1. Do you only teach students who have special educational needs?
No, definitely not. I specialise in working with students who have conditions such as ASD and ADHD, but I work with any student who needs my help. I have an interest in special needs due to my own life experiences, but I've spent over 12 years working in mainstream schools so I have a broad knowledge of supporting a variety of needs.
2. Will you/Can you give my child homework?
For some aspects, homework is quite important as the student will only make optimum progress if they regularly practise the skills we're learning. Most aspects do not require homework to be set, but it can be if the parents request it. I would always set a realistic amount of work and I would expect your child to prioritise their school work before the work I had given them. Homework is a useful tool if managed properly, but it can equally make a child frustrated and resentful which I am always very conscious of.
3. Will martial arts make my child violent?
Absolutely not. Violence is not something that is ever accepted, required or taught in the style I teach. In fact, the philosophy of jujitsu is the complete opposite. The term jujitsu actually translates into English as 'gentle art' and the main principle is using an attacker's energy against themselves, rather than directly opposing it. It is taught that if someone is having to exert force onto their opponent then they are performing the technique incorrectly. All techniques should be delivered with grace and control.
One of the first rules that students learn when attending classes is that none of the techniques can be tried outside of class. The reasons and importance of this are made clear and the students are reminded of this regularly. They understand that it is not acceptable to show their friends what they have learnt or use any of the techniques when angry with someone.
There is obviously some contact involved in kickboxing, but we always keep this light in sessions. If a student needs to let off steam during a session then they can use more force on the punch bag or grappling dummy. Again, it is always made very clear to a student that this is the only acceptable place to use such force. Children actually benefit from releasing their negative emotions in this way and it helps them to be calmer and more patient in day-to-day life.
4. What training have you had?
I have a degree in primary teaching including Qualified Teacher Status, which I was awarded by the University of Worcester in 2005. I was awarded the grade of black belt in 2015 by Combat Academy UK, which is affiliated to the Cobra Martial Arts Association. I have also been awarded my level 1 instructor qualification through the Cobra Martial Arts Association and as part of this I have an up-to-date first aid qualification, DBS certificate and public liability insurance.
I have undertaken recent child protection training and SEND training.
Recent courses I have attended:
Youth Mental Health First Aid (Mental Health First Aid England)
Practical Solutions for Dyslexia for Secondary and Further Education (British Dyslexia Association)
Practical Approaches for Children with Dyspraxia/DCD (Dyspraxia UK)
All qualification certificates can be viewed on request.
I also count my own life experience as some of my most valuable training. Having ADHD and ASD myself, I have a natural and thorough understanding of the difficulties that students with these conditions can encounter and strategies that can be used to overcome these difficulties or make them more manageable.
5. Do all sessions have to include exercise of some form?
Ideally, yes. The key concept of Kickstart Learning with Kerry is the combination of exercise with learning. Some students detest exercise, but then it's down to me to try and find a form of exercise that will motivate and engage that student. If you have a particular reason for not wanting to include exercise, then please contact me to discuss this further.
6. Will you come to our house to have sessions with our child?
Unfortunately not. The main reason for this is that, at the centre, I have access to all the resources I could need during a session. The gym which is at the centre is a key part of each session also. It often helps a student to come out of the home environment for sessions as there are less distractions and they understand that this is learning time rather than play time.
7. What age ranges do you work with?
The sessions are aimed at children from ages 6 to 14 (Year 1 to Year 9). I do occasionally work with children younger than this depending on their specific needs and I have worked with young people into their early 20s at times. Please get in contact if your child is younger than 6 or older than 14 as I'd need to discuss your requirements first to see if I thought it would be the best person to work with your child.
8. How do you spread out the classroom based learning and the exercise within each session?
Each student is different and so each session is different also. I always have a plan for a session, but I respond to the student's needs as they arise.
I tend to start each session with a quick chat about how their week has been. This enables me to find out how the child is feeling and what frame of mind they are in. The session will probably develop differently depending on the child's mood as this will affect their levels of concentration, attitude and motivation. Occasionally, if a student comes to the session in a really foul mood or really upset, I might abandon what I had planned and instead work on helping the child to feel more calm and in control of their emotions. I would always communicate this to parents after a session, but like I say, it would only happen in exceptional circumstances.
Each student's attention span is different and so I would use this to dictate when we switch activities or do some physical exercise. Some students will need frequent changes to keep them focused and engaged whereas other students will be happy to work for an extended period of time and just break once for a workout.
9. I suspect that my child might have a Specific Learning Difficulty. Are you able to diagnose him/her?
I am not qualified to diagnose your child with any Specific Learning Difficulty. I am able to conduct a dyslexia screener with your child which would show how likely they are to be dyslexic but this is not a formal diagnosis. I can also offer an opinion from my own personal and professional experience but you would have to see an educational psychologist for an official diagnosis.
10. I think that I might also have difficulties similar to my child. Are you able to work with me also?
Conditions such as ASD, ADHD and dyslexia have been proven to have a genetic link so it is highly likely that your child won't be the only member of the family to be experiencing such difficulties. In fact, many parents only seek a diagnosis themselves after their child has been diagnosed and they recognise the traits in themselves also. I only work with children and young people currently, but I am able to offer advice and guidance for any parents who need it. I can also put you in touch with professionals like myself who work more with adults.
11. Are you able to offer (such and such) service?
I am very open to suggestions and requests. If I can effectively accommodate a suggestion or request then I will and if I don't think it would be feasible or appropriate then I will explain why not.
12. Can I book tutoring and mentoring sessions for two children to attend at the same time?
Yes, this is possible, but it would depend entirely on what we were going to be focusing on in the sessions. It is usually more important for the children to be a similar ability rather than a similar age. Please get in touch to discuss this further.