Keystone Blog


30 December, 2015

In the primary phase of education, it is important that children secure the fundamentals. This truth especially holds for the fundamental topics in English and Maths, without which future academic progress is made significantly more difficult. Experienced primary tutors tell us that they are able to make the most progress when their pupils are expected to work on these fundamentals independently between tutorials.

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18 December, 2015

We recently wrote about how parents can best compare schools according to their academic merit. Of course, most parents will want to choose schools according to a broader range of merits than the purely academic. What should they do? A family conversation We would recommend that parents start by sitting down and contemplating a few fundamental questions.

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2 December, 2015

We are often asked by parents which League Table is the most trustworthy. Although we are firmly of the belief that a school cannot be judged on academics alone, we thought it might be helpful to answer some common questions regarding league tables in the post below. What is the most useful academic measure? The two most popular comparative measures are GCSE and A level results.

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12 November, 2015

As a Keystone Professional Tutor I spend a large amount of my time working with students on essay writing. The essay is a constant in the progression between different schools and university. And the skills it inculcates, I suggest, make the ultimate transition to adult life smoother than it might otherwise be.  First comes the prep school composition, to be honed for 11+ or 13+ exams: the description of a mysterious gentleman, or of a time when we were afraid.

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3 November, 2015

As a tutor I have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of students, but despite the differences between them I often encounter some of the same issues over and over again.

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23 October, 2015

The popularity of international schools around the world continues to grow at a staggering pace. According to the International School Consultancy Group the number of international schools could almost double over the next decade. This has led to big questions as to how these schools can source enough high quality teachers to meet the global demand.

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15 October, 2015

An increasing number of independent schools have recently put pre-tests in place, which has caused a flurry of panic among parents and children alike. These tests are purposefully designed with as little transparency as possible and no tutor or school can claim to have in depth knowledge or experience of the tests themselves, in their current form. There are three main types of pre-test: CEM, ISEB and UKiset.

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17 September, 2015

One scheme Oxford and Cambridge use to weed out weaker candidates is their complicated application process! If you don’t want to fall at the first fence, have a read of the below which outlines the most important steps. UCAS Application The UCAS deadline for Oxford and Cambridge is the 15th October, three months earlier than other universities. Aptitude tests At Oxford, the next stage of application for almost all courses is the aptitude test.

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9 September, 2015

Keystone was featured in this month's issue of the West Journal. The piece focussed on Keystone's recently launched Study Clubs.

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1 September, 2015

‘si quid mea carmina possunt,nulla dies umquam memori vos eximet aevo, dum domus Aeneae Capitoli immobile saxum accolet imperiumque pater Romanus habebit.’ Aeneid IX, 446-9 ‘If my poems have any power, no day will ever wipe you from Time’s memory, while Aeneas’ house still dwells on the immovable rock of the Capitol and the Father of Rome holds sway.’   This is a striking piece of poetry.

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13 August, 2015

‘What did you get?’ is a simple enough question but it is often loaded with anxiety and uncomfortable to answer. I remember my own A Level Results day well: My closest friends and I decided we’d meet at school to collect our results and then open them together.

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1 August, 2015

With the summer holidays in full swing, parents will be wanting to keep their children’s minds active, so as to stop the dreaded ‘summer slide’ in academic ability.  However, they may encounter problems.  It can be hard to know where to start when choosing a book; some children are reluctant readers; and others do read, but stay away from ‘the classics’.  With a little bit of effort from parents and tutors, however, these difficulties can be overcome.

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16 July, 2015

The summer ahead presents an excellent opportunity for those who have just finished their AS/A-Levels to think about the next step. UCAS requires applications to be completed by mid-January* and sixth formers will find their first term of the academic year saturated by careers advice and personal statements. University can be a fantastic experience and, in addition to a degree, will likely provide you with lifelong friends and the best environment in which to mature.

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26 June, 2015

Education can be defined as any experience or act that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual, or as the process by which society transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another. In this sense, education is the transmission of civilization - knowledge is passed on, continuously, and is available to bring the younger generations up to date in their formative years.

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5 June, 2015

The internet has once again been abuzz with a tricky Maths question (following the extremely challenging problem set in a Singaporean exam a few weeks ago). Today's question came from the Edexcel GCSE exam paper. The question and solution are below. Question: There are n sweets in a bag. 6 of the sweets are orange. The rest of the sweets are yellow. Hannah takes a random sweet from the bag. She eats the sweet. Hannah then takes at random another sweet from the bag.

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29 May, 2015

Boarding schools are exceptionally expensive, but if you are in the lucky position where it is an option, is it the right choice for your child? Each child is different and whilst some children thrive at boarding school, others loathe being away from home. Either outcome could have a lasting effect so sending your child away from home is something to consider carefully. We thought we would offer a brief overview of some of the advantages and disadvantages of boarding school.

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19 May, 2015

Scanning the education news last week, I was struck by a headline in the Guardian on reading: "Lost for words? How reading can teach children empathy".  As I am putting the finishing touches to a reading course to be launched next academic year, I plunged in.

