Keystone Tutors Blog

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Diana Stewart-Brown, head of Keystone’s Singapore office, considers why overseas parents are attracted to UK independent schools.

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Parents today take a more active interest in their children’s education than the generation or two that preceded them, so that it’s not unusual for those of us working in education to be asked our views on a “growth mindset” one day or the “outdatedness of the 19th century factory model of education” the next.

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The age old common entrance exam is still insisted upon by many of the UK’s independent schools for 11+ and 13+ entry. The 11+exams tends to comprise English, Maths and Science whilst the 13+ comprises of ten subjects (Maths, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, Religious Studies, Latin, French/Spanish/ German/Mandarin).

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What is it and why have many schools adopted it? The Cambridge Pre-U was launched in 2008 and is an equivalent course to the A Level studied in the final two years of school. It aims to offer more depth than the A Level and prepare students more appropriately for university.

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WHY is the Personal Statement important?  The personal statement is a 4,000 character (one page) document in which you have the opportunity to show admissions tutors that you are ideally suited to study your chosen course at undergraduate level. The lion’s share of a UCAS application is formulaic (e.g.

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At a glance, Eton’s 2017 Roll of King’s Scholars appears conventional; a list of the UK’s most notably successful prep-schools. Look more closely and one school sticks out like a sore thumb: Stanford OHS.

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Over the last decade, gaining entry to UK independent schools has become increasingly competitive. Below, Diana Stewart-Brown discusses some of the biggest factors.

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Choosing a prep-school in London is often a daunting process and whilst you likely have some fundamental pre-requisites set in stone, we have listed a few points below which you might not have considered.

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When Keystone offers advice on choosing schools, we aim to recommend schools which will best prepare a child for adult life, both academically and socially.

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Keystone's Director of Education shares his thoughts on making an effective revision plan.

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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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The English Literature Admissions Test needn’t be terrifying. In fact, it is simply testing a couple of skills that you’ve been cultivating since at least your GCSEs, and probably well before that: the skill of reading slowly, closely, and creatively, and the skill of writing with clarity, purpose, and insight. The ELAT is designed so that you can do well in it regardless of your prior knowledge. This isn’t an exam where you’ll show off how much you know.

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A brief summary of which subjects require aptitude tests is below but make sure to check on the Oxford and Cambridge University websites which will have the latest information as well as specific advice and recommendations.

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It’s that time of year again and here is some advice to help you to navigate GCSE results.

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We're delighted to support a new nature-based creative course launching this July.

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The wide variety of different schools can often be overwhelming and one of the toughest decisions is whether to opt for day or boarding. Listed below are five reasons why parents choose day schools instead of boarding schools.

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One topic often discussed in my conversations with parents is the impact of technology on family life.

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Parents often ask us which books their children should be reading. In some respects, it’s the wrong question to ask – are there any books children shouldn’t be reading? – but with children’s free-time seeming ever to shrink, there is certainly merit in searching out the best.

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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.

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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.

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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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NB: Correct at time of writing. Details may be subject to change. 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.

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This is a striking piece of poetry. Nine books and a good 6,000 lines of poetry into his epic, Virgil breaks from the narrative to address the audience directly and tells us that his work will be read for as long as the Roman Empire lasts.

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‘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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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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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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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.

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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.

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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".

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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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In the press

Knight Frank
Ed Richardson
Times Educational Supplement
The West Journal