In recent years, private tutoring has become increasingly popular in the United Kingdom, with many students and parents turning to tutors to supplement classroom learning. Private tutoring offers students personalised education either on a one-to-one basis or in small groups. Tutoring can take place in person or online, and can cover a wide range of subjects. In this article, we'll explore the rise of private tutoring in the UK, including its benefits, finding the right tutor, understanding costs, and the role of the tutoring industry in education.
According to a 2022 survey conducted by the Sutton Trust, a social mobility charity, nearly one in three secondary school pupils in England and Wales have received private tutoring. This figure has been increasing over the years, with 30% of pupils reporting that they had private tutoring in 2021, up from 27% pre-pandemic. The use of private tuition is highest in London, where 46% of pupils have received tutoring, compared with only 16% in the North East of England.
The survey also found that children from the "best-off" homes are more likely to report having received private tutoring than those from "worst-off" homes, with 35% of pupils from the best-off homes receiving tutoring compared to 21% from the worst-off homes. This disparity in access to private tutoring has been criticised for widening the gap between students from different socioeconomic backgrounds.
There has been growth across various subjects, however it is important to note that its prevalence may vary based on regional factors, school curriculum, and individual student needs.
One of the primary benefits of private tutoring is the individualised attention that students receive. Unlike in a classroom setting, tutors can tailor their teaching style to suit the student's learning needs, which can lead to improved academic performance. Private tutoring can also be beneficial for students who are struggling with a particular subject or who need extra help in preparing for exams.
Another advantage of private tutoring is the flexibility it provides. Tutors can work with students on a schedule that suits them, whether it be during the day or in the evenings, and can provide additional support during school holidays or exam periods.
Private tutoring can also help students develop study skills that will benefit them throughout their academic careers. Tutors can teach study techniques that help students retain information more effectively, and can provide feedback on areas that need improvement.
When searching for a tutor, it's important to find someone who is qualified, experienced, and has a teaching style that matches the student's needs. There are several ways to find a tutor, including online tutoring directories such as TutorExtra, word of mouth recommendations, and tutoring agencies. It's essential to do your research and ask for references to ensure that the tutor is a good fit for you or your child.
Many tutors specialise in particular subjects, so it's important to find a tutor who has expertise in the subject area that the student needs help with. It's also important to consider the tutor's qualifications and experience. Some tutors may have teaching qualifications, while others may have industry-specific experience. Be sure to ask for credentials and check their background before hiring a tutor.
Tutoring costs can vary widely depending on the tutor's qualifications, experience, and subject matter expertise. It's important to discuss fees upfront with your tutor to prevent any misunderstandings later on. Some tutors offer discounted rates for bulk sessions, so be sure to ask about this if you plan on scheduling multiple sessions. Additionally, some tutoring agencies may charge a commission fee, so it's important to clarify this upfront as well.
The tutoring industry plays a crucial role in the education system, especially for students who need extra support outside of the classroom. However, the industry has been criticised for its high costs and potential to widen educational inequalities. Students from more affluent families are more likely to have access to private tutoring, which could give them an advantage over their peers from less privileged backgrounds.
Moreover, there is concern that tutoring could perpetuate the overemphasis on grades and academic performance in the education system, rather than a more holistic approach that considers students' personal growth and development.
Despite these concerns, the tutoring industry is likely to continue to grow, especially with the increase in online tutoring services. As such, it is important for policymakers and educators to consider the potential impact of tutoring on educational inequality and the broader education system.
Efforts should be made to ensure that tutoring is accessible and affordable for all students, regardless of their socio-economic background. Additionally, educators should aim to foster a learning environment that encourages students to develop a love for learning beyond the pursuit of grades.
Ultimately, the role of the tutoring industry should be viewed as complementary to the education system, rather than a substitute for it. While tutoring can provide additional support to students, it should not be seen as a replacement for a quality education system that prioritises the holistic development of students.
Additionally, the report found that children from more affluent families were more likely to have had private tuition compared to their less privileged counterparts. This highlights a stark inequality that exists within the education system, where students from wealthy backgrounds have greater access to resources that can help them succeed academically. The Sutton Trust report is clear that this inequality should be addressed to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to succeed.
The UK government's National Tutoring Programme (NTP) aims to address some of these inequalities by providing funding for schools to hire tutors to help students catch up on learning missed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The NTP provides funding directly to schools so they can source their own tutors either externally or through staff already working in the school as part of the school-led tutoring route. Schools can also access subsidised funding from an approved list of organisations, known as tuition partners, or they can use it to hire full-time, in-house academic mentors. The NTP has given a more diverse group of students access to tutoring and is an important step in addressing the inequalities within the education system.
The rise in private tuition also has implications for the tutoring industry as a whole. The industry is growing rapidly, with an increasing number of tutors and tutoring agencies popping up across the country. While this growth is positive in many ways, it also brings its own challenges. With so many tutors to choose from, it can be difficult for parents and students to find the right tutor for their needs. It's important to do your research and find a tutor who is qualified, experienced, and has a teaching style that matches the student's needs.
Another challenge for the tutoring industry is ensuring that its services are accessible and affordable to all students, regardless of their background. The industry has faced criticism for widening the gap between students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. It's important for the tutoring industry to address these issues and work towards making its services more accessible and affordable for all students.
In conclusion, the rise of private tuition in the UK highlights both the opportunities and challenges within the tutoring industry. Private tuition can provide valuable support for students who need extra help with their academic studies, but it can also widen the gap between students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. The government's National Tutoring Programme is an important step in addressing these inequalities, but more needs to be done to ensure that all students have equal access to resources that can help them succeed. As the tutoring industry continues to grow, it's important for tutors and tutoring agencies to work towards making their services more accessible and affordable for all students. With the right support and guidance, students can achieve their academic goals and succeed in their future careers.