bullets shrieked as they are dispersed onto the watery ground. The necklace had read that of his dearest and closest friend

“Fredrick Smith” Was what it read.

An unbearable sadness tore deep into his soul. Trickles of water dripped of the end of his chin. In remorse he quickly left the hellish place.

Crawling frantically over the banking the sound of a humming man came to his attention. It was that of the blue eyed man. Sitting next to an old barn in a field- the blue eyed man looked naïve just as before. He was humming a lullaby whilst polishing his long shiny gun. The sun pierced the azure sky The Rifle man took aim and reloaded. His hands were trembling, his legs like jelly. All he had to do was slide his strong finger down the trigger; but he could not bring himself to playing deaths sick game. His head slumped and gun fell to the ground. For a moment the shinning sky became a gloom. ‘Bang’ his heart no longer could beat; the enemy’s bullet the victor of deaths sick game.

Written by Tom Sichel, an S4 student who attends Kip McGrath Education Centres Balerno, Edinburgh South and has given us permission to publish this very powerful piece of work.

A Wooden Guitar – An Essay by Michael Ahari

E.Q: Write about a person, place or incident from school which you find unforgettable.

A wooden guitar. It rests on a desk in the opposite corner of the room. Light peeks through gaps in the closed blinds and illuminates the shiny brown surface of the guitar – my eyes drawn to it in a subliminal stare. The walls around me are pink, matching the colour of the chair I sit in now. The soft leather feels like I could be swallowed up in comfort, and relax. But I can’t relax. Not here. In front of the desk and the guitar, in the middle of the room, he sits. A bright blue blob, scanning me from head to toe, like a predator ready to pounce on his prey. And I’m staring back at him, maintaining eye contact. My fingers dig harder and harder into the side of my leg. My nails are teeth, gnawing away at my flesh, eating me up. Then he opens his mouth, as if to gobble me whole, and welcomes me into his office. The lions den. The headmaster’s office.

That room, for seemingly insignificant reasons has remained firmly in my memory. The first of which was colour Pink. Why pink? In such a place where children enter brimming with confidence, cheek and confrontation, and leave a changed person – only a dribble left of their formerly self – should they be met with the comfort and safety of pink walls. And comparing them with the colour of his angered face, they became even more incongruous. Then, he coughed, drawing my eyes back in his direction to finally face my fear. I felt, like with many other fears, like I could not step back. Not attempt. There was nowhere to go. The door was shut. Or was it…A woman walked in.

The squeak of the door and the rush of air as she burst into the room gave me another few seconds of escape – a gasp of air before I would be plunged back in at the deep end. And in those few seconds I noticed, above all, her and wrapped around the door. Her long, slender fingers like a rake complete with the sharp points of her nails as they scratched the paint from it’s surface. Then I counted her fingers. One to five. Of course. How many fingers was I expecting? Four? Six? Perhaps it was to reassure myself that she was human, and her pale complexity coupled with ghostly fingers was all part of the agenda to frighten me. And she disappeared. The door closed with a thud. I could feel the door squealing in pain as it slammed back into place. Silence. He flicked through a bundle of paper, each sheet shaking in his grasp, and his nose twitched uneasily. Ironic that it should be him and not me…

The most unforgettable feature of the room, undoubtedly, was the guitar which caught my glimpse as he held the papers. It just sat there. In the corner. I couldn’t my eyes off it. I must have scanned it nine times, from the top, the tuning pegs, and following the strings journey along the neck, crossing over the sound hole and coming to a halt at the barrier posed by the bridge. And the intricate design of mosaic tiled wood around the sound hole – a pallet of colour covered in a beautiful glazing. Hypnotising. Everything else in the room was insignificant – even the headmaster – as the guitar played it’s melody of enchantment on me. I had completely forgotten my whole reason for being there. Until he spoke: “Hello Michael”. Sound pierced the air and dissipated around the room. It must have reached me last though, as my reaction was somewhat delayed. Then… click. I was back in the room. Sitting in the chair again, surrounded by pink walls, in front of the headmaster. The interview was about to begin.

