Exams are back!

OFQUAL has announced the return of exams, how ready are your students.

Ofqual’s plans for GCSEs and A levels in 2022

1. Grades will be lower than in 2020, but higher than 2019

Ofqual announced today that grade distributions will be pitched at a midway point between pre-pandemic levels of 2019 and results in 2021.

They will be lower than both years when teacher assessment was used in 2020 and 2021 following the cancellation of exams, but higher than those for the 2019 cohort.

2. Ofqual aims to get back to pre-pandemic grading levels in two steps

Chief regulator Jo Saxton said Ofqual’s “aim is to return to a pre-pandemic grade profile”.

But she adds that “we don’t think it would be fair on 2022’s students to do it all in one go, given the disruption they have experienced”.

“We will aim, therefore, to return in broadly two steps.”

Dr Saxton says exam boards will use prior attainment data as a starting point to align subject standards, as in any other year, and that these will be based on an average of the 2019 and 2021 results for each subject.

3. No new top grade in 2023

Ofqual said there would be no new top grade at A level in 2023, with the aim instead to return grading distributions to pre-pandemic levels at this point.

Ofqual said there will be no grading scale changes in 2023. 

4. Exam mitigations for 2022

If exams do go ahead as planned, GCSE English literature, history, ancient history and geography students will have a choice of topics in their exam.

For other subjects where optionality is not available, students will have advance notice of exam topics to focus their revision by no later than 7 February 2022. In the event of further disruption to schooling caused by the pandemic, this information could be released earlier.

In GCSE maths, students will be provided with formulae sheets, and they will be able to use equation sheets in GCSE physics and combined science. 

The same adaptations will be available for GCSE maths and English language in the autumn series next year.

For students sitting the autumn series 2021, the grading standard will mirror the results profile of this summer. 

5. Teachers should think about 2019 results when predicting Ucas grades

Teachers are advised to use the 2019 grading profile when predicting Ucas university admissions grades this year – but to bump up borderline students to the higher grade.

“Teachers this term will be predicting the grades their students will receive in summer 2022 for use on their higher education applications,” Dr Saxton said.

6. Results days are back to normal

Results days will be held over two weeks as usual, with A-level results released on 18 August and GCSEs on 25 August. 

This year both set of exams results were announced in the space of three days in the same week.

Everything you wanted to know about IB

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a two-year curriculum for high-achieving high school students. The IB Diploma Programme is the most widely offered IB program in the United States. 945 high schools are authorized to use and teach the IB diploma curriculum.

Why should I consider the IB Programme?

International Baccalaureate programs are offered and recognized worldwide. The idea is that students in a variety of different countries will learn the same curriculum during high school. When it comes time for students to apply for college, institutes of higher education will know exactly what an applicant’s high school curriculum entailed. They’ll also know that the student has met college entry requirements.

Within the United States alone, over 1,600 colleges have policies that recognize the IB coursework that students completed in high school. For some institutions, qualifying grades on IB exams are enough to bestow college credit, while at other institutions, qualifying grades may not provide credit but may allow students to skip ahead past introductory-level classes.

Classes are offered at two levels: standard level (150 hours of instruction) and higher level (240 hours of instruction). In a given year, students must take three or four higher-level classes, and the remainder must be standard level. The classes generally cover the same material, but higher-level classes may delve deeper into some of the covered topics or include topics that are beyond the scope of a standard-level class. For example, Language A: Literature at the standard level covers 10 literary works, while the higher level covers 13.

In addition to taking classes from the six core subjects, students are also required to complete three other requirements:

  • The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a course that requires students to reflect on what it really means to learn, how we as a human race learn, and how we know what we know. It culminates in a verbal presentation and a 1,600-word essay.
  • The Extended Essay is a 4,000-word essay on a self-directed research project. Students have the freedom to choose a topic that interests them, provided it is related to one of the six core subject areas.
  • Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) is required but not graded. Students perform a variety of projects involving creative thinking, physical activity, and/or volunteer service. The IB curriculum intends for students to develop both inside and outside of school.

