Private tutoring puts children at risk, says independent schools head

(90 Posts)
muminlondon Fri 11-Oct-13 16:51:29

www.standard.co.uk/news/education/private-tutoring-puts-children-at-risk-8874013.html

Interesting topic. Apparently there are twice as many tutors as school teachers in England. I haven't found any statistics that reveal the most popular age at which children are tutored, but it must peak at 9-10 before entrance tests?

Bonsoir Mon 14-Oct-13 08:33:19

Regulation is good for tutor agency owners (business people) and the government (reduces black market) but not necessarily good for families or individual tutors. Personally, before employing any kind of specialist for one on one tuition, I want to meet that person, talk to them and see whether we are on the same page. Often my requirements as a parent are very specific and I want someone who understands that and helps my DC work towards our family's goals which may have little to do with any form of national curriculum.

MagratGarlik Mon 14-Oct-13 09:48:09

I think it is good for the big agency owners, but not for small companies. I employ another person who offers a subject I don't cover, as well as offering tuition myself. There is obviously a concern as to how this will influence future growth and development, e.g. ability to take on others in the future.

Clearly there are tutors out there who don't hold qualifications, are not CRB checked etc, but it should be for parents to decide if this is important to them and to check any qualifications etc, not the role of regulators. It assumes that parents are not capable of checking these things and adopts a 'nanny-state' mentality where the government must check and control all.

My concern is that any regulation must be manageable and will not simply lead to a ton of box-ticking which only takes time out of actually teaching. Checks and regulation have not necessarily improved schools, but improves the status of those who are good with the data (I'm sure we all know 'Outstanding' schools who are actually not very good). My concern is that tuition may become very prescribed and yet one of the benefits of tuition is the fact that it is not prescriptive, meaning you can adopt different approaches and find something that works for an individual student.

The most important thing should be working closely with a student and his/her parents (where the student is under 18) to provide a service they are happy with. The idea should not be to provide something some regulators think is good, if it does not meet the needs of clients.

Bonsoir Mon 14-Oct-13 10:28:36

Indeed, Magrat. I fear the prescriptive too. I am not at all convinced that tutors need to be trained and qualified teachers. One on one coaching is a very different skill to classroom teaching.

MagratGarlik Mon 14-Oct-13 10:47:23

I would agree. I think tutors need to be familiar with the latest approaches and thinking adopted in school, but if those approaches were working for the students who come for tuition, they wouldn't be seeking additional help in the first place. If a student comes for tuition because they have gaps in their understanding of the subject, simply repeating what they have already done at school on a smaller scale will not help. It is necessary to get to know the student and find ways that work for him/her individually.

I'd agree too that one-to-one coaching is a very different skill to classroom teaching. Being an excellent classroom teacher does not necessarily mean you will be a good tutor and vice versa. I find the skills I use as a tutor are actually closer to those I used to use to supervise my postgraduate students (albeit different level) than those I used when teaching in the classroom.

ohnoimnot Mon 14-Oct-13 15:03:38

Our prep school has given up teaching and introduced sport into every afternoon. So many parents tutor the school has switched off. Needless to say we are pulling him out.

LaQueenForADay Tue 15-Oct-13 14:34:25

There's plenty of tutors around here, and many (most) parents use them, or provide tutoring themselves for the 11+.

Our DD1 saw a very highly regarded tutor, for one hour per week (plus one hour's homework), for a year prior to the 11+. In the 2 months before the actual tests, she did 2 past papers per week, for practice. It was an enjoyable, steady, learning curve for her.

She has passed smile with a decent score smile

However, some parents I know, kinda looked down their nose at us using a professional tutor - but then blithely insisted their DCs did 2 past paper every day of the summer holidays, with other extra stuff thrown in.

Interestingly, their DCs scored more highly than DD1 and yet don't work in as high a literacy/numeracy group as she does at school hmm

Just because you're not paying someone else to tutor your child, doesn't mean that what you are providing them with isn't tutoring/hot housing.

LaQueenForADay Tue 15-Oct-13 14:41:43

Neither do I think a teaching qualification is actually necessary.

I have an English degree, and the C&G 730/1, which would entitle me to teach in an FE college (thogh never have).

I was shit at trying to help/explain the NVR problems to DD1.

However, DH with no teaching qualifcations/empathy whatsoever (but with very impresive maths qualifcations/background) could instantly work out the answers to all the NVR, and more importantly explain clearly how to work them out.

Private5 Mon 23-Dec-13 22:54:40

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

TalkinPeace Tue 24-Dec-13 15:12:31

I was tutored because I skipped a year at school
DS was tutored - two sessions - for a specific issue that was dealt with

neither had anything to do with passing exams or getting into selective schools

monet3 Tue 24-Dec-13 16:47:59

Schools should tutor children for entrance tests so every child gets a fair shot at GS not just children with well off parents.

