Support home learning with online tutoring

How online tutoring from The Community Schools can support learning at home during the lockdown

2021 has started in a way that none of us would have wanted, and another lockdown brings with it the challenge of parents supporting their child’s learning. Not only does this place demands on access to digital resources, for many parents they are also having to manage this alongside working themselves.

Despite the fact that many schools have worked hard to put remote learning in place, home schooling can be tough for both students and parents. There is a plethora of free online resources which means a wealth of knowledge is at our fingertips, but it’s often difficult to sift through or know what’s valuable. With that in mind, The Community Schools is offering a four-week course tailored to your child’s learning – either as standalone support or alongside school courses; here’s how we can help you.

Emotional support for students and parents

As it stands, we simply don’t know when schools will reopen. That ongoing uncertainty can lead to a rollercoaster of emotions as you juggle work. For children, that uncertainty can be especially hard as they miss friends and regular peer interaction.

Support on a 1-1 basis, or in small online groups, means The Community Schools can offer children an element of educational normality. Sessions aren’t just valuable for helping pupils gain knowledge, they can provide certainty, routine and much needed emotional support. 

Sharing the workload

If you’re a parent that’s also working from home, the burden of responsibility can feel overwhelming. Online tutoring can help relieve that pressure as you can be confident that courses are designed to support and encourage your child to keep learning even through these unprecedented times.

Structure and focus

Our online courses follow a four-week programme which is designed to engage your child either alongside their current schoolwork or as standalone tuition.

Sessions are run on a 1-1 basis or you can opt for shared tutoring where time is divided between two students. Programmes cover key topics and will consolidate learning with homework.

Crucially, all our tutors are classroom experienced teachers who understand first-hand the challenges of keeping students interested and motivated. Not only does this mean we are well placed to successfully deliver learning modules, but we can also help students build their confidence.

Our experience also means we can help identify and plug in any knowledge gaps quickly so that children stay on top of their learning.   

Keeping the love of learning alive

One of the biggest drawbacks of missing class-based teaching, is the affect it has on children’s love of learning.

We know that children are naturally inquisitive but being away from friends and the routine of formal learning can stifle that. Having support in place can help keep children motivated and interested in learning and so maintaining that all important curiosity.

All our courses are running on a rolling basis so students can join at any time. For more details about what we offer, take a look at our online tutoring support. To enrol or to discuss any specific needs, please contact Claire on 07747 037441 or email

Tips for revising for your mock exams over the Christmas holidays

Revising is hard enough at the best of times. But when you have to revise over the Christmas holidays it can be even tougher. Taking the time to plan and study now, can minimise the stress and worry in the run up to GCSEs. Here are some of our top tips to help you revise successfully.

Plan your time

Christmas may be a time when the family come together to put up the Christmas tree, wrap presents or spend time cosying up on the sofa with a film. Clearly, it’s important that you join in with the festive activities, but it’s important to plan your revision time too. Setting out a timetable by subject will ensure you spend equal amounts of time on each one. An it will ensure you have time to have some Christmas fun too.

Not having a timetable means you run the risk of neglecting subjects you either don’t like or find a bit trickier. As your mocks get closer, that can lead to cramming which research shows is not an effective way to revise. Digesting regular nuggets of information little and often cements what we learn which makes for better long-term retention.

Find a way that works for you

With so much going on at Christmas time, it’s easy to get distracted, so in planning your time for revision it’s also important to revise in a way that works best for you. Remember that revision methods that work for your friends and classmates might not work for you. Whether you use flash cards, written notes, books or online videos and resources, don’t be afraid to stick to a method that suits you.

While sticking to a tried and tested method is key, it’s also important to mix it up. Using the same method over and over, can become stale and it could lead you to simply switch off. For example, if you write notes, see if you can present the key points or arguments in a spider diagram as well.

Remove Christmas distractions and be prepared

Christmas food smells amazing! Whether it’s mince pies or sausage rolls, it can be all too tempting to make additional visits to the kitchen to see what’s cooking. Whether it is the smells or sounds around your home that distract you at Christmas time, try to find a way to minimise distractions.

Make it clear to your family members that you will be studying, share your planner with them, and explain to them how they can help you during these times. If you have a busy household and don’t have your own space, ask family members to agree to ‘quiet time’ which can give you a distraction free setting. And for you, put phones away and hide email and social media notifications if you have access to them on a laptop or PC.

It’s also a good idea to make sure you have everything you need to hand. As basic as that sounds, having working pens, sharpened pencils, a ruler, rubber and calculator can save you time and reduce the risk of being distracted. If you don’t have a desk, keep what you need in a box or bag.

Past papers

The best way to test your knowledge and highlight gaps, is to answer past papers which your teacher should be able to provide. 

