Psychology – The Science of Behaviour and Mind

gcse psychology, a level pyschology

At The Community Schools we have expanded our services from the Core Subjects and last year we introduced Computer Science. This year we are delighted to be able to offer small group tuition in Psychology at GCSE and A Level, and I am very pleased to welcome Louisa Rogers to the team. Louisa has been teaching Psychology for over 9 years in both state and private sector, most recently spending four years teaching A-level Psychology and Sociology at Royal Hospital School in Suffolk.

Louisa also regularly examines for Edexcel and has previously examined for AQA, so has a good insight into exam technique for students as the impending exam season approaches. Louisa has also tutored a number of students independently and really enjoys working with small groups to help share the knowledge techniques in improving an understanding of the many aspects of Psychology.

I asked Louisa to explain how small group tuition through The Community Schools will be able to help students with their studies. Here’s what she said.

Psychology is a fascinating subject incorporating a wide range of concepts. Students who take it may naturally be good at science and especially biology, or maths, but then they may struggle with the essay writing side of the course.

Psychology incorporates elements of Maths, Biology and having the ability to write a synoptic essay and analyse theory and research. During a small group tutoring session the tutor is able to focus on explaining the theory and concepts on a one to one basis which helps students grasp the essential concepts and as a result grades increase.

What is lovely about teaching psychology is that if a student enjoys the subject and can gain the core concepts they can do very well in the subject if they are willing to work hard.

If you have a child studying Psychology at GCSE or A level in the coming school year and are looking for support, then we can help. We will be offering small group tuition sessions at our Ipswich Learning Centre.

For more information please call 07747 037441 or click here apply online.

Why Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day

how breakfast helps you at school

We’re all told about how important breakfast is and most of us accept it without asking why, but a Cardiff University study has found that a healthy start to the day can actually help you perform better in tests[i].

The study involved 5,000 children across 100 schools with researchers discovering that eating breakfast could double a student’s chance of getting above average results compared to a child going to school on an empty stomach.

Anecdotally, teachers also agree that eating first thing can help improve pupils’ attention and concentration and children who don’t eat in the morning usually end up flagging by mid-morning (with some even falling asleep).

But it’s not just about eating, the Cardiff University team also found that what the children ate was just as important and the boost in results only applied to children who ate healthily. So, while eating sweets or bags of crisps might fill you up temporarily, researchers found that these types of foods did nothing to improve academic performance – but what counts as a ‘healthy’ breakfast?

Slow release foods

Slow release foods keep us feeling fuller for longer which is a good thing because it means we’re less likely to reach for that chocolate biscuit or packet of crisps or be distracted by our rumbling tummies.

A good breakfast (like most meals) should be low in added salt, sugar and fat. It’s also a good idea to choose foods that are as unprocessed as possible so they’re easily digested. Some recommended breakfast foods include:

  • Low fat, salt and sugar cereals like shredded wheat, or wholewheat biscuits
  • Porridge oats with stewed, cooked or fresh fruit for sweetness
  • Beans on toast
  • Scrambled eggs with or without wholemeal toast
  • Low fat yoghurt with fruit and nuts

A good start to the day

Breakfast doesn’t just give you fuel to kick-start your morning, it offers you a chance to prepare yourself for the day – giving you an opportunity to sit down with your family before school begins.

If you’re not used to eating first thing, try making your own smoothie and blitz a banana with berries, yoghurt and a little fresh fruit juice – or, experiment with whatever fruit you have at home to find a combination you like. You can even make your smoothie to go if you’re in a rush or don’t feel like eating when you first wake up. Alternatively, pack yourself a piece of fruit with yoghurt and oats for a healthy, low fat, low sugar breakfast.

For more information about how to eat a healthy and balanced diet, head to the NHS eatwell guide which offers advice about the type of foods we should be eating. Remember – it’s not about banning ‘bad’ food like chocolate, sweets and fizzy drink, but about making informed choices and enjoying all types of food in moderation.

For more information please call 07747 037441 or click here apply online.

[i] Littlecott, H., Moore, G., Moore, L., Lyons, R., & Murphy, S. (2016). Association between breakfast consumption and educational outcomes in 9–11-year-old children. Public Health Nutrition, 19(9), 1575-1582. doi:10.1017/S1368980015002669

Summer Exam Pressure?

student studying ahead of summer GCSE and A level exams

We can help you and your children to sail through them!

