Kumon Europe & Africa

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Kumon Europe & Africa's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Kumon Europe & Africa is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP


Schools Project Manager
Timothy Corns
Alan Makore, student at the
Wednesfield Kumon Centre.
Alan is now in the top set
for maths in his year, and is
studying year 5 maths as a
year 3 pupil
My message for other parents is, if you get the chance
to register with Kumon, then just take it, as it is such
a big opportunity for the child.” This was the advice
that Mrs Makore gave; after just 18 months, she had seen
first-hand the effect that the Kumon Scholarship had had on
her son. Kumon – the UK’s largest supplementary education
provider – launched the initiative in October 2015 with a view
to helping children of all ages and abilities to reach their full
potential. Schools Project Manager Timothy Corns elaborates on
the programme and discusses Kumon’s work further with
Parliamentary Review
By offering two free places for 24 months at a local Kumon centre, our scholarship
enables us to work collaboratively with schools across the UK and to reach out to
families who otherwise would not be able to enrol their children. The results have
been remarkable.
At 2018’s Pupil Premium Conference, we presented our case study: Mrs Makore,
her son Alan and St Giles Primary School, which Alan attends. As a year 3 student,
Alan – who is now studying year 5 maths – was undoubtedly the star of the event.
He spoke in front of 250 delegates about his experiences since being enrolled onto
the scholarship at his local Wednesfield centre: “Before I started Kumon, I would
always rely on my class teacher to help me and sometimes I was too shy to ask for
support. However, now I am in the top set for maths in my year, and my ability to
do mental maths allows me to work through calculations really quickly.”
»Schools Project Manager:
Timothy Corns
»Established in 1958 by Toru
Kumon in Japan
»More than 630 centres across
the UK with 50,000 students
»Services: Supplementary
»The Kumon Scholarship was
launched in October 2015
»Kumon improves maths and
English ability while also
developing key study skills
Highlighting best practice
12 | KUMON
Soft skills lead to hard results
A key factor in the success of our
scholarship is the focus on study skill
development for each student. While
the Kumon programme focuses on
reading and maths, our approach
allows children of all ages and abilities
to work through a tailored curriculum
at their own pace, all the while
developing their focus, concentration
and independent learning.
As the work becomes more challenging,
children develop perseverance and
resilience, and come to believe that
anything is possible with effort
Perhaps one of the most valued
features of the Kumon methodology
is that it is very much “offline”. While
we recognise that technology certainly
has a place in modern classrooms, we
support learning best by working with
a pencil and paper.
The booklets we provide are designed
with examples and instructions to
support children with independent
learning. The amount of work that
Kumon students study each day is
tailored to the individual and is simply
and quickly marked. By producing work
daily, students commit their learning to
long-term memory and become able to
cover topics beyond their school level
by the end of their first year.
Present circumstances do not
define the potential future
For children from disadvantaged
backgrounds, study skill development
and accessible topics are hugely
important for continued success.
Additionally, if pupils do not have the
opportunity to join after-school clubs,
attending the Kumon centre broadens
their horizons and means that they
don’t in any way identify as being
The centre provides a quiet, studious
atmosphere which means that every
child, regardless of their background,
is in an appropriate educational
environment. It allows pupils of all
ages and abilities to model strong
study skills, engage with their work
and have high expectations.
This is something that the deputy
headteacher at St Giles Primary, Simrat
Mavi, noted: “It is with great joy and
pride we see a quiet and shy Alan
blossoming into a confident young
learner, and Kumon has helped with
this tremendously. From our point of
view, this partnership has been a huge
success and shows just what can be
achieved when working collaboratively
with children from less privileged
The importance of parental
Of course, not all parents eligible for
pupil premium are hard to reach.
While it might not be the solution for
everyone, in our experience, there are
many parents like Mrs Makore who
really appreciate the opportunity and
support their child can access.
A crucial element of our success
with schools has been engagement
from day one. Rather than seeing
the Kumon Scholarship as a “top-
down intervention”, we recognise the
importance of respecting and acting
on families’ and guardians’ opinions.
The centre develops key
study skills – if school
is the football team,
Kumon is the gym
The centre
provides a
quiet, studious
which means
that every child,
regardless of
isin an
Budgetary misspending
An Ofsted report released recently said
that closing the attainment gap by way
of pupil premium funding could take
50 to 100 years.
Part of the reason we attended
the conference in July was to
promote and stress the necessity of
external government funding for
supplementary education. When pupil
premium budgets are spent elsewhere,
we don’t really see anything
equivalent – it’s all well and good
using that money to buy iPads and
DSLR cameras for the classroom, but
we can’t help but feel that it might
be better spent on clearly measurable,
targeted provision.
Each year, we spend £2.6 billion on
pupil premium. That’s more than is
allocated for housebuilding. Fifty or
100 years to close an attainment gap
just seems far too long for such a
monumental annual investment.
Most families come to Kumon of their
own accord, and we see spectacular
results for the children that undertake
our programmes, but we are also
working increasingly closely with
schools who fund families directly.
The next steps: discovering
potential together
Internationally, we consistently rank mid-
table for literacy and numeracy in PISA
league tables. I think this is, in part, a
result of how we view academic subjects
like maths in the UK. Often, these
subjects are seen as something “not to
struggle at” rather than something one
can enjoy and engage with. As a society,
we “support” our children with extra
drama, sport and music lessons, but we
“push” our children through maths.
This, I think, can have the effect of
making after-school provision seem
out of reach or unnecessary for
some parents. With this in mind, a
key message we get across at our
scholarship parent information sessions
is that Kumon isn’t for children
struggling at school any more than the
after-school football club is for children
struggling at football. If we can work
together to support children learning,
then anything ispossible.
By using a more joined-up approach
with schools through the Kumon
Scholarship, we are supporting more
children than ever to discover their full
potential and thrive at school.
We are
more children
than ever to
discover their
full potential
and thrive at
Kumon helps children to
access the curriculum at


This article was sponsored by Kumon Europe & Africa. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister