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Be inspired every day with Living North
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November 2016
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Many parents are increasing their educational expenditure by paying for extra classes for their children – but is it worth it? We spoke to the experts to investigate the world of private tuition and the potential benefits it can offer

Education can be a pricey business. Parents are already forking out sizeable sums for their children’s schooling; equipment, uniform, transport and, often, termly fees all have to be paid for. Why then, would parents want to pay even more towards their child’s education? Private tuition comes in many shapes and forms – private home visits are popular, as are public tuition centres – and may be seen as an unnecessary extra expense, but more and more parents are turning to it to try and ensure their children are not left behind in the race for jobs and university places.

There are several benefits which private tuition may afford your child. If your child seems to be struggling with a particular subject or aspect of the curriculum, extra tuition could give them the support they need to catch up. With class sizes in the UK reaching anywhere up to 30 children at a time, their regular class teacher simply may not have the time to give the amount of individual support required.

Alternatively, your child may be progressing well with their school work and you may feel it beneficial to try and push them even further to try and ensure they reach their full potential. Competition for university places is incredibly fierce and help from private tuition may be the thing that tips your child’s grades over the edge and secures their place at their first-choice institution.

‘Home tuition offers support, confidence building and encouragement by providing regular contact with a person involved in education,’ says Susan McGarry of the Tutor Bureau in Whitley Bay. ‘Many students feel this releases tension rather than increasing it, as they see they can make progress and enjoy learning.

‘Tuition is motivating and confidence building with immediate feedback and guidance,’ she adds. ‘A learning routine becomes established. Students become independent thinkers who can organise their time through learning study skills. 

‘Their regular class teacher simply may not have the time to give the amount of individual support required’

The basics can be focussed on and given time to be reinforced according to the individual’s needs without the pressure of keeping up with everyone else or moving onto a new topic. The effect is that, for example, some students get into the university of their choice by going from D grades at AS level to A/B grade at A2 level.’

An alternative option is taking your child to dedicated tuition centres, a number of which can be found around the region. The global franchise Kumon has numerous centres throughout the North East and offers Maths and English tuition to children of all ages. 

The tuition comes in the form of worksheets which the child completes, both at the centre and at home, with help from the Kumon instructor and their parents. Students work at their own ability level and pace, but are encouraged to persevere with each worksheet until they have answered its questions 100 percent correctly.

Natalie Taylor is the Lead Instructor of Kumon Jesmond. ‘Children develop skills that will last them a lifetime,’ she says. ‘Kumon nurtures a growth mindset and children become more focused, resilient, confident and willing to give new work a try, as well as increasing the fluency of their mental calculations and the security of their English comprehension.' 

It’s never cheap to educate a child and the costs show no sign of decreasing. What is increasing, however, is the competitive nature of today’s education and job markets; private tuition could be just what you need to give your child a helping hand.

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