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.
In January, we welcome our ninth professional, salaried tutor to our team. Jonathan Gale was Head of Physics in the Science department at an Outstanding secondary school in Oxfordshire, where he was a colleague of Ed’s. He is a Physics devotee– he is a member of a Physics think tank along with lecturers from Oxford University – and when he is not teaching, he enjoys training for Triathlons.
You can read more about Jon on his profile: https://www.keystonetutors.com/tutors/2483-jon
We remain committed to being one of the UK’s only companies to offer full-time salaried positions to professional tutors, and hope to add a steady stream of the highest calibre professional tutors to our books this year.
Our online tutoring continues to grow in popularity. As we have written about elsewhere, online tutoring raises profound questions for an organisation like Keystone. Aren’t the most effective lessons predicated on the interaction of tutor and pupil in the same room? Aren’t students too easily distracted without their tutor sitting next to them?
Such questions will of course persist – and so they should. We have nevertheless been struck by a few trends that seem to be becoming increasingly pertinent each year.
- Online tutoring thrives on a traditional teacher a student relationship. Whilst many classrooms in the UK are becoming more ‘student-led’, tutoring is unashamedly ‘tutor-led.’ One of the reasons that tutoring is such powerful way to teach is that tutors are free to teach, untrammelled by the classroom necessities of group work and behavioural management. This experience is heightened in online lessons, when all a tutor has to rely on is the strength of his voice, facial expressions and materials.
- Online tutoring allows parents who live outside London to access experienced, professional tutoring. Last year, over 10% of our tutoring was delivered online. Much of this was to global cities, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, which have long esteemed the UK independent sector. However, much of it was to parents living outside London, in Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire, who found it hard to find good tutors near them.
- The technology is getting better. Every year, the voice and video gets clearer; online whiteboards get whizzier and ever more sophisticated tools become available.
The future of online tutoring is bright!
Last term we began our most concerted pro-bono programme to date, paying for three of our tutors to support primary school children in the borough of Westminster.
The programme is called “Kung Fu Maths”, and is coordinated by Amelia in our office and Charles Cassidy at Westminster Cathedral Choir School.
How does it work?
Keystone's tutors deliver one-to-one Maths tutoring free of charge, one evening a week, at WCCS, to pupils from local state schools.
Who attends these sessions?
Y3-Y6 pupils, of any ability, from state primary schools in the borough of Westminster are eligible.
We have been delighted with how the programme has started. It has been popular with both the primary school, who reported that pupils have been “very enthusiastic”, and the tutors themselves who have enjoyed teaching those who would not otherwise be able to afford their services.