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The Parents' Guide To Private Tuition

The first step is for parents and pupils to agree on a need for additional tuition. Pupils who already have long school days, and plenty of homework, may resent a parent imposing yet more lessons into a busy week. Equally, pupils may become over dependent on additional help, reducing their ability to study independently.

Agreeing on objectives

School reports or performance in examinations often illustrate an area of weakness. Parents and pupils should identify specific topics to be tackled during a batch of lessons. Perhaps a pupil has missed topics through absence for illness. Often, with new subjects, it may take a pupil time to adapt to the requirements of a new course. Even a change of teacher, let alone a change of schools, can create problems. Pupils often fear that they have inadequate syllabus knowledge, when in fact they lack the skills to effectively use subject knowledge on examination questions. Booking an initial diagnostic session or two with a tutor can help to clarify a pupil’s needs. Knowing what you don’t know is one issue. Not knowing where the problems lie is a cause for greater concern.

One-to-one tuition

If educationalists were to start with a blank page, they would not design an educational system where 20 or 30 pupils of disparate abilities, aspirations and interests shared a classroom for 2, 3 or 4 sessions per week. In a classroom situation there is insufficient time for every pupil to have every question answered. Equally, teachers simply do not have the time to mark every piece of written work with the attention that the pupils’ efforts warrant. The knowledge that a tutor will provide detailed, personalised feedback on every piece of work is a great motivator.

Online tuition

One of the benefits of the COVID pandemic is that it prompted the growth of online tuition. For a generation of pupils who have grown up with technology, receiving tuition online is perfectly natural. However, occasionally there are pupils who lack the necessary IT skills or have an aversion to screen time. For these rare pupils, online tuition is not necessarily the answer. Pupils may not have the time to travel to a tutor and tutors maybe reluctant to travel to a pupil. Consequently, online tuition makes sense.

Choosing the right tutor

Tuition is an unregulated industry. Anybody can set themselves up as a tutor. Undergraduates may seek to fund their studies by earning through tutoring. Although they may have excellent grades, they have little experience of teaching. Ironically, the better their grades the less empathy they may have with pupils experiencing difficulties in learning. Additionally, these tutors may not have experience of the syllabus that your child is studying. Moreover, the tutor is only likely to have experience of one learning style: their own. Tutoring exemplifies the saying that cheapest is not always the best.

The case for experienced teachers

Seeking a teaching agency that employs qualified and experienced teachers is advisable. Years of experience in the classroom will have enabled the teacher to develop a range of strategies. The best agencies will have a range of teachers available to support your child. Consequently, they will select a teacher who they believe is best placed to create an effective learning relationship with your child.

Online experience

Online teaching is becoming a profession in its own right. Skills required for teaching online differ from those used in the classroom. Tuition agencies may be able to introduce teachers to pupils who have acquired many years of online experience with a portfolio of hundreds of hours of online teaching.


Reputable agencies require teachers to keep a learning log of every lesson. They will then provide a written review for parents at the end of every batch of 4, 6 or 8 lessons. For the best results, parents should also keep one-to-one teachers in the loop. Test results, feedback from parents’ evenings and school reports all help to shape lessons to best meet the needs of the pupil.

A breadth of services

Tuition agencies do not merely provide lessons. Obviously, when a pupil plans to leave the existing school and apply to another school, the existing school is reluctant to help. Tutoring agencies prepare pupils for school entrance examinations and interviews. They may also be able to advise on selecting the best school for a pupil.

Schools have so many pupils applying for such a diversity of courses that they may be unable to provide much help with BioMedical Admissions Test or Law National Aptitude Tests.

A worthwhile investment?

Private tuition can be a worthwhile investment in your child’s future. With careful prior research and planning, parents and pupils should be able to increase the chances of a successful outcome.



Michael Edwards, Minerva Tuition

Based in Singapore, Minerva Tuitionhtpps://minervatuition.comuses experienced teachers, mainly resident in the UK, to provide online tuition and schools advice on UK education.

Contact for further information.


More ways parents can help at home:

There’s plenty you can do at home to support your teen with their studies and create lifelong healthy habits in: The Parents' Guide to Homelife and Study - GCSEs and The Parents' Guide to Homelife and Study - sixth form


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