What do we really mean by ‘tailored’?
February 12, 2018
Our Head of Education, Charlotte Gater, is passionate about Explore Learning’s mission to create Fearless Learners, just like everyone here is. We spoke to her about all the incredible ways we make sure we are meeting the individual needs of every one of our members.
Q: There are so many children who attend our centres – how can we possibly meet all their needs?
A: This is an excellent question – have you ever bumped into a teacher from 10+ years ago who somehow remembers your name? People who work with children all seem to have a superhuman memory when it comes to kids they have helped.
Managers are full time staff at our centres. They spend the morning doing so much more than the usual business admin – they are holding parents’ meetings, investigating the progress that members are making, attending trainings or planning trainings for the tutor team. Their whole day is spent getting to know families or organising the centre so that they provide families the best possible service, even before the children step through the door. Explore have always believed that the best way to create progress for children is to get to know them first, and we’ve built our business around this belief. The more we know about them, the better we can design a membership that will work for them. In practice, this means:
- Incredible tutors: We only hire tutors who are excited to get to know your children, who are passionate about helping them make progress and are driven to keep learning how to be a better educator. This means that they can adapt to whatever your child needs in their sessions and help them relax, learn, and enjoy themselves!
- Parent involvement: Starting right from the trial, before you are even a member, you help us to design your child’s initial membership, and help us improve it in each parents’ meeting you attend.
- The best tools: Our curriculum supports every child in achieving their personal learning goals. Our cutting-edge digital tools and traditional paper-based methods strike the perfect balance of interactive and tailored learning.
Q: Why does Explore use a 6:1 ratio? Wouldn’t I be getting more for my money with a 1:1 tutor?
A: This is a very logical deduction to make and we understand why parents might feel this way when they start out looking for tuition. It is also true that with a 6:1 ratio your child won’t have the tutor right next to them for the whole session. However, we are convinced that this helps our members create better academic and personal progress overall.
Children spend much more time learning maths and English outside our centres – normally in school – so we need the skills they develop here to help them everywhere they learn! This means that as well as helping them with the topics they find hard, it is equally important that we help children to learn in different environments. It may be easy for most of us to stay focused if you are 1:1 with a teacher in a library, but classrooms are much more exciting than that – for good reason! Children are much more likely to make progress if they can focus on their work without someone with them the whole time, as this gives them the chance to problem-solve difficult tasks themselves rather than giving up.
At Explore, we try to bridge the gap between school (where your child may have one teacher with up to 35 children) and having more personalised support – hence the 6:1 ratio. This means that our tutors can keep a close eye on your children while they are learning, but our members also learn skills vital for succeeding in school. Things like: how to stay focused on their work when you’re finding it hard, what to do when they need help but no-one is free and how to persevere when something is tough.
Educators have known for a while that children don’t become independent and confident learners by getting everything right all the time – they build confidence and progress by learning that if they keep using their mistakes to improve, they can tackle anything.
Q: But what if they are stuck and the tutor isn’t free?
A: Our tutors keep an eye out for anyone with their hand up (or who is looking puzzled). If they are already helping someone they will ask the child to use the skills they would in school: re-read the question, use a working out book to break it down, or have a think about what step 1 to solving the problem will be. Often the child can overcome their problem independently but once free, the tutor will check in and support as necessary or praise them for tackling the question independently.
Q: Tell me more about… SEND
A: “If you know one child with SEN… you know one child with SEN”
Children with additional needs are no different to any other child. What I mean by this is what works for one child may not work for another. It’s getting to know them that makes the difference! Our most powerful tool in getting it right for your child is you! Parents know their child best and your knowledge is invaluable. We welcome reports from school and other specialists to plan our part in helping your child fearlessly achieve their goals. If something is working, tell us and we will try and incorporate that into your child’s learning in the centre!
Our tutors are trained to understand what strategies and tools are most likely to support a child with SEND. Our on-screen learning tools are designed to support all learners with brilliant audio and visual features to engage. We are also well equipped with aids that they may use at school/home such as pencil grips, wobble cushions and tangle toys.
Uniquely, we provide opportunities for social progress if that is your child’s goal – members can play, relax and interact with other children in our Surf Club area. We run workshops which involve group work and our additional courses are great for developing social skills. We also have an Education Team at our head office who our centre managers can call for advice on how best to support your child.
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