Seven character traits of a successful student

Seven character traits of a successful student

Growth mindset Improving attainment Mentoring Post 16 Private tutors What's new? Young people

No one student is alike, some students get good grades and others don’t. Perhaps some students operate with more integrity than others or perhaps some are greater leaders than others. It could be that some children are more passionate and proud and want to make a difference in the world. We are all individuals with different strengths.

Caretakers and teachers are often seen as role models by young people. With no support structure in place to help young people achieve their instinctive goals, their dreams are lost and become embers of a distant fire. But, what if we gave them enough support and stimulated them in the right direction? What if we gave them the skills and the know-how to be able to achieve their ambitions? Amongst most young people are leaders, influencers and change-makers. Successful young people are usually hardworking and ambitious and most of all they want to excel further in life.

Certain qualities can make it easier for young people to learn and grow within their own potential. Investing time and effort in young people can help them realise their qualities and build their confidence, an important factor in determining their future career path.

We have listed seven influential characteristics of a successful student which could help them benefit from the many advantages of private tutoring.

Determination
A mentor or tutor can help you prepare for exams, consider potential future choices and how to deal with the unexpected. They help you develop life skills like determination, self confidence and mindfulness. They will also help you to have the strength to be able to swim upstream and dig your heels into whatever it is that is laid in front of you and help you identify potential procrastination habits and how to avoid them.

Self – Leadership
Looking within yourself is probably one of the most difficult things any human being can do. Before being able to become a leader in the real world you must be able to lead yourself. You need to have enough confidence to pull yourself into gear and get going on the tasks set before you.  You are the one that will decide on how you will handle and behave in certain situations and your attitude towards it. How you will deal with your successes and losses. Seeing the bigger picture of where you are headed in life and working towards your goals on a daily basis can help you lead your way through life. To stand with both two feet on the ground, knowing who you are at all times is vital in a world with so much competition.

Active participant
Be curious and ask questions if you do not understand a concept. It could result in approaching the topic from a different angle or answering a question everyone was wondering about but not prepared to ask. Your teacher and peers might be appreciative of that! Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question and there is no such thing as asking too many questions in class! A distant alarm bell goes off in our minds as we somehow remember these statements. The main point of being an active participant is to really listen and pay attention.

Self -Motivation
Being and staying motivated is one of the most difficult traits to maintain. As a student gets older, there will no longer be instruction and guidance from a teacher or tutor watching over them giving them homework deadlines. Students will need to set their own time-specific goals. Putting focus into moving forward towards goals on a daily basis shows internal motivation. This goes hand in hand with being a successful student, not only during student life but also in the future. Making a conscious decision to switch off from all distractions and focus on the main subject during lectures and tutoring times is vital. If you do not have good listening skills you will not be able to participate and communicate effectively with peers during tutoring and socializing.

Resilience
‘I get knocked down, but I get up again, you are never gonna keep me down.’ Remember this song? Sure you do. With so much going on in an ever-changing and influential world of young people, it is common that one’s self-confidence can take a knock at times. Many youngsters also experience personal challenges on the home front and this more often than not has an effect on their schooling and social development.

Self – Belief
So many characteristics begin with Self. It is important that young people are stimulated and guided towards finding their inner self and believing that they are capable of anything they put their mind to. If you want it, you can get it. As long as you stay focused and determined and maintain a growth mindset, you will always reach certain goals that you have yet to achieve.

Time Management
Whilst growing up and progressing through your school career, you will start managing your own time and setting deadlines to complete goals. This allows you to start taking responsibility for your own progress in life as you realise once again that only you can make a difference in this world and in your own world. Managing your own time is an important management skill you will need to learn for the career place. Being timeous with your school activities and tasks teaches you a sense of responsibility, a great trait you will need to possess in your future career.

Meeting with a mentor or tutor on a regular basis can help to build confidence and determination to reach your goals and aspirations. Tutors and Mentors who have real-life experiences can guide young children in the right direction when they are faced with difficult choices or situations. Character building is the basic foundation and building blocks of life.

The GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise that tackles educational inequality and improves social mobility. We run an after-school tutoring programme that aims to help young people between the ages of 11-16.  Our programme also includes mentoring and enrichment activities with the aim to help young people prepare for their exams, improve their grades and gain access to the most selective universities and competitive careers. To stay up to date and find out more about our courses and workshops, subscribe to our newsletter.

 

Ways you or a tutor can help your child excel without being pushy

Ways you or a tutor can help your child excel without being pushy

Improving attainment Mentoring What's new? Young people

As parents, carers and teachers, we all know and understand that children have different mindsets, learning abilities and motivation levels which we need to consider and support when it comes to education. It is very important that we do this without demanding too much of them. Nowadays it is thought that 5 good GCSE’s are required to give your child access to a good university, and providing your child an edge is considered by many as the answer.

Most parents will admit that they have been pushy at some point or another. Some might confess that despite their best efforts they’ve seen no change in their child’s behaviour or attitude towards a certain matter.  Being pushy generally leads to negative attitudes, rebellion and puts the child under enormous pressure and lowers self-esteem. Demanding extra hours of study when a child is tired or pushing for extra study time over weekends are both examples of being over demanding. Another example is insisting that homework is done on a Friday afternoon, especially after your child had a long and challenging week at school.  A rested brain will be able to take in more information, whereas an over-tired brain will not be able to take in any more information due to information overload.

Parenting does not come with a textbook, especially considering no two children are ever the same. Parents must often rely on trial and error to establish which methods are the most effective when it comes to communicating effectively with their children.  

We have a few ideas that you might want to consider if you would like to give your child a bit of extra motivation to excel in whatever they take on.

 

Knowing your child’s intelligence:
Dr Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard University, developed a theory called ‘Multiple Intelligence”.  His theory suggests that there are 9 different types of intelligence that accounts for a broader range of human potential.  Perhaps knowing your child’s type of intelligence will help you distinguish from which angle to approach your child. According to his theory, the intelligence categories are:

  • Verbal-linguistic intelligence – someone who has good verbal skills
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence – someone who can think abstractly and conceptually
  • Spatial-visual intelligence – someone who can think in images and visualise accurately
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence  – someone who can control their body movements
  • Musical intelligence – someone who can compose and produce rhythm, pitch and timber
  • Interpersonal intelligence – someone who detects and responds appropriately to the moods of others
  • Intrapersonal – someone who is self-aware and who is connected with their inner feelings
  • Naturalist intelligence – someone who is able to recognize objects in nature and categorize them
  • Existential intelligence – someone who takes on deep questions about the existence of mankind.

Become more involved
In order to excel, a support system is needed.  The first person in line is you as a parent. Set aside a time each day or week and talk to your child about what tests or exams are coming up and if there are any subjects they feel they will need to pay extra attention to. Support homework and exams by drawing up tests or asking questions.  Try to be more involved with projects and functions. Provide the items necessary to get the homework done.  Your role is to provide support and guidance. Teach, coach, mentor! Stay away from telling them what to do.  Instead,  allow your child to show and explain what needs to be done, with you acknowledging and or making suggestions for improvement.

The importance of reading
Reading is the key to lifelong learning. A love for reading should be introduced to your child from a young age. Reading can be a fun activity. Do research on books that match your child’s interest and suggest them to your child. Another great method is to also read the book and make it a topic of conversation and express your opinions on characters and happenings in the book. Allow your child to suggest a  couple of books as well. This way you also set a good example and showing your child that reading can be fun. Reading will definitely improve their general knowledge and can also inspire them or spark a new idea.

Your attitude towards education.
Children are influenced by the opinions of that of their parents. Therefore, if you have a positive attitude towards education, your child is most likely to adopt that mindset too. If you regard a good education as important so will your child. Showing a positive interest can spark enthusiasm and lead them to the very important understanding that learning can be enjoyable and rewarding and in the end, well worth the efforts. Motivate them by giving them tips on how you used to study and how well it worked for you. Always have a ‘can do’ attitude when discussing subjects and exam related topics with your child.