Today, when I review my ordeal in that room, I realise that in fact, it was much of an ordeal at all. Instead, an experience to savour and enjoy – I was a candidate for head boy after all. Not a daft eleven year old who spent their school days throwing rubbers at people in the class and telling teachers to ‘shut up’. However, it was the minute details that made this place so unforgettable. From the inappropriate pink walls to the inhuman hand around the door to the bewildering guitar in the corner, it was unforgettable. In many ways these details personified my feelings, and even now it amazes me to consider some of the bizarre items that have appealed to me in moments of fear. Now everytime I see a guitar resting on a desk, or a person with slender fingers, or pink walls in a room, I cannot help but think of my headmaster’s office. And who knows, maybe you will too.

This is a personal experience essay written by Michael Ahari who is in S4 and currently attends The Kip McGrath Education Centre in Balerno, Edinburgh South and is busy preparing to sit Standard Grade English.

Notes For My Grandfather – an Essay By Sophie Wright

Digging out an old box overflowing with scraggily yellow pages of books and notes I noticed a fiery red folder cracked and torn with age with the title “Harry Wright’s life in TAB” faintly printed with gold letters. Inside was a familiar E flat music sheet I used for my studies and for my grandfather’s memorial. I scanned the score once again which threw me back to May 21st2011…

Quietly nursing a bottle of bright blue liquid I began to scan the room for any familiar face that I could make conversation with so that I could feel more involved with what was going on. The old wooden tables made the pub feel very cosy and friendly yet I felt more alone than ever. My eyes were constantly being drawn back to the jet black case sitting beside me. The clips were shimmering in the artificial light above screaming at me to open it. I took hold of my necklace which my grandfather gave me and the memories of him started flooding back to me like a crescendo of notes. The memories were so clear it was like it only happened the previous week; visiting him in hospital with my brand new saxophone and watching his eyes light up in admiration as his fingers gently ran down the keys; visiting him at home and playing my old saxophone while he sat and strummed along on his guitar; visiting him after a long holiday and feeling his arms around me tightly gripping me as if he was never going to let me go. Grandparents are always special to each of us – but especially me. My grandfather and I connected greatly because of our love and passion for music. Stu began to climb into an allegro of recognisable music which snapped me back to reality. The memorial. An uncontrollable silent tear slowly crawled down my cheek. I quickly brushed it away hoping that no-one had seen. I wasn’t going to succumb to emotion tonight. Tonight was created for the memory of my grandfather and I was not going to let my emotions get the better of me. My heart started beating faster like an increasing metronome knowing that it was soon my turn to be in the spot light.

I slowly opened my case and I couldn’t help but stare at the glowing instrument gazing up at me. My grandfather’s words echoed in my head…”this is a beauty, the things you could do with this magnificent instrument. Well done Sophie” It was like he was there with me – I could feel his presence in the room which gave me the confidence to set up my saxophone. My clammy hands marked the glowing metal and I could hear the silver ring on my middle finger lightly tapping off the “A” key. I found myself constantly fidgeting with the keys. I took a deep breath and gulped the last of my drink down. Stu looked at me and politely asked if I would like another drink. I shyly nodded my head as I felt a smile grow on my face. He was a very good friend of my grandfather. I felt calm and composed around him – like how I felt around my grandfather. He staggered back and gently placed a shiny new bottle of blue liquid in front of me. I thanked him and took another sip. It was now my turn.