At the end of the school year students are subject to an exam period, during which they are tested over everything they’ve learned in each of their IB classes.

Exams are graded from 1 to 7, and exam grades for classes in the same subject area are averaged so that at the end of exams, students have a score ranging from 1-7 for each of the six subjects. These are added together to give an overall IB score. The TOK and the Extended Essay may add a combined 3 points to a student’s total score. The highest possible IB diploma score is 45, but students who earn at least 24 points, do not have any failing scores, complete the entire curriculum, and meet other eligibility requirements are granted an IB diploma. A score of 1 is a failing score; students with a 1 in any subject will not earn an IB diploma.

Does it make any difference in terms of university entrance?

The key element in a university application, is for the admissions tutor to be able to assess the level of academic attainment that the applicant has achieved to ensure that the university’s minimum criteria are met in the appropriate areas for a particular course of study.

The admissions tutor will also be seeking to understand how the applicant has grown in a wider sense and his or her developing attitudes towards independent learning, social responsibility, team work etc.

The beauty of the IB Diploma is that it covers all of these aspects and offers credit for them against clearly stated criteria for success in obtaining the diploma. Some argue that the IB Diploma requires the student to develop a stronger sense of time-management which is also considered good preparation for university study.

You can’t go past the most obvious point in the IB’s favour – the international aspect.

The IB Diploma Program is recognised by all leading universities, which instantly puts you on the world stage and contextualises your application.

Regardless of where you sit your IB exams, the results mean the same thing, and they’re understood by admissions officers.

However, it’s important to understand that recognition doesn’t necessary equate to value. and IB means more to US universities than it does to UK universities, so how much this “pro” weighs for you will depend on where you want to study.

Why BTECs are a great option.

BTEC qualifications are rising in popularity and increasing numbers of universities are accepting them. Their flexibility means that they can be studied alongside or instead of A-Levels and they adopt a more practical approach to learning.

But is BTEC right for you? Despite now having a small exam element, it’s still a great alternative to A-Levels.

From this September all schools and colleges in the UK are moving to a new BTEC Business specification – which includes a small exam element – in place of the old, exam-free specification. But is this new version still a genuine alternative to A-Levels? The answer is a definite “yes”. Even more so as the assessment criteria validates the quality better than ever before.

The new BTEC Business has only one formal exam, which accounts for just 11% of the final mark; in contrast, most A-Levels are 100% exam based.  So BTEC is still ideal for students who want an alternative to traditional exams. There are also two or three controlled/supervised assessments (depending on the size of BTEC you are studying) – these are assignments completed in three hours in the classroom using pre-released material. All the remaining units are assessed by the teachers through coursework, so it’s still very different from A-Levels.

How specialised do you want your studies to be? A-Level qualifications require a student to split their time between three different subjects; with BTEC Business, you can achieve an equivalent qualification through focusing on different areas of just one subject. You can take the 4-unit BTEC Business Extended Certificate (equal to one A-Level), 8-unit Diploma (two A-Levels) or 13-unit Extended Diploma (three A-Levels), and achieve the equivalent number of UCAS points.

Why else is BTEC a good alternative to A-Levels? A-Levels focus on academic theory and apply it to exam questions.  With BTEC, the theory is applied to real business situations, e.g. carrying out your own market research, looking at starting your business, organising an actual business event and developing a marketing campaign. The programme includes study trips to see how real businesses operate, which gives students a great opportunity to think about where they would like to work in the future.

While is it, without doubt, many schools are catching up on getting the right team members in place to effectively deliver BTECs, the style of learning is a great preparation for college and the work world due to its very practical knowledge application.

Many schools in the UK offer the BTEC Business Diploma (equal to two A-Levels) as a one-year intensive course. This is an exciting alternative to A-Level retakes or for students who want to change after one year of A-Levels but need a one-year course.  A Diploma is also an option for those looking for those extra UCAS points to get into a great university. Students (aged 16) can take the two-year Extended Diploma (equal to three A-Levels) and carry on at school with their friends even if traditional A Levels would not be a natural choice.

