Parent blog

Start the term by building a love for reading

There is no denying that the activity of reading has many benefits. It helps to keep children’s minds active, especially during holidays. It can take kids to another world, it can enlighten children about history and other cultures, it get the imagination going and it can build ch
ildren’s vocabulary and help them become more confident. There are numerous benefits to reading yet so many children are reluctant to read.

This blog entry aims to will give some tips and advice on how to transmit a love for reading. These are little things that you can apply in your daily life and as you probably already know, sometimes all it takes is a small change to make a big difference.

  1. Become a reading family. Children do what they see. When children see that you read books, newspapers and magazines, they will also be more inclined to read. It’s hard to convince a child to read a book if they have never once seen you read!
  2. Read with your child for a few minutes every day. Start small. There’s probably no need to read for 30 minutes on the first sitting. Start for 5 minutes and then build up from there. Stop when your child looks tired or fed up! The last thing you want is for him or her to feel bored or forced into reading with you. If you start small, you can extend the time gradually.
  3. Get your older children to read with the little ones. Get your older kids building a bond with the younger kids. Siblings don’t always get along – They may have different friends, different toys, different TV shows and different styles and tastes. However, if you are able to encourage this, your kids may just find the time to find common ground and read a book together.
  4. Reading can also be for teens. Teenagers may not be so keen to read with mum or dad but perhaps you can find titles that your teenage child would enjoy and read it together. Perhaps you can find books with interesting discussion points. Reading is still a great way to open up the floor for conversation. A great book I recommend to teenagers is ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens’ It’s enjoyable for both children and adults.
  5. Reading isn’t just about books. There are lots of opportunities for reading, not just in books! You can read a comic book, read the name of a road, read instructions, read a billboards, a flyer, even the back of a cereal box. With the typical family working so many hours, it can be hard to recognise the opportunities for reading. Try not to miss out on these and encourage your child to read what they have seen.
  6. Visit your local library. Many libraries have a children’s section where you’ll find the latest children books. There are also book fairs and special book days and book fairs where you can meet the author such as STREAM London book fair 2015. There is also World Book Day which is usually celebrated over a period of a month! This is a great way to get children to see that books are a thing to celebrate!
  7. Bring it all to life. So many books have been developed into film, theatre or musicals, this is a great opportunity to encourage your child to finish a book, watch it at the theatre and then compare the book with what they saw. Did the movie look like what they imagined when they were reading the book. Some of our favourites are Warhorse and Matilda. There are so many examples of books that you can read early in the year and watch the theatre production, later in the year.

We hope that this gives you some ideas for how to make reading a normal part of your everyday life at home. In our next blog, we’ll be looking at the various family activities coming up in London in the new academic term.

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5 Essentials for going back to school!

ThinkstockPhotos-87608538After 6 weeks of holiday, it’s time to go back to school. Parents are glad that to get some peace and quiet and the kids are glad to be back at school or get started in a new school.

In this blog entry, we talk about 5 ways you can help your child prepare for school and have a successful academic year.

  1. Channel your child’s energy: Holidays allow children to relax. Your children have probably been practising sports, playing outdoors or just lounging around! Maybe you gave them a Summer project or enrolled them in an activity week, either way it has been an enjoyable break and batteries are recharged. With only a few days left, now is probably not the best time to make your child practice 2 hours on the piano or enter into a science competition. The last few days of the holiday is probably the best time to unwind and focus on calm activities: reading, drawing, cinema, cooking… which is a good transition.
  2. Manage any stress: After having a long break, there is always a little bit of stress, particularly the night before going back to school. Children can feel anxious, and consequently suffer from trouble sleeping, get into unnecessary arguments and generally act disorganised. This could be due to stress, even more for a child who is moving to a new school, or moving from primary to secondary school. To relieve your child’s fears and worries, it is advisable to talk about it. You can talk about concerns but also about the excitement about going back to school. This should reassure your child about anything that’s on his or her mind.
  3. Explain the essentials: Even if children don’t express any fear, it is important that you talk to them about the essential information regarding school. Children spend a lot of time at school and this period of their lives can have a huge influence on their future. You may want to talk to them about your family values and their personal values, you may want to remind them to be kind, to ask the teacher for help, to follow instructions etc
  4. Prepare for school: You’ve probably already done the final school shopping for pens, books, pencils, new uniform and new shoes. It’s always a good idea to make sure that your child has a complete pencil case and maths set. It’s also a good idea to buy dozens of pens and pencils to keep at home as a replacement. If you have a study space at home, why not use the last few days of the summer to make sure that the space is ready for them as it’s always good to have a neat space for doing homework. Other useful resources are: a small shelf with books and school supplies, a calendar with dates of holidays, a dictionary and thesaurus, a space w here they can leave their school bag. These are all little things that you can do to make your child willing to work!
  5. Reward your child: It’s the end of the Summer and everyone has had a great time. Many kids remember their summer holidays when they grow up, as a time of being carefree. It can be hard to switch from long summer days to early evenings, school stress and homework deadlines. If you promised your child with a special reward or treat for the summer, make sure you follow through and give them this reward. Let your child know that you’ve also had a great summer and remind them of any changes that are coming up for the year ahead. Get the children to sleep early so they are prepared for a long day ahead and don’t forget to continue to reward your child throughout the school year.