I tightened up the sling around my neck holding the saxophone upright. I clumsily flicked through the music and found a repetitive but popular tune. Stu noticed my hands shaking more violently and began to play the introduction. I took a deep breath and allowed the air to leave my lungs through the mouthpiece and deep into my saxophone. People around me began to cheer and Stu then bellowed out the lyrics as well as plucking the notes from his guitar in time with me. I could feel my fingers shake and my lip quiver. My heart felt like it was about to explode out of my chest. I quickly decided to use ritardando to make the simple tune sound more musically sophisticated, and it worked. Everyone around me was on their feet – I couldn’t believe it. I looked over at Stu as he winked at me smiling while applauding in syncopation with the rest of my ovation. I could feel my face turn from a rose pink shade to a scarlet red in a matter of seconds. I bowed my head so my hair fell around my face and closed my eyes. I finally did it. I had conquered my fear- the worst part was over: the complex work was soon to come.

I took a large gulp of my drink and sat back in my seat and breathed a sigh of relief. This was it, my big moment. The music stopped for a bit while people purchased more drinks and started talking and slowly getting more drunk. The smell of alcohol became sickly which didn’t help the knot in my stomach. I picked up my saxophone holding onto it tightly due to the sweat leaking off my palms. Tightening the strap I could feel the necklace dig into the back of my neck, it reminded me again of my grandfather. I pressed my lips tightly onto the mouthpiece and took in a few deep breaths to compose myself. I placed the old, age-stained score quietly in front of me deliberately not drawing attention to myself. I closed my eyes and took hold of my necklace and whispered under my breath “Granddad, this is for you” The glow of the gold writing shone off the folder as I took a deep breath and began to play quietly increasing my pitch to a comfortable mezzo forte. As the song became more recognisable, I could feel my heartbeat crescendo into a flame of passion. The chorus of the song was blazing towards me and I couldn’t help myself from allowing my saxophone come alive. My lip was quivering uncontrollably which could be heard by all but I kept going, bending the notes making it my own I pictured my grandfather sitting in front of me smiling with his face glowing at me which made me blaze through the music without hesitation. Before I knew it I had reached the end. I finished with a beautiful diminuendo before closing my eyes once more and reaching for the necklace embedded into my neck. The whole room were on their feet. It felt like the heat from my face could melt the ice in everyone’s drink. My heart was beating faster than the tempo of the music and my hands were shaking more noticeably than ever. I breathed a sigh of relief and fell back into the seat. Stu patted me on the shoulder and congratulated me. I couldn’t help but smile…I had done it. I held in a few tears as people all around the room also congratulated me on how well I had performed. I packed away my saxophone and my music, including the old score. Just before sliding it back into the fiery red folder, I quickly glanced at it for a final time and smiled.

Looking back now I realise that I should not be so nervous and scared of what people will think of me. If I knew that back then, I am certain that I would have enjoyed the memorial a lot more. Each time I pull out the score “Baker Street” I am always reminded of that unforgettable night. I can now enjoy playing my saxophone more than before and I can let my grandfather’s memory come alive by my playing. My grandfather will always be in my heart and will always be there to help me to battle through my fears. That saxophone is no longer just a piece of shiny metal; it is a part of my grandfather…and a part of me.

Personal Reflective Writing Piece for SQA Highers by Sophie Wright who attends the Kip McGrath Education Centres in Edinburgh South, Balerno

National Concert Bands Festival – A student’s Experience of Winning Gold

National Concert Bands Festival 2011

This a creative piece of writing by Gregor Moffat who is in Secondary 4 and attended the National Concert Bands Festival Last Year with his school and won Gold.  Gregor attends the Kip McGrath Livingston Education Centre.

NCBF Finals

By Gregor Moffat

With rock’n’roll pounding in our hearts as the last notes were played; the calm before the storm. Then the huge roar of applause washed over us, like a alpha male lion signalling the pride. A wave of relief washed over us as we bowed and calmly walked off the stage. The thoughts in our minds were that we had just done something for the first time and did it tremendously. The National Concert Band Festival’s Final, 2011.

