A Boost in your child’s GCSE, IGCSE and A-level Exam Grades – with a blend of small-group and one-to-one tuition that is Effective
Do you want to BOOST your child’s GCSE or A level exam grades?
Fill out the form below or call us on 020 7112 4832 and let’s talk about how to make that happen!
We are all about High Aspiration
We support parents with aspirations for their teenagers – those who want to gain admission to top universities. We help to improve Exam Grades in Core Academic subjects at GCSE and A-level. On average, our students are performing at around a B grade in school before they join us; within a year, they improve by about two grade points. Our main programmes are: Saturday School during term time and Intensive Revision during school holidays. We also have flexible unit-based learning and the premium Consultation Tuition (one-to-one by a top consultant teacher). At the start of the pandemic, we temporarily moved online but we have now opened our centres again for in-person teaching; however, we still run separate online lessons for those who prefers online. Our centres are now open for in-person teaching at: St James School, Kensington Olympia and Trinity School in East Croydon*.
We cover the core academic subjects of Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English at both GCSE and A-level. In addition to all the above, we also provide for Further Maths, Economics, History and Psychology at A-level. At GCSE, we cover Further Maths and all the science options – Triple and Combined (double or trilogy) Our teachers are of the highest quality and we have a proven track record for over 16 years.
How does the Saturday School work?
The Saturday School runs through the academic year – a total of 26 Saturdays – from September to May/June. A student can study up to 5 subjects on the day and the time spent on each subject ranges from 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending on if in-person or online or whether your child is studying A level, GCSE or KS3. Follow the link below for more information.
Intensive Revision to Boost GCSE and A-level Exam Grades
– courses in February Half Term, Easter or Summer Half Term
"Success Tips for Your Child"
Request your copy of our white paper on guiding your child's academic success
Here at Excel in Key Subjects our aim is to help your child reach their full potential in all of the key academic subjects that they currently study. Most of our students are ambitious and they are aiming for top universities – the Russell Group.
We recognise the challenges facing young people in school today and understand the pressures they are under. The Coronavirus pandemic has made matters worse for so many students. Whilst a number of schools did their best under the circumstances they found themselves, too many schools provided sub-standard quality of education during the first lockdown – with between five to six months of poor or near-zero teaching. Consequently, there has been a substantial loss of teaching and learning time and many young people struggle to catch up.
We support teenagers by offering very small class sizes together with one-to-one tutorials at both GCSE and A-level. With the teaching and guidance of our highly qualified dedicated teachers, as well as boosting confidence, we also improve grades. We bring out each child's full potential and equip them to achieve success. Our long-established Saturday School used to run from a few locations across London. We now provide lessons online – via live video teaching on Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The blend of small groups (about four to five students on average), and one-to-one tutorials make our classes effective.
Your child will achieve the grades we predict, or we will give you a full refund of your tuition fees in those subjects.
That’s how confident we are of our proven system.
How Does Our Saturday School work?
Both in-person at our centres and also online
Saturday School runs on a specified number of Saturdays, during term time and spread through the academic year. There is a total of 26 Saturdays. The structure depends on whether your child is attending for help with KS3, GCSE or A level.
Saturday School runs through the academic year, a total of 26 Saturdays. The structure depends on whether your child is attending for help with KS3, GCSE or A level. Below is for teaching at our centres only - when classes resume after social distancing.. Please see separate information for online teaching.
GCSE or KS3 (in-person at the centres)
Every Saturday, students in classes of no more than 8 will spend:
- 45 minutes on English
- 45 minutes on Maths
- 45 minutes on each Science subject - Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
Most students spend between 3 and 3 hours with us every Saturday studying English, Maths and two or three science subjects. However students can opt to do just 1 or 2 subjects.
Average class size at GCSE and KS3 is between five and six students per class.
Classes are usually held from 9am to about 3.45pm.
Our Grade Guarantee applies to students who study for the whole academic year in Y11 and the whole two years at A-level.
Please note that some GCSE classes finish about 5 to 10 minutes earlier (lasting 35 to 40 minutes, instead of 45 minutes). This is usually where there are only two or three students in the class, as opposed for five to six). The allocated time is more than sufficient to cover the material required in great depth. There is also 1 hour of homework set after each lesson.
AS and A2 (in-person at the centres)
Every Saturday, students in classes of no more than 6 will spend 2 hours on each subject, with up to 4 subjects covered that day.
