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.  

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.  

 

Eat that frog!

 

 

 

Imagine you have a job and that job was to eat frogs every day, how would you go about it? Which type of frog would you eat first? The smallest frog or the biggest frog?

Mark Twain famously wrote:

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do this first thing in the morning. If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What does this mean for students?

When prioritising your homework, studying and revision, it’s essential that you get the biggest, most daunting topics out of the way first. Eating that frog (the hardest and most undesirable task) first, will allow you to use most of your energy on tackling the difficult task as opposed to using it on easier tasks.

Many students will do the easy tasks first to get them out of the way, but a lot of research shows that the remainder of the study session run smoother when the frog is gone.

What happens if the frog is hard to swallow?

That’s where we come in! At Spark Academy, we are always here to help you swallow that frog and digest it better! Why not check out a Spark Vids, or look back at the notes we have provided? If you are still finding the frog difficult to swallow, make a note of the question and bring it to your next lesson with the tutor. We are always happy to help! Be proactive and utilise your teachers at Spark Academy!

Remember, your brains are not fixed at a certain intelligence. Your brains continue to grow through lots of practice and training.

So what are you waiting for? Take the leap and eat that frog!

10 Top Tips for Enjoying Reading

 

Why is reading so important?

It is a known fact and evidence backs this idea up that children who read for pleasure everyday do better in reading tests, have a wider range of vocabulary, increased knowledge of different cultures and better general knowledge. An enjoyment in reading is important to allow this to come to fruition.

 

What difference can parents/guardians make?

So much difference even if it is only to hear your child read a few pages a day whether they are in year 3 or year 6. Sharing books together builds a bond between children and parents/guardians. Just hearing stories helps a child to be exposed to rich and wide vocabulary. This helps the child to build their own vocabulary and greatly improves their listening skills. For new words that the child comes across a discussion can be had regarding the new word. As a parent/guardian it is important to play a role in the continued interest in books. Be that with visits to local books shops, libraries and introducing new authors. It is important to help children discover book that interest them and keep them engaged. Reading should be fun and not seen as a chore.

Some hints/tips for reading with children

Sharing books with children allows you to be part of the adventure, to experience it together. It allows you to ask questions, talk about the book together and discuss each other’s opinions. Sharing a book is a bonding experience and something nice to do together. You don’t have to take on the role of the child’s teacher instead just enjoy it!

  • As you read to your child bring the characters to life. Encourage you child to use character voices too.
  • Discuss the characters together, the events going on so the story comes alive.
  • Remember that your face says it all and so children will love it if you can use expression on your face to portray the character. You can encourage your child to do this as well.
  • Turn off the TV and put all other distractions to one side. This allows you both to concentrate on the book.
  • Try audio books – these can be listened to in the car, on computers or phones. It is a really good way for your child to build their understanding of stories and also improve their listening skills.
  • How long should we spend reading together? The most important thing to remember here is go with how long the child can pay attention for. We don’t want them to switch off and become bored. Many experts suggest a routine e.g. reading a bedtime story together.

10 top tips for enjoying reading:

  1. Make books part of family life.
  2. Join the local library.
  3. Match their interests.
  4. All reading is good (comics, magazines, leaflets)
  5. Get comfortable – snuggle under a blanket, make a special reading den, read on a bean bag/ cushion.
  6. Ask questions
  7. Read when ever you get the chance!
  8. Read again and again that favourite book or poem.
  9. Bed time stories are a great way to end the day.
  10. Rhyme and repetition are great ways to remember poems/books and makes you want to join in!

 

 

Further information

Advice on reading to your child http://www.wordsforlife.org.uk www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/pedagogy/b00192950/encouraging-reading-for-pleasure (guide for teachers, but contains plenty of relevant advice)
Phonics support http://www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/schools/phonics.aspx
Literacy Trust http://www.literacytrust.org.uk

Where to find your local library: http://Directgov:www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/YourlocalcouncilandCouncilTax/YourCommunity/DG_4018790
Find a local bookshop:http://www.booksellers.org.uk/bookshopsearch www.nationalbooktokens.com/stockists
Find a book online: http://www.amazon.co.uk www.bookfinder.com www.penguin.co.uk www.puffin.co.uk www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb
List of author pages:
Quentin Blake: http://www.quentinblake.com/en
Tony Bradman: http://www.tonybradman.com
Roald Dahl: http://www.roalddahl.com
Michael Rosen: http://www.michaelrosen.co.uk

 

Best wishes,

Celia Allan
Primary Expert
Spark Academy

Real Life Maths

Maths is everywhere!