Create a balance
It is very important to create and encourage a balance of active learning such as sports, music visits museums and socialises with friends as well as quiet learning such as reading and homework. Your child should not feel as if they have no time to socialise and have fun. They need to be able to distinguish between when it is time to relax and when the time has come to work.  Exam time can be a very challenging and stressful time for your child. Make sure your child is coping with the pressure. Sit down with your child and plan the preparation time for the exam together. This way you can ensure your child has a study guideline and that he won’t feel alone and pressurised and had ample time to prepare for exams.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve social mobility and help young people between the ages of 11-16 reach their dreams and aspirations.Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with our workshops, enrichment activities and our after-school tutoring programs and find out how GT Scholars can help your child excel in their school work and prepare for the GCSE exams.

Five skills you need to get that scholarship you’ve always wanted

Five skills you need to get that scholarship you’ve always wanted

Improving attainment University What's new? Young people

Getting into university is one thing, but being able to financially survive it is another matter. The gravity of the student loans and the increase in the cost of living at university is enough trouble to think about, adding the fact that it costs more now than what it used to, and with the current economic troubles, parents have suffered over the past years. However, getting a scholarship will allow you to study without the worry of acquiring large student debts and you will be able to graduate without the gloom of it over your positively bright horizon.

To get a scholarship, you first need to start with your research on which scholarship you are applying for. You need to do this at the earliest possible time so that you have more time to prepare what you need. Next, make sure that you are eligible for the scholarship you want to apply for. All your efforts in preparing for the scholarship application will go to waste if you find that you are not eligible for it in the first place. Then, be organised and keep your documents in one place. This will make it easier for you to track your requirements. You should also make sure you have the most recent information and documents. And last but not the least, never miss your deadlines.

While landing yourself a scholarship is no easy task, you can definitely arm yourself with the skills needed to get it. Here are a few of those skills that you can use to get the scholarship that you want.

Academic excellence
Even if you are applying for a sports or arts scholarship, your academic performance will be a determining factor for the approval of your scholarship. For most scholarships, there is a minimum grade to even be eligible to apply. To make your application stand out, make sure that you have a strong and longstanding academic record.

Leadership
There are many leadership development scholarships you can apply for. However, great leadership abilities will make you a good candidate for any scholarship. Being a leader would show that you are mature and capable of handling and delegating responsibilities, while also showing that you are honest, confident, and committed to any given task that you might face. If you find yourself lacking in leadership skills, you can get yourself a coach or mentor. Just as adults and senior business leaders invest in coaching sessions, you can also find a mentor or coach that can help you build yourself into a holistic leader.

Self-reliance
You can also set yourself apart from other applicants by focusing on your ability to be self-reliant. In your application, make sure to add details of your internship and work experience, highlighting that you are a responsible and committed person who can take on any task given to them. You can also include your letters of recommendation from your employers. This will prove that you are an applicant who is serious about your future and that you have the experience to show what you are capable of.

Service
If you have spent time volunteering and you have a passion for community work, then make that a highlight in your application. You can include a recommendation letter from the charities or organisations that you have worked with, and you can make your compassion the main point of your essay. Volunteering and community work show that you want to make a difference to the people and the world around you, which scholarship committees care a lot about too. You can even apply for scholarships that focus on the causes that you are passionate about.

Creativity
If you have more of a flair for the arts, then you can always go for an arts scholarship. If you are a musician, there are also plenty of scholarships for you. Make your talent work for you by making it stand out in your application. Remember that creativity is all about standing out and making an impact, so do it with your application. Make the review committee feel the intensity of your passion for art or music, and give them something that they would never forget.

Finally, when you apply for a scholarship, never let fear get in your way. You might think that the committees reviewing your applications are hard to please, stone-hearted people, but in fact they are just people like you. They just want to know if you have the talent and the capacity to be able to carry out what they represent. It is best to just simply be yourself and show them that you also have a heart that beats with a passion for what they stand for, and that you just want their help to better your education and fulfill your dreams.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people between the ages of 11 and 16. We are eager to help young people to achieve good grades, learn valuable skills and gain important insight to get the scholarship that they need. Contact us for more information and you can also have a look at our free to download  21 scholarships, bursaries and awards for young people to find out more about great scholarships opportunities for young people in England.

In The Know: Holiday Activities!

In The Know: Holiday Activities!

