Childhood development: 3 ways your child can benefit from our tutoring services

childhood development

Since our establishment, we have had parents pop us a few direct messages on our social media channels and schools emailing us a few testimonials, expressing children’s overall improvement. “My child seems more confident since joining the Academy”. “She is always eager to ask questions now”. Childhood development within an educational space should go beyond just achieving good grades. Yes, these are important, but have you considered your child’s confidence, interpersonal skills and problem-solving abilities in the long term? Spark Academy focuses on the importance of holistic childhood development together with the grades. Here are 3 ways your child can benefit from our tutoring services:

1.    They will have a supportive structure

Oftentimes, children are nervous to raise their hand, assuming that what they are unsure of makes them wrong. Support does not mean spoon-feeding our students with answers. We have created a culture where our students approach us with what they need help with most. What they learn is the ability to be assertive themselves in who they are, play to their identified strengths, and feel comfortable with how they do things differently. Our classrooms numbers are kept to a minimum, allowing more one-on-one opportunity between the tutor and the student.

2.    Their interactive abilities are challenged positively

Our peer-to-peer engagement approach allows for our students to interact with each other, building friendships within the classes. The differences each student has are challenged in a way that encourages them to learn from one another, working as a team for solutions to the tasks we assign. It is one thing to sit in front of a computer or go through the same schoolwork, which eventually becomes redundant. Our students break off into group to create projects and build models together, bringing their communication, listening, and problem-solving skills to the fore.

3.    We use an individualised approach

Children who are well-guided in their formative years become well-rounded adults who see their worth than being more than just their grades. Ultimately, no two children go down the same path or possess the same academic strength and this is the beauty of individuality. Our qualified tutors are up to date with the current schooling curriculum and specialise in childhood development methods that stem from areas where skills are identified within the child. We then approach the tuition sessions based on what will encourage your child to perform at their optimal best. We further encourage individual thinking through self-study packs, which are available for them to complete even during holiday periods.

 

We also offer homework help, so that they are not continuously frustrated at doing work they are not comfortable with completing alone. We know that this lessens the stress for parents too! If you want to see who our tutors are, visit our team page of fun, qualified tutors. If you are ready to start with us, book a free trial so you and your child can experience Spark Academy first-hand. Not sure yet? Book a free consultation. This gives you a better understanding of how we can truly help your child.

Exam prep stress? Here’s how to combat it

maths and science tutor

Is it too early to prepare for exams? Of course not. In fact, the earlier you start, the more time you have to focus on things that concern you by asking for extra help to iron out those creases. If you are a little pressed for time, no worries. What matters is that you are using whatever time you have left to make a difference to the exam preparation. We have included tips on how to combat exam prep stress, including prioritising your subjects and getting an English, maths and science tutor.

Ensure you have all the exam information you need

Once you are sure of things such as date, time and venue, you will have one less thing to be stressed about on exam day. Go a step further by ensuring that you also know what section of your work to prepare for. Nothing can cause extreme anxiety like studying the wrong thing and showing up to your exam not knowing any of the work.

Prioritise your subjects

There are subjects you are really good at, and some that need you to spend a little more time trying to gain a better understanding. Those that need the most attention should be at the top of your priority list. This does not mean the subjects at the bottom do not need your attention; however, these are ones you could do well in with less time invested towards them. You will also be able to get through this work faster. To figure out which subjects should be your top priority, list all your subject and add a number, from 1 to 10, next to each one with 1 being the subject you are least comfortable and 10 being the subject you do really well in.

Make a revision timetable ahead of your exam date

Timetables are there to keep you accountable and on track – don’t set any unrealistic expectations for yourself. If you know that you struggle to stay focused due to lack of sleep, don’t set a study schedule that will leave you with 3 hours of sleep. An unrealistic timetable will eventually demotivate you, resulting in you possibly falling behind schedule. Here is what you should include in your revision timetable:

  • List of things you will do each day
  • Actual time allocations
  • Regular breaks
  • Time to read through the day’s work
  • Study goals for the day
  • Regular commitments, such as sport and extra classes
  • When to complete past papers

It is also okay to revisit your timetable as you progress through the work. If you dedicated 5 days for your English work and you understand it in 3 days, use the 2 days to revise another subject. This will help you make the most of your time rather than sit through repetitive sections.