Share your thoughts on QTS

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The QTS debate – Should all tutors have QTS?

As an agency that was founded by qualified teachers, when we started, we had huge reservations about working with tutors without QTS. We therefore understand the concerns that some parents or students may have about working with tutors that do not have QTS.

For those that may not be aware, QTS (Qualified teacher status) is the certificate awarded to teachers that have undergone formal training to become a teacher. It is awarded by The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL ), an executive agency of the Department for Education.

Over the past few years, we have had to change our stance on QTS. These are the three main reasons we have become more open to tutors without QTS.

1. Some of the best teachers from top independent school and top state schools, do not have QTS

QTS which was initially created to raise the quality of teaching in state schools, not independent schools. This means that teachers working in independent schools are not required to have QTS and by limiting our recruitment to QTS, we ultimately close our doors to current teachers or retired teachers from some of the best independent schools.

In addition to this, in 2012, the laws in England changed with regards to QTS. Teachers in state schools are no longer required to have QTS. This means that some teachers that have been graded ‘Outstanding’ by Oftsed and work in excellent state schools may not actually hold Qualified Teacher Status.

 

2. There are a large number of overseas trained teachers (with or without QTS) that do an excellent job!

It’s very easy to assume that overseas trained teachers are not as aware of the UK teaching methodology, national curriculum or examination board syllabus.

However, many overseas trained teachers that move to the UK, continue to work as teachers in state and independent schools.

Many overseas trained teachers have taken on postgraduate studies in the UK and a large majority have achieved the UK QTS in order to validate their knowledge and existing qualifications. They have teaching certificates that are equivalent to QTS and in some cases they are awarded the Overseas trained teacher QTS certificate.

By limiting our recruitment to tutors with UK QTS only, we are excluding some of the overseas trained teachers with excellent track record, that have been teaching and tutoring in the UK for many years, in some cases 30 or more years.

3. Reviews are a more realistic way of monitoring the quality of tutoring provided by our tutors.

QTS can be awarded through a range of routes and we have seen a wide range in the quality of teaching provided by teachers with QTS.

Unfortunately, QTS does not take personality and motivations into account. It is a series of minimum standards that a teacher must meet.

This means that we have had met tutors with QTS that have worked in schools for many years but have achieved relatively poor feedback from clients. Likewise, we have had tutors without QTS, that are relatively new to the profession and continually received outstanding feedback.

We are therefore more interested in the feedback from parents and students as this is a better indication of the quality of tuition provided by that particular tutor.

Whatever your concerns may be about QTS, remember that you can find details of tutor degree certificates, qualifications and awards (including QTS) on the tutor’s profile. Most importantly, you will find feedback from previous clients on the tutor’s profile and we still believe that this is the best indicator of the quality of tuition you can expect for that particular tutor.

If you would like to register with WISE tutors and view profiles of tutors based on your required location, tuition subject and level, call us on 020 33182255.

Do you have a few minutes to complete our online poll? Results will be shared after submitting your answers.

When should you start looking for a private tutor?

Every month, we hear dozens of horror stories of parents who have been everywhere in search for a decent private tutor.

In this article, we hope to give you an idea of the best time to start your search for a tutor.