Improving attainment Post 16 What's new? Young people

The school holidays are almost upon us. Young people will get a chance to refresh and engage in other activities that are not academic in nature. With this in mind, we have put together a few activities that are both fun and educational.

Songwriting Competition: Future Music launched this competition for new and established songwriters. It’s designed to find the best songwriters in the UK and get their music heard or get them signed to music labels. The competition is open to everyone who resides in the UK and has additional categories for those younger than 18 years of age. Entry into the competition costs £10 per entry. Participants are required to state the nearest performance date to where they live, when submitting their entries. For more information, click here.

Thought Bubble Comic Art Competition: An art comic competition open to all writers and artists from all over the world. The competition includes a category for young people aged between 12 to 17 years of age and aims to discover new talent. The pages can be created using digital or analogue means and writer/artist teams are also allowed to enter the competition. The deadline for entry into the competition is Friday, 28th July and prizes include £200 worth of comics. For more information on this competition, click here.

Youth Grand Challenges Competition: This programme is part of the British Science Association, the CREST Awards. To take part, students must be between 11 and 19 years of age on the 31st of August. They must also be UK residents enrolled in full-time education and must undertake a CREST project within an eligible topic area. Individual entries to the competition are allowed for all categories except Discovery, which is only open to teams. The deadline for submissions is 26th September and there are various prizes to be won. For more information, click here.

The GT Scholars programme is an after-school programme for young people aged 11-16. Our goal is to help young people achieve excellent grades, get into top universities and enter competitive careers. We’ve still got a few spaces left for young people that want to join GT Scholars next term. If you’re interested, you’ll need to register your interest here or give us a call on 02088168066

In The Know: Opportunities for Young People to Improve their CVs

In The Know: Opportunities for Young People to Improve their CVs

Growth mindset Improving attainment In The Know What's new? Work experience

The competitive nature of the workplace of today, makes it imperative for young people to improve their chances of getting employed, as early as possible. With that in mind, we have put together some fun and educational activities for youngsters to engage in to improve their CVs or employment prospects:

 

Royal Airforce Cadets: This involves flying, target shooting, sports and adventure training. This opportunity is offered to young people between the ages of 13 and 17. Some squadrons may recruit throughout the year and do welcome visits twice a week during their Parade Nights. They also give the option of showing video of Air Cadet activities and respond to any questions parents or guardians may have. Read more about it here.

 

Young Journalists’ Academy: The Young Journalists’ Summer School is designed for students between the ages of 16 and 19, who live in the London area who want to pursue a career in journalism. Entry into this programme is free and the deadline for applications is the 23rd of June. Applicants must be available for interviews between 1-2 July 2017. The summer school will be conducted between Saturday 5 August to Saturday 12 August 2017. More information on the programme can be found here.

 

Youth Parliament Campaigns: For young people that want a career in public service, there is no discussion on freedom and rights that is complete without any mention of The Youth Parliament’s activities. The Youth Parliament, which has a total of 276 members aged from 11-18,  has debated on topics as wide ranging as Health Care, Votes at 16, Transport, Racism and Religious Discrimination, among others. To find out about current campaigns and how to become a part of this, please read here.

 

GT Scholars is an after-school programme that provides a tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme to young people aged 11-16. Our high impact courses, workshops and programmes give young people the strategies and skills they need to achieve their aspirations. To find out more about GT Scholars please get in touch and we will call you: www.gtscholars.org/register-your-interest

How we provide affordable private tutoring for children from low income homes

How we provide affordable private tutoring for children from low income homes

Improving attainment Narrowing the gap Private tuition What's new? Young people

Research from Sutton Trust’s shows that 42% of students in London have paid for private tutoring at some point in their academic careers. In addition to this, privately educated pupils are more than twice as likely to have received tutoring at some point in their academic lives compared to state educated pupils.

Research from the Education Endowment Foundation shows that tutoring can accelerate learning by up to 5 months within a year.  So why aren’t more young people from lower income homes making use of tutors? The reality is that high quality tutoring is simply not affordable. The average rate for tutoring in London about £30 per hour.

When we launched GT Scholars one of the first things we noticed was that there were more online search enquiries for private tuition from families from higher income homes than those from lower income homes. This was initially surprising as we couldn’t understand why we weren’t getting many more enquiries from families from low income homes.

