Ask the Experts

In the latest issue of The Cheshire Magazine, Anne outlines some of her best advice in advance of the next academic year.

Read the full magazine issue here: The Cheshire Magazine.

Ask the Experts

The number of children getting extra support from a private tutor is definitely on the rise. Anne Morris, owner of Yipiyap, advises on what to look for and watch out for.

Sitting in our office this morning it was no surprise when a lady came in to enquire about extra 1:1 support for her daughter. Yipiyap provides academic tuition, after all, and even though we don't offer private tuition (our support is delivered in schools) we regularly receive enquiries from parents about private tutors. What was unusual in this instance was that the lady’s daughter was aged 5 and already attending one of the most prestigious independent preparatory schools in Cheshire.

When we had persuaded the well-meaning and supportive mum that it might be best to leave things until her daughter was a little older, I reflected on the attitudes that have developed towards private tuition of primary age children and the ubiquitous parental dilemma – to tutor or not to tutor. Certainly, private tuition has become a standard in many areas, resulting from a heady combination of the good intentions, ambition and neuroses of parents who feel the weight of responsibility that their child may be disadvantaged for life because of their lack of action early on.

In areas served by grammar schools, there is also a significant financial benefit that parents may feel they have to weigh up – small spend on tutors early on vs relatively huge costs on an independent secondary education later. Concern is growing about the pressure that after-school tuition puts on young children and the time it takes away from playing, exploring and physical and enrichment activities - all vital to a child’s development.

If you have concerns about your primary age child’s progress, the first step should be to discuss these with their teacher as it’s likely that intervention during school time will improve things. However, Year 5 and 6 tuition seems to be here to stay so, if you’re looking for extra support, make sure any tutor you choose knows their stuff – check qualifications and ask friends for recommendations and encourages independent learning, maybe asking to sit on a session to make sure question technique is up to scratch.

And, above all else, make sure the tutor develops a positive bond with your child. Sessions should be fun and your child should come out smiling.