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Why do parents want private tuition for their children?

A Guardian article last Sunday stated that ‘parents are ever more addicted to hiring tutors to help their children succeed’. It also raised concerns about children struggling under the weight of their parents’ expectations whilst cramming for entrance exams. Whilst this is certainly a problem we, at Osborne Cawkwell, have come across, it is not by any means the norm. In our experience, here’s why parents ask us to arrange a tutor to help their child:

By far and away the main reason parents contact us is because they don’t feel they are the best person to help their child with academic work. Parents would love to be able to help their children work out their algebra homework or French tenses, but are quite simply at a loss as to where to start. We have also found that the close emotional connection between parent and child can often hinder the learning process or create tension.

Another reason that parents request tutors is that they are worried that their child has fallen behind at school for a variety of reasons, be it because of illness, a poor teacher or a lack of confidence. A great many parents recognise the value of one-to-one learning and its benefits; and for many children an hour a week with a tutor creates a nice space for individual academic attention where the student can be free to focus, ask as many questions as they like and progress.

The Sutton Trust is calling for a means-tested voucher system to allow worse off children to buy private tuition if needed; we also have projects in the pipeline to see if we can extend our services to families who would not normally be able to afford private tuition. Alongside tutoring students, our tutors often act as mentors, encouraging and expanding a child’s passion and knowledge for a subject. They offer constant, tailored support to their students for as long as they need to get back on track. Whichever way you look at it, the value of a child having individual time with a parent, relative, teacher or tutor cannot be denied or underestimated.

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