When you go through a past paper, stick to the time limit you’d have in an exam. This will quickly highlight whether you can finish the exam in the allotted time giving you a chance to do something about it if you can’t. For example, if you’re struggling to recall certain points, you may need to spend more time revising those areas.

Check mark schemes

When you answer past papers, check your answers using the mark scheme. This will show you what examiners are looking for in an answer.

Looking at past papers together with their mark schemes can also help clarify the types of questions being asked. Sometimes, the key to the answer is simply understanding what it is you need to do. This could be discussing an issue or demonstrating your knowledge with examples.

Take regular breaks

Spending all day revising won’t make the information stick any more than doing a couple of hours every day. Spacing out your revision and giving yourself regular breaks will not only keep you motivated but will give your mind a break. Maybe reward yourself with a mince pie, or time out watching your favourite Christmas movie, when you have achieved the study goal you have set yourself!

When you plan your time, be sure to include time off. Otherwise, you could end up even more stressed and resentful which won’t help you in the long run.

Get the help you need over the Christmas holidays

If you need some extra guidance, The Community Schools can help. We recognise that 2020 has taken some unprecedented turns but we’re dedicated to helping every student reach their full potential.

Our GCSE revision sessions will take place in every school holiday. This gives you the opportunity to brush up on your knowledge at a time that is right for you. Our sessions are available online. You can be confident that our virtual classrooms have been designed to ensure maximum privacy. And for those looking for face to face tutoring, we offer small group sessions at our Bury St Edmunds Learning Centre

For more information about the tuition we offer, complete our online registration form. Claire will contact you to discuss your needs and get you booked onto a course that is right for you.

Succeeding through Covid

claire meadows-smith online tutoring

A message from our Principal, Claire Meadows-Smith on how tutoring through Covid is helping children to progress and succeed.

The Community Schools has been supporting students for more than 10 years. It has always been my very real privilege to work with so many fantastic students and tutors. And never more so than during this most unpredictable of years.

Our Tutors

The tutors at The Community Schools have been nothing short of fantastic. They have been willing to take up the new challenge of online tutoring with very little notice. Our students have been brilliant in their willingness to have a go. They did did this whilst everything as they knew it was changing by the minute. Meanwhile, our truly lovely parents have been supportive. They have been tolerant of our initial mishaps, as we rapidly learnt through experience how to best deliver the once novel and now routine online tutoring.

Tutoring Online

Online tutoring is not for everyone, nor should it be. However, there are many who prefer the online learning environment and much good has resulted from our enforced changes. Many of us have been placed outside of our comfort zone and have learnt new skills and ways in which to improve our tutoring. We are now able to provide high quality Community Schools tutoring to students outside of Suffolk. This has been achieved with the help of our own Suffolk students with tutoring expertise from beyond the borders of Suffolk – who knew they existed! A number of our families have found that the online tutoring services have helped to ease their complex family logistics.

Throughout the Summer Holidays the Community Schools, through using a new system of shared online lessons and 1-1 tutorials, were able to support over 50 students to prepare for school with the “Start Back in September” courses after a long break from the classroom.

Face to Face Tutoring

When the new September term arrived the Community Schools offer of Face to Face or Online gave our parents and students more choice. It was interesting to note that the split between them was about 50-50. We really were delighted to be able to tutor Face to Face again. This has been achieved in the knowledge that the Covid Secure Measures we put in place would keep our students and tutors safe. We were equally thrilled to continue to tutor so many students online.

Covid 19 Lockdown

The more recent Covid lockdown has shown our ability to take tutoring sessions online continues to provide the flexibility needed. If a tutor or a student has to self-isolate our blended approach of Face to Face or Online enables us to make sure that no student misses out on their learning.

As we move through this unpredictable year we have increased provision of our Grade Booster Revision Courses. These are now offered across all school holidays focussing on preparation for Mock exams which might ultimately prove to be the final assessable work for exam grades.

It is our passion and vocation to provide the tutoring support necessary for all of our students. This ensures they are able to enjoy their studies, gain confidence and reach their full potential.

We really do appreciate the trust that parents place in us. If you would like to find out more about how we could help your child, please do email me.

Claire Meadows-Smith                                                                                                            25th Nov 2020

Christmas Grade Booster Revision Courses

Why You Should Consider Taking a Christmas Grade Booster Revision Course

During our successful Christmas Grade Booster Revision Courses we offer students just the correct amount of support from experienced and successful classroom teachers.

Running from 27th to 30th December, we give students the knowledge and confidence to prepare and face their GCSE or A Level Mock exams in January.

What parents and students say about our courses?