Consider getting help from an English, maths and science tutor

The one-fits-all approach to teaching methods may be the concept you are struggling to grasp. English, maths and science are subjects that may require that you get an individualised approach to the work. At Spark, we focus on the overall development of the student so that they are equipped with the knowledge to solve their English, maths and science work, even when their tutor is not there. Our science lesson structure places emphasis on understanding theory.

Avoid other stressed students

You may think that your stress will bring you together to reach common ground, but the result could be the complete opposite. They could be worried about things that are not an issue to you, however, you will begin to stress about how they could be right. Remember, your strengths are not the same so try to focus on what is beneficial to you.

 

Bonus points

  • Take realistic breaks. Don’t use these to do any other schoolwork.
  • Split your study time into bite-size sessions. You can use a timing method such as the Pomodoro Technique.
  • Get active. Sitting in one place the whole day can cause you to become lethargic. Go for walks regularly.
  • Use your phone, but not for social media. Your phone has many capabilities and tools to make studying easier
  • Stay away from caffeine and maintain a healthy diet.

 

Tutoring centres offer many benefits, which include building confidence and accountability. Spark Academy’s tutoring classes are small so that each student is assisted and engages through peer learning. If you are looking for an English, maths and science tutor, get in touch.

How can my child benefit from after school tutoring?

after school tutoring

Tutoring should start from ages as young as 7 years old, be it on weekends or weekdays after school. After school tutoring has several benefits for your child and it is more than just homework help.

1. After school hours are productive

Once the school bell rings and all children run out their school doors, they have most likely forgotten what they have learned during the day. The hours between after school and bedtime are crucial for establishing a routine of productivity, and that where tutoring comes in. Your child will learn to become productive towards their self-development, which will encourage a positive attitude towards school.

2. Individualised learning approach

A school classroom setting can limit the amount of one-on-one interaction from their teachers. Another frustration may be the one-fits-all approach to the teaching methods which unfortunately do not appeal to all students. Experienced tutors have been exposed to different learning approaches and can adopt a method and pace that ensures your child stays on track.

3. Holistic development and confidence

Your child’s grades will improve through effective after school tutoring, boosting their confidence in the classroom. The tools they use to excel will encourage cognitive thinking that they can apply to their schoolwork on their own and towards solving critical problems beyond the classroom. Other development areas include independence, responsibility, accountability and focus.

4. Your child is more than just a number

In a bigger classroom setup, children may feel intimidated to ask questions, especially if they are struggling to understand their work. Ultimately, teachers are managing many more students at one time. While tutoring centres pace accordingly, methods are best suited for each child and their needs. Some tutoring centres also reward and give credit where it is due. As a parent, you receive feedback on the individualised approach your child is benefitting from.

5. Safety and supervision

After school activities play an important part in your child’s development. Unfortunately, what they may be exposed to is not always safe for them, especially if they are in a larger group setting with minimal supervision. When parents are not around, they are more likely to try engaging in behaviour that mom and dad will not be aware of. After school tutoring means safety for your child, with the supervision of qualified teachers.

Benefits for you as a parent:

  • You no longer have to help with homework you don’t understand. It is frustrating when parents struggle to help their children with the work that comes with an evolving school syllabus.
  • You get to focus on other aspects of parenting. It is no secret that parents are always juggling tasks to make sure school projects are complete, and school meetings are attended. After school tutoring will help you check off at least one task so you can focus on everything else.
  • You are exposed to other ways of understanding your child. This is because they are interacting with content that gives them a different perspective for independent thinking.

At Spark Academy, we offer membership perks that ensure you are well aware of the progress your child is making. We believe you will see their development through their critical thinking abilities, communication and problem-solving skills. Start your child’s development here.

Maths GCSE Revision Tips

Draw up a list

Before you start revising, get all your notes sorted. Draw up a list of all the topics you need to cover before you begin.

Plan your revision

Plan exactly when you are going to revise, and be strict with yourself. Don’t revise all day. Revise in small chunks and take regular breaks. Make sure you do some form of exercise, even if it is just going for a walk.

