Informing parents about their children's progress..

..is often a much overlooked part of the tutoring process. Parental involvement is essential if children are going to make good progress so, after each session an email report will be sent to give an overview of the work covered, and tutee's strengths and weaknesses. Materials may be attached or links given to any websites that would help pupils make progress. 

Here are some examples below: (names changed in some cases)

With the multiplication sheet Helen managed to get 40 / 42 in 5 mins. This would compare with an average of about  60 questions completed accurately for my current year 5 pupils. She also missed out questions for multiples she is not familiar with (e.g. 6’s and 8’s) which is quite unusual at this age. For the add/subtract sheet she was quicker completing 39 and 34 quite accurately. I am not sure how she would cope if they got harder as she was reliant on fingers though.

Her use of shortcuts to mentally speed up calculations was not well developed and school may not have done this with her (e.g. 39 - 13 pretend it’s 40 and adjust answer). I felt she has possibly had too little routine grounding in the basics generally.

We spent time looking through the various types of VR question in the green VR & Comprehension practice book. Techniques for answering (and narrowing down the possible answers) were practised. If these pages up to about page 18 can be filled in during the holidays and checked that would be great. (I can mark it if you prefer, it just takes time away in the lesson)

We also completed a short and quite hard Cloze test (choosing correct words in context) which Hattie did fairly well with 63% while speed was about average.

We will spend a couple more sessions on the VR and Comprehension and then move into the Maths areas during next term. Hope you have a lovely Easter.

After tackling a quick comprehension we then went on to look at some Maths work. Ratio and proportion work took Sam a while to work out but he seems to have got it now. We continued by also looking through some of the fractions decimals and percentages work up to page 15, although he was not overly confident this week.  Any more work that can be done in this book will help as I will be doing a general maths assessment soon, then probably moving back to Non verbal work for a couple of lessons.

Don’t forget topics like ‘fractions decimal and %’ can be found on the thegreatmartinicompany.com which gives good reinforcement. 

This week we looked at some mental Maths short-cuts to aid quick calculations and to try to improve Matthew’s ‘feel’ for numbers. They are written down on the sheet to help explain them but in practise Matthew would benefit from trying them just in his head. Even if some parts have to be written, it can often still be quicker than the formal written methods. Schools may teach some, none or all of these already; it varies a lot!



This week we went through some Grammar and words in the Green CGP VR-English book (for CEM test version). This included work on what are verbs, adverbs, adjectives, 'subject' of sentence e.t.c. Also correct use of Practice- Practise, Affect-Effect, Less-Fewer, Past-Passed, Is-Are-Am, Principle-Principal and other similar ones.

Thea seems fairly strong in this area so far, although some of his spelling was variable and they will need reinforcing. He also seemed to enjoy it more than the NVR!  If he has the book (it is useful)  he should try to finish some of the work which we  didn’t complete up to about page 10 to help reinforce it, taking note of where he struggles. A good look at the ‘plurals’ sheet (attached again if you can’t find it) would also help. 

Ben was pleased to be doing some algebra tonight! He thinks it is hard but in fact if he breaks it down he can easily get the right answer. We used simple examples to show how you can solve equations like:

Work out what x is below:

x – 3 = 7   (you add 3 to both sides)
x + 5= 9   (you take 5 from both sides)
2x    = 6   ( you halve both sides)
0.5x = 4   (you double both sides)
x + 9 = 19 (what do you do? Have a go)
x - 15 = (what do you do?  Have a go)

Laurie made a good start today completing an initial look at the first 4 types of VR question. He was generally quick (under 30 seconds on many questions which is the target) and picked up the techniques that will help him speed up well.  His vocabulary seems quite promising though he was unsure about the word BOND, and got confused by the word COD.

I enclose a reference guide explaining what each VR type is so you can follow and understand what question types we are doing. I will send you some good vocabulary lists later in the week.

I have been calculating age-adjusted scores from all the work done so far for all the pupils I teach in the 4 areas of English-VR, Comprehension, NVR and Maths.

Lauren’s  scores are:
English-VR  62%   Avg for Group 66 %
Compreh'    55%.  Avg for Group 60 %
NVR            80 %  Avg for Group 70 % 
Maths         90 %   Avg for Group 80 %  (based on only 1 test though)

This week we looked at Multiplication techniques and also Mult’/Division by factors of 10, including decimals. Amy uses a sort of extended column method for multiplying which she recalled fairly well but had no experience of how to multiply 2 digit numbers (e.g. 17 x 14). I did show her a method but it will need some reinforcing.Below is a summary of what Hattie did:

Comp': scored 8/12   (avg mark 6)
NVR    scored  13/20  (avg mark 15)
Cloze  scored   9/13   (avg mark 10)
Maths fraction:   82%  (avg mark 79)          

Ely went through part of a ‘Suffolk’ reading test which I thought would be interesting. It is a standard test which may provide some useful pointers as to where he stands. He recognises words well but does stumble when speaking them. Slowing down and breaking the word down into parts would help. He did recognise some quite hard words like accede, which was impressive.

We also made a start on how to structure writing and make it more interesting.  I attach a document that I showed him and could be useful.

Last night I moved into the more ‘numeric’ side of the work, curious to see how she would cope considering her CAT score. It was quite apparent that her ‘mental’ grasp of numbers is a little weak in places, although you have done a good job with her multiples. Keep on top of these so she retains them solidly.

Next you should practise 1 and 2 digit adding and subtracting mentally (e.g. 17-8, or 38 +14) as she relies too heavily on written techniques even for simple sums, and will have too little time in a test. I told her how to go about this. The ‘Martini’ website sent earlier would help. She also needs to check at the end of a sum whether the answer seems sensible.

The links to the websites she tried that may help Sam are:

multiplication.com games-flash cards .thegreatmartinicompany com-multiple flashcards

These may not work on an Apple type machine but you could try. Sadie needs this reinforcement, preferably daily, and seems to enjoy it.

Her grasp of numbers can at times seems superficial and answers random. If she slows down and thinks, perhaps imagining a number line, it should help. Thinking of real objects being added, taken away or cut up (fractions) rather than just numbers divorced from reality may help too. 

Tad went through some of the numeric types of questions and also ones involving the alphabet.  His sequence work was fine although he was unaware of the formal written technique in multiplication. (e.g. 24 x 354 written out fully). He also found mental manipulation of bigger numbers harder.  Tables (multiples) are improved, still caught out by 6x8, 7x8, 9x8 and their reverse. Not all quite quick enough yet but getting there.

+ x -  ÷  practice on greatmartini site would help.

Have a great Christmas. Well done to Tad for being such a good student. Very impressed with his maturity.



Should you wish to have a reference or speak to a customer that can be arranged too.