Children in school

Increasing numbers of students are benefiting from private online tuition, often in preparation for important exams such as Key Stage, GCSE or A-Levels. There is also a growing trend towards using private tutoring to supplement homeschooling. …but what about the use of a private tutor as an alternative to private education?

It is often assumed, though this is by no means always the case, that a private education will take place at better-resourced schools and provide better educational outcomes. Even accounting for variances in natural ability, a student is considered more likely to go on to university or into employment than directly from a state school and that earnings potential can be as much as 35% higher. This is offset by two key concerns. Firstly, that of social exclusivity and a subsequent reduction in social development for students in a real world setting. Secondly, the soaring price of private education in recent years which has increased far above the rate of inflation and now costs on average £15,000 a year, with many costing considerably more.

A tutor of course allows greater attention to the specific needs, requirements and areas of weakness of a student, and is tailored to suit the individual. This allows greater preparation for exams, university applications etc. Also, some children simply get on better with tutors than in a school environment where they can feel anxious or stifled and be unduly quiet in lessons when perhaps they could use a bit more clarity.

So, both options can be seen to contain advantages (as well as disadvantages in the case of the former), but what about choosing one over the other? Amongst other factors, a simple cost-benefit analysis of tutoring can be helpful here.

For example, for roughly a third of the price of the average private school as mentioned above, on My Qualified Teacher, a parent could secure six hours of private tutoring a week, to complement their child’s education during school time at a state school. This allows students to benefit from the best of both worlds, with a school environment learning, including necessary social development, as well as tailored academic support. By working alongside their school studies, they are also able to highlight areas where they are a little unsure about their school lessons and pick them up with their tutors each week without the risk of feeling embarrassed, shy or anxious. The beneficial impact of this is thought to be around 1-grade point per subject, easily enough to impact university admissions or pass rates.

Overall the evidence is quite clear, that whether a student attends private, state or homeschool, their subject knowledge is increased through the use of private tutors. And if you want to improve exam performance, then it makes sense to find a tutor who is a qualified teacher with specific exam board knowledge whether that’s English, Maths or maybe Science?. Just be clear, however, there are good and bad state schools, private schools and tutors, so we recommend you ensure that your tutor has the in-depth subject knowledge and a relevant teaching qualification before you book them. For further details on our requisitions at MQT, have a look here.