Where tutoring should be targeted

Where tutoring should be targeted

The Prime Minister has been criticised for saying that wealthier parents can buy private tuition because they ‘work hard’.

It is true that many people who work hard can afford tutors for their children.

Many parents also make sacrifices and forego other things to be able to afford the tuition.

And it is also true that many who work hard and make sacrifices still can’t afford tutors.

The education system should be targeting those children who don’t have access to extra help.

The funding announced by the government is meagre compared with that promised by some other countries, but how the money is spent is as important as the amount.

As a former teacher and founder of a tutoring business, I understand better than most the importance of good tutoring.

There are good tutors and bad tutors.

Those who are tutoring must be properly qualified, trained or under strict guidance.

In my view, tutoring should be delivered by professional teachers unless the prospective tutor (e.g. a university student) is under the direction of a professional with knowledge of the curriculum.

Targeting the tuition in specific areas is also of huge importance.

We can’t expect children to run before they can walk, and they won’t be able to properly understand any subjects if their numeracy and literacy are not up to standard.

Therefore, the emphasis on the education catch-up post-Covid must be on literacy and numeracy, especially for those children going up to secondary school.

Without it, they will struggle, and it could impact the rest of their lives.

If funding for catch-up education is not increased, then the money must be targeted at those going up to secondary school this year and next year to ensure they are literate and numerate.

With the help they are receiving already from their schoolteachers they ought to be able to get to where they would have been had the pandemic not arrived.

If extra catch-up funding were provided, then of course more subjects and different age groups could be assisted.

There are also various ways in which schools can help deliver the necessary help and extra learning on top of the tutoring funded by the extra money.

Extending the school day is one way, but teachers and teaching unions are unlikely to accept that.

If that can’t happen then some subjects must take a back seat while the focus is on numeracy and literacy.