Why should MY child have a tutor?


1. To sort the basics


The chances are, there is something that your child hasn’t quite grasped. It may be that they missed an introduction to something at school or just didn’t ‘get it’ when everyone else did and were too embarassed to ask. A good private tutor will devote quality time with your child to help them get to grips with something that might hold them back later down the line. Good basics will usually mean good progress. Who builds a building without a good foundation?

2. To solve specific problems


Along the learning journey your child may have found certain elements of learning problematic. The class teacher may not be aware of these learning issues but even if they are, unless your child has specific learning difficulties or is amongst the most able they are highly unlikely to get the quality time they need. A good private tutor will devote quality time with your child to help them get to grips with these issues.

3. To get focussed


School is full of distractions … what’s going on outside the window … other children chatting loudly … different things going on inside the classroom. It’s too easy for certain types of children to lose their concentration and if your child is one of those ‘types’ then they are at a disadvantage. An online platform with a tutor is a great place for your child to build resilience. Even for those children who naturally concentrate well, there are many fewer distractions! A good private tutor will devote quality time with your child and as they build rapport will enable your child to focus.

4. To boost confidence


As soon as they find that the tutor is actually helping them in some way just watch their confidence grow! A good private tutor will devote quality time with your child, with the intention of getting them to believe in themselves.

5. To develop honesty


Some children find it difficult to ask for help in front of their friends. With a private tutor there are no friends to be in front of and hence, are more likely to be honest and share difficulties, especially as they develop a growing rapport with their tutor.

6. To catch up


The Lockdown has thrown up at least one more compelling reason why parents and carers should invest in hiring a private tutor for their child … catch up.

So many children have ‘fallen behind’ through nobody’s fault. Most schools have done their best to provide work and support for the children at home and most parents and carers have tried their best in extremely demanding circumstances. Others have found it impossible.

The government have a well-intentioned scheme called the National Tutoring Programme, which is primarily aimed at disadvantaged pupils and pupils in areas which are classed as disadvantaged.

There are two major issues with this:

a) There may be tens of thousands of children who are not ‘disadvantaged’ by the government’s definition who could easily have fallen behind. They may not be able to access the NTP but would benefit greatly by having a tutor. A good private tutor will devote quality time with your child and enable them to ‘catch up’, focussing on their particular needs.

b) Only a limited number of large agencies are likely to be involved and they will follow a prescribed path of learning. The needs of individual children may still not be met. Repeat above!


7. To give control to parents


Parents, in partnership with the tutor and the child can change the learning focus as needs change. They can also ask for homework, have formal and informal feedback on a weekly basis. They can also ask for advice on other school related issues. Good private tutors provide a service that government schemes cannot.

Finally, private tuition is flexible. Time of day and week can be arranged to suit the needs of parents/carers and the child. For most, it is affordable and can be a significant investment into your child’s future.

A good private tutor will potentially ignite your child’s love for learning.


Always ready to learn

learn-1820039_1920#onlinetutoring #students #learning #sharpwaytutoring

A big thankyou to those of you who watched my attempt at a promo video and especially those who gave some feedback.

Someone spotted a grammatical error – corrected

Somebody else felt the music didn’t quite fit. I agreed and so changed it to something hopefully more suitable (I think so!)

Another said that it ended a bit too abruptly and didn’t give enough focus on how to connect with the business. I paid attention to this and made some changes.

Of course, there are parallels here with both being a tutor and being a student. We are all on a learning journey and it’s good to reflect on how we’re doing and when appropriate, to bring others on that journey.

How can I be a better student?

How can I improve my tutoring?

These are questions we need to ask ourselves and to ask others who might be able to help. We need to answer honestly and positively (this is not a ‘self bashing’ exercise!) and then we need to respond by beginning to apply those suggestions as to how we might ‘get better’.

Notice I used the word ‘beginning‘. In the past I’ve made the huge mistake of trying to change too many things too quickly. Instead take small steps, and if done with honesty, purpose and determination these should lead to bigger steps in the long run.

Happy learning folks!

Anyway, here’s the final promo, not perfect but hopefully improved …

Now to see if it makes any difference …

It’s okay to break the routine


Pssst … this is mostly aimed at parents with Primary aged kids

I’m talking about homeschooling.

You’re in lockdown and you’ve been at this for what might seem like forever and with varying degrees of success:

They love the writing and hate the maths (or vice versa)

One day they are really ‘up for it’ and the next day … they’re from a different planet!

They’re learning something new and BINGO! … your little input helps them see the light. Then same child, different topic and no matter what you say or do the light just doesn’t come on and the tantrum begins or the mood descends.

Easy for me to say I know, but give yourself a break. This is what learning is all about and reflects the daily experience of the majority of wonderful teachers out there, itching to get back to the classroom (yeah they really are!)

If you were doing any planning or research at the beginning of lockdown, you would have discovered the importance of routine. Most of the advice was ROUTINE ROUTINE ROUTINE.

This still holds true. Most children and young people need that structure to their lives and I’m sure it’s contributed a lot to you keeping your sanity.