Despite our relatively low costs and our offer of free places, the programme seemed to attract more people from higher income homes.It took us a while for us to see that many of our target market – parents of young people from lower income homes – were not looking for private home tutoring.

Their families were less likely to look for a tutor because tutoring can be expensive and from a parent’s point of view, particularly parents with a relatively low income – private tutoring was seen as risky especially if you don’t have the money or the right network to help you find or afford the right tutor.

When we discussed the search for a private tutor – many explained that they had stopped looking for a tutor because they believed there was no such thing as affordable private tutoring. It’s hard to justify paying a private tutor £40 per hour if you only earn £10/hour. We realised that many parents from lower income homes often saw private tutoring is a luxury that they just could not afford.

On the other hand, parents from wealthier homes, even those that that were already paying for private schools, saw private tutoring an essential part of learning that they cannot afford to miss out on.

Most people would agree that young people from low income homes should be able to access additional support through after-school tutoring – if they need it.

Over the past few years, we have found that that the best way to reach young people from low income homes is to reach them directly through their schools and offer free or low cost workshops and courses for parents to access additional support.

This gives parents a chance to meet us in person and understand some of the benefits of the programme and access support through our short courses and workshops when needed. We also encourage parents to sign up to our weekly newsletter ‘In the know’ which gives parents an idea of activities and opportunities that are available to their child.

There is no denying that private tutoring is here to stay. It’s a booming industry and becoming a way of life for many people especially those from higher income homes. The only way to make this fair is to offer some form of means-tested tuition including some free places – and this is the story of GT Scholars.

The GT Scholars programme is a not-for-profit after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme open to pupils in your school in Years 7 to 11. Pupils on the programme receive support from volunteer tutors from some of the top universities in London and volunteer mentors from top companies and organisations in London.

Parents pay means tested fees based on total household income and private tutoring fees range from £9 to £26. We use all 100% of our profits to ensure that 1 in 7 places are entirely free of charge to pupils from the lowest income groups. Our goal is to increase this to offer 1 in 3 free places by 2020.

The programme is entirely free of charge for schools to participate and we ensure that free places only go to young people from low income homes that have a genuine need for the programme.

If you work in a school in London and would like to know more about how the GT Scholars programme can benefit pupils in your school, contact us using the following link: www.gtscholars.org/contact-us

10 Free learning apps to learn everything from Geography to Human anatomy

10 Free learning apps to learn everything from Geography to Human anatomy

Improving attainment Resources What's new? Young people

We know that young people spend way too much time on their phones but did you know that there are a multitude of apps available online that could boost your child’s knowledge and understanding in Maths, English, Science and other subjects?

Young people have access to so much information online and this means that with the right amount of effort and motivation, many pupils could teach themselves or be tutored in any subject, just by using the right resources.

There’s a tonne of research that shows that young people learn more when they’re having fun and thanks to the wonderful world of technology and the internet, everyone’s learning online.  

We’ve put together a list of 10 of the top learning apps that make learning enjoyable and the best news is that they’re free!

  1. Gojimo

This is the UK’s top revision app for GCSE and A-Level. Not only does it have a massive bank of questions for all major subjects, it gives detailed explanations for the questions and you can track your progress, strengths and weaknesses and check off each topic as you master it.

  1. Learn World History

Learn world history from the beginnings of civilization! This Android app helps you learn hundreds of key events throughout world history with quizzes that test you on details and dates. With options for customising quizzes, this app is great for secondary school children all the way up to adults looking to brush up on their history knowledge.

  1. Essential Skeleton 4.0

Essential Skeleton is an iPad app that young people studying the human skeletal system should definitely download. The app puts a 3D skeleton on your iPad and you can then rotate the skeleton, zoom in and out, find out the names of each bone and more. It’s great for a range of ages as you can go into as much detail as you want.

  1. DoodleMaths

This app is perfect for ages 7-11 and can dramatically improve your child’s confidence and ability in maths. It works by identifying your child’s level, strengths and weaknesses, and gradually progressing them at the rate that’s right for them. Use it on your computer or on any device.

