Author Archives: web-oa

  1. Why outsourcing private tutors could be the way forward for your school

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    This is not meant to be a piece discussing the whys and wherefores of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). Furthermore, it isn’t intended to continue the debate around the government’s catch-up funding, or to pass comment on its suitability, size or otherwise.

    No, we are simply here to put one very simple and straightforward question to you: Could the outsourcing of private tutors be the way forward for your school?

    The minefield of intervention

    Even before covid hit and threw a massive and meddlesome spanner into the works, most schools were already trying to navigate the minefield of intervention and catch-up programmes. Many schools have been doing so for years.

    There aren’t many school leaders who haven’t grappled with these issues at some point in recent years. Which students should the interventions focus on? What subjects should receive support? When should the sessions take place: before, during, or after the normal school day? Who should deliver the sessions?

    What are the best catch-up options?

    In truth, this is the million-dollar question. And, without teaching granny to suck eggs, it really comes down to the context of the individual school and its specific needs at a particular time. It goes without saying that one-on-one tuition is the most effective option. You don’t really need the likes of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to produce research telling us that one- on-one delivers the highest rates of progress.

    Similarly, tuition of small groups will be the most cost-effective option. As the size of a group increases, the cost per pupil reduces. That much is obvious – but then you also need to factor in the point at which the size of the group begins to lessen the effectiveness of the sessions, and the progress made by the students.

    There are so many questions to answer – but only you can do that. It’s a balancing act for school leaders to weigh up the pros and cons and swings and roundabouts of the various options.

    Outsourcing – A different approach

    Of course, it’s perfectly understandable that schools should want to keep interventions in-house. After all, it is the teachers in a school that know their students best. They already have a clear understanding of their needs.

    However, there’s only so much one team or one human being can do. Even if staff are more than willing to give up their own time or free periods to contribute to catch-up programmes, is this really the most sensible way forward?

    Is it just a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul? If you spread things too thinly, eventually something has got to give, surely?

    This is one of the reasons why outsourcing private tutors to deliver tuition programmes could be the way forward for your school. TutorRight work with a growing number of schools across the North West. We provide a flexible approach to tutoring for the schools that we support.

    Face-to face, one-on-one, small group, online… nothing is to off limits. We recognise that one size definitely does not fit all.

    It all starts with a conversation. If you’d like to chat through what your school needs with us, we’re here for you.

    Get in touch with us today to start that conversation.

  2. How can I help my child if they bombed in their mocks?

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    Mock exams… they have long been a fixture of the Year 11 calendar. But now more so than ever. Since the GCSE reforms of a few years ago put paid to coursework, most GCSE results now rest on performance in two final terminal examinations per subject at the end of Year 11. Because of this, most schools now calendar at least two sets of mock exams into their school year.

    But what can you do if your child has bombed in their mocks?

    Well, the first (and most important) piece of advice is… don’t panic.

    Worry… stress… panic… it’s contagious. If you’re feeling it, all you will do will be to transfer it over to your child. That is a recipe for disaster. But it’s one that is easily averted.

    What are mock exams for?

    Okay, so the rules might have changed temporarily due to covid – as schools began to use mock results to determine Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs). But as things – by and large – get back to normal, let’s look at what the mocks were for, back in the day.

    In short, the mocks were a dress rehearsal – an opportunity to make mistakes (if you had to make them) without them really mattering. It was a snapshot to see where you were at right, there and then.

    And in that respect, that’s what the mock still are.

    They are also an opportunity for students to have a taste of the whole exam experience and what it feels like to potentially have one exam in the morning and another in the afternoon – as they may face during exam season. You can’t really recreate that feeling (no matter how many assessments a student completes) in the classroom. It needs to be done on exam desks in the sports hall – with the big clock looming at them from the front – to capture what the experience is really like.

    Finally, it’s worth remembering that the mocks are as much for the teacher as they are for the student. The results lay bare just where students are at right now – and how far off where they need to be they really are.

    For the class teacher, mocks inform future teaching. For the school leadership team, mocks inform where future interventions are needed.

    What is the best type of intervention?

    There are exceptions to every rule, of course. But – generally speaking – the problem with many interventions or ‘catch-up’ sessions in schools are that they essentially just give students more of the same – more of the thing that hasn’t got students to where they should be so far. In short, they can be doomed to fail from the outset.

    What many students need, especially after they have bombed in the mocks, is something different – a different approach, a different way of doing things.

    That’s why a private tutor can be the ideal solution if your child has had disappointing results in their mocks. A tutor will view the situation with a fresh pair of eyes and be able to provide a different path forward, while still supporting everything that is going on in the classroom. Crucially, a private tutor can give a student 100% of their time in every single lesson. That’s something that is simply impossible for a class teacher.

    Get in touch with the TutorRight team today to find out more about how we can help your child.

  3. How can I revise GCSE English Language?

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    There’s a common misconception (especially among Year 11 students) that you can’t revise GCSE English Language…

    But we’re here to smash the myth!

    It’s true, it is more obvious what you must revise for English Literature. These are the novels, plays and poems that you have studied. So, you can revise plot, characters, themes… you can learn quotes. That’s simple enough, right?

    But how can you revise for English Language? The exams include unseen fiction and non-fiction extracts that you’ve never seen before. How can you revise something you’ve never seen before? For the Writing section, you don’t know what type of text you will need to write, or what the topic will be – Impossible to revise for, surely?


    So, how do you revise GCSE English Language?

    Knowledge, Process, Practice

    The key to success for GCSEs (in any subject) is a three-step process: knowledge, process, and practice.

    Knowledge is your skills and understanding of topics. For English, that means your understanding of how writers use language; how they use language features and techniques to achieve effects on the reader: similes, metaphors, personification, etcetera.

    So, that’s the first thing that you can revise. Do you know all the techniques? Can you identify them in a text and explain the effect of them on the reader?

    How do you apply your knowledge?

    But knowing stuff only gets you so far; it’s what you do with that knowledge that counts. How you apply your knowledge is the process. And what you really have to do with your knowledge for GCSE English Language is to answer exam questions.

    So, a major part of revising English Language is to develop your understanding of what each question is asking you to do. You need to be confident about which skills you need to show for each question and what the assessment objectives are. It’s important to know what the examiners looking for. For example, information retrieval, language, structure, comparison, etcetera.

    The good thing about exams (if there is a good thing!) is that there should be no surprises when you open the exam paper. Choose any question from a paper, and if you were to put the exams for the last 5 years side by side, you’d notice that the questions are virtually the same – almost word for word. Only the extracts themselves are different.

    Focus on:

    What the question is about?

    What are you being assessed on?

    How many marks are available and how long should you spend on the question.

    Practice makes perfect

    Finally, after knowledge and process comes practice. Okay, so practice might not make you perfect in English. But it is the only way you are going to reach your potential. This means that practice questions should be a big part of any revision schedule for English. 

    Revision needs to be active rather than passive. Endlessly reading through revision notes (even if they are the best revision notes in the world) will be next to useless. You need to be doing something with the notes – and the best thing to do is to practise exam questions.

    If you think a private tutor could help, get in touch with the TutorRight team for more information.

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