Here are just some of the reasons students and parents highly recommend our Grade Booster Revision Courses

  • They are not one-size-fits-all crammer courses, and:
  • They are personalised Exam Revision tutoring sessions and have a focus on the Key topics and Skills required for success, and:
  • The tutoring team is made up of friendly, enthusiastic and experienced tutors, and:
  • We ensure small informal groups of similar ability
  • We offer lots of encouragement – just what you, the student, needs at this crucial time

Christmas Face to Face Grade Booster Courses

We run Face to Face courses for GCSE and A Level Students. These take place at our Bury St Edmunds Learning Centre, ASK House, 2 Northgate Ave, IP32 6BB

  • Single three hour sessions
  • Morning and Afternoon sessions are available.
  • We never have more than four students of similar ability in a group
  • Many subjects available
  • Both GCSE and Year 12 and Year 13 A Level Grade Boosters available
  • The tutoring is tailored to the needs of each individual student.
  • Cost is £70 per GCSE session, and this is discounted to three sessions for £150
  • Cost is £100 per A Level session, and this is discounted to three sessions for £240

Christmas Online Grade Booster Courses

And if you are looking for online support, we also run a Christmas Online Grade Booster Courses for GCSE students:

  • 3 day courses
  • Morning and Afternoon courses available
  • Free online trial/consultation with the tutor
  • Course content is created around the needs of the students, with a focus on the key topics and skills required for success.
  • We never have more than six students of similar ability in a group
  • Many GCSE subjects available
  • Cost is £100 for the course of 6.75 hours of tutoring

Daily programme

  • As a student, you engage in two 60 minute shared lessons. This takes place with the tutor via our digital classroom* and:
  • A set of consolidation questions is set by the tutor for the students to work on. This is individual to you, and:
  • As a student you receive a 15 minute personal 1-2-1 tutorial. This is to both celebrate your achievements and to help you focus on key areas for development

To find out more contact Claire on 07747 037441 or email:, and to book a place, please use this link.

Total Privacy

*  Please note that we assure you complete anonymity for students during our Grade Booster Revision Online Courses, and our digital classroom is designed so that students are unable to see or hear each other, only the tutor can see you.

If you are worried about being with other students, or if you are shy or feel worried about speaking aloud, we can reassure you that your work and words will be completely private to you. 

Mock Like You Mean It

Why revising for mock GCSEs is more important than ever

Summer 2020 will go down in history for many reasons – one of them being the cancellation of GCSE and A-Level exams. This sudden and unprecedented decision meant that for lots of students, predicted grades were more important than ever – here’s why they’ll continue to be.

Mocks aren’t always a dress rehearsal

This summer’s cancelled exams meant thousands of students were awarded GCSE and A-Level grades by their schools and colleges instead of being based on exam performance. Although mocks weren’t the be all and end all for determining those grades, there’s no doubt they played a vital role.

For everyone that had spent time revising and preparing, it was validation of their hard work and shows that mocks are more than just a dress rehearsal.

Mocks do matter

Despite the breakthrough of a new vaccine, COVID-19 is still likely to rumble on into next year and with all that uncertainty, who knows how exams will be affected in 2021.

With that in mind, it’s more important than ever to approach your mock GCSEs with intention rather than seeing them as an inconvenient hurdle before the ‘real thing’.

Mocks have always been a chance to check what you do and don’t know. A lot of the time, revising for mocks is the first time you’ll have sat down and really looked at a subject in its entirety.

Being able to see the bigger picture can quickly highlight areas you’re struggling with, giving you enough time to get the help you need.

A chance to refine your revision technique

Mocks are also a great way to sharpen up how you revise so use the run up to them as a way to understand what techniques work for you. Whether you prefer to work alone or in a group, in silence, with music, at night or only in the morning, preparing for mocks can give you valuable insight.

Plus, always remember that what suits you, might be different from friends and classmates.

A way to boost your confidence

It’s so easy to think of exams as obstacles designed to catch you out, but they really aren’t.

Regular tests in class, coursework and mocks are all ways for you to highlight your understanding and an opportunity for you to show off your knowledge.

Mocks are also a chance to work under timed conditions so you can learn how to make the most of the time you’re given. This can also help you learn to cope with the stress of exams.

Prepare for mocks like you mean it

We can’t predict how next year will pan out and whether or not exams will be affected again. That means preparation will be even more important as we head towards mock exams season.

At The Community Schools, we understand how overwhelming the current uncertainties are for both students and parents but we’re here to help.

Our GCSE and A level Grade Booster revision sessions are designed to ensure all our students are given bespoke teaching. As well as tackling individual subjects, classes will also look at revision and exam techniques so that students have the knowledge and skills to fulfil their potential.

Sessions will be taking place throughout every school holiday and details can be found on our Grade Booster Revision Courses page.

To find out more about how we can help, contact Claire on 07747 037441 or email: