Updated: Sep 25, 2020
A typical classroom has many benefits - it’s great to learn amongst peers, work collaboratively and share ideas - but is it always a perfect fit for your child?
A Teacher's View On The Classroom
Primary schools today look to ‘homogenise’ children, making sure that they all have the same skills, regardless of talent and interest.
There’s been a program in English schools for the last ten years called ‘Closing the Gap’: a very worthy idea to close attainment gaps between disadvantaged pupils and their peers. But rather than bringing everyone up to the level of the best, it seems designed to centre everyone’s skills around the middle ground. It’s no coincidence that Gifted & Talented programs stopped at the same time Closing the Gap was introduced – the funding for G&T was actually reallocated. The implications for your child? It would be very hard for them to become a Steven Hawking or a Stephen Fry through the current English primary curriculum. It is clipping children’s wings and confidence, no longer supporting every parents’ aspiration for their child to ‘be the best you can be’.
A Year 3 child no longer accesses Year 4 work no matter what their talent, and similarly, their classmate who has faced difficulties might struggle through a Year 3 curriculum in general class time and be singled out for Year 2 interventions as the school budget allows. It’s middle ground, whether they are held back or pushed too far forward too soon.
So, should you think about hiring a private tutor?
Tutoring can be a great to help your child; increasing their topic knowledge, building their confidence and allowing them to excel in a subject when they previously struggled. But let’s be honest, it’s an expense too. Would a tutor benefit your child? Here’s my thoughts:
Do they get stretched in school? Is your child bored of a subject that they previously loved? Could it be that they’ve reached their year group ceiling? Tuition could deepen their subject understanding and allow them to take those next steps, reawakening their interest and talent.
Are they struggling to keep up? Has your child gone quiet about their learning? Are they feeling under-confident? Much as class teachers try to intervene, it’s very obvious to their peers why children leave for interventions and in the worst cases, it can lead to friendship problems and bullying.
Have they missed time from school? Since Covid-19 came on the scene, it’s almost a given that children have missed some vital learning. Building knowledge is like building a house; a few poorly formed bricks in the foundations and the house will never be as stable as it should be.
Are they in a test year? Sadly, national testing is becoming more and more frequent, from Y1 Phonics (upsettingly repeated in Year 2 if they fail), to the Year 4 times tables test that I’ve seen teachers struggle to pass, and Year 6’s multitude of SATs that set them up for secondary school streaming.
Get In Touch
If you’ve noticed yourself nodding along as you read, then perhaps your child is experiencing some of these issues. Maybe it’s time to talk to me about how we can do better, how we can begin to re-brighten your child’s horizons. I offer a free assessment before working with your child to give you reassurance that the work will be exactly right. If it’s time for you to discover the power of tuition, get in touch to see how I can support your child to really ‘be the best they can be’.
Sarah is an independent online tutor who has previously taught in UK primary schools for 17 years. She has taught across a range of settings & all primary year groups, and prides herself on having a holistic approach to teaching.