GCSE exams are an important stepping-stone to A-levels and further study for many students, with strong GCSE grades, especially in core subjects like maths and sciences, helping to keep options open for all students (whether they go on to enter the world of paid employment or decide to further their studies.)
With GCSE’s playing such an important role, it’s no surprise that many parents turn to private tutoring at this point in their child’s education – either to top up what’s already being learned at school or to help him or her excel in areas where they already have a natural aptitude.
An article in the Telegraph stated that UK parents are spending 6 billion each year on private tutoring, with 28% of families seeking additional, external support due to a belief that school provision is either inadequate or insufficient for their child’s needs.
A private GCSE tutor will usually come to your home for a period of 1-2 hours each week for a pre-determined period. There is no need to sit in on sessions, as your child will benefit from building their own relationship with a tutor without your input (or interference!)
As an alternative to home tutoring, it’s also possible to secure individual support for your child at a private tuition centre like Accelerate Learning in Liverpool – a purpose-built study environment where sessions can be booked for anything from 1 hour to a week of intensive learning, all with no distractions. For private GCSE tuition in Liverpool, Accelerate will offer your child not only the focused support of an individual tutor but the whole centre management team. Your child will also enjoy continuity of tutoring as sessions are rarely cancelled.
How can I find a private GCSE tutor for my child?
Often, the best way to find a private GCSE tutor for your child is via a personal recommendation from family and friends. Your child’s school may also be able to suggest a suitable person, based on your son or daughter’s learning style and individual needs.
There are also agencies in every major city who provide tutors with a range of different qualifications and levels of experience. Using an agency, rather than seeking a private tutor, will give you some level of support should you encounter any issues while working with a tutor, though rates may be higher because of this. #
Finally, purpose built tutoring centres can be found up and down the country that provide a unique learning environment for students to receive tuition either individually or as part of a group. Often, small group tuition can be a cost effective alternative or supplement to individual sessions and your child may thrive in this type of sociable learning environment, alongside their peers.
Look for a tutor who is friendly, approachable and open to discussing how best to support your child as an individual, rather than offering a rigid, one size fits all approach. You may wish to meet, in person, with several potential tutors before making a choice, as just because someone worked well with a friend’s child, it doesn’t mean they will be a good fit with yours.
When you feel you’ve met the right person, ask for at least two professional references and supporting evidence to check your tutor’s educational and work qualifications. It’s also advisable to go with a tutor that has been screened by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for additional peace of mind.
Book an initial couple of sessions to ensure that the relationship is good fit (for both you and your tutor) before committing long term and find out how far in advance you’ll need to cancel a session to avoid incurring a fee, along with asking for information on your tutor’s policy for missed sessions and payments during holiday periods.
Is private GCSE tutoring expensive?
You can expect to pay anything between £10 and £50 per hour for private GCSE tutoring, depending on your chosen tutor’s level of experience and qualifications (and whether you live in a major city, in particular, London prices can far exceed average rates.)
It’s possible to find university students who offer private tutoring alongside their own studies and, in this case, you should expect to pay less than when booking a fully qualified, mature tutor with decades of professional experience.
Group tutoring is also a great alternative to costly 1-2-1 provision and, according to social learning theory research by Vygotsky in the 1970s, is actually more effective than individual tuition. Mixed ability groups can be beneficial, and, for foreign language subjects, conversation groups also work well.
Before committing to working with a tutor, you should discuss your child’s needs and how long he or she might benefit from additional support outside school. You and your tutor may agree to a preliminary number of sessions with a review at the end of this period, or you may prefer to work with him or on a rolling contract, reviewing progress at set intervals.
What subjects do private GCSE tutors teach?
You can engage a private tutor for any and all GCSE topics though you may have more choice with who you employ for core subjects like maths and English.
What are the key benefits of private GCSE tutoring?
A private GCSE tutor or tutoring within a small group can offer your child a level of focus and attention not available in a traditional learning environment where a teacher often struggles to divide their time between 30 or more students. Whether in a small group on individual setting, your tutor will build a rapport with your child, getting to know his or her individual personality and learning style. This type of relationship is fantastic for children who are easily distracted or lack confidence in their abilities – kids like this can really thrive with one-to-one support and guidance.
Support with a challenging subject
Working with a private tutor can help your child develop confidence in a subject they’ve historically struggled with. Your son or daughter could be grappling with an area or topic that, given a different approach, they might enjoy and even excel in. Time devoted to tackling a difficult subject can provide that ‘eureka’ moment where everything comes together, taking a child from a potentially failing grade to an outcome they can be proud of.
Beyond good to great results
If your son or daughter is already excelling in a subject area, working with a private tutor can take their results from good to great. This might be beneficial if they already have plans to continue a certain subject at A-Level or beyond, helping them to prepare for study at a higher level.
Coping with revision
Revising for GCSE exams is a challenging process that doesn’t come naturally to every child (or parent!) A private GCSE tutor can help your son or daughter devise a revision timetable and acquire, practise and develop valuable study skills that will take them through GCSE’s and beyond.
Taking the pressure off
Building a relationship at their own pace with a private tutor and having the time and space to explore difficult subjects at their own pace will help take some of the pressure of your child when studying for GCSE exams. Often, the learning environment at school is fast-paced, noisy and even chaotic. A quiet period set aside each week to work with challenging material can make all the difference to a sensitive child or those who don’t thrive in a traditional learning space.
Private tutoring at GCSE isn’t just for children who are either struggling or excelling in certain subjects. For some families, a regular appointment with a private tutor simply helps reinforce what their child has already learned at school and identifies areas where further support might be beneficial.
With many parents working long hours and supporting other children with learning, a private tutor can be a welcome relief, offering some security that their child is well supported with learning. Some tutors even work with parents to give them tools to better support their child.