Facing change

This month we are, ahem, talking about a revolution currently happening in English and Maths


Your family’s long-term planning when it comes to education may well be (if it’s anything like ours) an ongoing debate of accounting for multiple outcomes. Maybe you came to the UAE with a three-year plan that went out the window seven years back now, and seems unlikely to raise its ugly head ever again. Or maybe the duration of your time here will soon be coming to a close, and it’s next steps that are on your mind.

Either way, while we’ve all been here enjoying our idyllic family lifestyle, overseas – and in the UK in particular – a quiet revolution has been rumbling, one that is changing the face of the English and Maths landscape that your child will perhaps soon return to face.

Over the past four years, large numbers of children have been required to re-sit their GCSE Maths and English exams, to meet stricter new specifications and grading systems. And with the UK government having recently invested £16million to encourage more learners to continue studying maths to Level 3, it’s a trend that’s not going anywhere fast. Simply put, this “English and Maths revolution” has forever altered the UK exam system, making it harder for students to get into colleges and universities. The question we all need to ask ourselves is how equipped our kids will be whenever it is that they head back into that environment. To get it wrong would clearly be a major mistake, but to get it right would be to give your children even more of an edge in a global higher education and jobs landscape that is becoming more competitive by the minute.

The good news? “We specialise in this – and have specialist English and Maths teachers at all levels,” says Simon Hetherington of Kip McGrath in Abu Dhabi. “Over the past 10 years, there has been a huge shift in opinion by employers, universities, professional bodies and training providers about the need for good grades and attainment in the two core subjects of English and Maths; particularly when setting entry requirements and criteria for higher education, professional qualifications and job opportunities.

“The earlier you start to take the English and Maths revolution seriously, the sooner you will find yourself on the road to a brighter future and one with more choices and possibilities. Kip McGrath have been helping students in these two key areas for over 40 years – we know what works!”

Back in the UK, the new legislation is having a hugely positive effect. In 2012, the government introduced The Phonics Screening Check for six year-olds, in which all Year 1 pupils read from a list of 40 words to their teacher. Currently, the expected standard is 32 correctly read words. In 2012, just 58 percent of kids hit that benchmark. This year, 81 percent of pupils passed. (And any pupils who don’t pass in Year 1 retake the Phonics Check in Year 2, when 92 percent of the now-seven-year-olds pass.)

This discipline allows all students, whatever their background, to achieve their real potential, and has seen an upwards shift of 8 percent in the results of 11 year-olds. While this summer’s implementation of the harder GCSEs in English and Maths has both raised standards and shrunk the previous gap in achievement between disadvantaged pupils and their more affluent peers by 9.3 percent and 7 percent for 11 year-olds and 16 year-olds respectively.

The change was crucial, with the artificial grade inflation that had existed pre-2010 having gradually resulted in – at best – a stagnation in standards. It was a situation that could not be allowed to continue.

Thankfully, the team at Kip McGrath are on hand to help your child navigate these stormy new waters, whether they will soon return to the UK, or somewhere else in the world, or will in fact live out the rest of their education right here in the UAE.

“All of our tutors are fully qualified teachers who know how to help boost your child’s confidence by making learning fun and engaging,” says Hetherington.

“Here at Kip McGrath, following a free educational assessment, a personalised learning programme is created that is just right for your child’s learning needs.

You’ll also be given regular progress reports and updates to track how your child is improving.”

Or, in other words, maybe it’s time to start talking about a revolution right now.

Prices for a personalised 80-minute session, including homework and regular feedback, range from Dhs200-250.
To find out how Kip McGrath can help your child reach their full learning potential, book a free assessment today at www.kipmcgrath.ae, email manager@kipmcgrath.ae or call 02 558 8505.

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