I would argue that English is the most important of all the subjects that your child will learn at school: their ability to read, write and to communicate effectively will impact on their learning in all their other classroom based lessons be the greatest influence on their enjoyment in school. Problems left untackled, can later on dictate (or at least restrict) future opportunities either choosing courses at college or in the working world.
Grammar and Punctuation
We cover the content required in the 'new' (and slightly controversial) curriculum. Many teachers view these skills very negatively and consider the SATs content to be little more than a ticklist which can be achieved in writing which lacks either depth or style. While I am very simpathetic to this view, I do see the grammatical content required as an opportunity to equip children with some excellent writing skills and consider it my role as a teacher to ensure that my students are able to use these so that they will be able to employ them to greater effect (that is with more finesse) as they mature as writers. An analogy would to be consider a carpenter's apprentice. While his ability to use a variety of tools does not in itself make him an excellent carpenter, it is true that without developing those skills he will never be one. However, as you would expect, we also consider what elements a good piece of writing contains in order to develop writing style and maximise the effect of these grammatical devices. Please click the following links to see what is deemed as 'meeting Age Related Expectations' and 'exceeding Age Related Expectations' so that you have an idea of what is expected of your child in school.
Of course, despite the government's priorities, a good command of written and spoken English requires far more than a series of grammatical devices. Our tuition reflects the learner's longer-term and life-long priorities as can be seen from the other areas of learning which it encompasses which we've explored below: vocabulary, handwriting and spelling.
Studies show the highly positive effect of a strong vocabulary on future prospects. Unlike the other areas of English learned in school, which for the most part are restricted to written language, a greater vocabulary is evident in speech and as such in all interactions. Each week we will look at ways we can increase the range of language your child is using in both writing and speech. While many teachers will simply recommend reading more in order to increase vocabulary range, this has obvious limitations for children who do not enjoy reading (or if they do, resist any materials of greater depth than Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Captain Underpants). We will therefore use other, more precise methods to significantly boost your child's active vocabulary each week.
We all know people who are reluctant to write, and often this is due to their emabarrassment at their own handwriting. Our opinion of our own handwriting seems for many to be a significant factor in our self-esteem, and sadly for many children this is established far too early on their academic journey. Our English tuition includes attention to handwriting for the children who need it.
The good news is that anyone can learn to write neatly, and bad handwriting can be a relatively quick fix if the learner is keen to improve. For those in greatest need from time to time we run workshops for parents, allowing you work at home with your child. It really isn't as tough as you think! However, if you lack confidence but want to accelerate your child's progress we can sometimes fit in further handwriting tuition to boost progress. You can learn more about our approach to handwriting here.
We will support your child with spelling if needed, focusing on:
Our emphasis is NOT on the (highly questionable) government lists which are probaly being sent to you for homework in Years 5 and 6. In our opinion, it is ridiculous to focus a child's learning efforts on words such as hindrence when they still cannot spell because! We understand why your child's school may need to do so, but we operate more freely and will focus on the words that are used most frequently and the rules which will have the greatest impact on your child's needs.
You can learn more about our approach to spelling here.