Thursday, 1 August 2013

40% rise in students with private tutors

Private tutoring vs. online alternatives
As the summer break gets under way, reports from the BBC and The Guardian suggest that parents will be turning their attention to hiring private tutors for their children.

The Guardian’s tuition report, released in April 2013, revealed that in the past year all of the private tuition businesses polled experienced a significant growth in the number of students applying, with some recording a rise of over 40 per cent.

Research has long shown that the ‘summer slip’ can be detrimental to the learning development of a child, with students demonstrating lower test results at the end of the six weeks. Furthermore, some research indicates that, as a result of the differences between the learning opportunities offered by low and high income families, poorer students are particularly vulnerable.

And while head teachers have hit back, accusing certain centres and tutoring agencies of ‘trading on insecurities’, the reality is that parents are aware of the economic challenges facing school-leavers. In many cases their reason for hiring a personal tutor is to ensure that their child achieves the highest grade they possibly can.

Yet with tuition charges ranging from £7 up to £60 per hour, many parents and young families cannot afford them.

So what are the options; what are the alternatives? The most common question mark centres on the debate about online vs. face-to-face tuition. Here’s our list of pros and cons to help you make the right choice for your child:


   Face-to-face private tutoring





  • Focused support
    1:2:1 personalised tutoring can be particularly beneficial for those who lose focus or have difficulties concentrating in a class environment.
  • Price
    Fees vary according to subject, grade level, location and quality of tuition.
    Students also need regular coaching and support to demonstrate any significant progression.
  • Dedicated study time
    Allocating set times to meet with tutors means students have a structured time to study during the summer break.
  • Accessibility
    Students who live in rural areas, or whose  parents who are at work or do not have their own vehicle, can have difficulties getting to a private session.
  • Entry exams
    Many schools are ill-equipped to prepare students for entry-level exams.
  • Personality conflicts
    Students may not get on well with their tutor or may not be able to adapt to their style of teaching.


  Online tutoring





  • Anywhere, anytime
    Students can access wherever they have an internet connection and on multiple devices – removing the boundaries around when and where study takes place.
  • Doesn’t suit everyone
    Students who have low motivation or have bad study habits may not cover as much as they would with a tutor present.
  • Price
    Fees vary according to subject, grade level, and quality, however a monthly subscription to LearnersCloud GCSE tutor-led videos, for example, is priced at £4.99, enabling a learner to access their full course of subject videos 24/7.
  • Feeling isolated
    Lesson objectives outline what students will learn from each clip and end-of-topic questions test their understanding. However, students may feel isolated without an instructor being present.
  • Tracking progress
    Parents can review an online student report card – enabling them to monitor what videos their child has covered, how they scored on end-of-topic tests and supporting them in identifying gaps in knowledge or areas to improve upon.
  • Internet speeds vary
    While many online tutoring services can be streamed via 3G, some require a wi-fi connection and some can be slow to buffer in areas with poor signal service.
  • Visual learning
    Tutor-led videos (e.g. LearnersCloud) offer animated instructions that combine high quality content with CGI graphics – bringing the learning experience to life.

  • Self-paced
    Students can pause, replay and rewind sections if they are unsure or unclear about any of the concepts and topics covered.