Most classes start late morning, with some scheduled for the afternoon and usually finish before 5pm.
The main exam boards we cover are AQA, Edexcel and OCR and tuition is tailored to the exam board of each student.
Our Grade Guarantee applies.
Excel in Key Subjects also offers Christmas and Easter Revision, as well as One to One Tuition.
Please note that some A-level classes finish about 10 minutes earlier (lasting about 1 hour 50 minutes, instead of 2 hours). This is usually where there are only about two students in the class, as opposed for three to five). The allocated time is more than sufficient to cover the material required in great depth. There is also 2 hours of homework set after each lesson.
Help your child achieve their full potential
KS3 and GCSE (Online Lessons)
Every Saturday, students in small group, set according to year group and ability, will receive:
- Teaching session 1 – This consists of 45 minutes of small group teaching (usually 4 to 5 students – a maximum of 9)
- Assignment set in terms of exam questions – including Milestone work, which is marked, with feedback provided
- Teaching session 2 – This consists of about 10 to 15 minutes of one-to-one tutorial – dedicated to addressing individual student's weaknesses
All classes take place via Zoom or Skype and are recorded for safeguarding and for access for reuse by the student.
Most GCSE and KS3 students take four lessons on Saturdays – spending about 4 to 5 hours with us to study English, Maths and two or three science subjects. However, students can opt to do just 1 or 2 subjects. There are separate classes for each year group. The average class size at GCSE and KS3 is between five and six students per class.
Each child will receive both a small group teaching and also one-to-one tutorial in each subject they are studying with us, as described above.
Classes are usually held from 9am to about 3.30pm.
Our grade guarantee applies to students who study for the whole academic year in Y11 and the whole two years at A-level.
A-level: AS & A2 (Online Lessons)
- Teaching session 1 – This consists of 60 minutes of small group teaching (usually 2 to 3 students – a maximum of 6)
- Assignment set in terms of exam questions – including Milestone work, which is marked, with written feedback provided
- Teaching session 2 – This consists of 15 to 20 minutes of one-to-one tutorial – dedicated to addressing individual student's weaknesses
Most A-level students take two lessons on Saturdays – spending about 2.5 to 3 hours with us to study. Popular combinations are Chemistry and Biology, but Maths and Physics are also common. The subjects we provide at A-level programme are Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English, History, Psychology and Economics.
There are separate classes for each year group, as AS students are taught in different groups from A2 students in each subject. The average class size at A-level is about 3 to 4 students per class. Each student will receive both a small group teaching and also one-to-one tutorial (two separate sessions) in each subject they are studying with us, as described above.
Most A-level (AS or A2) classes start in late morning, with some scheduled for the afternoon that do not finish until about 6pm or a little later. Please ask for the timetable
The main exam boards we cover are Edexcel, AQA and OCR and tuition is tailored to the exam board of each student.
Our grade guarantee applies for students who study for the full two-year course at A-level.
Excel in Key Subjects also offers school holiday intensive revision courses such as Half-Term, Christmas Intensive Revision, Easter Intensive Revision, Summer Booster as well as One-to-One Tuition.
Help your child achieve their full potential
A frank message to a caring parent – January 2023
Dear Fellow Parent,
I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you some facts, ideas and opinions, and thereby offer one or two suggestions which you may find useful. Despite my experience and the expertise that I have gained while serving in various positions in the secondary education sector in England since 1993, I will always consider myself a parent first and a teacher second.
Before COVID-19, there had always been constant changes in the English education system and all the pandemic has done is to widen the already huge chasm in education between children from different backgrounds. It must be said that, in my view, it is not just about rich and poor. From what I have seen, how much parents value education is more of a determining factor in their child’s success than how wealthy they are.
I would like to briefly touch on three points on issues in the education system at present, and the effect they may have on your child.
- The legacy of COVID and variations in how it affects different children
- Industrial actions and the effect on travelling, students’ education and health. In this case, the potential effect of teachers striking in the spring of 2023
- How the rise in cost of living may affect how much the parents invest in their children’s education
Legacy of COVID-19 on some school children
I don’t know if you’ve ever called an organisation and a recorded message comes to tell you that they won’t be able to attend to you on time, as, due to COVID, staff are working from home and all that. Sadly, so many businesses – including government departments are still hiding behind the pandemic, and giving that as the excuse for their laxness. Yes, the pandemic is real; however, some could do better than they are doing, despite COVID.
Now let’s be more specific about school children. For me, what is more worrying is the social skills that young people have missed out on over the two years of COVID due to lockdown and school closure. This is more important for their future development than the teaching they have missed. For a young person, two years of little social person-to person interaction, as opposed to digital chat, is potentially damaging in the long term.
I’ll explain the reason why I said the teaching that young people missed worries me less. First of all, the children are being educated and are learning all the time – even those who received very little or no teaching during lockdown. Learning goes on all the time, even if it’s not the school work or the national curriculum. Yes, we should not ignore the fact that hundreds of thousands of young people are behind in the three Rs – Reading, Writing and Arithmetic – and also in their academic curriculum. I accept that this is damaging for those young people and if we (the government, the school and the parents) do not do something about it, it is not only damaging to those young people but also to society in the long term. As far as exam grades are concerned, if all children are equally affected, it will not have any effect on how many students get the top grades and so on. The issue we have is that young people are not affected equally. It varies very widely how much children are affected due to the school they go to, where in the country they live and perhaps how much parents are able to support them. Just to expand a little on the last point – parental support. Depending on the age of the child, the subject, how much time the parents have and so on, the parents may need to find an external source of provision to support their children.
What we have is children who receive very little teaching from school, but who were able to get additional support do well despite COVID. Observation tells me that some schools coped very well and used the sometimes meagre resources they had to provide well for their pupils – both during and after the lockdown period of COVID. On a personal level, my own children are lucky not to have been affected very much by COVID. Although my son decided to change from Geography to History, after more than one third of the GCSE course had already been taught. We had to find him a tutor to assist him in catching up, and thankfully he thrived and got the top grade in the end.
Just before I finish this part, I would like to mention something that came up in a conversation with one of my colleagues not so long ago. He is teaching as a tutor as part of the government catch-up schemes after the pandemic and he told me that half the children do not turn up for the lessons. This is a scheme that is costing the school and the government a lot of money. I will be blunt on where I put most of the blame on that. The parent(s). If you are reading this, I know with almost absolute certainty that you are not one of those types of parent. The kind of parent that can be bothered to read my rather long piece of writing tend to be those of us that people often, wrongly, call pushy parents! I call us concerned and caring parents. We do not hesitate to put our money where our mouth is. I’m not just talking about the investment in terms of cash. Yes, money is part of it; however, for many parents, the investment of time, physical and emotional energy in striving to get the most out of our children’s education – teenagers in particular – is more costly than the cash.
It is hoped that the government, with the support and cooperation of schools, NGOs and perhaps education charities, will do something to address the growing chasm in the education divide in society. In many cases, it will be the parents who do most of the heavy lifting to support their offspring to fulfil their full potential at GCSE, A-level and beyond.
Rising cost of living and potential effect on children
It is very depressing to hear in the news the level of poverty that some children are enduring in Britain. I am of the view is that much more can be done to help the very poor – especially the children. To be factual, a lot is being done already; however, as a decent and compassionate society, there is still plenty of room for improvement.
The present global economic situation is perhaps worse in Britain than it is in most other industrialised countries. The high cost of shelter, mortgage and rent and ongoing industrial action makes things more challenging than perhaps in other comparable countries.
The thing is that that children seem to be less aware or concerned about the effect of the economic climate on their parents. Children still expect you to fill up the refrigerator with food, and replenish the ever diminishing loaves of bread and snacks – especially if you have a teenager. There is a situation in my own household at the moment, as my son has just decided to become a vegetarian, and he is toying with the idea of being a vegan. When my son told his mother to stop buying meat, as I am the only one who cares much about it, I was not overly concerned for two reasons: I eat very little red meat anyway and also this will save us money. The challenge comes when we realise how challenging it is to find other protein outside meat and fish that teenagers find edible.
Back to the main issue, I will again start by taking a philosophical approach. Whilst recognising that economic situation is very challenging to the vast majority of people irrespective of their income level, it is also the case that the talk about recession creates more fear and anxiety than is merited.
Industrial action and the effect on children’s education
Speaking philosophically, and in my view, the order of basic human needs is Health (including food), Shelter and Education. Sadly, two major events at present – the industrial action and economic challenges – high cost of food, heating, mortgage and rent on one hand, the strike actions by nurses, doctors and teachers on the other, cut right to the core of the three basic needs. This will potentially have an adverse effect on children’s education. Again, there will be variation on the extent to which different children are affected. The one that has been going on for the longest is the transport workers strike, which has the least effect on children’s school education.