  1. World Map Atlas

World Map Atlas is a great Android app you can use to grow your geography knowledge. It has a wealth of information about all the countries in the world, such as the capital, the country flag, the languages and even the currency.

  1. Duolingo

Learning with Duolingo is fun and addictive. This app, available on Windows, Apple and Android, helps you learn a wide range of languages, from French and Spanish to Ukrainian and Vietnamese. The variety of speaking, listening and multiple choice activities keep it constantly new and exciting.

  1. Magic Piano

You can learn to play the piano on a phone or tablet, Apple or Android! With everything from Bruno Mars to Mozart, this nifty little magic piano guides you through playing a variety of tunes on its three keyboards, by following beams of light with your fingers.

  1. How to Draw

Enjoy learning how to draw with this easy to use Apple app. Video tutorials and step-by-step lessons will teach you how to faces, bodies, flowers and even cartoon characters. There are simple instructions for beginner drawings as well as more advanced tips for the more experienced artist!

  1. English Grammar – Learn & Quiz

Who knew English grammar was so interesting! This is an easy and fun new way to practice and learn English grammar. With a huge variety of tests and activities, you can choose between basic grammar to more advanced concepts, making it suitable for all ages.

  1. ▻Sudoku

A classic puzzle game that is sure to make your brain work! This Apple app enables you to seamlessly play endless amounts of Sudoku at your preferred difficulty, all while keeping track of your scores. This app makes it so much easier to improve your Sudoku skills, without the hassle of having to use a pen and lots of paper.

 

The GT Scholars Programme is a unique tutoring programme that gives young people aged 11-16, the support, strategies and skills that they need to reach their academic and career potential. We also take advantage of what the Internet has to offer and use online platforms to deliver effective online tutoring to our scholars. To get more information, click here.

12 tips to help young people build homework and study habits

12 tips to help young people build homework and study habits

Improving attainment Parents Resources What's new? Young people

It can be extremely stressful for the entire family when a child struggles to complete their homework or study for an exam. Fortunately, it does not have to be this way. Here are some tips to help you and your child successfully build productive habits that will benefit your child now and in the future.

  1. Turn off all distractions!

Young people are now growing up in the world of technology and it can sometimes be very difficult to escape it. When the TV is on, or they’re constantly checking their phone, it is impossible to concentrate fully on their work. So unless the computer is necessary for the task, turn off the electronics!

  1. Establish a routine

In order to create a habit, it is necessary to repeat the task habitually. Parents, try and serve dinner at the same time every night, so that the young people know when that is and can build a homework schedule around that. If the schedule changes from night to night, it will become easier to forget to do something as it is not ingrained in the daily routine.

  1. Have realistic expectations

As a parent, you must consider your child’s age and developmental level, ie don’t expect a 7-year old to be able to focus for a long period of time. Encourage them to take breaks, perhaps after completing a homework section and encourage them to learn what their capabilities are in terms of their concentration span.

  1. Designate specific areas for homework and studying

Choose a space in the house that can be a regular location for homework and studying, and make sure it is quiet for your child, without the distractions of other family members or the television. Keep study materials nearby and it will become a habit that when your child enters this space it is time to work.

  1. Organize study and homework projects

Help your child organise their assignments logically so that they do not get overwhelmed by the amount that they have to do. Create an exam study plan with them, and help them figure out what assignments need to be completed first. This ability to prioritise and organise tasks is vital for A-levels, university and beyond.

  1. Encourage your child to be responsible and work independently

Support your child in their homework, but do not be the taskmaster. Provide them with the tools they need to succeed – a quiet area, supplies, words of encouragement – but then allow them to do the work on their own. Young people need to develop the drive to complete the work independently, without a parent constantly pushing them.

  1. Studying is more than just doing homework assignments

It is important to instil in your child the desire to learn and understand the topics that they are studying, instead of just completing the tasks that are assigned to them. Encourage them to research the topic, read about it, ask questions, so that they grasp the whole concept instead of just the specific questions being asked.

  1. Help your child learn how to focus their mind

One of the hardest things to learn how to do, for adults and young people alike, is to focus on the task at hand and be able to shut out distractions, worries or other thoughts. Encourage your child to keep a ‘worry pad’ – if they are prone to getting distracted by their own thoughts, they can write them down and come back to them after they’ve finished studying.

