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With a new school year approaching, some of us are thinking about hiring a tutor to help the children with their school work. Private tuition is now a £6 billion industry in the UK and with hourly sessions costing from £20 per child (increasing to nearer £30 for older children), it’s a big outlay every month. But, is it really worth it? Are there cheaper options?
One mum I know hired a tutor for her two daughters, who has been providing weekly lessons at their home for several years now. She says the sessions have ‘worked wonders!’
Parents who take the private tuition route feel that it’s worth every penny – perhaps important exams are looming, or because their children benefit from one-to-one help in their weaker subjects. Some need support for a particular challenge, such as dyslexia. One busy mum I know hired a tutor for her two daughters. She says the sessions have ‘worked wonders’ and the girls look forward to seeing their tutor, who has been providing weekly lessons at their home for several years. She goes through spelling lists and homework, as well as a prepared lesson.
A friend of mine, who is a private tutor, notices how a child’s increased confidence almost always leads to improved grades and a more positive school experience. Once she gets to know the student, planning their lessons becomes easier and a tailored lesson can be prepared in advance, so the hour spent teaching even the most distracted student can be productive. She takes individual learning styles into account, which is more difficult in a classroom setting, she explains.
A child’s increased confidence almost always leads to improved grades and a more positive school experience.
But, for those whose budgets won’t stretch to private help, alternatives do exist. My son is something of a maths enthusiast and I was introduced to Maths Whizz, an ‘online alternative to private tuition’, through my son’s school. I wasn’t looking for intensive coaching but the site offers revision tools and age-specific topics that I thought would be good extra practice for my son, without the expense of a tutor. The site offers free trials, and the annual fee is £149 (or £19.99 a month). My son completed an initial assessment of his skill level so that his online sessions could be geared towards his needs. With frequent usage (two lots of half an hour a week is the recommended time allocation), Maths Whizz claims to raise your child’s maths level. I admit my son doesn’t use it as often as he should but he logs in during school holidays so that he doesn’t forget everything he has learnt. He is rewarded for time he spends using the site with online games, stickers, and activities. I am reassured about his progress through weekly feedback by email.
But, for those whose budgets won’t stretch to private help, alternatives do exist.
Here are some great sites to help you find a tutor to suit your child’s needs:
Big Foot Tutors offers cashback rewards and a free trial.
TutorMe – get your first hour free when you sign up.
Online tuition is available through Dyslexia Action. As well as that, they can help you to find a private tutor.
You can also find a list of specialist tutors accredited by the British Dyslexia Association, here.
Clare Lawrence, nicknamed 'Coupon Clare' at college, lives mostly in Cornwall. Proud mum to Gregory, she'll stop at nothing in her quest to save cash!