Often parents are worried that universities won’t accept BTEC.  In fact, over 95% of UK universities accept BTEC, particularly the Extended Diploma or Diploma with an A-Level (BTEC Plus). It is becoming more common for students doing BTECS to receive offers from Russell Group universities to study Law, Management, Politics and Economics. Universities recognise the range of skills that BTEC gives students, including independent research, time management, analysis and evaluation.

So if you are hard-working, motivated and looking for a genuine and internationally-respected alternative to A-Levels, BTEC Business could be the right solution for you. If you would like to talk about options and which schools offer them here, we are of course available to help guide you to make the right decisions.

University Entrance – the dreaded personal statement

The personal statement is a crucial part of university applications in the UK. It’s your chance to show what makes you unique, besides your birth name and UCAS ID. In just 4,000 characters you have to convince your chosen university that you are the best applicant, and that they should make you an offer immediately. These 4,000 characters are your only chance, so your personal statement needs to be good. Really good. Here are some tips on how to write a truly outstanding piece. At the end you should have said why you want to study this course, what led you to this decision and your achievements to date that evidence you as an achiever, team player and above all completer. (Remember the universities in the UK only get all their Government funding on your place if you actually complete the course and graduate). So where do you start?

1. Make a draft without a character counter.

Write freely, do not worry about the character counter, you are doing a draft and you will delete a lot of words and ideas on the second draft.

2. Take your time.

Do not rush it. A superb personal statement will not be ready in a couple of hours. Or even a couple of days. It took is likely to take more than a month to complete the best version. Sometimes it’s worth taking a break for a few days, then coming back to it afresh.

3. Find the perfect words and expressions.

It sounds more professional and elegant if you use ‘accomplish’ rather than ‘do’, or ‘presume’ rather than ‘think’, but try not to use too many fancy words as this could make your statement sound overdone and it will be difficult to read.

4. Concentrate on your strengths.

In these 4,000 characters you are trying to sell yourself to the university. A perfect product proposer is all about how great that thing is, and it’s the same with your personal statement. You should write about your experiences, your knowledge and your future plans. You should NOT write, “I wanted to learn Spanish but I gave it up after a week” or “I am not very good at maths, but I think this is understandable since I hate it so much.”

5. Find the perfect opening sentence.

Try starting with something interesting, unusual or surprising as will give a good first impression and make the admissions team want to read more as well as make it stand out. Just make sure it is relevant. You may be an award winner in some discipline and that is great, it might not be relevant to your course, but it will still show that you commit and work hard.

6. Make it your own work, voice and ideas.

Try not to read any other personal statements before writing the first few drafts of yours. It will simply give you a false idea. You are most definitely unique, and it is worthless to follow some set rules or patterns, or someone else’s ideas. After all, this is about you, not somebody else.

7. Be honest.

Do not write that you are fluent in Spanish if you can only say “I love you” in Spanish. Do not write that you are good at problem-solving if your sole example is a trick of carrying five bottles in one hand. If you are good, you are good the way you are. There is no need to create a false image, and indeed the truth will always come out sooner or later.

8. Get someone to proofread your statement.

Your parents, your teachers, your friends, your enemies… The more people you show it to, the more feedback you will get, and the better the final version will be. Of course, some advice will be better and some less so, but it is easier to ask many people first, and differentiate later.

9. Read it out loud many times.

It helped me a lot when I read my personal statement out to my family and friends. When you are writing it sentence by sentence, you might not realize that there is no cohesion between your paragraphs. But when you read it out, all the vague parts will magically appear, so you can correct them.

10. Once you submit your university application, stop reading it!

Waiting to hear from universities is the worst part of the whole process (even worse than completing the application form…). After you get the offer you wanted (which you will surely get!), you will know that your application was just perfect the way you sent it.

