Effective GCSE and A-Level teaching in Core Academic subjects

Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology - at both GCSE and A-level. In addition, we also cover History, Economics and Psychology for A-level.

Benefits and Outcomes of the courses

Benefits for your child

  • Courses are well structured and taught by expert teachers who help identify and improve students' areas of weakness – some of the very best teachers of A-level and GCSE.
  • Salient topics are taught, reinforcing key aspects of the specified course – the teaching helps students gain a better understanding of the concepts.
  • Questions set for practising and meaningful feedback provided for exam technique mastery.
  • A focus on mastery of exam technique, so your child learns the skills needed to apply their knowledge more effectively and gain valuable marks in the exam.
  • Effective small group teaching – Individual support within a small group setting.

Results for your child

  • Your child gains a much-improved subject knowledge and mastery of exam technique.
  • A boost in confidence in problematic areas of specified
  • A realistic chance of improving by one or perhaps two grade boundaries. Yes, even at a relatively late stage of exam preparation.
  • Drastically reduced stress and anxiety in the weeks and days leading to the summer exams.
  • Improved exam grades in subjects that matter most.

Features of our courses

  • Our module is individual support within a small group setting. A combination of both small-group and one-to-one support.
  • Long established, with a proven track recordo f helping GCSE and A-level students achieve top grades in core academic subjects.
  • High quality and dedicated teachers– whom top private schools would be proud to have. These professional educators possess a history of bringing out the best in exam candidates.
  • There is the option of either In-Person teaching at our centre or Online Teaching via Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

A list of the courses we offer

  1. Saturday classes – our flagship programme for GCSE, A-level and KS3 in core academic subjects  – more information on this page
  2. Intensive Revision – two day (GCSE) or three-day (A-level) per subject during school holidays
  3. Excel iLearn Flex – flexible, live online teaching  – limited to Physics, Chemistry and Biology GCSE at present
  4. Consultation tuition – flexible one-to-one teaching by a top teacher (limited availability)

 

Mr. McManus BEd (Hons) MA(Ed) NPQH)

Our Senior Physics Teacher and Head of Science speaks about the impact of the Saturday Classes in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. He talks about the benefits the revision classes bring in maximising students’ potential and enhancing their understanding of the topics – allowing them to obtain top exam grades in Triple Science and Combined (double) Science.

Mr. J Smith MA Oxon – Mathematics

In this short video, Mr. J Smith compares the differences between the two-day or three-day intensive revision courses and the regular, weekly Saturday Classes for GCSE and A-level students. In his explanation, you can see the benefits for each of the two courses, and how they can help in making a difference to students’ understanding and examination performance.

A frank message to a caring parent

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 whilst 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 have 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 quickly touch on three points: how grades will be awarded in 2022; online and offline teaching and finally, how we do things at Excel.  

“There will be examination in 2022” – says the government

The government is correct in providing clarity on this, as we now have a clear position to work towards.

Given that examination was promised in 2021 and ended up being cancelled and replaced with teacher assessment, not the government or any person or institution, can say with absolute certainty where we will all be with respect to coronavirus come the summer of 2022. However, we think there is a 95% chance that the exams will hold.

It surprised me when, in the middle of May 2020, both Cambridge University and Bristol University moved all their lectures online until the summer of 2021.  From what we saw, those two institutions have been proved right. 

The best way to prepare for an exam has always been to take it as a marathon and not a sprint. This is what the vast majority of the most successful students have always done. The so-called mavericks sometimes pull it off by working hard in the weeks leading to the exam, and end up doing well. However, it must be said that although it is a little easier to get away with that at GCSE, especially before the new, more challenging Grade 9 to 1 curriculum, that approach does not work well at A-level. The young people in that category suffered in 2020 and 2021, as grades were awarded by teacher assessment.

Those students who take a more consistent approach to studying will always reap huge rewards irrespective of whether grades are awarded by a proper exam or by teacher assessment.

Experience as a parent and a teacher shows me that private tuition can be the game changer – the difference that makes a difference. Provided the tutoring is done by a competent teacher, with a genuine interest in helping the exam candidate, the student can make a substantial improvement in knowledge and skills within a relatively short period of time.