1. Will this be short term or long term tuition? Some parents use private tuition to prepare for specific examinations but other parents simply use it to boost grades and ensure that their child stays ahead of the class. If your child has some difficulties at school, it would be worth searching for a tutor. It’s always good to know if you are looking for short term tuition or long term tuition. If you are looking for short term tuition, then you should start as early as possible, give yourself an intensive period of 1-4 weeks. If you are looking for long term tuition, you can probably take your time and spend a couple of months trying out a range of tutors.

2. How far is your child from his/her academic goals? It’s worth talking to your child’s teachers to find out if he/she really needs private tuition. Most parents decide to pay private tuition for their child when they are close to taking an important exam such as 11 plus exams or GCSEs but some students don’t need this especially if they are already highly motivated and organised. It’s not worth disrupting their schedule to squeeze in a private tutor. If your child would like to get As and Bs but is predicted Cs and Ds, you probably want to start at least 2 years before the exam. If your child is predicted a B but you would like to get an A or A* then 9-12 months of tuition should usually be enough.

3. How busy is your child? You also have to be aware that you will need to schedule at least one hour of private tuition every week. If your child is signed up for rugby, cello lessons, swimming club, tennis tournaments, cadets and chess club… it may be difficult to squeeze in private tuition! You don’t want to overwhelm your child with too many activities. It may be worth missing out on one extra-curricula activity in order to squeeze in the private tuition sessions.

4. How mature is your child? Your child needs to be mature enough to take the tuition sessions seriously. This doesn’t mean that your child can’t have fun during the sessions, it just means that he or she should be able to pay attention and not feel as though the sessions are a chore. Some parents are eager to start private tuition from as early as three or four. There is nothing wrong with starting early, however, you have got to be conscious that children are different. Some children can handle an hour of concentrated learning. Others will simply find it frustrating and this can give them a negative perception of learning. If your child doesn’t have the concentration or motivation to receive private tutoring, it will not work anyway.

When you are ready to start your search, we recommend that you allow yourself two to three months to find the right tutor and that you take the time to build a positive relationship with the tutor and monitor your child’s progress throughout their time with the tutor.

As always, we are available to chat online if you need any assistance with your search and you can also contact us by emailing contactus@wisetutors.co.uk

Why choose professional tutors from WISE Tutors?

We’ve seen that tutoring can make a huge difference in pupil attainment and we are keen to help parents and students find the right tutor that can make a real impact on their learning.

In order to do this, we work with professional tutors and we maintain a very rigorous process for selecting our tutors. Throughout the year, we continually make sure that all of our tutors meet our top 5 criteria.

 

1. Enhanced DBS checks. 

All our tutors are subject to an enhanced DBS check (criminal records check) issued in the past 36 months. This is a legal requirement for any person working directly with students under the age of 18. In addition to this, in order to make you feel more secure, WISE Tutors conducts interviews, identification checks and thorough background checks before working with any tutors.

 

 

2. Highly qualified.

Our registered tutors are qualified to degree level and many of them have a postgraduate degree and/or teaching qualification. Many of our tutors are Oxbridge and Russell Group university graduates, having achieved top GCSE & A-level. This means that you can be rest assured that they have a strong understanding of the subject and requirements for the age or level that they are supporting.

 


3. Experienced tutors.

We know that tutoring is not just about qualifications. Our tutors must have a good personality and the ability to get on well with students, motivate them when necessary and understand their students strengths and weaknesses.

All our tutors have worked with students either in independent schools or state schools.They are familiar with the content for various examinations, they know how to adapt their teaching style to suit each child’s learning needs and how to develop a personalised learning programme for each student they work with.

 

4. Professional tutors.

Whether they have been tutoring for one year or thirty years, our professional tutors have had excellent success rates with students and they are keen to continue building this.

Our tutors are, like us, genuinely passionate about helping students attain their academic goals and feedback from parents show that they always go the extra mile.

 

5. Positive reviews.

We only work with tutors that are able to continually receive positive reviews on their profile. By collecting reviews from parents, we are able to select and retain excellent tutors. Of course, our tutors are keen to maintain a positive profile.

Our tutors know that we have extremely high standards and we ensure that all tutors continue to meet these standards throughout the year.

 

If you want to find out our tutors reviews, please click here.

We believe that these are the key ingredients to providing high quality tuition. To book your assessment session with one of our expert tutors, leave your details or email contactus@wisetutors.co.uk

You could win £25 worth of Next Vouchers!

A large majority of clients that register with us come from ‘word of mouth’ recommendations.

