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Help Boost Your Child's English & Maths with MagiKats

Are you one of those parents who has been quietly mulling over the comments made either in your child’s report at the end of last term or at the parent teacher meetings you recently attended?

Are you, perhaps slowly, coming to the conclusion that your child needs additional help, probably in Maths or English, although for the older child studying for GCSEs or A levels you might be considering specific subject tuition?

Finding a tutor, either where the tutor teaches each child on an individual basis or in small groups, can be a daunting prospect. Whilst the financial commitment (one-to -one tutors in the South East often charge in excess of £30 an hour)is significant, finding the right programme of study for your child led by a tutor who both you and your child find sympathetic can be far more difficult and emotionally draining.

Firstly, you will need to identify whether you are looking for an intensive “quick fix” solution addressing some very specific needs within a limited time frame or whether your child will need consistent help over a longer period, perhaps initially targeted at specific weaknesses that you or your child’s teachers have identified. If it is the former, and particularly if your child needs help for a specific exam, then you probably need to consider one-to-one tuition, or perhaps your child has a friend who needs similar support and you could share the cost (and the travel to and from the tutor’s home!) with another parent?

If you decide that you are seeking long term support the financial commitment of individual tuition will be significant; an attractive option in such cases is finding a tutor who offers group tuition at a study centre in your area.

Study centres will normally set your child short assignments to complete at home as well as weekly workshops where your child has the opportunity to study with other children of similar age. You will normally be asked to mark the assignments so that your child can receive immediate feedback and, whilst this can seem onerous (or perhaps intimidating if you feel your own skills in the subject are lacking!), it does mean that you are able to monitor the work your child is being asked to undertake without your child feeling you are interfering. The workshops allow group/partner work to take place and remove the pressure that some children feel in a one-to-one situation. A good centre will not feel like school and will offer resources at workshops which support your child’s learning through all three recognised styles (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic) whilst putting together a programme which is specifically aimed at your child’s needs. Such centres are often part of a larger organisation which has been operating for many years and provides a wealth of experience and material (for example worksheets) to for its centre owners to draw on as well as established revision and holiday programmes.

MagiKats Maths and English is one such organisation. Established in 2004 by a team of experienced educators, the first MagiKats Tuition Centres opened in Surrey and quickly expanded to other parts of the UK via a network of local centre owners. Each centre owner has been selected by the originators of the programme to offer the most effective service possible in their local area. Some centre owners come from a teaching background and others from industry. What they all have in common, however, is the drive to help children in their local area to achieve their full potential. They all attend an initial training programme where the programme originators pass on their experience and tips for working with each individual child. They then receive on-going support and all materials they need to be able to support children from pre-school, right up to GCSE. Students in their local Tuition Centre then attend a weekly workshop, which is backed-up with a core skills programme. In the workshops, they complete a range of worksheets and hands-on activities, all designed to improve the individual child’s skills and help them develop crucial thinking and problem solving skills – skills which they can then apply in their school subjects and through to everyday life. More than a tutor would provide, more than just worksheets could offer, MagiKats’ unique approach means every child, from the gifted and talented through to those with special needs can benefit from the MagiKats approach to English and maths tuition.

Once you have decided on the type of tuition which will suit your child’s needs best you will have to find the best person to provide it. An internet search will bring up many websites where tutors and study centres offer their services and some of these have reviews by students (which of course have to be treated as you would reviews on a travel website or similar). Some tutors advertise in local papers and newsagents windows or you could ask other parents and teachers at your child’s school for recommendations. It is essential that you and your child meet with the tutor (sometimes at a study centre this will be the Principal) and that there is empathy between you; communication is key and you should expect to receive regular feedback. It goes without saying that the safety of your child is paramount and you should always ensure that the tutor or staff at a study centre have undertaken the appropriate checks.