The additional value associated with one-to-one teaching or instruction was also the most commonly cited reason for parents choosing to get a tutor for their child: the belief that individual, personal attention is what children require in order to reach their target grades. With infant class sizes in state schools now reaching highs of 36 children per class, it’s no wonder that some children are failing to get the individual attention they require at school alone. Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said the size of these infant classes, with just one teacher, was damaging pupils’ progress.
On top of this, it seems parents are becoming increasingly sceptical of the traditional, one-size-fits-all classroom teaching approach and, not being familiar with the curriculum themselves, are finding supplementary tuition to be the best solution to support their children’s learning. A separate survey carried out by Maths Doctor revealed that 40 per cent of adults find their child's homework too hard to understand, adding that it was too difficult to keep up with their child's education and be able to help them with their homework.
This may also go someway in explaining the finding that the number of children receiving tuition increased significantly at the Secondary school level compared to children still in Primary school. That said, tuition for the 11+ entrance exams is a growing market and accounts for the majority of those having tuition at the Primary school level in London. Qualitative feedback suggests this increase in tuition between Primary and Secondary school levels to be a result of a desire to get into good schools and universities and the exam pressure that accompanies this.
Interestingly, a large proportion of the surveyed parents were not averse to spending £50+/hour for a tutor if the quality of the tuition justified the cost and enabled their child to reach their target or required grades. Despite an overall consensus amongst the surveyed parents that tuition is considered to be expensive, many felt that it was a worthwhile, if not necessary, outgoing and would not be willing to sacrifice tuition in favour of other non-academic after-school activities. However, most parents classed tuition as a separate category to after-school activities and felt that, if required, it should be conducted in addition to any activities their children wish to pursue.
So how does the cost of tuition compare with other after-school activities? With the cost of tutoring in the UK varyingly hugely from as little as £5 per hour right up to £100+ for the expertise of a so-called “super tutor”, it is difficult draw meaningful comparisons to other activities in terms of price alone. Instead it may make more sense to consider that the average London.
Parent of a primary school child already spends almost £300 per month on after-school activities. With the gains made possible through one-to-one tuition and the opportunities that good grades can open up for children, we should view tuition, where required, not as expensive, but rather as great value for money.