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28 April, 2015

At this time of year, I am often asked where to find decent revision materials. My response is always the same: your child’s rucksack. Parents look at me confused: do I really think that their child has matured enough in the run-up to exams to have finally started making colourful, concise and comprehensive notes? Of course I don’t. Most of them have lost their folders or thrown them into bogs.

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22 April, 2015

Keystone director, Will Orr-Ewing contributed to an article in the latest copy of "The International View", Knight Frank's inhouse magazine. Click here to read the full article.

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14 April, 2015

Revision can be daunting and establishing a starting point is often a challenge at this time of year. The following article aims to provide ideas about where to start and how to approach revision with suggestions that can be immediately put into practice and will hopefully ease any revision concerns during the exam season.

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14 April, 2015

The internet has been abuzz with a Maths problem that has everyone stumped. It was set by the Singapore and Asian School Math Olympiads. The question (and solution) are below. Question: Albert and Bernard just became friends with Cheryl, and they want to know when her birthday is. Cheryl gives them a list of 10 possible dates.

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4 April, 2015

Keystone was mentioned in today's Sunday Telegraph article on tutoring in state schools. Keystone's low cost after school Latin classes were highlighted in the piece. Click here to read the full article.

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30 March, 2015

Easter is at a sharp approach and following this weekend students and parents may be feeling daunted by the exams ahead. An organised approach to revision is fundamental to success and I hope the following suggestions will help you in the run up to the summer exams. Time organisation A good revision timetable is crucial. Remember not to be overambitious; use realistic targets and increase the workload at your own rate.

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18 March, 2015

11+ and 13+ interviews for UK independent schools can be a daunting prospect. It is however easiest to look on an interview as just a question and answer session, the purpose of which is to tell someone who does not know you, a little more about you. The interviewer is not there to catch you out and there are rarely right or wrong answers.  Whilst we might not be able to alleviate your fears completely, we hope that the below advice will help make those 15 minutes go as well as possible.

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14 March, 2015

Keystone was featured in an article in the Spectator on tutoring. The article highlighted how selective Keystone is in choosing the tutors it represents. Click here to read the full article.

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3 March, 2015

Keystone was fortunate enough to be invited to hear the outgoing Headmaster of Eton, Tony Little, speak last week. To a packed house at the Royal Geographic Society, he delivered an excellent paper for the Old Etonian Association titled… “The New Etonian.” You can view a video of the lecture on the Eton website.

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19 February, 2015

I recently came across an article in which Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, claimed ‘Britain is still in denial about its Maths problem.’ Truss is amongst a wealth of other significant figures in government, education and public life, most notably Carol Vorderman, who have, in recent years, paid reference to the fact that UK students are falling behind their international peers when it comes to mathematical competence.

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15 February, 2015

Keystone Director, Will Orr-Ewing was quoted in today's Mail on Sunday. In the article Will commented on how changes to school admission procedures had led to a rise in demand for tutoring. 'One of the most important factors has been that Eton ripped up the system of giving priority to children registered at birth, and most independent schools followed suit,' he said, 'Now children apply to six, seven or eight schools.

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11 February, 2015

The Times today ran a piece on Keystone Director, Will Orr-Ewing's, speech at yesterday's National Tutoring Conference. During his speech Will explored the reasons behind the rise in tutoring. He observed, "Neither poor teaching nor bad schools were behind parental demand for tutoring". Instead he cited changes to school admissions processes (at schools such as Eton) as well as demographic changes in London. Click here to read further details of Will's speech.

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10 February, 2015

I was delighted to speak at The National Tutoring Conference today. I had been asked to comment on where the demand in UK for private tutoring had come from in the past 10 years, and started by pointing out that the market is now so broad and fragmented that my own observations were bound to be limited and were not necessarily representative of the UK tutoring market as a whole.

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3 February, 2015

The International Baccalaureate is now on offer at 194 schools across the UK, educating over 5000 students. The UK has happily ambled through the last half of a century with dreams that the A-Levels are the best assessment for eighteen year olds. Whilst most of us would have agreed, clearly others have been left wondering if there is a better option.

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27 January, 2015

Keystone was delighted to sponsor Politeia's Winter Address by Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan. Keystone has been a long standing supporter of Politeia's education programme which has been provoking expert discussion and generating wide ranging opinion on curriculum reform.

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24 January, 2015

Keystone founder, Will Orr-Ewing commented in today's Telegraph article on Easter Revision. Will emphasised the importance of taking a balanced approach. He commented, "Easter has become synonymous with exam revision, and families need a plan. Balance is best – it is counterproductive to give over the whole holiday to intensive revision camps." Click here to read the full article.

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21 January, 2015

It is a fact of living in a diverse city like London that it is home to both families of privilege and those of more modest means.  As a company, we were keen to make sure that we do not ignore those children for whom tutoring was not so easily affordable but who would nonetheless derive much benefit from it.

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9 January, 2015

It has been great to have the whole team back in the office, well rested and eager to get cracking in 2015. We were given an early spur by the launch of our new website, which Josh has been working on since the latter part of last year. As well as updating the site’s appearance and wording, we wanted to make the new site mobile- and tablet- friendly. We hope you all enjoy it!  This year will see a few exciting developments for Keystone.

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In the press

The West Journal