Don’t lose the routine. But it’s okay to break it.

What exactly do I mean?

Plan something different for a day, a couple of days or maybe longer (you know your kids better than anyone).

Tell them in advance, even better if they’re old enough and sensible enough (!) get them involved in the planning process. They’ll love it.

I don’t want to turn this article into a suggestions list, as it could go on for a very long time, but here are a few:

Make puppets, write a short play then video the mini production. They can post it online for their friends to view.

Do a mini topic (again let them choose)… Space, Romans, Insects, Clothes … the list is endless. It can include pictures, drawings, factfiles, quizzes & why not get them to write to an expert or a company. You’d be surprised what they might get back!

Have an Art Week, a Music Week, a History Week … add your own idea here:

I hope I’ve inspired you not stressed you out. If the latter then simply ignore!

Finally there are a few links below which you might find helpful:





Happy routine break!

Help! My kids are at home!


You’re only just over a week in to having the kids at home and maybe you feel (or even look!) like this picture. I sincerely hope not but it’s a strong possibility it will happen in the next two to three months. There seems to be no end of help and advice out there, possibly even too much and I know (I’ve got two at home with me) it can be quite overwhelming. Well let me offer you one more piece of advice … but only if you can afford it in these difficult times.

Take 45 minutes or an hour off, while an experienced tutor takes some of the strain. Whether it’s handwriting, reading strategies, maths problems or dare I say it … spelling. There you go I mentioned the unmentionable.

I’ve got to be honest here, your child has got to WANT to go online and do some learning, whilst interacting with a stranger. It does sound a bit creepy but there are plenty of safe and child-friendly online platforms out there that will give peace of mind and an interactive way of communicating. Most tutors will also have genuine recommendations and be DBS checked.

The vast majority of us tutors are good at our jobs and will be able to build up a good rapport with your child, assess and adapt to their learning needs and help them make progress in those areas of need. Not a guarantee but a good possibility.

There should also be some great offers out there as we try to help each other in these unprecidented times. So, I dare you, take the plunge. You could look back in a few years time and see that bit was one of the best decisions you made.

What makes a good tutor?

I asked my clients what they liked about my tutoring and without exception they said that I gave them or their children confidence.

So many learners either lack confidence or need their confidence built up in a particular area.

So how do you build confidence? Be patient. Give time to process learning. Ensure that learners know that making mistakes is okay and a part of the process. Try different approaches. Give praise where due. Be professional in planning, assessing, marking (when appropriate) and in evaluating the learning. Build on strengths and don’t focus too much on ‘weakness’. Be friendly and approachable, build a rapport and a foundation of trust. I could go on.

Of course, there is so much more to being a good tutor: Subject knowledge, task appropriateness and preparation, organising files and resources, timeliness to name but a few. The key for anyone in this business is to aim to constantly improve, stay up to date whilst not forgetting ‘tried and tested’ and do it (as much as possible) with a smile on your face.

Happy learning!

Update! Update! Update!

journeySome say that repeating words or phrases gives our brain time to process information better. Hence my triple ‘update’ in the title. The ‘!’ was to emphasise the urgency of the project. Apologies to most of you who ‘got it’ with the first word and exclamation mark but hopefully your attention is now drawn to the latest news and timeline of our journey to establish and sustain Shekinah, a support centre for children and young people with Cerebral Palsy in Bohol, Philippines.

This journey has been slow, steady and incredibly enlightening in a number of ways …

  • a long term work cannot be built overnight
  • rash decisions rarely get you anywhere
  • I’m more impatient than I ever realised
  • God’s wisdom and ways are light years away from ours

I really could go on a lot longer!

SO, the highlights of the journey so far are:

The people.

  • Arms of love orphanage, Tagbilaran, Bohol.
  • Chosen Children Village, a home for abandoned disabled children in Cavite, Luzon.
  • London Centre for Cerebral Palsy.
  • Philippines Cerebral Palsy Inc, Manila Philippines.
  • John & Allison Todd of Mercy in Action, a UK based charity working with street children in Cebu, Philippines.
  • Bobath Wales.
  • Philippines Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy family awareness support group, formed by Jessa Marmol.

The research.

  • Hundreds of hours of research has been done to help write the governing document needed for us to be registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). In addition it has served to help write a detailed proposal including costings and plans for building and running the support centre.

The changes of plan!

Since 2014, we have changed our overall plan TWICE!

  • We started with the original idea of becoming a CIO and began to ‘get the wheels in motion.’ After seeing just how much time and effort is involved with this, we turned to the possibility of coming ‘under the umbrella’ of a charity already working in the Visayas, Philippines.
  • This idea proved a very reasonable option and the possibility began to take on early exploration. Working with an established and experienced charity could be a huge help, particularly on an administrative level and with regard to an understanding of ‘how things work’ in the Philippines.
  • However, after exploring this possibility, the importance of having our own unique identity was considered paramount when raising both supporters and funding. SO, we’re back to becoming a CIO but now with a lot more understanding of all it entails and what will be needed moving forwards.