To sum up, be yourself and write honestly about your experiences. Use your own voice, because that is who you are, and the universities you are interested in. Most schools and many independent organisations will help you.

Why do students find maths difficult?

If you do a poll of students about difficult subjects not surprisingly, mathematics comes out on top of the difficulty chart. So what is it about math that makes it difficult? Have you ever wondered?

The thing that makes math difficult for many students is that it takes patience and persistence. For many students, math is not something that comes intuitively or automatically – it takes plenty of effort. It is a subject that sometimes requires students to devote lots and lots of time and energy.

This means, for many, the problem has little to do with brainpower; it is mostly a matter of staying power. And since students don’t make their own timelines when it comes to “getting it,” they can run out of time as the teacher moves on to the next topic.

Math and Brain Types

But there is also an element of brain-style in the big picture, according to many scientists. There will always be opposing views on any topic, and the process of human learning is subject to ongoing debate, just like any other topic. But many theorists believe that people are wired with different math comprehension skills.

According to some brain science scholars, logical, left brain thinkers tend to understand things in sequential bits, while artistic, intuitive, right-brainers are more global. They take in a lot of information at one time and let it “sink in.” So left-brain dominant students may grasp concepts quickly while right-brain dominant students don’t. To the right brain dominant student, that time-lapse can make them feel confused and behind.

Math as a Cumulative Discipline

Math know-how is cumulative, which means it works much like a stack of building blocks. You have to gain understanding in one area before you can effectively go on to “build upon” another area. Our first mathematical building blocks are established in primary school when we learn rules for addition and multiplication, and those first concepts comprise our foundation. The first stumbling block for many students starts here as maths transforms from visual to theoretical and for many the actual understanding of the value of number is still not consolidated.

The next building blocks come in middle school when students first learn about formulas and operations. This information has to sink in and become “firm” before students can move on to enlarge this framework of knowledge.

The big problem starts to appear sometime between middle school and high school because students very often move on to a new grade or new subject before they’re really ready. Students who earn a “C” in middle school have absorbed and understood about half of what they should, but they move on anyway. They move on or are moved on, because

  1. They think a C is good enough.
  2. Parents don’t realize that moving on without a full understanding poses a big problem for high school and college.
  3. Teachers don’t have time and energy enough to ensure that every single student understands every single concept.

So students move to the next level with a really shaky foundation. The outcome of any shaky foundation is that there will be a serious limitation when it comes to building and real potential for complete failure at some point.

The lesson here? Any student who receives a C in a math class should review heavily to make sure to pick up concepts they’ll need later. In fact, it is smart to hire a tutor to help you review any time you find that you’ve struggled in a math class!

Making Math Less Difficult

We have established a few things when it comes to math and difficulty:

  • Math seems difficult because it takes time and energy.
  • Many people don’t experience sufficient time to “get” math lessons, and they fall behind as the teacher moves on.
  • Many move on to study more complex concepts with a shaky foundation.
  • We often end up with a weak structure that is doomed to collapse at some point.

Although this may sound like bad news, it is really good news. The fix is pretty easy if we’re patient enough!

No matter where you are in your maths you can excel if you backtrack far enough to reinforce your foundation. You must fill in the holes with a deep understanding of the basic concepts you encountered in middle school math.

  • If you’re in middle school right now, do not attempt to move on until you understand pre-algebra concepts fully. Get a tutor if necessary.
  • If you’re in high school and struggling with math, download a middle school math syllabus or hire a tutor. Make sure you understand every single concept and activity that is covered in middle grades.
  • If you’re in college, backtrack all the way to basic math and work forward. This won’t take as long as it sounds. You can work forward through years of math in a week or two.

No matter where you start and where you struggle, you must make sure you acknowledge any weak spots in your foundation and fill the holes with practice and understanding!