Early Saturday morning, dragging myself out of bed. Reasons being that we were the first to perform in The Royal Academy of Music and Drama for the NCBF Finals. Slugging our way towards our bus,  and grasping the rail as we clambered onto the bus. As I climbed lazily up onto the bus, I heard a symphony of yawns and snores. Some people were up all night either too excited or just getting the final most practice before it was time to retreat to their comfort and cosy beds, ready to face the performance of our lives.

When we arrived , there was a rainbow of uniforms, as this prestigious competition attracts the best from all over the U.K., even such bands closer to home – such as James Young High School – who were competing in the same category as us. It was like The Football World Cup Finals, but this was a competition of only winners and there were no losers at the end of the day. Seeing so many bands got me just a  bit hot under the collar, but kept my cool, holding a poker face.

Now, after passing through the crammed lobby, like the stairwell at Baker Street Station at 8:37 on a Monday morning, we arrived at our rehearsal room. We, percussionist, threw our stick bags and music and rushed off towards the stage to get set up for our performance. There was a ten minute time limit we had to get the percussion gear set up.

We walked out onto the stage, the huge rush of emotions hit me like a freight train, the shaking of my hands and legs, a bit like jelly. Even just standing in the hall there was a large presence I could feel. The adjudicators were sitting in their seats, like kings and queens looking for entertainment from their jesters. Just a quick glance, was like staring down a charging bull. We finally finished setting up. The rest of the band shyly walked out, firstly the brass with big sounds silenced, for now. Then came the tutee fruity woodwind, and finally our conductor, Camille Mason. Suddenly we heard the announcer introduce our band and Miss Mason, so I immediately turned my attention to Miss Mason, waiting for the timing to begin. I started to get tunnel vision, like a red arrow preparing to make the performance of their life. Then we began.

With rock’n’roll pounding in our hearts as the last notes were played, the a calm before the storm. Then the huge roar of applause washed over us, like a alpha male lion signalling the pride. A wave of relief washed over us as we bowed and calmly walked off the stage. The thoughts in our minds were that we had just done something for the first and did it tremendously. We were then herded off to get a band photo. Irritably we had to wait a while to find out the results. The time crawled by tick, tick, ticking away like a metronome. We, percussionists, began drumming on our laps; not on our instruments. Time was stuck in slow motion as some of the band went off to watch other bands, wondering ‘did we do it better’ and ‘wow, they are good’.

Twelve o’clock eventually came around and we all lit up like fireflies in the night. We rushed to the lobby where the awards were to be handed out. We hadn’t been quick enough to get a seat as it was like an ocean of heads bobbing up and down. There was a delay, which kept on getting bigger and  bigger until the time cam and the feeling of relief at the time had came. Suddenly it went quite, like a graveyard at night.

One after another, the awards were handed out, and a roar of cheers followed not far behind. Then it was us. We fell silent and the unbearable weight of anticipation was so strong, then ‘West Calder Junior Band receives a …. gold award’, and we went berserk, unleashing the emotions that had built up inside. I turned to my right and gave my friend a big high five.

At the end of the school year, the schools’ award ceremony was coming up and we were told that our NCBF award was going to be presented to two of the band members but we hadn’t been told who they were. A few weeks before the award ceremony, at our rehearsal Miss Mason announced that Nic Stevenson and myself were to collect the award. We gladly accepted, we were overjoyed by her picking us when there were plenty other people who deserved to receive it, on behalf of the band.

It was the evening of the award ceremony, there was a feeling of excitement and happiness, watching others receive their awards, and then it was the bands award. Nic and myself walked up onto the stage calmly shaking the hand of Karen Geoghegan – former West Calder pupil – and she gave us the award; then walk back to our seats.

Now that I have moved up to the Senior Band, I am hoping that Miss Mason will encourage another Junior Band to go to the Finals and achieve better. This year I am going with the Senior Band to London to perform at The NCBF Finals in The Royal Academy. I have not got over what we achieved that fateful day.

Gregor Moffat