Until recently, parents would have to pay a GCSE Maths Tutor if their child was struggling in the subject. However, for many parents on low incomes, paying for tuition is simply too expensive.
GCSE Maths Tutors on demand
Nor is it always possible to rely on family help, especially if parents are working and don’t have the time to help. Thankfully technology now provides help in the form of online tuition. Of course, many tutors provide one-to-one online tuition using technologies such as video conferencing, screen sharing and interactive whiteboards.
One advantage of using an online tutor is that prices are generally much cheaper. Another is that even if you live in a very remote location you can still get help.
However, this is just the beginning of what technology can offer. One company which is pioneering a new type of online service is educational technology start-up Curvestone.
It recently joined forces with another ed-tech startup – tuition company Tutorfair – to trial a new on-demand service. Rather than having to pay for a GCSE Maths Tutor, the idea is that students can text in a query about a GCSE Maths question.
Students simply take a picture of the question they are struggling with and post it to the app. One of Tutorfair’s tutors will then respond during homework hours (6 pm until 9 pm). The organisation goes into schools and trains up students and teachers on how to use the platform.
Helping disadvantaged children?
Whereas traditional tuition services are regarded as expensive, Curvestone’s service is aimed at students from lower-income families. It recently received a £150,000 grant from Nesta to run a pilot programme with 36 schools in London which have over 50% of students receiving free school meals. This is a known indicator of families living in poverty.
In 2010, the Sutton Trust Mobility Manifesto said around 60% of pupils who receive free school meals don’t pass their GCSE Maths and English GCSEs. Passing English and Maths is a basic requirement for students getting their first job.
As then skills minister Matt Hancock said back in 2013: “For lots of employers if you don’t have a C in English and Maths you don’t get that foot in the door.”
So is on demand tuition the way forward? Yes, according to Sebastian Kotur, co-founder of Curvestone. Not only is it a cheaper option than getting a GCSE Maths Tutor to your home, but it’s also a much more convenient solution.
GCSE Maths Tutor
5 Ed-Tech startups to look out for
Education technology, or Ed-Tech, is one of the UK’s fastest-growing sectors. It accounts for four percent of all digital companies, according to The Education Foundation. This is partly due to the increasing demand for tech in the classroom.
According to the Guardian schools across the UK are now spending close to £900 million on Ed-Tech each year to leverage learning. Here are some of the most innovative UK Ed-Tech startups.
- Bright Little Labs:
Founded in 2015, Bright Little Labs helps children ages 7 and up to learn to code. It also provides tech products including a small flying drone.
An online platform which connects pupils with vetted tutors using live streaming. Last year the online service, which has 7,000 tutors, raised £10 million in funding.
A UK-based startup which uses virtual and augmented reality to provide immersive learning experiences for young children. Its main product, The Virtuali-Tee, is an AR T-shirt designed to bring anatomy to life.
Kano produces a number of coding kits starting at £29.99. These include the Harry Potter coding kit, motion sensor kit and a computer touch kit. The firm also offers a mobile app which teaches the basics of coding.
A virtual teaching assistant Zzish helps teachers instantly see which of their students need help and what they’re struggling with through an assessment application called Quizalize.
How to select a GCSE tutor?
Some brilliant advice from the experts at Kings Tutors. Who would know better than a tutor?
You may not be able to pick who teaches your child at school. However, you can choose their tutor. Therefore, it makes sense to be more fastidious about finding a good fit for your child. It is estimated more than 350,000 secondary-aged school children have received private tuition in 2018. This is according to a survey commissioned by the Sutton Trust, up from about 160,000 in 2009. With this huge rise in tutoring in recent years, there are more avenues than ever to consider. However, the whole process can seem overwhelming to a parent seeking tuition for their child for the first time. This article breaks down the process for you, providing you with the key information you need to select the best tutor for your child. Emily Jack, the founder of Kings Tutors, shares how advice on how to select a tutor for your child.
Assessing your child’s needs
Before deciding on a tutor, you must first identify the specific areas in which your child most needs support. Perhaps they are struggling in one particular subject or are needing help preparing for an important exam. Talking with your child should be the first step to see what aspects they find trickiest. It is definitely worthwhile to also have a conversation with their teacher who will be familiar with your child and can give more of an insight into the situation.
Weaker test results are not wholly indicative of your child’s abilities and usually, the bigger picture shows that they just need a little help in a certain area of work they find challenging. Once you’ve assessed these problematic aspects – they can include a huge range from essay-writing, time management, exam technique, etc. – then you will be able to communicate these much more clearly to the potential tutor and ensure that they are focused on.
