Should I get a tutor for my child?

Edward Rothman from Numberworks in Bournemouth explains what parents should consider if they are thinking about getting extra tuition for their child. Parents enrol their children in after-school learning centres or hire tutors to help their children for a number of reasons. However, supplementary tutoring is not an absolute necessity for everyone.

After-school tuition with private tutors or supplementary education centres may have different functions.  Some of the reasons tutors are sought out include enriching children’s education, help with remediation, to improve children’s exam marks, increase opportunities, and reduce the anxiety of learning. This was examined in a 2012 Guardian article and revisited by other news sources.

According to a research paper written by Judy Ireson at the Institute of Education in London, more than a quarter of 11 to 18-year-olds have a private tutor. However, this varies by postal code and some suggest that this may be a conservative estimate. Obtaining private tuition is also often kept in the closet by parents.  There are a number of reasons for this, including the occasional criticism levelled by state schools and the competition generated for places at Grammar Schools.

In some cases, consideration of extra-tuition comes up just before the 11+ examination or GCSEs. However, cramming for these examinations increases stress and anxiety rather than reducing it, and reducing the stress and anxiety of taking examinations is one of the primary reasons for extra tuition.  Getting help early and over time is a better option.

Deciding to get extra tuition for their child is a difficult decision for some parents. The primary consideration may be cost.  But extra tuition is often seen as an affordable activity for supplementing children’s education as compared to the expense of private education.  Parents’ and children’s schedules also have to be considered, including all the other after-school activities.

Some considerations in obtaining private tuition include:

 Are there gaps in the basics?  Without a good foundation, advancing in maths becomes problematic and writing skills do not always mature to the level needed for advancement.

 Academic aspirations – How important are As and Bs? Are marks lower than C a problem?

 How important are other extra-curricular activities? Are there too many? Are some interfering with school performance?

Evidence is accumulating that private tuition helps with advancement, but higher quality studies are needed.  There is mounting evidence that one-to-one and small group learning is effective in increasing learning, especially with maths.

Edward Rothman is one of the directors and tutors at Power Learners and Bournemouth  NumberWorks’nWords. They provide supplementary education in coding, programming, maths and English at their Centre in Southbourne and can be reached at 01202 433673 and

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