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.

Preparing for Secondary School in Scotland – Top Tips

Moving up from Primary 7 to S1

March is generally the time for schools in Scotland to hold parents’ evenings and, especially for parents of children in primary 7, this is the ideal time to discuss with your child’s teacher exactly how your child is performing academically in class and how to help children make the transition from P7 to First year as smoothly as possible.

Developing? Consolidating? Secure?

Since Curriculum for Excellence was introduced in Scotland, parents will be familiar with the above terminology on report cards but do you understand exactly what these words mean and how your child is coping with school work in class?  Make sure you take this time to ask about results of assessments undertaken and how these compare with others in the school and region.  Are they in the top group for subjects?  If not, ask what can be done to help.

Kip McGrath Maths and English TuitionAcademically some children can be surprised when they move to First year and mix with students from other schools to find that they aren’t quite at the same level in English and Maths and this can lead to a lack of confidence and cause additional stress.  At our 27 Kip McGrath centres in Scotland, we tutor thousands of children and find that this is the time when most parents realise their children have fallen behind and call for help.

Having spoken to your child’s teacher, if you have any concerns please book an assessment with one of our qualified teachers at your local Kip McGrath centre.  This is FREE and we will be able to identify any areas of weakness or gaps in learning that may have developed and prepare an individual lesson plan focussed on your child’s needs.  Kip McGrath Tuition Centres only employ qualified teachers who have experience of teaching in Scottish schools giving parents peace of mind.  Our Primary and Secondary tutors teach children from age 5-18 up to Higher Grade English and Maths.

Free Kip McGrath Assessment

Tips for Parents to Help Children Cope with Move to Secondary School

Moving to a new school can be daunting for children emotionally and they will worry about fitting in, following timetables and will have much more reponsibility than ever before.  It is never too early for parents to start helping children prepare for this huge transition and we have listed below some suggestions.

Be organised – children should get into the habit early preparing for the next school day.  Ask them to look over their timetable and ensure that they are organised.  Do they need gym kit, musical instruments or anything for special projects?

Homework – What are their homework projects for the week?  Ask them to create a time plan to complete homework as early as possible and not have to rush at the last minute. Make sure they have a quiet place to work which is free of distractions.

Responsibility – Allowing your child now to take more responsibility will reap rewards in the future.  Teach them how to be more independent and to prepare for school by themselves.

Talk about Fears – In a big new school children have to follow a timetable and find classes and may worry about being late or get lost. Teachers may be a bit stricter.  Talk to your child about any fears they may have and discuss who can they go to in school if they are worried.

Making Friends – Your child may be in a class with none of their friends from primary school and may find it hard when their existing friends form new relationships.  Try to teach your child to smile, learn others’ names, show an interest, ask questions, be inclusive to all students and encourage them to form new class friendships.

Find your local Kip McGrath Tuition Centre in Scotland

Kip McGrath Tuition

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.


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.

East Kilbride Tuition – Do you know if your child is struggling at school?

Click image to go to East Kilbride Website

I am Margaret Carmichael and I run the Kip McGrath Education Centre in East Kilbride.

I pass two lovely new schools on my way to the Village in East Kilbride.  The children all look great in their school uniforms and you can sense that they are happy.

Talking to parents, it is clear that the teachers are working well with Curriculum for Excellence and most parents and teachers I have talked to believe CFE to be a good idea in principal.

Parents’ Concerns

However, I have noticed a distinct increase in parents expressing concerns about the lack of annual assessments as part of the new CFE and they find it difficult to guage how well their child is actually performing academically at school.  In some cases, this has resulted in parents being unaware of problems in English or Maths until they reach Secondary 1.

England have introduced a short reading test at age 6.  This gives parents a clear picture and allows them to know if help is required.  Having run Kip Centres for 12 years, I know that many children in the early years of primary need extra support in reading.  Parents knew this in the past because their child had not passed level A or Level B.

Our Assessments

At East Kilbride, I have a number of parents who have brought their children for assessments because they had concerns but had been told by the school that there were no worries.  When I did an assessment, it turned out that it was the parents’ instincts that were correct and that extra support was needed.

At Kip McGrath centres, we do a classic reading assessment which gives us a clear picture of a child’s reading age as well as indications of reasons for weakness.

Another area where parents have highlighted concerns is with performance in maths.  Unlike English, maths is a subject which requires building blocks and if some blocks are not there it is very hard for the child to progress.  This sometimes does not become clear until they start Secondary 1 and are given a maths test which can be very demoralising for the child.

