If you’re reading this blog post it’s likely that you have already had a browse of our site, read up on our centres, our approach, perhaps even the nitty gritty of timetables and costs. You may be familiar by now with the BYT method; the centres’ original materials, pencil and paper focus and their 4:1 tutor ratio.
What I want to share with you, however, are the changes I have been lucky enough to witness in our students since BYT High Wycombe first opened last Winter.
Picture a five year old boy brought in from his habitually free Saturday for an assessment, nervous and clinging to his father. With much coaxing, gentle encouragement and many smiles we managed to hang his coat up and get him seated (albeit with his feet dangling far above the carpet). He was clearly a bright boy, but so shy that I could barely catch his whispered name. He worked through counting animals, making a story about the zoo and matching pairs together with the solemnity of a miniature professor testing atoms. When it was time to go, he hurried back into the arms of his father and closed down all contact with the tutors. English is not his family’s principal language, and his parents expressed concerns that he may be falling behind with communication at school.
Another child came in the other day, and ran straight through the little saloon doors of the centre.
His marching walk took him all the way to his favourite seat in the corner, and he handed me his coat to hang up. He promptly told me “English first” and got on with the task in hand, asking for word meanings when needed and discussing the stories. He worked fast, making words confidently and often sounding them aloud; his sentences presented with a proud “I’m finished”. In maths he was similarly confident; ploughing through his workbook with the occasional “That was easy!” when asked a question. He jabbered away about his day at the end, and methodically examined the prize cabinet to decide which soon-to- be-earned prize he will collect with ten cards.
These children are — you guessed it — in fact the same child, and this change is just one example out of many that I could have described. Of course, his academic work has improved (he now writes all numbers facing the correct way for example), but more than that his interaction with others and self-confidence is almost unrecognisable. Many children are shy at first, but in this and many cases it goes above and beyond that. The centre provides a place that can foster development not only in the work, but in all manner of areas. In coming to BYT High Wycombe the students certainly enjoy academic achievement, but just as importantly they hone the skills needed to enjoy and get the best out of life. It has been a pleasure to watch.
Senior Tutor, BYT High Wycombe