Reward yourself

Give yourself little treats and things to look forward to. If you do a good day of revision, take the night off, watch some T.V, go and see your friends. Buy yourself some chocolate, but only let yourself eat it once you have achieved what you need to do.

Complete Maths questions

Don’t just read through the textbook! The only way to revise Maths is to do Maths. You will do much better spending 20 minutes doing Maths questions than spending two hours just reading a textbook. The more questions you do yourself, the more you will get right. This will boost your confidence meaning you will enjoy your revision more and do better in the exam.

Use the internet

There are websites that can set you questions and mark them for you. They take you through solving certain topics step-by-step. Use Spark Vids and BBC Bitesize Revision.

Don’t just practice the topics you can do

Keep working your way through the topics that you struggle with because it is much better to struggle on them at home, when you have time on your side and the answers available, than it is to struggle in the exam.

Make sure you ask for help

If you are stuck on a topic or a question, ask one of the people from your class, your teacher, Spark Academy tutor, or someone at home.

Practice doing questions under exam conditions

Get someone to pick you a set of questions from your textbook, or get some from a Maths website, and try doing them in silence, with no help, for a fixed amount of time. This will get you used to what it will be like in the exam, how fast you need to go, and is the best way of checking that you really understand a topic.

Practice using your calculator

Many people seem to assume that any question that lets you use a calculator is easy, and all calculators work the same. All calculators work differently, and unless you have used yours for lots of different types of questions you might not know how to use them in the exam. Find out if there are any problems early enough to correct them!

Revise with a friend

If it works for you, try revising with a friend for a bit of the time. You will find that one of you understands one topic more, whilst the other is a bit of an expert on another. Just by explaining things to a friend, you will find that your understanding increases, and likewise you might learn a different way of thinking about and understanding a topic.

Try not to worry

A little worry is not a bad thing as it keeps you focused, but revision certainly shouldn’t be a stressful time. It should be a time where your brain gets chance to sort all the information it has been bombarded with and make sense of everything.

 

Good luck with your revision. Please ask for help if you need it.

-Katherine Wallis

Science of learning

Key research

 

At Spark Academy, we are passionate about understanding new research and developments in the world of education. One area that is coming to the forefront is known as the ‘Science of learning.’

Science of learning is a relatively new field of research. It brings together research from neuroscience, psychology, education and other research disciplines to bridge the gap. During my time as a teacher, I have seen many new initiatives become implemented into teaching practice. That is until the next new thing come along and usurps the previous model of teaching.

However many of these initiatives were based on neuromyths. For example, it was thought that individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic). Yet there were never any clear implications for pedagogy arising from existing models of learning styles.

 

The Spark approach

 

The new field of research is mainly concerned with looking at how our brains work. From this, we can develop teaching methods that maximise learning by using this knowledge. The brain is multi-sensory so learning benefits from a multiple sensory delivery. How many times have you heard a song that reminds you of a specific event from your past? Or a certain scent takes you back to a happy memory?

 

Is it possible to maximise learning by engaging all of our senses?

 

One idea that we are going to be investigating is having a specific ‘Spark’ scent. This will be used in classrooms to help invigorate student brains and hopefully allow more links to be made during their learning journey.

One statement that is reiterated a lot throughout this research, is that our brains are plastic. We are responsible for allowing our brains to grow and therefore store information. This includes reading a book that isn’t on the English syllabus or visiting a museum that holds an array of historic artefacts.  It is common practice in education to give students labels, however what the research is showing is that the brain can still develop to store the information required, it may just be at a slower rate. What it also shows is that these labels can restrict the learning of the students who have been labelled, for example, with dyslexia. They become dependent on their label as a reason for not achieving something and yet their brains are just as plastic as the next student.

Our mission at Spark Academy is to develop young people that are resilient and independent learners. We will continue to research the workings of the brain and implement changes to our teaching. These new strategies will see us help students to think for themselves, not be afraid to make mistakes but learn from them and in short, be the best version of themselves they can be.

A Parent’s Guide to Year 6 SAT’s 

Here is some important information about the Year 6 SAT’s. They will be starting on 13th of May 2019 until Thursday 16th of May 2019. 

Below is the timetable of when your child will be sitting each SAT. 