  1. Use as much positive reinforcement as possible

Like all of us, young people want to hear that they are doing a good job and are able to do well in their upcoming test or exam. Whether it’s an actual reward, in the form of playtime or a treat, or simply encouraging words, it is so important to tell your child that you are proud of the effort they are making. They will in turn feel more confident and more driven to work harder.

  1. Find the right level of involvement in your child’s work.

There is a fine line between showing a keen interest in your child’s work and becoming a ‘helicopter parent’. If your child is clearly struggling with their studying or needs someone to ask them questions, then absolutely step in and help. If they just want you to finish their homework so it’s out of the way, then this is the time to hold back.

  1. Lead by example

If you make your child study while you yourself are watching tv, you can only expect your child to rebel. If you are not able to participate in your child’s work, then let your child see you working on something work-related or household-related. Young people are more likely to follow your actions than your advice!

  1. Try and find ‘fun’ ways for your child to study

If your child is really struggling to get engaged in their work, make an effort to help them try different approaches to studying, in the hope that something will grab their attention. Use flashcards, the internet or even friends (you have to be careful with this one!). Once your child finds something that works for them, it will be a tool they can use over and over again.

The GT Scholars programme helps ambitious young people improve their grades and build their confidence through a combination of tutoring sessions, mentoring sessions and enrichment days. To find out more, click here.

Would A Grammar School in Croydon Make A Difference To Your Child’s Life?

Would A Grammar School in Croydon Make A Difference To Your Child’s Life?

Improving attainment Narrowing the gap Social mobility What's new?

New Prime Minister, Theresa May, has sparked an enormous nationwide debate on a topic that is known to divide opinion intensely: grammar schools. The PM wishes to lift the current ban on opening new grammar schools, meaning that in just a few years, there could be a new crop of grammars opening to add to the 163 existing schools across England and Wales.

A new grammar school serving Croydon would certainly not be out of the question – but would a new grammar make a difference to your child’s life? How would it affect the local education provision, and is it a good idea to start streaming children based on ability once more? We took a look at the positives and negatives.

The pros of grammar schools

Firstly, grammar schools consistently perform very well in exam league tables – they deliver exceptional results because every class is populated by the best and brightest children within a certain area. In 2006, England’s existing grammar schools were responsible for half of the total number of As at A-Level, with some of the best results coming in subjects that are perceived to be harder.

Many also believe that grammar schools boost social mobility within low-income areas, allowing disadvantaged children access to a first-rate education. Most parents in the UK simply cannot afford to send their children to a private school, and grammar schools offer a convenient middle ground for families with high hopes for their bright children.

The cons of grammar schools

Unfortunately, the claim that grammar schools boost social mobility is completely unfounded. In fact, disadvantaged children are currently enormously underrepresented in grammar schools across the country, with research from the Sutton Trust showing that just 2.3% of grammar school students are eligible for free school meals (a marker of low-income families). This is in stark contrast to the 13% figure at non-grammar schools.

The 11-plus examination, which is the gateway to grammar school, is supposedly ‘tutor-proof’. But parents with more disposable income often bring in private tutors in order to coach and prepare their children specifically for this single exam. There are even dedicated 11-plus tutors who offer sessions geared entirely towards passing the test, rather than offering well-rounded and balanced revision or teaching.

The conclusion

The Trust for London and New Policy Institute’s London Poverty Profile has found that 24% of jobs in Croydon are low-paid, while 22% of employed residents are in low-paid work. The level of child poverty in Croydon is also worse than the national average, with 21.8% of children gauged to be living in poverty. Family homelessness is high, the borough is generally accepted to be a low-income area.

For us here at GT Scholars, this signals that the timing simply isn’t right for a grammar school in the area. Until grammar schools can be definitively proven to improve social mobility for those from low-income or disadvantaged backgrounds, it’s likely that a grammar school in our borough would simply alienate poor families and widen the gap between more affluent families and those struggling to get by.

Want to learn about our bid to ‘narrow the gap’ with a means-tested, non-discriminatory education programme for all children? Explore our site GT Scholars to discover more.