Quality of online teaching

The variation in the quality of online education provided by many schools during the pandemic is something many parents find difficult to comprehend, as it was of a sub-standard quality. Let us hope that the quality of online education has now improved. Given that all the schools have had time to prepare. The virus is still very much around and online teaching, although second best, will continue to be part of the mix for the foreseeable future. There are two reasons for this. The first one is because teachers and students are always being asked to self-isolate whenever they or their close acquittances test positive for coronavirus. The second is that no one knows if there will be another lockdown, as new variants of the virus keep cropping up now and then…

Every institution that is serious about delivering high quality education must continue to develop its expertise in three modes of teaching: in-person; online and online-offline-mix. What I mean by online-offline-mix is a case where some of the students are in the classroom and some are attending lessons from home, via their computers or other devices. Another version of this is where the teacher is teaching from home and some of the students are in the classroom and some online.

How we do things at Excel and why

Our module of tutoring is “individual support within a small-group setting.” We have found that this is often much more effective than one-to-one teaching on its own. There are two factors that can make our small group teaching more effective than one-to-one in many cases:

  1. The course is led by a top-notch teacher – a good communicator, with subject knowledge and familiarisation with how examiners ask questions.
  2. Peer learning in a healthy and competitive small group environment, where the young people are from homes where education is highly valued.

We teach mainly in small groups of about 3 to 4 students at A-level, and 4 to 5 at GCSE. In addition, we also provide individual one-to-one tutorial to the students in the group. This is done when we identify the need, or when it is requested by the student or their parent. We give one-to-one tutorial for up to 10% of the teaching hours at no extra fees.

In-Person and online lessons at Excel iLearn

At Excel, we are providing both online and offline lessons in the academic year 2021-22. We are of the view that in-person lessons are the most effective for young people. However, given the current climate with the pandemic, it is good to have the option of providing online lessons for those who want it for one reason or another, and also to be able to switch all classes to online if public health situation demands it.

We are very fortunate that we were able to get online teaching going very quickly at the start of the lockdown and it continued for the remainder of 2019-20 and for the whole of 2020-21 academic year. 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 tutorial 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.

 In conclusion, I refer you to the statement I made earlier in this letter: “The best way to prepare for an exam has always been to take it as a marathon and not a sprint.”

Digital detox!

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 with pen and paper. This is good for handwriting practice and also for getting used to 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 the 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 core academic subjects.

Your sincerely

 Idris Musty

BSc. PGCE

Saturday Classes

Dates for 2022-23 Academic year – St James, Olympia centre & ONLINE

2022-23 Academic year – dates

17-Sept

Staff INSET 

 

24-Sept

1st Open Day 

(St James School – Olympia)

01-Oct

2nd Open Day (Trinity School – Croydon)

08-Oct

Diagnostic Test

15-Oct

Diagnostic Interview

  22-Oct

No Classes

Term 1 – Autumn 2022
29-Oct 05-Nov 12-Nov 19-Nov 26-Nov 03-Dec 10-Dec 17-Dec
1st Saturday 2nd Saturday 3rd Saturday 4th Saturday 5th Saturday 6th Saturday 7th Saturday 8th Saturday
Term 2 – Spring 2023
09-Jan 16-Jan 23-Jan 30-Jan 04-Feb 11-Feb 18-Feb 25-Feb 04-Mar 11-Mar
1st Saturday 2nd Saturday 3rd Saturday 4th Saturday 5th Saturday No Classes 6th Saturday 7th Saturday 8th Saturday
Term 3 – Summer 2023
18-Mar 25-Mar 02-Apr 09-Apr 16-Apr 23-Apr 30-Apr 06-May 13-May 20-May
1st Saturday 2nd Saturday 3rd Saturday 4th Saturday No Classes 5th Saturday 6th Saturday 7th Saturday 8th Saturday

GCSE Fees for 2022-23 - from September 2022

GCSE & KS3 – fees per term – (Term 1 has 10 Saturdays – extra 2 Saturdays for D & A – Diagnostic and Alignment. Terms 2  has 8 Saturdays and Term 3 also has 8 Saturdays)

