What age does my child have to be to take your classes?

There are no age requirements for our classes, and we currently have students from the ages of ten to nineteen. We have seen some of our students achieve A* (or 9) in GCSEs when only eleven to thirteen years of age. At the other end of the spectrum, there can be students in their very late teens who for a variety of reasons suddenly find that they still need a GCSE or A-level in a particular subject. It really doesn’t matter. While it is traditional in the UK for sixteen-year olds to sit nine or ten GCSEs all in one go, there is nothing to stop home-educated children from sitting two or three subjects a year over several years. This is often a more manageable approach, both in terms of workload and financial budget (though care should be taken in terms of UCAS requirements from certain red-brick universities). The choice is yours, and our teachers are happy to offer advice as to when a given student might be ready to sit exams in various subjects or what a suitable approach might be for your child, given their interests, aptitudes, difficulties, and plans.

Is this just an elite service for academically inclined children?

PX ClassroomsAbsolutely not! Our aim is to be of service to the whole body of Christ, and if your child is not at all academic, PX Classrooms may still be the service they need. Reasons why some children can seem slow to engage with a subject are manifold, but it’s certainly not all down to gifting and intelligence. Negative experiences early on can create a self-fulfilling prophecy that “I’m no good at” a certain subject. But a fresh start within the new environment of a PX Classroom can often be what a student needs to break down those misconceptions and come to realise that this subject is in fact understandable and even interesting and fun. This can then be a tremendous boost to confidence and become a powerful object lesson that if this was the case with Subject X then may it not also become the case with Subject Y and Skill Z?

In terms of PX Classrooms, it is actually the students who are below average who can be the most help to a class. They are the ones who can ask the really helpful questions. They are the ones who force the teacher to go back to first principles and clarify and consolidate matters and so help the whole group. They are the ones who often show the most enthusiasm once a concept is grasped. And as for average students – the majority of cases – we have found that they are the ones who tend to gain the most from PX Classrooms, as they are the ones who most need that extra help to achieve their potential in terms of qualifications.

And from the point of view of individual PX Classroom teachers, it is the less gifted children who can be the most satisfying to teach. To see a student move from despair in a certain subject to actually passing and thereby getting their first job or place on a training course can be thrilling. We have seen this happen and look forward to more.

Furthermore, we don’t care about exam statistics at PX Classrooms. That is to say, if your child is aiming to achieve a C grade, then it’s not going to spoil our “A-grade or above” percentage table, as we don’t have one. God does not require that we get As or 9s but that we simply do our best with the talents and opportunities He gave us. And that’s not for PX Classrooms to measure.

So we welcome students from a whole range of abilities into our PX Classrooms, and we do our best, in partnership with the parents, to bring about noticeable improvements in the student’s performance.

Can the students interact with one another or only with the teacher?

The lesson format is one of open interaction amongst the whole class using Zoom (or equivalent) as the communications platform. Ordinarily, the teacher and all students can therefore see and hear one another. But there is no obligation for the student to connect by a video link and webcam, although most do, as it is advantageous and results in better teacher-student interaction. The personal contact details of the students are not divulged by the teacher to all. The Zoom platform (or equivalent) does provide a ‘chat’ facility for the classroom, but it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that it is not used by their children if the parents do not want them to have contact with the other students either inside or outside of the classroom. It is always the responsibility of the parents to oversee how their children make use of the PX Classroom environment.

What if my child struggles to keep up with the classwork?

The lesson format is interactive and encourages students to ask questions and test ideas while the material is being taught. No student need suffer in silence or fall behind due to a lack of attention. But recognising that extra questions will always arise, extra free and informal sessions may be arranged with the teacher at their discretion for students to seek further help with any outstanding problems. Parental support and the overseeing of homework and background study is, of course, a key component in any child’s home education. Making sure that they do not fall behind due to a lack of diligent effort is primarily the parents’ responsibility. But for some children the challenge is that they are simply still in their early teens. Rather than panic, such children often just take the course a second time.

What if a student misses a lesson?

Depending on the PX Classroom teacher’s policy, lessons can be recorded and uploaded for about one week after the lesson took place. This ordinarily enables the student to catch up on material missed. But this facility cannot be guaranteed, and all students are encouraged to attend all the lessons as a matter of top priority. See each Course Description for any policy the teacher might have on the recording of lessons.

What examination boards do you use?

Each individual teacher gears their classes to match an examination board or boards which they believe to be most suitable for the desired results. See under each individual course for such details. Parents are, of course, free to use another examination board if they so choose, although consideration should always be given to the impact this may have in terms of course content.

What if we do not wish to sit any examinations?

Although the classes are geared to equipping students to achieve formal qualifications (either GCSEs or A-levels), there is no obligation to sit these exams, and in all cases the parents are responsible for booking or not booking any such exams with a local (or not so local!) examination centre. We simply provide an educational service which we believe will equip most children to achieve good grades at such exams. But the courses are not so exam-focused that they are not suitable for students who simply wish to master a subject up to a certain level for its own sake.

Why are PX courses so differently priced?

While some lessons can be as little at £5.00 each, others are much more expensive. The difference between the prices for different terms of the same course can also be considerable. Why is this?

There are many contributing factors. Firstly, class size can enable economies of scale and therefore teachers to lower the price for very popular classes. However, not all subjects are equally popular and not all subjects benefit from increased class sizes. PX Teachers take all this into consideration and charge the rate that they believe to be the most appropriate for their subject and anticipated course size.

Secondly, the number of lessons in a term can often differ greatly, from the busy first term in the Autumn, to the shorter third or sixth terms in the Summer, when often the number of lessons is reduced to allow students to revise for the imminent exams.

Thirdly, different subjects and different teachers involve different approaches to marking and giving personalised feedback. Science subjects can often be self-marked through an answer sheet or interactive video. In contrast, marking an essay in, say, History, with meaningful and constructive advice, always requires considerable extra time and input from the teacher, and increasingly so from KS3 through to A-Level. Furthermore, some PX Classrooms include in the price optional drop-in workshops and one-to-one supervision sessions.

Parents should therefore carefully read the Course Descriptions for help in understanding the price of each course and term. To facilitate this and to promote transparency in pricing, under each Course Description the hourly rate is given for a particular term. It is important to remember that this is the hourly rate for classroom time only and excludes work done by the teacher outside of the PX Classroom (such as lesson preparation, marking, and any one-to-one follow up work) – which is, therefore, effectively free! We believe, therefore, that PX Classrooms always represent excellent value for money.

What is a PX waiting list?

Sometimes a PX Classroom sells out before the course begins. Because each student carries an overhead for the Teacher in terms of marking, feedback, and follow-up work, new places cannot simply be added to the Classroom to make room for more students. The best that can be done in such situations is to offer a place on the waiting list for the Classroom. If a currently booked student then pulls out before the first term has started, or drops out of the Classroom early on in the first term, the Teacher will then approach the waiting list in order of arrival to see if anybody wishes to take up the vacant place. The parent can then discuss with the Teacher the feasibility of their child joining the class and a plan for catching up, if relevant. For Classrooms with a growing waiting list a second Classroom might be created by the Teacher for another slot in the Timetable. To join the waiting list for a PX Classroom, email the relevant teacher using the ‘contact’ button in their Teacher Profile page.

What if we no longer wish to continue with a PX course?

Courses are typically one or two years long and spaces are limited, but advance payment is only required on a termly basis, so there is no contractual obligation to pay for the remaining terms, even though this represents a financial loss to the teacher. We recognise that personal circumstances can change.