Explore Learning is a British company founded in 2000 to provide private learning centres located across the UK. The centres are located in places easy for families to attend on a regular basis, such as Sainsbury's grocery stores, shopping centres and local high streets. Its first centre was opened in Chelmsford in October 2001. Explore Learning has expanded to 75 centres across the UK as of December 2012.
The concept of a network of learning centres is to place maths and English tutors working in a low ratio with children to meet their individual needs; and to complement children’s school experience in a positive way and feeding back into the classroom environment. The maximum ratio is 1 tutor to 6 children. The tuition classes are aimed to boost confidence, enthusiasm and independence into a child’s development.
The concept is based on the model of Sylvan Learning Centers in the United States, but the teaching materials map to the English, Welsh and Northern Irish National Curriculum and the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. The tutors develop relationships with local schools and are involved in school life by running regular maths and English workshops for pupils. They are also involved in running local community activities such as providing story-based workshops in local libraries.
Children are evaluated through a twelve session assessment which identifies their individual abilities to create a personalized learning program. The centres use SuccessMaker and Digitexts software in addition to written materials to provide hour-long sessions, and children can earn prizes for answering more than 70% of the questions in a session correctly.
Typically, children become members and attend sessions once or twice a week, each session is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes long. The monthly membership fee is subject to some regional variations, which entitles each child to a maximum of two visits a week. Feedback is provided on progress at the end of each session, each child receives a chart summarising the lesson. These charts give examples of the activities completed, as well as scores and comments from the tutors. Parent Conferences are also available to discuss each child’s progress and review their goals in more detail.
The centres are usually open seven day a week both in term time and during school holidays. The attendance process is ad hoc and children are not required to book their places in advance. All of the Explore Learning centres are Ofsted/Care Commission registered and inspected. This means that Explore membership qualifies for a number of government initiatives including the Childcare Vouchers scheme, Accor, Allsave, Busy Bees, Care4, Faircare, Imagine, Leapfrog and Sodexho Pass. Members are also eligible for claims up to 70% of the costs if they are within the ‘child care element’ of the Working Tax Credit. Explore Learning also offer scholarship places to support lower income families who qualify for either Income Support or Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance.
Explore Learning was named Supplementary Education Provider of the Year in 2011 and 2012 in the Education Investor Awards.
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