Here at Oxford Education Centres, building great relationships with all the children we teach is one of our priorities.
But still, it’s surprising how much everyone loves Alyson, our founder and principal! We’ve taken the initiative to interview her, and here’s what she told us…
Why did you start Oxford Education Centres?
Following an absence of 13 years working outside the classroom, I went back to my first love – teaching.
Working as a supply teacher, I was so shocked to find such a lot of apathy amongst teachers and children in some classrooms. A lot of bad behaviour, and some kids just not remotely fulfilling their potential, even in the basics like English and maths.
Sometimes it seemed like children were being set up to fail, the class sizes were huge, the teachers bogged down and there was no passion to be seen anywhere! I realised I wanted to offer children the tools to thrive, even if their everyday school environment was this kind of challenge.
What was it you wanted to create?
I wanted to create an after-school tuition centre that could address some of these issues. I think every child deserves access to an elite learning environment, staffed by passionate and exceptional teachers.
The team of wonderful teachers that I’ve built up bring their subjects alive by constantly tying academic knowledge into current events. Showing the kids how knowledge of the subject enables them to have a better understanding of the world we live in.
Bringing school subjects to life?
Exactly! We need to show children the subjects’ relevance and broaden their horizons by introducing art, music and literature into their maths, English and science lessons
In particular, it’s great that we have such a diverse range of students, which can include giving children whose families are economically disadvantaged, access to world-class teachers in a way that their families can afford.
We love it. What makes your week?
What makes my week is to see students coming into the centre each day, eager to learn, happy and excited that their efforts are being rewarded.
I love it when they tell me that they wish they could ditch school and attend full time.
Oxford Education Centres isn’t ever going to make me rich, because I don’t run it that way. What motivates me isn’t about me, it’s about the kids. The rewards for me are all about transforming each child’s attitude to learning, in a way that will serve them for the whole rest of their life. That’s what I’ve been ploughing all of my efforts into for the last 14 years.
What excites you in a typical day at the centre?
Every day brings a new challenge with every single student. It is exciting trying to find the key that will unlock their potential, unleash their passion for learning.
Virtually every day we see the ‘lightbulb’ go on in a student’s head when they finally understand what we may have spent just a few minutes or many hours teaching them. I love helping them become more successful and keen to learn more.
The more they achieve the more they want to continue to achieve and this makes me want more for them. It’s why many of students stay for years.
Because of the difference that passion makes?
Yes. All of our teachers are passionate about their subject. Passion is infectious and encourages the children to keep trying.
Earlier in my career I found myself in so many classrooms where this feeling is absent and the children are just vegetating … not on my watch!
I want our students to learn to embrace failure as the best way to learn. I want them to be ambitious, determined, learn that perseverance pays, and develop a lifelong interest in learning. And to be kind.
Ah thank you Alyson, that’s been a pleasure!
You’re extremely welcome. Anyone who wants to come and join us and start sharing our passion for learning, just tell them to get in touch!