Beautiful New Beginnings

Keeping up with the kids

The school run is done and you’re back home, you’ve completed a million tasks and there are still more to do. The mountain of washing, the bins by the back door and that’s before you’ve even thought about the kids tea. Miracle of miracles though, the kids are sat down at the table and their homework is out, you give yourself an internal high five but then comes the dreaded question, ‘I don’t understand this… can you help…?’

It’s a great question. Can you help? Teaching methods and the national curriculum change frequently and the ways of the classroom are certainly different from those that most parents and especially grandparents experienced. Many parents want to help but fear they will confuse children more by teaching them a different way of working or that they simply won’t understand what is being asked.

A 2013 study by the publisher Pearson found that more than half [of parents] lacked the confidence to help children with simple sums in the home.

Just one in 20 respondents could correctly answer a full list of questions suitable for pupils aged 11 and under. The study found that 30 percent of parents “don’t feel confident enough in their own maths skills to help their children with their primary school maths homework”.

Meanwhile, some 53 per cent insisted they struggled to understand the new maths teaching methods used in modern classrooms. (Telegraph 2018)

The answer for many families has been to turn to private one-to one tuition, the private tuition sector is said to be worth an estimated £2bn, but what happens to the families who can’t afford these sessions?

Beautiful new beginnings is a company established by Primary School teacher and specialist in Special Educational Needs Carolyn Whitehead. Carolyn recognises the problem of parents feeling deskilled due to constant curriculum changes and has established the Happy Homework Club and Starting School Courses in response.

The Happy Homework club is a more affordable solution to getting that extra help. Whilst it is not one-to-one the homework club takes a maximum of 10 students at anytime, a great reduction on school class sizes which can often be as high as 30 students per class. The classes are planned around the needs of the children attending and each child is allowed time and space to work through their tasks.

Happy Homework Club solves the homework problem for a small number of students but in order for it to stay effective it must remain small, so what about other students, how can beautiful new beginnings help?

The Starting School Course is exactly what it says on the tin. The course is for parents of students about to start Primary School to develop their skillset in supporting with tasks, understanding the curriculum and most impressively embedding practice of essential skills into the everyday. Yes Carolyn has done the impossible, with the exercises you will learn you can do more in less time. Meaning you will regularly be providing opportunities to learn without having to set aside extra time in your already chaotic day. Parental involvement is key to making the most of what any school is trying to achieve. The Department for Education published research that shows-


  • In the early years, parental involvement has a significant impact on children’s cognitive development and literacy and number skills.
  • Parental involvement in a child’s schooling for a child between the ages of 7 and 16 is a more powerful force than family background, size of family and level of parental education.
  • Parental involvement has a significant effect on pupil achievement throughout the years of schooling.
  • Educational failure is increased by lack of parental interest in schooling.
  • In particular, a father’s interest in a child’s schooling is strongly linked to educational outcomes for the child.


The course is perfect for parents who feel in the dark about what to expect from their child’s school experience but will equally benefit parents who are looking for practical ways of supporting on a day to day basis.

Try out some of these ideas for supporting learning and development of key skills, taken from the Beautiful new beginning blog (



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