Kip McGrath Education Companies
- Thought Leadership
- Help high-risk students in schools learn to read and to find their place in society
- Provide remediation training for teachers to use our proven teaching tools and methods so they can continue to work independently within schools
- Offer a simple and affordable solution with nationwide scalability made possible via online delivery or by establishing an enrichment centre in your school
- Having difficulty with their lessons at school and sometimes had a learning disability; or
- Under-achieving and their parents wanted them to perform better particularly at major exams.
- Students who are having difficulty with school work particularly with literacy and numeracy. Some of these students have learning difficulties or special needs.
- Children whose parents are attempting to get them into specific schools where there is competition for places e.g. selective schools, elite private schools and so on.
- Parents who want good exams results or improved exam results at all levels. This is no longer confined to major exams.
- Migrant parents who want the best for their children and believe the way forward in a new country is a good education.
- Parents who want their children helped with their homework. These will often be very busy parents who have the money, but not the time.
A sustainable and scalable solution to overcome illiteracy and innumeracy in underprivileged communities
In many underprivileged countries English is the language of employment, of business and of post-school studies, but is commonly not the language spoken at home. The cost of private tuition is often far beyond the grasp of most parents from these communities. Kip McGrath has been working with South African communities for almost 20 years and recently launched the Kip McGrath Enrichment Centres.
Kip McGrath Enrichment Centres
In partnership with school principals and their governing bodies, Kip McGrath is currently the specialist remediation partner in eight South African schools in two very different poor and underprivileged townships in the Gauteng Province around Johannesburg.
Kip McGrath Enrichment Centres were developed to:
As part of the Enrichment Centre programmes, families can contribute to their local community through a range of social bartering projects. Kip McGrath Enrichment Centres located within these schools source materials via corporate and school sponsorships and donations.
Parents show their commitment by donating hours to work on projects such as tending vegetable gardens on school premises for feeding schemes and destitute local families or tree planting in the immediate community to reverse decimated areas that had been stripped for fuel before electricity was supplied.
The creation of aftercare homework facilities to prevent young children being at home alone until their parents return from work. Children can also donate their time to work in the School Uniform Charity Shop.
One in six people in the UK are below the literacy level expected of an eleven-year-old
Functional reading levels = employment
A functionally literate reader is able to read well enough to operate in society, encompassing the level of literacy that enables a person to be trained in technical or trade courses. This level is generally considered to be that which is achieved by an average student in Grade 4 at school. Put another way, a functional reading age is equivalent to the level of reading competency expected of a child aged 9.5 years of age.
Functional illiteracy is a huge problem in all societies. To achieve this, minimal reading age is critical for a person to adequately function in society, to find employment and manage their day-to-day living needs. This can be illustrated by US reports that two-thirds of all students who do not achieve a minimal reading age, are more likely to be supported by society and governments, rather than contributing. Research has shown that those who do not reach functional reading age are more likely to become long-term unemployed or become part of the prison system.
The goal of all reading instruction for poor readers must include the achievement of a functional reading level.
Early intervention is the key
This graph illustrates the reading trajectory a child can experience without remedial literacy intervention.
Without intervention, the literacy gap widens as the child grows older. The likelihood of ever reaching a functional reading age without remediation is unlikely.
Intervention is the key. Simply put, a functional reading age of 9.5 years is what is required to function and manage life on a daily basis. This is the minimal level of literacy a person would require to operate a bank account, fill out a form, apply for a job, read workplace signs and instructions, use technology, operate a computer or read a bus timetable. The burden of illiteracy impacts upon communities in so many ways.
Kip McGrath’s experience has shown that a non-reader can reach a competent reading level in just 100 lessons.
Improving literacy and numeracy in 14 Commonwealth countries
Kip McGrath’s intention is to help children around the world to overcome their literacy and numeracy struggles and believes that every child can learn to read, they just need to be taught properly.
Our mission is really quite simple. We believe every child has the right to learn to read and write.
Overcoming illiteracy and innumeracy can change the world. With almost 1/6th of humanity illiterate, it is a global problem. Improving literacy and numeracy levels will have an enormous and positive impact on communities and countries alike. Not only will the lives of the illiterate be enriched by knowledge and achievement, improving literacy and numeracy will also enable them to function and contribute to society. An increase in literacy and numeracy levels will have long-term positive effects on economies by reducing unemployment levels, increasing tax contributions, reducing health problems and lessening antisocial and criminal behaviour.
Why do our methods work? This question is best expressed as ‘why does Kip McGrath succeed where others have failed?’ There is nothing mystical or magical about our methodology. It is simple really.
We pre-test each student to find out what is known as well as what isn’t known. This allows us to develop an individual programme for each student that builds on each student’s strengths as well as targeting their weaknesses.
We use resources that are delivered in a step-by-step approach designed specifically to accelerate progress. It’s the small progressive steps that get big results. We’re even able to get a non-reader to a functional reading level in just 100 lessons.
All of our teachers are trained in our methods and are accountable.
We check students’ work programmes to ensure that teachers are teaching every child correctly.
Technology and delivery
Effective remediation demands that teachers acquire the skills necessary to help students overcome their struggles with literacy and numeracy.
Access to this specialist training for teachers and for students in remote or underprivileged areas is both simple and cost effective.
Kip McGrath’s training methods deliver the skills directly to teachers or deliver lessons to students, whilst maintaining crucial live teacher-pupil interaction, real-time feedback and manual work that underpin effective learning.