There are no tests on the Friday of that week.  

 

Monday 

The children will need to complete the Grammar, Punctuation and Vocabulary Test. It includes a range of question types, including questions where children must tick a box or circle particular word types. Later questions are more challenging, such as having to tick within a box of suggested answers. This test takes 45 mins and is worth 50 marks.

The second test on Monday will be the Spelling Test. In this test there are some sentences read to students and they must write the correct spelling into the gap. This test takes 15 mins and is worth 20 marks.  

 

Tuesday 

The children will sit the Reading Test that lasts for 60 mins and is worth 50 marks. They will get a reading booklet that consists of different texts including fiction and non-fiction. The test includes different types of questions such as having to investigate the text to find and copy a word. There may be questions where they must talk about the language choice of the author and where they have to tick true or false, or tick one particular statement.  

Wednesday 

The first maths test is taken on this day starting with the Arithmetic test (calculations without a context). The children need to answer 40 questions in 30 minutes. These range from simple arithmetic which can be done mentally, to calculations with fractions and later calculations that require the column methods. For some questions there are 2 marks available, so the children get 1 mark for the working out even though the final answer is incorrect.  

 

Wednesday and Thursday 

Children also need to complete Reasoning Paper 2 and 3 on these days. They each last 40 mins and are worth 35 marks. These problems and presented in a context and start off easier, getting gradually harder. These require more detailed calculations. Again, method marks are available, this means if children have carried out the method correctly, but the final answer is not accurate then they would get 1 mark.  

 

Reporting Results 

At the end of the test week the papers are marked externally and returned to schools in early July. Results are presented using a scaled score between 80 and 120. 100 represents the new expected standard for 11-year olds. Results of the test are reported back to parents at the end of the academic year, showing both the scaled score and whether the child has met the expected standard. In addition, teachers will make a separate teacher assessment.  

Remember to Relax 

As a parent you can support your child by making sure they are not worried about the tests and to help them put their minds at rest. We want your child to do their best of course but we don’t want them to be panicking. If you do have any worries be sure to ask your child’s class teacher or myself (Celia – Primary Specialist) here at Spark Academy.  

Charity and giving back

Spark Academy is an organisation with a strong social and moral conscious. We care about people, embrace growth, and learning is in our DNA. We are incredibly passionate about our work and always believe in generously giving back to local and wider communities through charitable work. It is our mission to open schools in countries where child slavery and exploitation is rife and also provide a safe space for these children and their communities to gain access to unlimited opportunities through the power of education. We firmly believe that with your help and support, we will achieve this together.

We are already on our way however! In November 2016, we were able to donate stationary to a school in Kenya for the less abled. Furthermore, the children in Mexico, Riviera Maya loved their hand delivered Christmas presents. The smiles and excitement on the children’s faces was priceless! With your help and support, we can continue this good work together!

Words from our Founder and CEO there, Mital Thanki.

 

Our work at Spark Academy

Here at Spark every little bit really does help, whether it being buying locally to help support local businesses or making a simple donation to a charity as a way of getting rid of your loose change. Charity isn’t always about making big gestures. The smallest act of kindness can really make a huge difference to people’s lives. 

Back in September we held a coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Support. We set up a cake stall in the office and flung open the Spark Academy doors to encourage passers-by to pop in and have a cup of tea, a piece of cake and a chat. Just by selling cake, through the kind donations of Spark students, staff, friends and family we raised £88.93. Amazing, right?? 

Doing your bit

“How can I help?” I hear you cry. Well don’t panic, you can help Spark get involved in Red Nose Day 2019. Comic Relief, the charity behind Red Nose Day, spends any money raised to help people living tough lives across the UK and Internationally.  

 

Since Red Nose Day 2017, we have helped nearly 15 million people across the UK, and some of the world’s poorest communities. 2.6 Million of them are children and vulnerable young adults.

At our core we are working to create a just world, free from poverty.

Red Nose Day is Friday 15th March 2019. If everyone in the Spark family donated £1, we could raise £350. How spectacular would that be?  

If you would like to be involved and show your support then you can do so throughout the week. Wear something red to your lessons during the week 11th – 15th March 2019 and bring in your £1 donation, it’s that simple! 