Entrance Exams

Expert tips for entrance exam success

Applying to a new school that is educationally selective is daunting for parents and students. Always be careful to balance the pressure you put on your child, also please remember that while tutoring a child will ensure they have much needed exam skills and that they have brushed up on all areas of the curriculum, it does not mean they will be accepted and it does not make it the right school for your child.

1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Thoroughly research the schools you are applying to. Each school will have a slightly different entrance process and expectation. Most will test English and maths; many will also test reasoning (verbal, non-verbal or both).

Some will hold assessment days, which can come before or after the written exams, or even on the same day. Others will have a more formal interview process whilst some schools will base their decision entirely on the written exam.

Check registration deadlines and know when you have to apply you can usually do this on the school’s website. You may find that two schools that you are interested in hold their exams on the same day. In this case, get in touch with both schools to see if alternative arrangements can be made for your child to sit the exam. If that’s not possible, you will have to choose which school you prefer, as your child won’t be able to sit for both (And you don’t want to end up paying for two sets of registration fees unnecessarily!).

Check exam registration deadlines and know when, where & how you have to apply.

2. USE THE LITTLE & OFTEN APPROACH

When it comes to preparation, we recommend that you start in good time. In our experience, a ‘good’ time is usually one year in advance. However, this can vary from child to child. You may have to revisit certain topics again and again, and at different times during the year. Learning is not linear. Most children benefit from revisiting areas that they might have struggled with earlier. By taking time to gently reinforce, you will be building solid foundations without even realising it! It also ensures consistency and maintenance of the skills they have acquired.

If possible, try and avoid a sudden last minute dash in the final months leading up to the exams. This can create unnecessary pressure and tension for all the family. If this can’t be avoided, still try the little and often approach, breaking down areas of learning into bite-size chunks.

3. MIX IT UP AND KEEP IT FRESH

Similar to the principle of keeping things in manageable segments, it is important to introduce variety. For 7+ or 8+ maths for example, this could mean combining a traditional approach to learning times tables, with some written practice papers for application. Online games and apps can also be useful ways to introduce learning in an interactive yet equally beneficial way.

Practising exam questions is an essential part of the process but there are plenty of other ways to make the experience fun, engaging and interesting for children!

4. IDENTIFY THE GAPS

Strategically speaking, the exam preparation process is all about identifying gaps and addressing them. Your child may be in a school which prepares for entrance exams; therefore your current school will be addressing many of these issues. However, if you are unsure, ask your child’s teacher about the process, your child’s current level, and how they are coping.

If you are in a school that does not prepare its students for exams, or you feel your little one needs additional support, then you may need to start with a professional assessment to know which areas to target.

We work with many of children across this age group and are able to benchmark your child’s performance and give an opinion based on our professional experience of the children we have seen and supported. A Tutor assessment from us will give you a good indication of where your child currently sits, their strengths and weaknesses, and areas which need work. As well as an academic assessment, we also take into consideration a child’s approach to learning, their attitude and personality, in order to provide you with pointers on all areas that a school will ultimately be assessing.

5. SUPPORT YOUR CHILD

Try to get your children into a routine, so they know when they have to work and when they can relax.

Working with your child outside of school is important as it reinforces their formal learning and can positively extend and challenge them. It shows them that you are interested in their learning and support them. This must be kept in balance. The learning process then becomes more mindful. If you feel that you would like external support then engaging the services of a tutor for dedicated one on one support can really help. A good tutor will establish a productive teacher/pupil relationship, which sometimes a parent is unable to do, just by virtue of the fact they’re ‘mum’ or ‘dad’.

Tutors can also help if your child is struggling with a particular area or topic. One-on-one time can be used to explain topics more fully, and allow for targeted practice. For example, in maths, many children find fractions, algebra and multiple-step problems hard; whist in English, inference questions in comprehension papers and creative writing can prove challenging. This is not unusual! Mastering tricky areas like these can be where one-on-one tutoring can really help.