Whether you hope to study biology, economics, sociology, psychology, physics or many other subjects, Mathematics is used all the time. You will need to solve numerous Maths problems, as part of your studies.

Shopping

Maths is all around you the minute you step into your local supermarket! You will pass through automatic doors and security scanners. None of these would exist without Maths. The bar codes on each product identify the product and manufacturer.

Cooking

Using Maths in cooking is unavoidable. One example is when you have to convert the proportions of a recipe for a certain amount of people to a different number. When you convert weights, for example grams to pounds, Mathematical calculations are used. Temperatures between Celsius and Fahrenheit may need converting also.

Buying A House

Buying property is one of the most important and practical examples of using Maths in everyday life. When you borrow money, you are presented with a repayment plan that accounts for interest rates, sometimes fixed, sometimes variable, depending on the length of your loan. If you borrow for ten, twenty or thirty years, the rate will differ. Mathematics is used to calculate how much you are going to pay overall, the amount you must save and the total you will have to repay.

DIY

If you are planning a Do-It-Yourself project you will need to use Maths. Whether you want to calculate the angles necessary to construct a partition or work out the number of tiles needed to decorate a bathroom. You need to know how to calculate angles and find the hypotenuse of a triangle and be at comfortable calculating surfaces in square meters and volumes in cubic meters.

Navigation

Nowadays, GPS receivers are found in so many cars and smartphones. Before all this technology came along, we had the compass, protractor, sextant and the astrolabe (hard to pronounce, I know)! It’s with triangulation that we can determine our distance from a fixed point, and direction of movement.

Logical Thinking

Away from the practical applications of Mathematics in your everyday life, there are holistic benefits of Mathematics are skills that can be used in all sorts of situations. If you can reason more effectively and remain consistent and precise in your thinking, there is a good chance that you will be able to make better decisions.

 

Did you find this blog post interesting? If you would like to join our Maths lessons, then feel free to contact us for a free trial: https://spark-academy.co.uk/contact/

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Katherine Wallis
Maths Teacher
Spark Academy

Back to school, back to Spark Academy!

With the summer holidays feeling like a distant memory, we are pleased to have our pupils back and rearing to go at Spark Academy!

There is certainly a buzz around our new and improved academic programme as well as the wonderful new additions to our team.

What can you expect from Spark this year?

 

 

We’ve been working really hard over the holidays to ensure that the new programme hits off to a successful start. We’ve been busy creating great resources for our students which include:

  • Revision booklets with plenty of worked examples and notes.
  • Differentiated worksheets (Spark Plus, Spark Pro and Spark Advanced) with increasingly challenging questions and an exam focus.
  • Folders with dividers that help our pupils to organise work effectively.
  • Bespoke video tutorials (Spark Vids).

The teachers have also been busy  meticulously planning exciting and engaging lessons to help all of our pupils maximise their potential!

Tell us more about the video tutorials!

 

 

Our bespoke video tutorials are made by our very own Spark Academy teachers to help our pupils even more outside of the lesson. As you can see, we take our work very seriously and we want our pupils to make as much progress as possible!

Sparkvids is our new platform for all of our pupils to access videos in Science, Maths and English (depending on the package signed up for). Sparkvids is ideal for pupils to have access to teaching at their own convenience and is also useful for:

  • School homework
  • School tests
  • Spark Academy homework
  • Revision & exams

We also have some neat exam hints and tips!

When will Sparkvids go live?

We are currently in the process of getting the videos and packages added onto our system and we will be going live in the next two weeks!

 

Stay sparkly!

 

 

Mital <3
Founder & Passionate Teacher
Spark Academy