Another point to consider at this stage would be whether or not your child would feel more comfortable in a group tuition setting or with a one-on-one tutor interaction. If you and your child decide that a group setting would be better, you can then contemplate the sort of group size that would be ideal. Whilst some students find it less stressful to be accompanied by others in the same position and with less attention directly placed on them, too large a group may prevent their academic needs being met as effectively.
The primary practical factor to take into account is cost. Tutoring prices can vary according to location, subject and the tutor’s experience levels. Hourly costs varying from £25 – £120 (the average rate being approximately £40) across the United Kingdom. If using a tutoring agency do try to be wary of any introductory fees they may charge. Also any package payments they offer before you have even had a chance to meet with the tutor. The best approach is to evaluate your budget and then to chat with the prospective tutor. Come to an agreement over a fair price that you’re both happy with. It is important to have this conversation as early as possible in order to avoid any awkward price miscommunications later on.
If cost is quite a significant element of your overall selection process, then it may be rewarding to research online tuition websites. Online tutoring can be more flexible in terms of scheduling and cost. So, depending on your situation may be the preferred option. Whilst a tutor who meets with your child in person may be developing a more effective rapport due to the perhaps more personable aspect. Many new online services use interactive tools such as online whiteboards to ease communication. Websites such as MyTutor have a rigorous interviewing process for their tutors. Only 1/7 of applicants are accepted; usually coming from esteemed universities. Online tutoring websites also provide reviews and testimonials for their tutors to attest to the quality of their services.
Personal GCSE tutor
If you do decide that an in-person tutor is the best option for your child then it is vital that you consider practical elements such as will they conduct sessions in your home or theirs? How long will each session last and how frequently will they take place? Another factor to be thought about is how long you estimate you would require tutoring for your child – most tutors can be flexible and are willing to see how your child progresses before establishing a potential ‘end date’. Depending on the tutor, homework given outside of tutoring sessions is also an option to be considered. If this is something you think would be beneficial, try to strike the balance between how much extra work your child would find helpful and how much would, in fact, inflict more pressure due to time constraints.
Choosing a GCSE tutor
Child safety is paramount and should be a key component affecting how you select a tutor. A private in-person tutor should be able to provide a recent DBS certificate (previously the CRB Criminal Record check). This “help employers make safer recruitment decisions”. It also allows you greater peace of mind. When it comes to online tutoring the online sessions are recorded. Then made available to the parents and students. None of your contact details is made visible to the tutor for safety reasons.
A tutor should ideally have a high level of experience as well as good knowledge and familiarity with the curriculum your child is studying. Be sure to check what examination board is taught at your child’s school as these can vary. The different exam boards will have slightly different content. An established tutor will be able to provide you with references and reviews from previous students/parents. These will demonstrate their capabilities and experience levels.
A passion for the subject they teach is also a huge benefit and you should be able to feel confident in their knowledge of it. A passion for the subject really does make a difference when it comes to motivating your child and developing their natural curiosity for the subject. Enthusiasm is infectious and will result in your child growing a greater interest in the subject as well as more confidence in its application. The best tutor will be able to clearly articulate their methods and approach to you and the way in which these would be suitable to your child’s own personal teaching preferences and requirements
Meeting a potential GCSE tutor
A meeting can be set up to see how your child gets on with the tutor. This will help determine their natural rapport. Online tutoring services often offer free online video ‘meetings’. You can then organise this for an in-person tutor at your home or theirs. An introduction ‘practice’ lesson could also be considered so that you can evaluate the tutor-student dynamic. Subsequently, you can see the tutor’s teaching methods in practice for yourself.
The ideal tutor is not only approachable and friendly. They encourage your child to engage with the work and build their confidence. They are also patient and positive to ease any fears or apprehensions. After this first contact, you can then discuss with your child if they honestly feel comfortable with the tutor. There is no point in continuing tuition if there is a bad rapport. This will only hinder their academic development and not improve their motivation to learn. Tuition should be engaging and interesting for your student. If they dread the sessions then the situation clearly needs changing.
Select the best GCSE tutor
After selecting a suitable tutor then you can discuss with them a plan for regular updates. These could be over email, the phone, or in person. The priority is that you have a steady level of communication to assess your child’s progress and address any problems. In this way, you can also collaborate on formulating goals for the tutoring. Working with the schoolteacher too, if possible. In order to evaluate how the tutoring is advancing your child’s schoolwork.
The best tutor will be one who not only helps to improve your child’s academic performance and exam scores but one who boosts their confidence and encourages them to actually enjoy learning.