TalkinPeace Tue 24-Dec-13 17:48:54

or even better, abolish grammar schools in the whole of the country, rather than just most of it fgrin

Att100 Tue 24-Dec-13 23:44:51

I for one am very grateful for choice of the local highly selective grammar which takes the top 5-7%...it means we saved about 15k p.a. x 7 years in private day school fees to get the equivalent selective educational environment for my child, who got in to the grammar entirely on his own merits. Sorry to say it, none of the other state alternatives appealed or offered anything close to the same. If the grammar didn't existed, we would have gone private...we simply don't want a comp.

Att100 Tue 24-Dec-13 23:45:32

"if the grammar didn't exist...".too fast

Att100 Tue 24-Dec-13 23:49:27

I also don't blame anyone for tutoring if they don't want to leave to chance...even with tutoring the child still has to put in many many hours of practice for the 11+ ...they have to be ready and willing to do that ...which in itself means they may deserve to be in or have the character to be in a hard working grammar school environment....and everyone knows tutoring is no guarantee of success.

MoreThanChristmasCrackers Fri 27-Dec-13 16:54:56

My dd has private tutors for music and language and this also has no relevance to wanting to pass exams to gain a place in a school.

Branunion Fri 27-Dec-13 17:10:28

A grammar is not the equivalent to a good independent school.

Att100 Fri 27-Dec-13 18:46:59

Braunion....that is a sweeping statement ....and probably the wrong thread to debate this.....but believe me we looked hard at both..if one of the privates had been easy to commute to we might have gone for it, but it wasn't worth moving for ....and we have experienced a "top" private prep ...and it depends on what you are measuring it on....too many folk get taken in by expensive brochures and the spin on websites of some of the senior indies and don't ask the hard questions.

I know many families whose children have gone to the glossiest indies because it's the done thing. If you are very wealthy and want a certain "product" at the end of it and a higher socio -economic peer group for your child (i.e. from equally or more wealthy families) then fine....but they won't necessarily get a better academic education than at the best grammars....remember that in terms of real value add even the top indies are superselective choosing not only from the whole of say London and the South East but internationally.

They start off with cherry picking the best even at their prep feeder schools at 7+ , then at 11+ and with qualifying levels at 13+ ....and then take more carefully selected students including foreign ones at sixth form to boost their results (at some schools after culling the ones that won't help their figures)...so they also use more selection tools than the grammars can use since the latter only have one 11+ test, don't interview or ask about music or sport, have selective feeder schools etc.

If the rowing or rugby coaching or expensive facilities and picnics on manicured lawns are your ultimate goal and your child is a sports or musical star then fine...and that is what you will be paying for...but we were more focussed on the academics

But I also know several private parents who have become disillusioned at paying £££ for a glossy private senior school and then having to pay lots extra to have their child tutored outside of school to make up for significant teaching gaps.

Att100 Fri 27-Dec-13 19:21:44

I should add, instead of handing over a hefty cheque next term and planning our usual Easyjet trip to France or Greece this summer, we are booking a visit en famille to the Galapagos...that is what we do with the money saved - we plan to enrich the education my son gets in school... next year it will be something equally special ....like Borneo or doing an Earth Sciences camp in Hawaii. Again, you have to weigh it all up...unless the private school fees are a mere drop in the ocean to your finances.

Kenlee Fri 27-Dec-13 23:44:57

I think it also depends on your views of socio econmics..It seems to me that a lot of the rich opt for grammar schooling as a free alternative to private schooling...Grammar schools were really designed so the poor can get ahead...

Im rather disappointed that the rich will go on holiday to swanky destination and take up a place at grammar where a kid is deserving but would never see the other side of town unless s/he gets a good crack at education.

It actually galls me to hear that some people are proud that they could afford private and didnt so to save money to go on holiday.

Att100 Sat 28-Dec-13 00:10:33

oh please...state education is free for all in this country ...that is what we contribute so much in taxes for...and it's educational holidays that we are paying for.....not swanky 5 star hotels if you read my post ...why should we be forced to move when the best local academic school with better academic results as I said is the grammar and it suits my DS down to the ground...as I also said he is very bright and got in entirely on his own merits....no tuition apart from some DIY ....