Let’s focus our attention on education for a moment. As the legacy of the pandemic is still lingering, teachers going on strike is being added to young people’s life experience, all in a short period of time. It is a waste of time to speak about all the politics of it here. I have no interest in discussing whether industrial actions are justified or not, I just want to speak as a parent. This is about paddling your own canoe – well, as a parent, with your children in that canoe. The thing about children is that they grow so fast. Your daughter or son will only be 16 or 18 once. What they achieve in those formative years will shape their future.
Please don’t even start to talk about exam resits, as it doesn’t work. According to a Times article a few years ago, at GCSE, for example, between 7 to 11% improve on their grades at GCSE in Maths and English, respectively, when they take them for the second time. Despite the fact that, rightly, the GCSE in particular has been made to be more challenging in the last few years, the content is still such that, with a focus and the right level of support, your child does not have to be a genius to do well at GCSE and A-level. Even with the proper exams, almost a quarter of A-level grades that are awarded are either A or A*, and this is in proper exams and not teacher assessment. Having said that, one must not take anything away from the dedication of many young people and the support of teachers and parents in achieving top grades. We have to remember that it is not correct to expect everyone to get an A grade in everything. It is all about a child fulfilling their potential, as a C grade will be quite an achievement in some cases. What young people achieve in the crucial four-year period of between the ages of 14 and 18, tends to determine the path of their future. These years are also a critical period in their emotional and social development. When we look back in years to come, we can always say one of two things. Some will say that, despite the pandemic that started in 2020 and economic challenges that followed two years later, we tried our best and it worked out okay for our children. Others will say that these two events severely affected our children and they did not do as well as they could have done. It’s not a black and white situation, as there is a wide grey area in the middle. All we can do it try our best and see how our children react and what they make of the opportunities that exist and the challenges they face. As I always say, when it comes to the teenagers fulfilling their potential, we parents are just a catalyst, but nevertheless an important one in this rather complex chemical reaction. Unlike in chemistry, we are a catalyst that often gets used up!
In-person and online lessons at Excel
At Excel, we have gone back to providing in-person teaching at our centres since September 2021. Although we are also teaching a minority of our students remotely, for whom online is the best solution.
We are of the view that in-person lessons are the most effective for young people. However, given the lesson we have learnt and the expertise we have developed during the pandemic, our online provision is very effective.
We are very pleased about how effective the teaching we have been providing via online video lessons has been. Having said that, there can never be any room for complacency, as we must keep finding ways to further improve the quality of education we deliver. I believe there are two key factors that made our online teaching so successful: providing one-to-one tutorials in addition to small-group teaching, and the fact that we insist that every student switches on his or her video camera during the lesson, so the teacher can see them.
We all know how instrumental technology is to the learning process and we must continue to develop our expertise in the use of devices to communicate, learn and entertain ourselves. Given the right piece of technology, things can be done with speed and convenience. Years ago, one had to order past exam papers and wait for perhaps one week for them to arrive in the post. This is no longer the case, as you can access them online in seconds. For many teenagers, revising with past papers involves browsing through the question, thinking about the answer and then checking the mark scheme to see if the answer they thought of is the correct one. This is not a very effective way to revise. A few past papers must be printed out and the student should answer the questions under exam conditions. It is recommended that, for each exam paper, they attempt at least two or three under exam conditions, as part of their preparation. They should use between five to six past questions for each paper, but they only need to do two or three under exam conditions. It is more time-consuming but more effective.
The main reason why it is important to print out the question and do it with a pen on paper is that the vast majority of exams are still done in that way. This is good for handwriting practice and also for getting used to the timing of the exam.
I wish you fellow parents all the best in getting your teenager to understand and appreciate that you are trying your best to help them succeed. It is my sincere wish that they cooperate with you and work hard enough to see themselves succeed as well!
Thank you for investing your time to read this message. My team and I at Excel are looking forward to working with your family to help your child to achieve his or her full potential in the core academic subjects.
Saturday School Locations
St James School,
*Courses not provided or endorsed by any of the schools where our centres are based.
We also run revision camps in the Easter and Christmas school holidays.