Because all of our Maths and English tutors at Kip McGrath are fully qualified (and highly experienced) teachers, we are able to quickly pinpoint any particular weaknesses and create an individual learning plan for every student.

Arrange an Assessment

There are a number of ways to arrange a FREE educational assessment.  Either call Margaret Carmichael on 01355 266566 or email margaret.carmichael@ntlworld.com.  Alternatively, visit our main East Kilbride website and click on arrange an assessment.

Social Media at Kip McGrath East Kilbride

At East Kilbride, we are embracing social media and it is an excellent way to communicate and share ideas with our students and parents.  Please like our Facebook Page and follow us on twitter  If you have friends who may be interested in Kip McGrath, please feel free to share.

East Kilbride Students

Our students are working exceptionally hard as always and we love to see them arriving for their lesson at Kip with a smile on their face.  What makes my job so rewarding as a teacher is when a student suddenly “just gets it” and to watch their confidence and abilities grow.  These are some of our Kip Stars!

Whether it’s Hogwarts or Anytown High – Help your child Make a magical Transition from Primary to Secondary School

First Day of High School

Most adults can remember their first day at High School.  It was an exciting time but also a little scary.  As the last two weeks of the holidays fly past, parents and children are turning their thoughts to the new academic year.  New blazers, ties, shiny black shoes and the bit I loved best; getting a school bag and pencil case and filling them full of the most colourful and exciting pens, pencils and erasers that I could find.

If I’d been to France or Italy during the holidays, I’d be spoilt for choice. They have such lovely stationery items over there.  Even as a teacher, I could never resist buying lots of fun gadgets for my classroom and I even picked up a cool mushroom in Florence this summer for my Kip McGrath Education Centre in Musselburgh.  It has a rubber for its head and sharpener for the stem.  These things always put the ‘cool’ into school for me. I love languages and the French have a great word for back to school – la rentrée the return.

Problems Children Face with the transition from Primary to Secondary School

However, for children who are moving up from Primary to Secondary there is no return to that safe little haven where they learned to read and write.  As young adolescents it is upwards and onwards and for many children, as well as being an exciting time, it can be somewhat frightening to say the least.  For parents and grandparents too it is an emotional time.  The little ones are growing up fast and change is in the air. We know that change has to be managed carefully so it is important to make the transition as smooth and as stress-free as possible.

As a teacher of 20 years experience, here are some of the most common problems I found children encountered in the first few weeks of High School and a few suggestions as to how to overcome them.

Scared of getting Lost

One of the biggest challenges is the size of the new school.  As little 8 year old Sana who attends my centre would put it, whether it’s a ‘Harry Potter’ school or the local Comprehensive, children have very genuine concerns about the size of their new school.  “Lots of corridors to negotiate, staircases and perhaps tunnels too”. The school day is structured differently with bells ringing at regular intervals and movement around the building.  They worry that if they don’t get to the next class on time, the teacher might be cross and yell at them and even give them detention.  As a teacher, the most tears I had to dry up during the first few days were those of poor little lost souls looking for the music department but ending up goodness knows where instead!  What a state they could get themselves into!

Angela’s Kip Tip

Most schools have excellent transition programmes and your child should have had a visit to the High School already.  If they haven’t or you are still worried, phone the school and ask if you can pop back in again.  Chances are that Admin staff or Senior Management will be around in last week of the holidays and it may be possible to take a quick trip round again.  If not, drive past it or go into the car park a couple of times so that the building doesn’t look quite so threatening.

Make sure they know their right from their left. It’s amazing how many children have difficulty with this and it doesn’t help when they are trying to follow directions or to read a map of the school.  If they get lost, encourage them to ask a teacher or senior pupil to help them.  The younger pupils make a great game out of sending new pupils in the wrong direction deliberately! You’ve been warned!

Help them to understand the timetable. Explain that the school day will be structured differently and that it is important to move quickly from one lesson to another and not waste time.  Advise them to write the name of the teacher and the classroom number next to the subject.  It makes it impossible to help a child if they don’t know who their teacher is or what classroom they should be in.

Try to familiarise them with the day ahead.  Talk to them about it. For example discuss that tomorrow they will do a period of English, then Maths, then French then PE etc.  Then of course prepare that school bag full of all the things they will need and don’t forget the PE kit!

Try to avoid going to the toilet in between lessons and encourage them to follow the majority of the class to the next period.  There is safety in numbers!

If they get badly lost, rather than wander around the school, advise them to report to the school office immediately where a member of staff will make sure they get to class.

Lack of Confidence

Your child becomes anxious and starts to worry a lot.

Angela’s Kip Tip

Acknowledge the fact that your child might feel nervous but reassure them that it is normal to feel slightly anxious and that the chances are that everyone else is feeling a bit worried too.  Keep telling them that everything will be fine.

If they can’t get to sleep at night, try to discuss all the good things that have happened at school and praise them for all the things they have managed to do so far.

We all know that a drink of chamomile tea before bedtime can help us to sleep.  A recent report I read suggests
that it also alleviates anxiety so why not give it a try?

If after a few days they are still unhappy and you begin to worry and wonder about whether you should contact the school, then you should contact the school.  The Guidance teacher or Year Head is the person to discuss any worries with and the sooner you sort it out the better, especially if you suspect bullying.

Feeling lonely or doesn’t know anyone

At first it can be difficult to make the right friends.  Chances are that there are plenty of clubs on offer at school either at lunchtime or after school finishes.  If your child is a lone child, then encourage them to join some clubs in order to get to know other children and make friends.   Guidance staff can also play a useful role here.  Eventually they will make lots of friends but it is important in the first few weeks to be there for them.  If you can make arrangements to leave work a little earlier during the first week, that could make the world of difference to an anxious child.  If you have time, consider getting involved in the PTA so that you also get to know some of the other mums and their children.

Getting into Trouble because they forget things

One of the biggest changes your child will probably face is having to take more responsibility for themselves and become more independent.  They may have to look after a bus-pass, lunch money, musical instrument, library books, sports kit, mobile phone, keys etc, etc.  It’s usually best not to take things into school that you don’t need or would be sorry to lose.  Help your child devise strategies for emergencies so that they know what to do if something goes wrong.  Make sure that timetables are checked and school bags packed the night before to avoid the whole family getting stressed in the rush to set off in the morning. Make sure you regularly look in the school bag for notes and newsletters from the school.  Do you need to fill in a form or sign some homework? Bag-mail hardly every makes it home.

Finding the work too hard

This is one of the major causes of unhappiness at school.  Children attending High School can come from up to 20 different feeder Primary Schools in some areas.  The mix of academic ability in one class is likely to be very wide ranging and there may be gaps in your child’s basic numeracy and literacy causing difficulty across the whole curriculum.  Perhaps they are studying a foreign language and others have started earlier than them at Primary school.   Some schools may broadband  classes and some may set based on information sent up from Primary School.

There may also be some sort of assessment within the first few weeks of term.   Your child may feel out of their depth and have gaps which need to be plugged. Likewise they might find that they are not being stretched enough due to the level of the class and are beginning to lose interest. 

Angela’s Kip Tip

Don’t wait until the first parent’s evening. That could be a whole year away or longer! You will need to act quickly.  If  your child is in a class where the work is too difficult he/she will struggle and the situation is likely to get worse rather than better.  If they have been placed in a good set and you are reluctant for them to be moved down, then you must get extra support and the sooner you act the better.

Ask to speak to the Learning Support Dept. or Year Head if you fear your child may have a specific learning difficulty. If your child has special requirements that teachers should be aware of (eg needs overlays because of dyslexia or should wear glasses in class) check that the information has indeed been passed on to all the teachers.  Schools are busy places and teachers are bombarded with information.  Things do get overlooked so take steps to check that arrangements are in place.

Make sure your child can see the board and that there is not a problem with eyesight.  Book an eye test if necessary.  If the class is noisy, suggest that they sit as near the front as possible so that they can hear the teacher.

Still Have Concerns?

If you continue to be worried, phone Kip McGrath for a no-obligation discussion and free assessment.   At our Musselburgh Tutoring Centre in Edinburgh we have a team of fully qualified and experienced teachers who use their skills and expertise every day to help children achieve their full potential.  We are always happy to help and peace of mind is only a phone call away. Subjects such as maths and foreign languages are linear and it is best to nip problems in the bud as soon as possible.  It’s amazing what can be achieved with just a few months on the Kip Programmes.

The October break will soon arrive and your child will have settled in well to their new school.  Making the transition to secondary school is a big step for the entire family but one to be embraced and celebrated.  A whole new future is opening up.  Exciting subjects to learn, foreign trips to go on, lots of new people to meet and talents to be uncovered.  Enjoy Secondary school everyone and the very best of luck!

Angela Giglio is an experienced teacher, former Head of Department and mum.  Angela runs the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Musselburgh, Edinburgh., the trusted tutors in Edinburgh.