Watch out for extra information on social media for how else you can get involved and donate with Spark Academy. 

If there is a charity or community group you are passionate about and would like Spark Academy to help raise money, fund equipment, or just simply spend time helping out, then let me know.  

Together we can all make a difference. 

Nic  

British Science Week

What is British Science week? 

British Science Week is run by the British Science Association. It is a 10 day celebration of science starting on 8th March – 17th MarchEvery year there is a theme, with the theme this year being ‘Journeys’. 

 

Journey into Space 

This year, on 20th July, we will mark 30 years since the first moon landings. This is probably still the most famous of all journeys in science.  

The first man to take a step on the moon, Neil Armstrong, said it was ‘one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind’. This could not be more true! Not only is the journey to the moon in itself a huge feat, space travel has also left us with some items you may not be able to live without. Due to the extremely hostile environment of space, there are many problems when making the journey there and back safely. As a result, there are many inventions that have offered solutions to these problems. Some of them even find their way into our own lives. 

Real life examples of space technology 

 

Memory Foam: was first developed in 1966 and was initially used in seats to protect astronauts from the effects of G-Force. 

 

Baby formula: many commercially available baby formulas contain nutritional enrichment ingredients which were originally intended for long-duration space travel. 

 

Camera phones: Despite their ever-changing looks, 1/3 of all camera phones use the same technology that was developed in the 1990s. It was created to solve the problem of having a camera small enough to fit on spacecraft, with scientific quality. 

 

Nike Air trainers: came into being thanks to suit construction technology developed by NASA. 

Next time you take a journey, think about the science behind that journey and how it may have just given us something that we now couldn’t live without. 

Company Values – Respect

Respect and dignity – value every person

Respect is something that we all expect. This is the same whether it is from our work colleagues, students, or our family and friends. However, time and time again it seems that respect is forgotten by those around us. It could be as simple as forgetting to say please or thank you, or not listening when someone else is speaking. We respect those we teach and value every person, not just for what they are saying, but for who they are as well.

Everyone we come into contact with is treated with dignity and respect. We don’t judge on size, age, race and religion. We treat everyone as equal and respect what they have to say and who they are.

Respect all customers and students through our service

We at Spark Academy make sure that everyone has a voice and are all listened to, whether it is parents in consultations or children so they can keep building on their progress. We value the students’ opinions and responses in the classroom. Also, we encourage the other members of the group to show respect by listening to what others have to say. We promote these values throughout all of our lessons, as well as upholding them in our daily lives.

Fairtrade Fortnight

What is Fairtrade Fortnight?

25 February – 10 March 2019 

 

This event happens every year to celebrate the people who grow our food. These are the people who live in the poorest countries of the world and are often exploited and poorly paid. This year the big focus is on the people especially the women. These are the women who grow the cocoa in the chocolate that we enjoy.  

 

 

How much money do you think she deserves?

Currently most cocoa farmers are living on 74p a day. Can you imagine living on that amount of money to feed you children? It is £1.86 that each of these farmers needs to earn a day to achieve a living income.  When you are buying your chocolate or cocoa look for the Fairtrade label to help these farmers achieve this living wage. This doesn’t solve all the problems, but it does mean the farmers can sell the product at a decent price and therefore increasing their income.  

 

What is a Living Income?

A living income means enough money to live a simple but dignified life. These farmers want to be able to pay for essentials such as clothing, medicine and school. We believe this is not a luxury but a human right! 

 

What do we do at Spark?

Here at Spark Academy when possible we like to buy fair trade products such as Fairtrade coffee, Fairtrade tea bags, Fairtrade bananas and when it is needed after a long day of teaching – the essential Fairtrade chocolate bar. The next time you are out and about doing your weekly shop, look out for those Fairtrade products that you could swap for and think of the difference you will be making. In lessons such as Primary English we have looked at a Fairtrade non-fiction reading comprehension. The children have had to read the text carefully to be able to answer the questions. They also enjoyed reading the leaflet, locating key information and producing a Fairtrade poster. We believe at Spark that learning should be relevant, kept up to date with ongoing issues and promoting compassion, humanity and kindness which are just some of our Six Core Values.