6. USE PRACTICE PAPERS

It is essential that you introduce your child to practice papers at the right time for them. Our specialist practice papers are a great resource, and you can choose how and when you use them. You can tackle them in sections to get to grips with certain disciplines, or you can use them as full timed ‘mock’ papers as a diagnostic, or to simply familiarise your child with the actual exam process.

In terms of timing, we recommend taking a first look during the summer preceding the exams and maybe doing a few questions to get a feel for the format and an understanding of the expected level. A whole paper in one sitting might be too overwhelming at first, but you will get a feel for what your child can accomplish. It is essential however, that your child knows what to expect, so they should be doing full papers on a regular basis and under timed conditions in the build-up to the exams.

APPROACHING TUTORING DIFFERENTLY

When I set up my business, I started with all the things that other businesses didn’t do. The key to success for me is to stand out, not fit in.

Tutoring companies across the world traditionally employ the cheapest staff because for them it is about making money. For me breaking even is important but more importantly I wanted to make a real difference to children’s education. So I started with the best teachers, paid the top rates and ensured each child only had the very best teacher to inspire and nurture their thirst for learning.

Other companies tie families into long and complicated contracts meaning the family can end up paying for lessons they don’t attend or may no longer need. I made flexibility the cornerstone of my business.

In many companies you are just a number, but for us every single child counts and we track and monitor progress carefully to ensure we meet and exceed the expectations that are set out. To us you become family and your success is our motivation.

Most importantly, we don’t give you any teacher, we match the best fit for your child’s needs and personality. We believe that while it may take longer to confirm a booking this match ensures your child will look forward to learning.

First Day Fears

Starting school can be exciting for young kids. It can also be scary. That’s true whether this is their first time going to school or they’re starting a new grade. And the change in routine can be very challenging for some kids. This year may be challenging for even more kids as they return to in-person school after a long time away from it.

What do young kids get most anxious about when it comes to starting school?

Kids can get anxious about lots of different things. It’s actually not uncommon at all, especially for kids with learning and thinking differences. Some kids’ are anxious about not going to see their summer friends as often. This means they’re going to have to re-establish connections with school friends which understandably many children stress about.

For some kids, the idea of taking the bus can also be an issue. For others, the prospect of meeting new teachers, particularly if they were attached to their previous class teacher and this is a real concern for your child. Still other kids might get anxious about whether or not they’ll have all the right clothes and supplies for school.

Most young children are creatures of habit and thrive on routines and schedules. Starting school changes what they’ve come to expect with their predictable lifestyle.

They may feel insecure about the school and classroom environments. There may be some who are anxious about something as simple as eating lunch at school or using a bathroom that they’re not familiar with.

How can I tell if my child is experiencing anxiety about starting school?

Many kids have a hard time recognizing when they’re anxious and putting those feelings into words. But your child’s behavior will give you hints. Learn to watch and recognize when your child seems out of sorts. Notice if your child is having trouble sleeping or seems more irritated by small things, or if you see any changes at mealtimes.

When they’re scared or nervous, they may actually feel sick or behave in ways that are not typical for them. That may be how they tell you something is bothering them.

Kids may verbalize their fears with questions that seek assurance. For example, some may ask, “Are you going to be able to stay with me?” “Will my teacher like me?” “Will I make friends?”

It’s also common to see physical symptoms of anxiety. Your child may have a stomachache, usually in the morning before school or in the evening before going to bed.

After the first month of school, your child should be less nervous and more comfortable with the school routine. However, if after a month your child still has intense anxiety about school, you may want to seek additional help and most schools have counsellors who will signpost you in how to handle this.

What can I say to help my child feel less anxious?

When talking about starting school, reassure your child that school is a fun and safe space. Offer a reminder that your child will get to meet new friends and participate in fun games and activities.

If possible, plan a visit to the school with your child. It can be helpful to take pictures of the school and classroom, as well as the adults your child will work with. You can show the pictures in the days and weeks leading up to school to help familiarize your child with this new environment.

Remember that kids can feed off of parents’ anxiety. Do your best to be calm and routine when preparing for back to school. Don’t make a big deal out of it.