GCSE & KS3- fees per term - Saturday Classes
5 subjects 4 subjects 3 subjects 2 subjects 1 subject
[English, Maths & Triple Science] Maths, English & Combined Science or any 2 Science subjects for Triple Science students [Maths & Combined Science -OR English & Combined Science OR Triple Science] [Maths & English OR Combined Scienceor any 2 Science subjects for Triple Science students [Maths OR English]
Term 1
(includes D & A see below for details)
£2,605 £2130 £ 1,670 £1,195 £695
Term 2 £2,150 £1,725 £1,315 £895 £475
Term 3 £2,150 1,725 £1,315 £895 £475

Fees for 2022-23 - from September 2022

(same fees for both in-person and online)

A-level – fees per term – (Term 1 has 10 Saturdays – extra 2 Saturdays for D & A – Diagnostic and Alignment. Terms 2  has 8 Saturdays and Term 3 also has 8 Saturdays)

A-level - (AS or A2)- fees per term - Saturday Classes
1 subject 2 subjects 3 subjects 4 subjects
Total for Term 1 - Including Diagnostic and Alignment - a total of 10 Saturdays
£1,185 £2,065 £2,915 £3,735
Fees for each of Term 2 or Term 3 - a total of 8 Saturdays for each term
£934 £1,760 £2,560 £3,363

Diagnostic & Alignment (compulsory – paid Term 1 only)  – the first two Saturdays – assessment, interview and profile included

 

5 subjects4 subjects3 subjects2 subjects1 subject
£405£355£305£255£255

Intensive Revision fees

(20 hours per subjects at AS and A2 level, 12 hours at GCSE)

 

  • October Half-Term
  • Christmas/New-Year
  • February Half-Term
  • Easter Revision
  • May/June Half-Term
  • Summer Booster

 

Intensive Revision fees

(2 full days per subject for GCSE and 3 full days for A-level)

Number of Subjects GCSE & IGCSE A-level

AS & A2

1 £395 £675
2 £745 £1,365
3 £1,075 £1,895
4 £1,385 £2,495
5 £1,675 £2,965

In-Person Teaching  Additional Information on Lessons and Fees

KS3 and GCSE (in-premises at our centre)

Every Saturday, students in classes of no more than 8 will spend:

  • 1 hour 15 minutes on English
  • 1 hour 15 minutes on Maths
  • 1 hour 15 minutes on each Science subject - Physics, Chemistry and Biology. 

Most students spend between 4 and 5 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 3.30pm.

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 60 to 70 minutes, instead of 75 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-premises at our centre)

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 that do not finish until 6pm or later.

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.

ONLINE  Teaching  Additional Information on Lessons and Fees

GCSE - effective small group tuition (online lesson via Zoom/Microsoft Teams)

2 teaching sessions per week and a milestone assignment

GCSE – Y11, Y10 or KS3

  1. 45 minutes of small group teaching
  2. 60 minutes of homework assignment set mainly exam questions, based on topic(s) covered in the lesson
  3. 10 to 15 minutes of one-to-one tutorial (live video session)– dedicated to addressing individual student's weaknesses
  4. Milestone work set and marked, with written feedback provide.This should be work that is focused to the need of individual student and in theory, it should not be the same for all the student in the group.

A-level - effective small group tuition (online lesson via Zoom/Microsoft Teams)

A-level – for first or second year

  1. 60 minutes of small group teaching
  2. at least 75 minutes of homework assignment set mainly exam questions, based on topic(s) covered in the lesson
  3. 15 to 20 minutes of one-to-one tutorial (live video session)– dedicated to addressing individual student's weaknesses
  4. Milestone work set and marked, with written feedback provide.This should be work that is focused to the need of individual student and in theory, it should not be the same for all the student in the group.

Milestone Task

At the end of the teaching session, questions are set in what we call a “milestone task” piece of work.

