Our tag line at The Tutor Team is ‘unlock your child’s potential’, because that is what every parent who books private tutors wants to achieve and because that is what our private tutors are aiming to do. We are aiming to give a child that important boost of confidence, understanding and skill that will enable them to stop simply coping with their schoolwork and to start flying.
But within that general aspiration there are a whole number of personal stories and individual targets. Whilst everyone is unique of course, after several years providing professional tutors for families, we can see that many clients fall into the following 3 groups.
Private Tutors when their child is struggling at School
Parents who fall into this category are looking for support for their child from a private tutor. In the main, this group of parents have children in the lower age groups, particularly Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. That’s primary and lower secondary.
Whilst there are not necessarily big exams lurking on the horizon, these parents have watched their child lose confidence at school and have seen them start to struggle. They may be getting frustrated, they may have lost their enthusiasm for school, or they may be comparing themselves unfavourably with their peers. It may be that their child is struggling with one subject – usually English or Maths – or they may be finding the curriculum in general more challenging.
At this point the parents will look for a private tutor (or tutors) who can instil confidence, explain things simply, build skills and encourage the child to enjoy learning. The main task here is to support and encourage the student. The tutor is the person who will answer all the child’s questions without ridicule and with the time to explore and explain thoroughly. Trained tutors are creative and should be able to break things down into bite-sized pieces for the child, often introducing humour, games and a whole raft of resources and aids to learning.
The tutorial becomes a safe space for the child to learn. When I have a first session with a new student, I always say that no question is a silly question, so ask away and I will do my very best to answer. I also tell them, hand on heart, that if they are worried it’s a daft question then please don’t, because at some time in my long educational journey I promise I will have asked far dafter ones – usually in front of a whole room full of people. Sadly, this is entirely true.
Private Tutors for High Academic Aspirations
The Tutor Team specialises in high-quality tutors who have an impressive academic background. Our USP is that our tutors are academic high achievers. That means that we attract as clients parents who have high academic aspirations for their children.
These students are intelligent and ambitious young people who are looking for high grades at GCSE, IGCSE, A Level and IB. They are aiming to go to university – often a very good university – and they need the grades to get in. They have a clear target and they are determined to achieve it.
The parents in this group will look for private tutors (most commonly they book more than one tutor) to help with the subject/s where that grade looks doubtful. Often they search for a private tutor after a disappointing test result, or when their child expresses concern about a subject.
At this age, young people are usually excellent judges of their own performance. They tend to know not only which subject or subjects are letting them down, but exactly where the challenges are within the syllabus. They tend to know what they don’t understand and what they cannot do well. With this group, when I begin tutoring, I ask them for their assessment of their own needs. Where do they think the problem lies? I will of course make my own assessment, but it is rare they are wildly off target. They tend to know what is wrong but not how to fix it.
Of course, that is the job of the private tutor for this group of students. Having assessed where the problems lie, we set about fixing them in a very specific and targeted manner. A trained and experienced tutor will know the syllabus and exactly what the exam is going to test. We won’t know the questions of course, but we will know the skills that need to be demonstrated in the exam, we know what the examiners are looking for from the candidate and we know how to get up from one grade boundary to the next. Measures of success for this group are all about the grades.
Private Tutors for School Entrance Exams
A third reason parents book a private tutor for their child is for school entrance exams. This is either for entrance to an independent school or to a grammar school. Of course this links closely to number two on this short list; high academic aspirations. The family will have aspirations for their child or children, and they want professional help to achieve those aspirations.
Over the past couple of years we have seen demand for this type of tutoring grow, and have also noticed that parents are booking the tutors much earlier. Instead of waiting until the 11+, 13+, 16+ is in sight, parents are now booking at least a year in advance to get as much preparation time as possible. We also have families who have booked two years in advance, building up the skills, knowledge and confidence slowly but surely over time.
At the same time, tutors who specialise in this type of work are growing their businesses and frequently charging higher prices. Many of them are booking up quickly. They understand that if parents want a real specialist with a high success rate of school entrance, they are providing a premium service.
This type of tutoring is target led. The target is to pass the exams with a sufficiently high score to secure a place at the chosen school. There is a target date when the student will sit the exams. It takes some real skill, therefore, for the tutor to work to targets without allowing the student to become overly stressed or anxious. It is a fine balancing act. The tutor will make an assessment, then focus on building exactly the skills needed for the exams and practicing past exam questions. The specialist tutors tend to have a big bank of past questions and specimen questions to use with students. Confidence remains key of course – the aim is for the student to have all the skills and knowledge to pass the exams, to understand exactly what they will have to do in the exams, to have practiced papers under timed conditions and to be sure to hit the key points on the day.
Are you looking for a professional private tutor to help your child reach their full potential?
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A Bit About Me
I am Dr Janet Rose, an Oxford University Graduate and a trained teacher. As well as being a mum, grandmother and education blogger, I am the Founder & Managing Partner of The Tutor Team
Based in beautiful, rural Wiltshire, our offices are in an old converted water mill. We are a family business, where I work with my daughter Tess, my son Anthony and my daughter-in-law Anita. I am also ably assisted by Lisa, my wonderful PA. We understand parents’ concerns about their children’s education, because we are all parents ourselves. That’s why we set extremely high standards for our tutors and are very proud to have a team of 81 qualified, experienced teachers and university lecturers offering high-quality private tuition.