Tutors and Schools - by Tracy Allen
The Sutton Trust research identified evidence which suggests 'one to one tuition can be effective, on average accelerating learning by approximately five additional months’ progress. Short, regular sessions (about 30 minutes, 3-5 times a week) over a set period of time (6-12 weeks) appear to result in optimum impact. Evidence also suggests tuition should be additional to, but explicitly linked with, normal teaching, and that teachers should monitor progress to ensure the tutoring is beneficial. In some cases one to one tuition has led to greater improvement, while in others tuition in groups of two or three has been equally or even more effective compared to one to one.' (Educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk).
A well qualified tutor will use their experience to improve learning within a short time frame. We know that good teaching includes the assessment of student understanding. A tutor will deliver and assess a student quickly because they can spend intensive, quality time with a student. Perhaps tutors should be analysing and publishing their their own data to prove value-added progress, but it is the very fact that they there is no requirement for them to do so that allows them to concentrate on what needs to be done to help the individual. The difficult concepts, assessment, reinforcement, re-direction and correction delivered in one hour can be incredibly beneficial for the student. Unfortunately, tutoring is still too expensive for most.
Some schools are already employing tutors to try to improve student progress. Whilst we appreciate the ongoing financial constraints upon schools it is a shame that this service is not offered as an option for all. After all, we know that parents are usually very keen for their children to take up 'add on' opportunities. For most parents, the opportunities that they can provide for their children will depend upon availability and this will depend very much upon where they live. It would be realistic to assume that affluent areas have a larger number of tutors. This makes complete business sense for the tutor. Why would you set up a business in an area where there is little demand?
It is time to consider what more can be done for children living in less privileged areas. We know that schools buildings have so much more to offer our children. A room or sports area in a school building is probably used by businesses running local programmes such as, exercise classes, but this still leaves a largely redundant building beyond the school day and during holiday times. We also know that parents are paying for after school care that offers limited support to improve children academically; and support for the secondary aged students becomes even more scarce. If I were a parent I would be thinking seriously about how I will support my child's studies at secondary school. As a tutor I am thinking about how I can work with schools, use facilities and improve opportunities for young people together.