Following reports from two major surveys revealing the high percentages of school children now using home tutors, private tuition has once again become a hot topic in the education pages.
At the beginning of September, The Sutton Trust revealed that 44% of 16-year-old pupils in London received help from a home tutor, a figure 10% greater than a decade ago.
Two weeks later, a study by Newcastle University and the NatCen Social Research Institute found that 22% of 11-year-olds in the UK currently benefit from home tutoring. The figures were higher in ethnic origin groups with 48% of pupils classified as Chinese or other ethnic origin, 47% of black children and 42% of Indian children reported to receive private tuition.
Word of mouth popularity
The reports have fuelled speculation about the reasons behind the growing popularity of home tutoring, especially among those from ethic origin groups and those living in London.
However, as many readers have expressed in follow-up comments to articles, the majority of parents enlist private tutors for the simple reason that their child was experiencing difficulties at school or they were concerned about their progress.
The higher-than-average class sizes in London are without doubt a major factor behind the demand for one-to-one tuition in the capital.
With regards to the high usage of private tutors among those from ethnic backgrounds, one reader points out that in many other countries tutoring is simply ‘the norm’ and ‘regarded as mentoring, practice and support… no different from an athletics coach’. It is no surprise, therefore, that Chinese and Indian pupils also do better than average in Sats tests, according to data from the Millennium Cohort Study.
Wherever a child lives and whatever their ethnic origin, many parents are now likely to consider home tutoring to help their child fulfil their potential – especially when they have seen other children flourishing under tuition.
While the media has reported extensively on the trends in home tutoring and offered a number of explanations, a look at tutoring success stories can provide greater insight into how it helps build confidence and enables children to progress.
John Lewis is a mathematics tutor and the Home-School Tutoring Advisor for Gloucestershire and the Cotswold area. This year, all his students achieved their target GCSE results, while an IGCSE student achieved an A*, an M1 Mechanics student improved their grade from a D to an A, and another achieved Grade A at AS Level.
Home-School Tutoring’s Area Advisors regularly receive positive feedback about a child’s bolstered confidence after working with a patient private tutor, who has given them the time and attention they need to fully understand a difficult concept or complicated topic.
‘What a difference your tuition has made,’ one boy’s parent wrote to our Hampshire West and Central Area Advisor. ‘His teacher cannot believe the difference in confidence in a few short weeks – he is like a different boy with school now a pleasure!’
Meanwhile, a pupil in the Cornwall area concerned about passing entrance exams was able to develop the confidence she needed to pass them ‘with wonderful grades’, giving her ‘a proper boost to moral’.
Andrew Murray is the Home-School Tutoring Advisor for the Somerset West & South area and is passionate about the difference a tutor can make. “In school, if a topic is not fully grasped or perhaps just missed then it will still be a problem later on unless the child has someone to go through it with them.
“Of course, the school should provide this but if this does not happen then one of our tutors can sit down with your child and start back from basics as necessary. The result is a young person ready to tackle the subject much better in school or a child with a much better chance in their exams.”
To find out how one-to-one tuition has helped children in your area and how it could help your child, please contact your local Home-School Tutoring Area Advisor by browsing our list of locations or by using our Find a Tutor page.