From 11+ to extra help when children are struggling, parents are tempted to hire tutors. But here are the signs that you’re going too far.
More than one in four secondary school pupils has a private tutor, according to a Sutton Trust report, with young people in London more likely to have a private tutor than pupils in any other part of England. Headteachers also report a growth in the use of tutors for primary school age children.
Many headteachers blame a domino effect. Victoria Bingham, head of South Hampstead High School, in London, says, “Under certain circumstances – for instance, when a child has tried to work things out independently and through school structures and still finds a subject really difficult, or if they have really low self confidence – then additional one-to-one support can be valuable and very occasionally, I might even recommend it to a parent. But I am concerned that tutoring has become the new normal and I don’t think that is fundamentally helpful in encouraging children to be self-starters. They need to be able to solve problems independently without a teacher micromanaging solutions.”
She continues, “I worry sometimes that parents hear, ‘I find this subject difficult’ or ‘My friend has a tutor’ and the default is, ‘Ok, let’s get you a tutor darling’. A certain level of challenge and struggle is good.”
The full article by Kate Hilpern, an editor and consultant for The Good Schools Guide, appeared in The Telegraph in March 2020.