The student is expected to do the milestone task by answering the questions and submitting them, either by e-mail or into our online portal. We expect the work to be printed out and in handwriting, as this reflects the way the actual GCSE exam will be done. Practising in the form of writing on paper is vital, as part of the exam technique training.

The work is expected to be done and submitted within 48 hours. The teacher will check all the work.

The second session – the tutorial. This is teaching for about 10 minutes for GCSE and KS3 and about 15 to 20 minutes for A-level. The tutorial session is when the teaching consultant goes through key elements (usually about 15 to 20 marks’ worth ) of the questions that were set. The teacher will explain the answers and also ensure that some of the work is marked – with written or verbal comment provided.

The student will have access to the video of the teaching session for up to one year after the course has ended.  This will be on our online platform.

Diagnostic and Alignment (D&A) is compulsory irrespective of when a student starts. This session takes place before the start of the actual lessons. The diagnostic session requires a student to sit for a test based on the subject(s) in which the student is enrolled. The test enables us to know the strengths and weaknesses of the student. The diagnostic is followed by an interview with the subject teacher(s). The teacher asks quite a number of questions to the student based on his/her performance in the diagnostic test and on his/her past exam results and school reports. This is also an opportunity for the student to express himself/herself. Post-interview, we create a specific profile of the student and the process of alignment starts. By alignment we mean the process of placing the student in the group that represents attributes similar to him/her.

In simple words, the student will be placed in a group of other students with the same academic level. After the D&A, the most appropriate learning package reflecting the unique requirements of the student is designed and the student is taught according to that plan.

The most popular combination at GCSE and KS3 are English, Maths and Combined Science (for those who are taking Combined or Single Science). This is treated as 4 Subjects at EIKS. It usually results in five GCSE exam grades: two for English, two for Science and one for Maths. Only Triple Science students who are also taking both Maths and English will pay for five subjects. They will spend 6 hrs 15 minutes studying each Saturday and obtain six GCSE exam grades at the end. For all students, a full academic year consists of a period of Diagnostic and Alignment (the first two Saturdays). This is followed by three terms, each term consisting of 8 Saturdays.

The usual payment method is to pay the D&A and first term’s fee as initial payment. Thereafter, payment for the second term and then the third term three weeks before term starts. A monthly payment option is also available.

How to Pay: 

  1. Online bank transfer using the details below
  2. Telephone banking or paying in cash at any branch of Lloyds Bank
  3. After the initial fee, subsequent fees can be paid monthly by standing order
  4. Card payment
Bank Details: 

  • Sort code: 30-98-97
  • Account number: 4640 9963
  • Name of account: Excel iLearn Ltd
  • Bank: Lloyds Bank

Referral Policy:

A parent or student who introduces us to another parent will receive a voucher of at least £50 or the parent will receive a discount of up to 5% (whichever is greater) on the next instalment of fees they are paying. If a parent wants to enrol a second child, there is a 10% discount on the whole fee for the second child.

 

Rules on fees

  1. Our policy has always been that if someone enrols and pays for future academic years, the fees at the time they enrol apply – with all the usual rules
  2. Full payment for the academic year – 5% discount
  3. Termly payment – No discount for termly payment, but they will pay this year’s fee for all three terms and any increase in fees within the academic year will not apply.
  4. Monthly payment – only available if joining 6 months before the end of the course.
  5. Monthly instalments are also available for those who are studying more than two subjects and committing to the full academic year or the remainder of the year from when they start. A payment of £5 applies per instalment and
  6. payment is by standing order only on the 28th of each month and all the fees ideally need to be completed by 28th March but by 5th April, of the academic year at the very latest.
  • The only way we take card payment for monthly payment is that, when you make the first payment, you are authorising us to take payment on the 28th day of every month and the payment will be deducted automatically each month from your card without contacting you. However, an invoice will be sent to you to confirm payment

A minimum of one term’s notice, in writing, is required if a parent wishes to withdraw their child from the Saturday school. This is for those who are paying for the full academic year or termly. No refund is applicable for those who pay monthly, irrespective of when they choose to leave or reason for leaving. Please ensure that you read the terms and conditions for full information. Monthly payments are not applicable for Intensive Revision.