Adam Caller, CEO and founder of leading private tutoring firm Tutors International, comments on schools paying for students to receive additional private tuition, drawing parallels with pupil streaming
OXFORD, UK: Following the news that an east London secondary school is paying for private tuition to help pupils with their GCSE exams, Tutors International founder Adam Caller has issued comment on the provision of paid private tuition in schools.
According to media reports, Urswick school in Hackney is buying one-to-one private tuition lessons using its ‘pupil premium’ fund, given to schools to support disadvantaged pupils. Assistant head Naomi Dews said ‘her pupils should not miss out on private tuition available to richer families’ and noted that according to research from the Sutton Trust education charity, 41% of London pupils receive private tuition. In this particular instance, the school notes almost none of its pupils’ families can afford a tutor and hiring another teacher to cover the tuition would be more expensive.
Adam Caller commented, “It is interesting to see a secondary school recognising the benefits of paid private tuition, however in such circumstances it is often assumed that the teacher to student ratio is the key factor in improving pupil performance, and that class size is a governing factor in teaching efficacy. I would argue that it is narrowness of ability which makes a real difference; the ability range across a group of any size is the crucial factor in teaching performance. Schools may present private tuition as offering added value to disadvantaged pupils, but in actual fact this use of paid private tuition is simply another indicator of streaming – reducing the range of ability within the classroom and the tuition setting.”
Mr. Caller added, “If the goal in secondary schools is to raise each student’s achievement to their maximum ability, streaming is a valuable and efficient methodology. However, there is some social stigma surrounding streaming and it can be difficult to deploy. In reality, the use of private tutors to assist disadvantaged pupils is a form of streaming. This poses a question for schools and education authorities: it will be interesting to see whether they take this school’s lead and open up more opportunities for private tutors to augment classroom teaching, or if they focus on rolling out a solid streaming structure instead.”
Using a private tutor, whether on a pay-per-hour or a full-time basis, enables a flexible and personalised approach to education, and paid private tuition can address individual requirements far more effectively than a traditional classroom setting where the ability range is typically wide.
Founded in 1999, Tutors International recruits outstanding educators to work as private tutors with families worldwide. It has offices in the UK, America, and Asia. To find out more about Tutors International and the services it provides, visit www.tutors-international.com.