Sometimes it’s helpful to talk about starting school. For instance, you can say things like: “I was talking to your friend’s mom, and she mentioned that your friend is looking forward to seeing you at school.”

But rather than talking, often it’s even more helpful to actually do things that can lessen anxiety. Make a checklist of things your child needs to have for the start of school. Together, you can check off each item as your child gets it to show progress. Plan a few upcoming weekend activities with summer friends or family for the first few weeks of school. Let your child know that the end of summer doesn’t mean the end of fun.

Let your child know that it’s normal to feel anxious about starting school. Acknowledging fears can be helpful. For example, you can try saying, “You may be feeling nervous or scared about starting school, and that’s OK. You can get through it, and I’m here to help.”

Reaching out to friends who may be in the same class and setting up playdates  prior to school starting can also help ease worries.

Motivating Reluctant Learners.

Reluctant learners need to be both challenged and supported if they are to develop the self-efficacy they need to take risks and succeed.

They avoid challenges, don’t complete tasks, and are satisfied to “just get by.” They are reluctant learners, who often have the potential to excel but don’t seem to care about achieving in school. Identifying the reasons behind these students’ reluctance to learn is integral to engaging their interest and helping them to succeed

Many reluctant students have received the message over time that they are poor students. As a result, they feel frustrated, inadequate, confused, or even ashamed. As they continue to receive negative feedback from teachers and parents, they have even less motivation to excel and become even more disengaged from academic tasks. This situation is a recipe for failure.


Students’ beliefs about their capability to accomplish meaningful tasks— known as self-efficacy—directly affect their motivation to learn. Those with high self-efficacy willingly approach learning, expend effort, persist in the face of challenges, and use strategies
effectively, while those with low self efficacy more typically avoid challenges, expend little effort, and give up, other beliefs that harm or hinder students’ self-efficacy include:

Lack of relevance. They may believe schoolwork is unimportant and does not relate to their life or interests.
Fear of failure. They may feel it is safer not to try than to try and risk failure or embarrassment.
Peer concern. They may opt to appear “cool” to their peers by not trying to learn.
Learning problems. They may find it difficult to keep pace with peers and simply give up in frustration.
Lack of challenge. Their apathy toward schoolwork may stem from assignments that are below their ability.
Desire for attention. They may be trying to gain the teacher’s attention and support by appearing helpless.
Emotional distress. Their lack of interest in schoolwork or ability to focus may actually be an indication of anxiety, distress, or depression.
Expression of anger. They may perform poorly in school as an act of rebellion against parental pressure to excel.

Many reluctant learners do not know how to study effectively, and little classroom time is spent helping them develop such skills. Along with teaching key
strategies such as time management and how to summarize reading material, teachers should help students focus on these skills by asking questions such as “What strategies did you use?” and “How much time did you spend working on this problem?”.

Encourage Reluctant Learners
Small things can make a big difference and classrooms can become places where
reluctant learners feel safe and are encouraged to take risks. For example,
teachers can:
■ Congratulate students regularly during each class on something they have
achieved;
■ Respond non-evaluatively by offering comments such as “That’s an interesting
way of looking at it”; or
■ Regularly acknowledge students for demonstrating improved effort or performance.


The reasons why a student is a reluctant learner are often complex, and educators need to consider not only the student in isolation but also the interaction between the student and
the school/classroom environment.

Reluctant learners need to be both challenged and supported. They need to be actively engaged by instructional approaches designed to maximize the possibilities for engagement. Finally, they need to feel safe enough to take the risks of participation instead of retreating from them. Obviously, in large classes and schools, this is extremely challenging, we have lost so many small primary schools where the teacher and the head teacher knew the family and the child personally. It is yet another challenge of the globalised economy that we all now live in. If the support can not be achieved in school then look at companies that can support with afterschool buddies that will engage, motivate and interact with your child to help build their self-efficacy and motivation.

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