Jerome Barty-Taylor knows first-hand what it’s like to have a learning difference. He also knows that it’s not a barrier to success. Jerome went from being diagnosed at the age of 12 with dysgraphia, a learning disability that affects writing ability, to graduating with a Masters from Oxford University. He is now managing director of BartyED, which offers tailored tutoring and educational consulting to children of all ages. The company specialises in providing support for gifted children and students with learning differences.
While BartyED is based in Hong Kong, during last year’s unrest in that city, the company quickly adapted to new technologies. Following widespread COVID-19 school closures of 2020, Jerome understood that more and more parents in the region would be seeking quality online tutoring for their children. The team now uses Zoom as their main platform for tuition, including with families in Singapore.
Jerome’s focus on students with specific needs or learning differences came after he spent time working with various educational providers in Hong Kong. “I found the most reward in working with gifted children who required academic extension and students with learning differences or behavioural issues who, for one reason or another, had never been pushed to realise their full potential,” he says.
We asked Jerome more about how his company can help students reach their potential.
What are the main services at BartyED?
We provide mentoring and support for students with learning differences. This always starts with a detailed assessment, although this is not in place of an educational psychologist evaluation. Our in-house assessment allows our tutors to see where weaknesses lie in students’ skill profiles. We then issue a detailed report to parents that outlines the direction of the lesson programme.
We also provide academic extension support. This content always varies – from helping a 13-year-old who is passionate about physics build a working solar panel, to helping an eight-year-old with Shakespeare. Currently, we find ourselves teaching quite a lot of Latin as there are still schools that offer it and top boarding schools in UK/USA still require candidates to present in it. We can deliver customised extension programmes in all subjects.
Exam tutoring is another speciality area. Last year we took several students from ‘D’ to ‘A’ grades in IGCSE in Sciences and History. We run short intensive holiday courses for specific exams for existing and new clients. Many parents come to us once there is a specific deadline, such as needing a certain score in an assessment. In that event, we can provide a subject specialist tutor to review the content, but also work with the student on how they revise and review, provide the follow-up and force the student to take ownership of their work.
Why do some students struggle in mainstream schooling?
For learning differences, there’s such a wide gamut of different profiles that can’t be addressed in a classroom setting. Weak working memory, for example, affects around 10 percent of the population and is commonly observed on the dyslexia/dysgraphia spectrum. Students will struggle to follow a list of oral instructions because only some get processed in real-time. As children get older, this limits their performance in many mainstream classroom activities, such as taking notes or following a maths problem to replicate its steps.
At the gifted end, students get bored in class or they ‘self-censor’ because they’re worried about being uncool. Issues with lack of social engagement and/or bullying are also sadly too common.
How common are learning differences such as dyslexia or dysgraphia?
Cumulatively, it’s around 8 to 10 percent of the population, according to the latest data. This means that a lot of students fly under the radar, especially with dysgraphia. I regularly assess teenagers who have been referred to me because they’re ‘struggling’ and I tell the parents that we need to get an educational psychologist’s evaluation done so that we can make appropriate arrangements with external exam boards.
What is it about BartyED that separates you from other educational support services?
- The length of our client relationships – our tutoring is not transactional.
- The commitment of our tutors; they regularly give up their downtime to review students’ work out of contact hours at no extra cost.
- Our tutors’ understanding of cognitive psychology and how that impacts learning.
- Our tutors’ rigour and their training; we regularly observe each other’s lessons.
- Our ability to engage students who not only do not enjoy school but are actively hostile to the idea of having help.
BartyED’s qualified staff can help with homework, or provide tuition in all pre-tertiary subjects with expertise in IB, AP, HSC and standardised testing. They can also deliver personalised admissions consultancy for top-tier schools. For more information, or to hear from other families in Singapore who have used their services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Read our huge guide to international schools in Singapore for more information.