So the argument has now apparently moved on to how grammars should only be open to kids that are means tested and even bright kids with no tutoring should be barred from applying so nothing to do with any academic meritocracy at home....how ridiculous ....it galls me that you choose to send your child several thousand miles away her to the UK to buy an "education" and lecture other people on educational ethics for sending their kid to to their local best state school. A lot of people here would have strident views on you doing that to your child but hey each to his own...everyone tries to do what is best for their child I guess but please don't pretend to be going for private because of socialist principles and because you are doing society a favour.

Why would my child thank me for moving when he didn't want to to get to a private that is as good as the grammar in my view, when the local grammar is the one he wanted to go for after visiting it and the privates, where he is very happy there surrounded by bright kids like him and he gets to have a much more enriched education at home outside school also in the holidays with his parents, he won't have a large debt to look forward to when he goes to uni because we would have saved more money for him...why the hell should i not be able to apply for it as a significant tax payer and be forced into private education? I have no need to justify going to a grammar at all to anyone.

If you are so civic minded why not educate your own child in your home country and contribute your vast $$$ spent in your child's boarding fees and plane fares to a deprived child in your country that "would never see the other side of town unless s/he gets a crack at education otherwise"...

duh ...humbug and hypocrisy at its finest, my friend.

Kenlee Sat 28-Dec-13 00:30:55

Well you see Att from your response we can all conclude that I may have hit the nail on the head. Yes I can afford a nice private school for my daughter and yes we do have holidays in 5 star hotels all over the world. Yet I do think your missing the point that your basically rich and can afford to go private and choose not too.

That's ok....but you seem to be proud of the fact that your saving money for your child going to a grammar. Which lets face it is a free independent school paid for by the state.

As for living aboard and sending my child to a Private boarding at my own expense paying full fees...You are galled at what? That I pay for the best education money can buy. That my child understands the need to a good education.

Well actually now you have mentioned it I have mentored a fee children from the deprived parts of China ....One who I have mentored for 10 years is now starting his degree at HKU.....

So yes I do earn a substantial amount but I unlike you spend it on philanthropy rather than screwing some poor kid out of a good school place to go galloping around the Galapagos islands....

Att100 Sat 28-Dec-13 00:35:15

yow know the more you comment Kenlee the more you are hoisting yourself on your own petard ...it's not even worthy of a reply this time.......now you are resorting to tell us of your great charitable works...sad....really.

Att100 Sat 28-Dec-13 00:43:23

Has anyone else heard of a more stupid argument...that it's your civil duty not to spend your own hard earned highly taxed money as you wish ...educational holidays, saving for uni (and hey perhaps even a MBA or masters), saving for a deposit so your child can afford a house, and not sending your child to the best state school within commutable distance but no - THOU SHALT BE FORCED TO GO PRIVATE AND MIX ONLY WITH RICH KIDS BECAUSE THOU HAS SOME SPARE CASH !!! ...I am laughing so hard at this ...

Kenlee Sat 28-Dec-13 00:53:27

I suppose you could use your grammar as your own free private independent school....Then to make out others are not as clever as you for not taking the same route as you. Then bragging you can go on expensive holidays because you have been clever and saved that hefty cheque.

I suppose you have lost the argument and its not worth going off thread to admonish such dreadful behaviour.

Att100 Sat 28-Dec-13 01:15:00

You totally lack logic again ...and completely ignored the facts that I said, 1) it's the best academic school (private or state) within commutable distance and so suits my son who is very academic, so why woudl i send him to an inferior school in my view and pay for the privilege of it? 2) that my son really wanted to go there ahead of any privates he saw, and 3) that he got there entirely on his own merits so he hasn't "screwed" anyone out of anything or bought his way in....and not only that, he will get the added bonus of a better "socio-economic" education but being surrounded by very bright kids whatever their background, rich or poor, rather than just rich kids and he may even learn a thing or two about how the other half lives which is an education in itself ....

I also said that people also need to look beyond the clever branding and spin of private schools....yes, the money saved is an absolute bonus, and we discussed what else we would do with it in the future with my son when weighing it all up (liking give him options he may not have otherwise like studying in the US or having money to spend on a house deposit as well as educational camps and holidays in things he is mightily interested in doing)- it affects his future not mine, and he is intelligent enough to make his own judgements....but hey ho...you stick to your silly point scoring.

My points were made to those who may be weighing up as we did for a long time the pros and cons of state grammar vs private and we have many friends who have weighed up the same...some went private because they did not think their child would suit a grammar...we went grammar because we thought it absolutely would.

By the way, nothing is free, like i said that is why we pay hefty taxes for our state education. What you should be arguing for is more grammars and better access to them not attacking those with clever children who manage to get there on their own merits...all the while happily advancing your child at boarding school thousands of miles from home probably because of the kudos value back home in HK China that the brand of British boarding school brings and because you think it will get her ahead somehow.

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