To start the application process to register as a CIO, we will need to have our Trustees in place. We have people in mind but maybe this is something you might consider.

Could you be part of our team of five Trustees who will join us on the next exciting part of our adventure? It will be for a minimum of four years during which we will be continuing to plan the way ahead, to gain a support base (friend raising), developing our partnership with Philippines Cerebral Palsy & Epilepsy awareness and fundraising for the building and future sustainability of the project.


Go West!


When I was offered voluntary redundancy back in March it was a bit of a ‘no brainer’. I had already been looking for teaching jobs in South Wales and even as far back as two years ago, had been tentatively looking. I had sensed the Lord’s leading and this felt more like God’s timing. Of course, back in March, I had already had it all planned out in my head:

  1. Get a new job by the middle/end of May.
  2. Have plenty of time to find a place to rent, maybe even put a deposit down on a dream new home.


I’ve been through Application form after Application Form, ‘Person Specification’ after ‘Person Specification’. Along the way I’ve improved how to do these darn things … A LOT! Despite being at the top of the pay scale and supposedly unfamiliar with how to teach in a different country I’ve even managed a few interviews. I’m deliberately ‘bigging’ myself up here because the truth is I don’t have a job (yet) and I can’t lie, the last couple of months have been blooming hard. When a man has a family to take care of and no job that man pride kicks in and begins to hurt.

So here we are in South Wales (the original one), my favourite place in the world after Alona Beach, Philippines and Doctor’s Cave, Montego Bay. We have a three bedroom rental property with a nice size garden full of apple trees. Jifelane has just bagged herself a job (yay!) and I’m still waiting. However, after hearing a very timely sermon by John Piper I’m now in a much better place. Do we really trust God or the outcome of our circumstances? Are we trusting our own ability to generate money somehow or are we truly willing to let God take the lead? Believe me, I’m wrestling with these questions or maybe like Jacob of old, with God himself.

Here’s the link to that sermon

I would like to think that I really AM trusting in the Almighty not in my own abilities. The bottom line is GOD LOVES US. The Bible can say it much better than me …

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. (John 17:3)

And my God will fully supply your every need according to his glorious riches in the Messiah Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

And we know that God works together all things for good to those loving God, to those being called according to His purpose … (Romans 8:28)

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Look, I’m just scratching the surface here and already faith is stirring. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. And what is faith? … The evidence of things hoped for.

And is it a job I’m hoping for? Well it was and I had got so wrapped up in trying to find a job I had taken my eyes off the one who provides the job AND EVERYTHING ELSE.

The bigger picture is so much more than finding a job and now I’m fixing my eyes firmly on the God who provides. In fact it’s more than provision, it’s a PLAN and a PURPOSE. We have come to the kingdom for such a time as this. He is our hope, our ‘all in all’.













How formidable is this roller coaster?

This time last year I was blogging about the title for our land in Bohol finally being made available. Thankfully, it arrived safely in the UK via one of my wife’s relatives … cheers Uncle Willy! It’s now stored with all the other official documents about our land. (Sorry, God’s land entrusted to us!) There are a few more hurdles to overcome concerning the land, including vital access issues, but that blog can wait.

I should have known that when we started on this journey, there would be other twists and turns, hills and valleys.

Sometimes you assume that you know the right way to go about something. Well I assumed starting a British based charity to work with cerebral palsy kids in the Philippines was the right way and got stuck into some of the ‘nitty gritties’ straight away – reading and trying to get my head round charity requirements, putting together various documents, etcetera. I plodded through rigorously  and gained the kind advice of a trustee from another like-minded charity. Then I arrived at the part where you need to recruit trustees into various roles. Fairly quickly, two faithful and reliable friends committed themselves to our cause. Great! This charity lark was a doddle … BANG!!

Re-arrange these words to make a sentence:

hit  wall  I  massive  a  brick …

I knew you’d get it straight away 🙂 I could not find a treasurer for love nor money … pun intended. All the people I asked would be perfect, or so I thought. But for whatever reason God had decided it wasn’t going to be them.

Cue potential colossal turn in the journey…

For several months I had an incredibly strong sense/feeling that a well respected Christian writer I had come across over her knowledge of cerebral palsy would have a big influence over the vision that God had given. After contacting her, here is a short extract from her reply…

Setting up a charity is certainly not for the faint-hearted! I assume you’ve explored the possibility of coming under the umbrella of a charity already undertaking similar work in that part of the world – allowing you to concentrate on ‘getting on with what needs to be done’? … 

Now bear in mind that this little gem was hidden in the middle of a much longer e-mail and muggins here (that’s me!) already thought he knew the right way to go. After the brick wall, I re-read the e-mail and realised God’s answer to the trustee problem – come ‘under the umbrella’ of an already established charity working in the Philippines. It wasn’t like I hadn’t considered this it was just that I thought I knew the way ahead and I’m the sort that needs to be slapped across the face with a wet fish to get my attention.

Some meaningful and encouraging progress has already been made and my heart is cheered and hopeful but it’s still early days. The journey continues!