Book publisher launches new online business for students
AN educational book publisher has launched a new online business to help youngsters master maths.
And 17 county schools have already signed up for the tutoring service with impressive results
Maths was never my strong point at school – I was good at arithmetic and figures but theory let me down – even though my mum was a maths teacher at the same school.
But Gloucestershire start-up iTutor is trying a new approach by providing online maths classes across England and Wales. Part of Cheltenham-based educational publisher Nelson Thornes, the online tutor company has launched iTutorMaths and is growing at pace. So far, the business has helped more than 200 pupils across England and Wales with their GCSE maths. A total of 60 of these students go to school in Gloucestershire.
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Instead of using private tutors, for perhaps one-to-one evening sessions, pupils can now join an online classroom, using their own computer at home. The company has so far achieved a 100 per cent pass rate for its pupils, from A* to C, using tutors it has trained itself.
iTutorMaths director Andrew Tarling said the company had piloted the online tuition lessons for six months before launching its courses.
A typical lesson has 10 pupils who interact with the tutor verbally, as well as with worksheets and through other tasks. The tutor, who has been trained to use the online system for seven hours, has at least five years' teaching experience, three years' tuition experience and has taught in maths, has a list of all those in the class. Tutors are also CRB checked. He or she then asks questions to pupils in turn or asks those participating to complete a task, so all receive the same level of interaction.
I put it to Alvon Stewart, head of Curriculum at iTutorMaths, that one-on-one tutoring, as I had experienced at school, had its advantages as a pupil could receive more attention and less distraction. But, he said, knowing there were other pupils in the group would help build confidence and tutors were trained to keep all students engaged.
Those throwing their weight behind the technology and are promoting the online lessons to parents and pupils, include Pate's Grammar School, Cheltenham. Assistant head Russell Bowen, who teaches maths and previously worked in the IT industry, said: "We want to play our part in bringing success to young people."
He added the online course had contributed towards the school becoming one of the best maths GCSE performing in the country.
The two types of course offered are a support course and a crammer revision course. There are also two levels. They include one to 'pass' the GCSE and another to aim towards an A*. Now iTutorMaths, which works with 60 schools, is looking to up this number and wants to expand its pupil base to over 1,000. It is also launching iTutorScience for Chemistry pupils, iTutorMFL for French and is also focusing its services towards younger pupils who are preparing to sit their 11 Plus.
Over the next 12 months, the company forecasts it will assist 400 students nationally, with a quarter of these from the Gloucestershire area. Lessons for pupils in the county start from around £15 per hour.