Why Parents Choose to Use Private Subject Tutors - Oct '17

By Lucy Parsons, MTA from Life More Extraordinary

A few weeks ago I interviewed Adam Muckle, President of the Tutors’ Association for my podcast, The School Success Formula. The title of the podcast was ‘Does your child need a private tutor’ and it generated a lot of chatter on social media, specifically on LinkedIn and in my Facebook group for parents, The Supportive Parents, Successful Students community.

The comments from parents on social media gave such an interesting insight into why parents choose to employ subject tutors that Adam invited me to summarise their comments in this article.
So, why do parents choose to use private subject tutors?

1.To build their children’s confidence
Many parents felt that their children just needed a confidence boost in specific subjects. As one parent said, “she has the one on one she needs to increase her confidence (it turns out she has the knowledge but was doubting herself) and she comes out of her sessions smiling and happy every time!”

2. To help with school entrance exams, such as the eleven plus
Several parents said that they had only employed tutors to help with the eleven plus. Once their children were through this hurdle there was no longer any need for a tutor.

3. Reinforcing the basics
One parent commented that her child was struggling with maths because she hadn’t yet conquered the basics. They found a tutor to make sure that the basics were in place and from there her daughter was confident to carry on on her own.

4. Inconsistent teaching at school
Several parents told of how their child’s teaching had become inconsistent at school because teachers were off sick and supply teachers were being used. Bringing in a private tutor both helped to ensure that the basics were in place and restored the children’s confidence.

5. Essay writing pointers
Some students were struggling with things like essay technique. Parents used tutors to increase their skill and confidence in this area for short periods of time.

6. Disliked subjects or teachers
One parent said that her daughter didn’t like history and they brought in a tutor to make sure that she passed this subject at GCSE. Another parent said that her son didn’t have a great relationship with his physics teacher and she wanted him to love the subject. The tutor was able to inspire her son and ignite his passion for the subject so that he wants to continue studying it.

7. Falling behind
Another parent decided to employ a tutor when her child was moved to the bottom set for maths. She didn’t think her daughter should be in that set and wanted the tutor to help her child to improve her understanding.

8. Specific learning difficulties
One parent said that her child has dyspraxia and this meant that they struggled in maths. The tutor was able to increase her confidence and understanding of the subject. This is something I hear from the parents of dyslexic children as well.

9. One-to-one attention
The theme through many of the responses was that class sizes meant that it was impossible for children to get one-to-one attention. One mother said, “Everyone learns in different ways and although it is the teacher’s job to help them learn, that can be hard when you have 30 others in the class and there is little chance of focused attention to help you get to grips with a particular issue… She would never have done so well last year without that extra support. It is very much about confidence for her and that 1.2.1 time really has made all the difference.”

In summary, it really comes down to two factors: one-to-one attention and the confidence that brings to a child.
Why do parents employ you as a private tutor? I’d love to know. Tweet me @LucyCParsons or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Lucy Parsons is an Academic Coach, teaching students study skills and helping them to get into their dream universities, and the author of The Ten Step Guide to Acing Every Exam You Ever Take. Visit Lucy’s website at www.lifemoreextraordinary.com or listen to her podcast The Supportive Parents, Successful Students community.


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