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Ash Tutors' Blog

Keep up to date with educational news, tips and resources from Ash Tutors!

Should kids be allowed mobile phones in schools?

Should kids be allowed mobile phones in schools? ​     Wow! That's a very big question relating to a very contentious issue, certainly for us teachers, but also, arguably for parents too. It's also somewhat topical, as I'm sure, like me, you've been unable to escape the 'Momo' hoax that has been doing the rounds over the past couple of weeks.  I don't know about where you live, but round our area, local schools have even been sending letters out to parents warning them of this horrific so-called game that our youngsters are apparently being coerced into playing. Of course, since then, it has been proven to be a total work of fi...888
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Why We Should Encourage the Next Generation of Coders

Why We Should Encourage the Next Generation of Coders   Is coding still a 'thing' in schools?   If you're anything like me, you'll probably be wondering what on earth coding is and why it seems to be so important in children's schooling nowadays?! Only the other day I saw a t-shirt advertised on Instagram (I know, right?! I'm well down with the kids!) and the slogan emblazoned on it read "Code Like A Girl." I'll be honest, after seeing the t-shirt I felt like I needed to perhaps pay a little more attention to what coding actually is and why it seems to be a 'thing' now, all of a sudden! Now you lucky people get to read the condensed...888
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How To Create A Totally Awesome Revision Timetable

Revision Timetable: How To Create A Totally Awesome Exam Revision Planner!     (From a GCSE English teacher) Revision Timetable Tricks of the Trade ​  Okay, so you're here because you're trying to revise for an exam, aren't you? Or, maybe you're the parent of a teenager trying to revise and you're at your wits end with it all?! Do not fear! Fret no more! I am here to help you create a totally awesome, free (and very effective) revision timetable that won't stress either of you out!  Now, I'll let you into a secret: revision is not all about spending every waking minute pouring over endless books on each of your G...888
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9 Best Handwriting Tips!

Handwriting Tips
9 Best Handwriting Tips! Handwriting Improvement For Kids ​If you're a parent who winces every time you look through your child's written work, then fear not! I have here the definitive guide for handwriting improvement for kids (and adults too!). Based on 20 years teaching kids how to practise and improve their handwriting, I noticed several common factors that can be fairly easily addressed. So whatever your child's handwriting style, grab my free infographic, jump straight into the handwriting practice and watch carefully which mistakes they are making. With a few tweaks and a guiding hand (no pun intended) your child can have better ...888
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Make Your Child Happy With Reading & Writing!

Make Your Child Happy With Reading & Writing!   -  New research from the NTL (National Literacy Trust) has established a link between literacy activity and good mental health. New research on children's mental health...  Yes, that's right, you read correctly! Reading and writing can actually make your child happy and improve their mental wellbeing. I know, it often feels like a chore encouraging your little one to read, and it only becomes even more challenging when they become teenagers and the worlds of technology and social media seemingly take over. But, new research has shown that it's actually worth persevering with t...888
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How to deal with the ‘Pulled Face’ - a parents’ guide

How to deal with the 'Pulled Face' - a parents' guide   "If the wind changes, your face will stick like that." by my mum. "When your dad comes home he'll give you something to sulk about." by my mum. "You can change that face right now!" by my mum. It cometh... I call on parents everywhere to join hands with me on this one. I'm not sure at what age it starts. I don't even know if it has a gender bias. But at some point through our journey of parenthood, this 'thing' emerged. It's like a creeping 'blob'. A creeping, oozing, growing lump that threatens to eat you all up - but stealthily, you know? It doesn't pounce . It's not a quick ...888
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Should I let my child use their device as a tool for learning or is it distracting?