Solving Governments’ Low Level Education Problem
By Kip McGrath Founder and Chairman of KipMcGrath Education Centres Ltd
Shadow education is a name for private supplementary tutoring that is offered outside the mainstream education system. This education is delivered by tutors working alone or increasingly by tutoring companies.
Shadow Education is a poor name for a service that has become more and more mainstream. It is more focussed and often delivers better results. Tutoring is, in my view, what the service should be called.
Tutoring is not new, but it has become more and more popular over the last few years. Rich families did not send their children to school. They were taught at home by a governess.
As time progressed, the wealthy children went to school but their families employed tutors to help them achieve better.
After I started our business in Australia 40 years ago, students were generally middle-class or upper middle class. The students who attended were either:
Tuition fees were quite high compared to today and the number of children being tutored was relatively low.
Over the years there has been a huge increase in the number of students being tutored. There are many reasons why parents seek help for their children. They include:
Because tutoring has now become mainstream and so many children are using the services of a tutor, the price has come down to a much lower level than it was 40 years ago, relative to the cost of other things.
Recently we have seen another huge shift in the tutoring market. This is going to gain more and more ground.
Governments throughout the world have a major problem with education for students who have difficulty with literacy and numeracy. This issue is relatively new, but will not go away until a solution is found. In fact the problem will continue to get worse unless some decisions and some outcomes are made to fix the issue.
The problem is with illiteracy and to a slightly lesser extent, numeracy.
In developed economies there are practically no very low skilled jobs. Menial tasks such as digging holes, road work, factory work etc are now done by machine. Humans are too expensive and inefficient. In order to operate one of these labour saving machines, certain skills are required. To acquire the skills the operator needs to get a licence or do a course. To complete this requires the person to be literate and sometimes numerate.
Every year at least 15─20 per cent of school leavers head out of formal education without the basics of literacy and or numeracy.
Education systems are not built to handle this 15─20 per cent who have difficulty. The traditional education system accepted this failure rate because there were low skilled jobs for these people – until now. Educational resources to teach these students are not generally available.
It made more sense for a publisher to stick to providing resources for all – not the less lucrative remedial area. These resources need to be specific, well thought out and delivered in a step-by-step approach. They need to target and strengthen the root cause of the problem. Unless they do this they simply won’t work.
The system for so many years worked because students who did poorly at school were still employable. This is no longer the case. The illiterate and/or innumerate students cannot be trained to do any of the skilled tasks required for today’s world. The government spends enormous amounts on training that doesn’t work because the trainee doesn’t have the basic skills. The government spends huge amounts on unemployment and other benefits. There is a very real chance that these unskilled people will engage in anti-social behaviour so gaols and the infrastructure around supporting criminal behaviour, is a huge cost to government. When this person finally retires and has had no opportunity to put anything aside for retirement, he/she needs to be supported financially by tax payers.
Governments in these more developed countries realise there is a problem, but very few have addressed the issue in a way that works. To continue to do more of the same will continue to produce the same results. Something different needs to be done or the problem will not go away.
This is where the suppliers of Shadow Education or tutoring companies come in.
Some tutoring organisations specialise in helping students with improving their literacy and numeracy. They know how to teach these subjects in a way that works for poor performers. Unlike schools they understand accountability because they have to be accountable to parents who pay.
There will be an increase in partnership between governments and tutoring companies in developed countries as a way of solving the unemployability of illiterate and innumerate people.
The solution is simple. The task of remediation can be cost effectively outsourced to specialist companies to deliver programmes as well as ensure that accountability procedures are in place. The results will surely follow.
In less developed counties, the problem for governments is similar, but on a greater scale. Growing economies have an almost insatiable hunger for skilled people, though under-developed counties lack a workforce with the requisite skills to help build these burgeoning economies.
One of the problems is developing enough people with these skills. The training required for these desperately needed skills requires a functional level of literacy and/or numeracy. The shortage stems from the problem that many young people now completing their education, do not graduate with adequate literacy and numeracy skills. Add to this socio-economic factors restricting parents to gain access to private tutoring.
In addition, the need for tutoring in literacy in particular is so great on a national level, that the governments would have trouble paying to address the problem.
Another solution was required.
This had led to a partnership between government and tutoring companies where the government school teachers or college teachers are trained by tutoring companies who then allow access to their educational content to tutor the schools’ or colleges’ students. The training is on how to use the resources to get the required results. This appears to be the ideal solution for developing countries.
The students who have difficulty can be tutored using the successful materials and methodology of tutoring companies, but the costs can be contained. This containment occurs by using the school or college premises to deliver remediation and to train the school’s teachers in the use of the company’s teaching resources.
The methodology and the educational material delivered from the tutoring companies is the same as the tutoring partner company. This serves to keep costs to manageable levels.
By looking at the history of tutoring the trend becomes obvious. We have moved from tutoring being for the rich, to the middle class and now for everyone.
As an educator this really excites me. I like the fact that the best education is now available to everyone. The world becomes better or fairer if everyone gets the best education possible. Technology has been the catalyst. The training of tutors can be done remotely. The content can be delivered by the internet. The teachers doing the tutoring can be monitored and made accountable. The computer can develop individual programs for individual students taking this very onerous task away from teachers.
I look forward to seeing more and more governments really do something about their literacy and numeracy problems by partnering with education companies. Not only does it make great moral sense, it makes huge financial sense to governments.