Keystone Tutors Blog

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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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Many parents are often stuck between choosing A-Levels or IB for their child. Here is a nifty table that clarifies the key differences.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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In the press

Knight Frank
Ed Richardson
Times Educational Supplement
The West Journal