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Paying for education in any form has often been seen as a characteristic of the elite. Most typically embodied in the £12,000 per term boarding school, tutoring has also fallen into this psyche of thought. Tutoring, however, by definition is simply the support of a student with supplementary education outside their usual schooling. So the real question is; when a private school already goes above and beyond with extended curriculum, trips and support (both academic and pastoral), why do parents of these “elite” continue to supplement their education with further support? Surely they don’t need it.
There are several strands of thought when it comes to why tutoring is beneficial. We’re biased of course, but tutoring doesn’t necessarily need to be defined by how much you are already getting, or not getting, from your current school, but by whether you need it. This is particularly prevalent for a number of reasons; a student working at an A-grade level at a private school may want a tutor to bring his grade up to A* so he can further his chances of getting into his chosen university. Whereas, on the other hand, a student could be struggling in a state school to improve their maths GCSE grade up from a 3 to a 6 (a D to a B using the new marking system). Who needs tutoring more?
A number of people would argue the latter, because the former is already achieving a superior academic grade that is supported by “better” private education. But what if the roles were reversed? What if the private school student was the one who was working hard towards getting their Maths grade up, and it was the state school student who needed to push that grade up to get into their chosen Russell Group university? The point we’re making is that our perception of whether certain students deserve tuition over another is deeply flawed. Whether a student needs tutoring should be assessed on individual needs, not on economic biases, especially when tutoring has become more affordable. Perhaps ten years ago tutoring would be seen as something for the elite, but students and young adults alike have cottoned on to how profitable tuition can be, flooding the market and driving the prices down. You can now access brilliant online tutors starting from £20 per hour. Families can source tutors depending on what they can afford and are often getting similar quality of tuition from degree-educated subject professionals.
It’s also important to note however that parents who send their children to private schools expect more from their education; which is only natural considering the £36,000 per year out of pocket. As a result, private schools are driven by achieving results and will assess their pupils more regularly to identify when a student falls behind. This is beneficial because it means that if any academic problems are found, they would be able to start tutoring earlier than say a state school pupil who is competing with 30 other children in their class to get their worked assessed. It may be longer to find this work wanting; and thus tuition may begin later. In this respect, the private school student certainly has the upper hand.
However, overall we may be quick to condemn private school students whose wealth we perceive gives them the upper hand. Yet each and every student has their own struggles, especially when it comes to tougher and tougher academic demands. “To each their own” essentially; we must take students on a case by case basis when it comes to private tuition and never pass judgement (or judgment depending on how excessively scrupulous you are) on whether they deserve it.