We believe that word of mouth referrals are more powerful today than ever!

At registration, we ask all clients how they heard about us. If they provide your name, you will be automatically entered into our monthly prize draw.

It doesn’t matter how many people you refer to us or how long ago you were an active client. As long as the new client mentions your name at registration and we have your details as a registered parent or tutor, you will be entered into a prize draw for Next vouchers.

This year, we are offering £25 worth of NEXT vouchers every month!

Winners will be notified via email and details will be available on the website every quarter.

Welcome! Benvenuti! Bienvenue! Bienvenidos!

We would like to give you a warm welcome to WISE tutors.

In this blog entry, we will be sharing 7 facts about WISE Tutors.

1. We have hundreds of professional UK-based tutors working globally: We provide home tuition to families in London and we also provide online tuition to families across the globe! Our multilingual team speak over 5 languages and would be really happy to help you during the process of finding a suitable tutor for your child.

2. All tutors are vetted by our team:  We care about each student’s progress and that is why we limit our recruitment to tutors that can show specific qualification, skills, experience, knowledge and passion for helping their students. We are aware that you can have some apprehensions about welcoming a tutor at your home and therefore we carry out stringent checks to ensure that the tutor meets the our expectations and standards. To find out more, click here.

3. We only work with tutors that are able to continually gain positive reviews: Our tutors understand the importance of being accountable to an agency and this is why they are open to receiving reviews and feedback on their online profiles. We show all our tutor reviews on the website and tutors work hard to ensure that they continually get positive reviews from our clients.

4. Our tutors are highly qualified, many of them work full time as professional tutors: As an agency that was set up by qualified teachers, we understand the importance of working with tutors that are passionate and committed to their role. Our tutors are required to have at least one of previous experience with children or young people. They have already demonstrated a genuine interest in supporting and working with students in state or independent schools and it gives parents the confidence of working with professional tutors, not just people that tutor as a hobby!

5. We are proud to say that we are highly recommended by parents: The majority of our clients come from word of mouth referrals and we are very proud of this! We understand the investment that parents make when it comes to their child’s education and we know that parents and successful students are the best form of advertising we could possibly get!

6. We provide daily education news for parents just like you! We publish daily education news on our online blog and we have a specialist information section on our website where we have the latest information on 7+, 11+, GCSE, A-level exams and Oxbridge entrance. If you are looking for further information to help achieve academic goals for your child, this is a great place to start.

7. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn: There is a wealth of information on our website for students in primary school through to University. However, you may prefer the information in ‘bite-sized chunks’. In which case, we have regular updates on our social media platforms. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to find out more!

How to select the best tutor for your child?

As specialist providers of private tuition, we know how arduous it can be to find a professional private tutor for your child. We know how difficult selecting a tutor can be, and even more so when looking for a tutor that fits your child’s personal academic needs.

This article has been written to help you with making an informed decision when selecting  a private tutor for your child. Every step is essential when searching for a tutor that will help your child attain his or her potential.

 

1. Start early. You will probably need tuition for 6 months to a year before the examination. We therefore recommend that you start your search for a tutor, at least two months before.

2. Ask for recommendations. You can find a private tutor on the Internet and there are a wealth of private tuition agencies but recommendations are still the most powerful search tool.

3. Pay attention to reviews. Yes, we know that there are lots of fake reviews out there but it may be worth looking for an agency that can provide reviews about the tutor rather than about the agency. After all, it is the tutor that will be working with your child not the agency. WISE Tutors shows a high interest in these reviews, that you can find here.

4. Ask questions. Interview the tutors where possible. Ask questions about their qualifications, experience and their motivations for tutoring. Check that the tutor is DBS cleared and where possible, do some background checks for references.

5. Set clear goals and expectations. Most tutors will conduct an initial assessment at the start of tuition and this will usually set the standard for the rest of the tuition period. This is a good opportunity for you to discuss your tuition needs and goals with the tutor and check that the tutor understands your priorities.

Remember that communication doesn’t end at Step 5. If you find that the tuition isn’t going in the direction that you had hoped it would, discuss this with the tutor.

Not every tutor is suited to working with every child and sometimes it can take a while to find the right fit. With some private tutors, you will know straight away if they are the right fit and with others you may need to wait for a couple of sessions.

As a general rule of thumb, after three or four tuition sessions, you should feel confident that you are working with the right tutor.

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