It’s that time of year when teenagers around the world are complaining about exam pressure. Perhaps you are feeling anxious too? These days such a lot rides on getting the best GCSE exam results, particularly in Maths and English, which are seen as essential subjects by every College, University or employer.

Parents, when you look back to when you sat your own exams at GCSE or O level, do you recall sailing through them, full of confidence and focus? Didn’t think so! Sometimes our own lack of confidence in a subject can seep through to our own child’s mind set; then they start their GCSE studies with a negative perception about a particular subject because we constantly tell them we “hated” Maths, Science or English. Ever heard of the saying “A still tongue keeps a wise head?” Now’s the time for parents to keep schtum about our own dislikes – even better if we can cultivate a healthy interest in exploring the subject anew and then we can share “Did you know….” factoids!

Often disappointing exam grades are not about lack of knowledge or ability, they are simply a reflection of inexperience in revision planning. A common mishap is leaving it too late so you’re simply “cramming” or not able to focus enough on every topic. At other times lower than expected grades can reflect lack of knowledge of exam techniques, such as not knowing quite where to start or how to structure your exam time, which in turn leads to vital time being wasted when you first turn over that exam paper (remember that “bunny in headlights” feeling?!).

So if you ever failed an important exam, or didn’t do as well as expected, the good news is that you’re living proof that it’s by no means an insurmountable catastrophe in life (and “perspective” is a very important contribution when supporting someone who is feeling pressured!). You’ll be well equipped to empathise, because you’ll know we all want to make our parents proud of us (even if we will never admit it!).

Apart from offering a sensitive listening ear, what else can you do to help your child get through exam time without them feeling too much under pressure? The very best solution is to give them the best start to their GCSE studies, with Private Tuition in Suffolk.

How the Community Schools can help

We run weekly after school and Saturday classes in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Thetford. Our tutoring style, in friendly and informal small groups, allows ample time for each student to learn at their own pace and in their preferred style, with plenty of interaction with the tutor to clarify specific learning points.

We also run Easter Revision Grade Booster sessions. Visit our events page for details of upcoming events.

And if you would like to talk to us about how we can help with exam revision, or with study skills throughout the year at our weekly small group tuition sessions at centres across Suffolk please contact us. Click here to message us now.

Exam Cramming versus Grade Booster Courses

students studying and revising for exams

What’s the difference between The Community Schools’ Easter Grade Booster Courses and typical private sector “exam cramming or crammer courses”?

If you have your exams coming up this summer, you may be thinking about getting enrolled for some exam revision. You may be familiar with the phrase exam cramming, but at the Community Schools we do things differently. If you are already thinking what are the main difference, one is the fee prices. The Community Schools offers access to affordable and exceptionally good quality tuition at learning centres across Suffolk. The majority of our students attend local state schools.

The Community Schools sessions in English, Maths, Science, Psychology, Modern Foreign Languages and Computer Science at GCSE or AS/A Level are led by subject specialist tutors who are qualified teachers and who have experience gained in successful state schools. We share the best quality teaching and learning methods that have proven so successful in the leading state schools. Our tutors are familiar with the culture of state school education, so we’re well qualified to offer relevant support on any aspect of learning or exam prep.

Another major differentiator is our small class size. Our Grade Booster Courses are delivered in groups of 2 – 5 students. Traditional private sector “exam cramming” or “crammers” typically have 5  – 10 students per class. Running our Grade Booster Courses in small groups helps to keep fees affordable and fosters a supportive team spirit among students. One-to-one private tutoring environments can feel too awkward and intense to many young people.

Our Grade Booster Courses:

  • is not about exam cramming
  • are tailored to the needs of individual students (in our experience, students thrive when they are free from “one size fits all” lesson plans, worksheets, online tests or the restrictions of set text books. We teach using whatever methods and references work best for you).
  • provide excellent individual support in any areas of concern.
  • provide effective strategies for avoiding stress.
  • help you to organise your own learning and improve your own revision skills.
  • give guidance on which are the key topics to focus on for success

For more support, OfQual have produced a guide for students on coping with exam pressure. You can access this documents by clicking here.

If you are interested in registering your child for one of our Easter Revision Grade Booster Sessions, please register online by clicking here.