Should I let my child use their device as a tool for learning or is it distracting?   For good? Or for evil?   It's tough, as parents, isn't it? From day one we have a tough deal, navigating our way through parenthood and being constantly bombarded with information on what we 'absolutely should'  and 'absolutely should not'  do with (and for) our children. I'd even go as far as to say parenting is getting harder nowadays, especially compared to when our parents were parents! Controversial statement, I know! (Parents of the older generation had family for advice - that's it. No social media, no forums, no Google.) But I say...888
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When To Get A Primary Maths Tutor For Your Child

When To Get A Primary Maths Tutor For Your Child   Maths can be a difficult subject for a child to understand from the onset. Some children may be slower than others in understanding the many abstract concepts that are used in maths. Hiring a Primary Maths Tutor might be something to consider from an early age so that any issues can be nipped in the bud. There are several signs to look out, or circumstances you may find yourself in which will give you an indication that your child may benefit from a primary maths tutor: 1. When there is little or no parental guidance... Parents have a lot of responsibilities that may overwhelm them leavi...888
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Why Is Private GCSE Tuition Important?

  Why Is Private GCSE Tuition Important? First of all, GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. They are qualification exams taken by most English students at the age of 14 to 16, and tend to be the main yardstick by which many prospective employers judge their future employees. They also form the basis upon which universities select students for their courses.  There are core compulsory subjects that students have to take. These are English, Maths and Science. GCSE students study a lot of subjects, some of which are optional, giving them a wider scope in their education. They also have to incl...888
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Teach Your Child To Read With Phonics - A 5-Step Parents' Guide

Teach Your Child How To Read Using Phonics - A 5-Step Guide For Parents

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION: The 'problem'

PART 1: What is 'phonics'?

PART 2: What does a phonics lesson look like?

 

PART 3: What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?

 

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Quick facts about dyspraxia

Quick facts about dyspraxia   First of all, do you know what dyspraxia is? Dyspraxia, also known as developmental coordination disorder (DCD), is a condition that affects physical co-ordination which causes those affected to perform less well than expected in daily activities for his or her age and appear to move clumsily. Dyspraxia is thought to be around three or four times more common in boys than girls, and the condition has also been seen to run in families. Dyspraxia does not affect intelligence, but it may make daily life more difficult. It can affect co-ordination skills – such as tasks requiring balance, playing sports and fine ...888
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Interesting facts about Halloween

Interesting facts about Halloween    As Halloween approaches, learn a little bit more about this interesting celebration. You might be surprised at what you find out! Just as Christmas is associated with the colours red and green, Halloween is accompanied by the colours orange and black. The reason being, black represents death and darkness while orange, the complete opposite on the colour spectrum, a vibrant colour, signifies courage and strength. However, that being said, orange could also signify the Autumn harvest which is the time of the Samhain festival. Halloween was, and in many places still is a festival of the dead. Indeed...888
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Dyslexia signs to look out for...

Dyslexia signs to look out for... Dyslexia is probably much more common than you would initially imagine, with an estimated 1 in 10 to 20 people in the UK having some degree of dyslexia. If you think your child might be one of them, then read on to find out which dyslexia signs to look out for... What is dyslexia?  Dyslexia is a "specific learning difficulty", which means it causes problems with certain abilities used for learning, such as reading and writing. While dyslexia is a neurological condition, intelligence isn't affected. Identifying dyslexia can be difficult because specific dyslexia signs are not always obvious and ...888
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Top tips for building reading skills

Top tips for building reading skills   Reading skills are among the most important and necessary learning skills, and as a parent, you have a huge impact on how quickly your child learns to read. Studies have shown that reading out loud to children on a regular basis produces significant gains in comprehension, vocabulary, and the understanding of words.  Reading opens up doors to a whole new world full of knowledge, adventure, culture and diversity. Here are 10 simple yet effective tips for building and improving your child's progress in reading, which will not only develop reading skills but also a curiosity and desire to lea...888
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Does your child struggle to make friends?

Does your child struggle to make friends?   If you are worried because your child is a bit of a loner and seems shy or reluctant to make friends, there are ways you can help and it's extremely beneficial too because as well as being fun, playing with friends is a way for young children to learn social skills. It needn't be a struggle! Many parents and child experts will agree that the key is taking small, modest steps which will encourage social interactions with other children without being too pushy. The aim is to give your child opportunities to experience beneficial social experiences that will leave them wanting more rather than fee...888
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How to build self-confidence in children

How to build self-confidence in children   Self-esteem is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child. This is a gift that will last from childhood throughout their adult life. Positivity and self-confidence help children try new challenges as well as deal with mistakes and try, try again! Read on to learn some ways to help build their confidence...  Here are 10 tips on how to raise a self-confident child: 1- Say less and let your child do more!  2- Don't get upset by your child's mistakes. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, professor of psychology encourages parents to make their own little mistakes on purpose. "Seeing you mess up an...888
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10 tips to prepare your child for secondary school

10 tips to prepare your child for secondary school   Moving up to Year 7 is a milestone in every child's life. I certainly remember my last day at primary school and the first at secondary! The summer holidays in-between were a long run up to the great unknown. These days the 'transition' is much carefully thought out, and it's highly likely your child will have made many trips to their chosen school already, engaged with staff and pupils, and even participated in several lesson. However, any change can still be traumatic, so with that in mind, here are 10 tips on how to help prepare your child for the transition from primary to secondar...888
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What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

  What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)? Section 20 of the Children and Families Act 2014 defines a child as having Special Educational Needs (SEN) if he or she...  ''(has)... a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.''  Or ''Their special educational needs may require extra or different provision in relation to thinking and understanding, as a result of physical or sensory difficulties, emotional or behavioural difficulties, difficulties with speech and language or how they relate to and behave with other people. Disabled children and young people may require extr...888
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10 reasons to hire a private tutor for your child

10 reasons to hire a private tutor for your child    Why hire a private tutor for your child? Here are 10 good reasons: The demand for private tuition is increasing, due mainly to the popularity of hiring a private tutor with parents who want to give their child extra support or prepare them for oncoming examinations. In no particular order, here are 10 reasons to hire a private tutor for your child. 1. C onfidence building Some children lack confidence in school and as a result, they can fall behind and find themselves struggling academically. Hiring a private tutor can build a child's confidence in next to no time and guide t...888
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When is it safe to leave your child home alone?

When is it safe to leave your child home alone?   Deciding when your child is ready to be left home alone (in a safe state!) is a decision not to be taken lightly.  There are a lot of factors to take into consideration and it's made all that harder because there are no rules or laws to follow.  The law doesn't say an age when you can leave a child on their own, but it's an offense to leave a child alone if it places them at risk. (Suitably vague!) It all boils down to how comfortable you and your child are with the idea as well as how adaptable and mature they are.  While there is no determined legal age to leave a ch...888
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What's the right age for your child's first email account?

What's the right age for your child's first email account?   What age is considered appropriate for a child to have their own email account?   A growing number of schools do offer pupils school e-mail accounts. Not usually in infant school, but as they move through the education system into junior school pupils are generally assigned a school e-mail address and password. Teachers can monitor and scan for bad language and harmful content. Any e-mail that causes concern will be forwarded to the designated teacher.  This works because it's an email within an 'enclosed network'. Using email across the entire worldwide web is a diff...888
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Screen time for kids: How much is too much?

Screen time for kids: How much is too much?   First of all, what exactly is screen time? Well, screen time is the time spent in front of a screen, such as watching programmes on television, using computers, playing video or hand-held computer games, using IPads and smartphones. From a very young age, kids can get addicted to IPads, and research has shown children as young as two spending excessive amounts of time on their IPads which in the short term can lead to sleep disorders, inability to concentrate, aggression and the inability to communicate with others.  But what about long term damage? Can excessive screen time cause perman...888
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What were classrooms like 100 years ago?

What were classrooms like 100 years ago?   ​ Just how different are today's classrooms compared to 100 years ago? One hundred years ago, children did go to school, but the classroom and lessons were very unfamiliar by today's standards. The 1870 Education Act was the very first piece of legislation to deal specifically with the provision of education in Britain. However, the act still did not make education for children compulsory. It was not until the Elementary Education Act of 1880 which finally made school attendance compulsory from the age of 5 until the age of 10. In 1893 compulsory education was also extended to blind and deaf chi...888
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The importance of learning homophones

The importance of learning homophones What are homophones? Homophones are those confusing little words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings and usually different spellings. While there are literally hundreds of homophones in the English language, below are 10 common examples. Once you've grasped the importance of learning homophones, you'll be a better reader and writer. You can see from some of the examples that some do have the same spelling but a completely different meaning! Homophones are without a doubt the reason why so many of us misspell words on a daily basis. I would personally say that to, too and two are the ho...888
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Homeschooling is on the increase

  Homeschooling is on the increase While there are no exact figures, it is estimated that there are around 75,000 home-schooled children in the UK and this figure is increasing every year. One of the reasons why the figures are estimated is because children who never start school are not likely to be reflected in the statistics. Even more surprising, is that although taking children out of school for holidays is illegal, despite having an otherwise good attendance, and despite the possible educational content that travel allows, it is perfectly legal to remove your child from school and teach them at home, without any teaching qualificat...888
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All you need to know about the 11-plus exam

All you need to know about the 11-plus exam   Have you ever wondered why despite many areas of the UK not using the eleven plus since the early 1970s there are still local authorities and private schools admitting pupils based on selection? It might surprise you to learn, there are even now, 165 remaining grammar schools in various parts of England and 70 in Northern Ireland (and many more independent schools), and so the eleven-plus examination continues to thrive. These days, the 11 Plus examination is taken by some pupils in their final year of primary school in order to get into their first choice grammar school. Private schools also...888
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10 ways to organise family life using Evernote

  10 ways to organise family life using Evernote So what exactly is Evernote? Well, some people will tell you that this tool is their digital brain! Others will tell you it's a cloud-based software tool which will keep all of your important things and store them in the cloud instead of locally on your mobile device or laptop (it can do that too of course). For both the professional and the casual, personal user Evernote is one of the best tools to help you stay organised. It will most certainly change the way you organise your personal day-to-day projects as well as business projects. Once you start with Evernote, you will probably find ...888
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10 Tips for Stress-free Homework

10 Tips for Stress-free Homework Do you have a tendency to hide when you see your children coming home from school with a bag full of homework? Rest assured you are in good company because it's a well-established fact that most parents dread homework nearly as much as children dislike it.  ​ Here are 10 simple tips and suggestions to help relieve the anguish of homework which you may not have thought of before. These suggestions will help establish a routine and make homework a positive experience, and stress-free! (For the whole family!) It's all in the prep... 1. Create an area just for homework. (My daughter's desk was the best presen...888
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How to get your children to do some chores!

How to get your children to do some chores!
How to get your children to do some chores!   Does this sound familiar? ''I'll do it later!'' or ''My friends don't have to. Why do I?'' Research shows "Children given household chores at an early age have higher self-esteem, are more responsible and have more self-reliant." HOORAY! However, as us parents know only too well, motivating or persuading a child to do a simple household chore can be a chore in itself, and often a 'nagging' scenario develops. So instead of the children using some clever delaying tactics, let's find some ways to make daily chores entertaining and fun. List of chores for children: This list of example chore...888
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Help Your Child To Learn Weekly Spellings

Help Your Child To Learn Weekly Spellings   Does your child have weekly spellings to learn? Chances are high that if they're still at primary school they will. And is it a source of great joy, or of great pain? :) If your heart sinks at the very thought of helping your child learn their weekly spellings, we have put together some fun games for you both. These will help support your child at home when they have spellings to learn. It's important to make spelling practice enjoyable and remember "little and often" is usually the best approach, that goes for kids struggling with spellings or those who pick them up quickly. While we wholehear...888
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