When is the right time to get a tutor? Maybe never. Maybe just before major exams? Its a question that has cropped up several times over the years with our daughters – Here’s the story behind how we came to be using a tutor and how it has worked out for us.
If you have been following this blog for a while, you may remember that 2 years ago we moved primary schools for our middle daughter, Violet. (If you are particularly eagle-eyed, you might have noticed that we also moved schools for our eldest last year, but that’s a whole different story). With any major decision, we thought long and hard before suggesting to Violet about a possible move, and most definitely consulted her at every stage along the way. 2 years on we all agree that the move was the right decision.
I don’t really want to delve too deeply into why a change to this particular school away from another was on the cards except to say, it was really about what Violet was changing to rather than from, that was important. (Hope that makes sense). One of the major differences when we went to the new school was how many children had a private tutor. I will admit that I was floored – Around 75% of the children in Vi’s class in Y5 were employing a tutor for extra tuition in either maths, literacy or both, on average once per week. At parent’s evening, I questioned the teacher about how she felt – Did she feel that parents were almost presuming she wouldn’t teach the children what they needed to know, so went straight to a tutor. She was honest and said she didn’t feel like that and actually employed a tutor for her own kids.
We didn’t do anything about a tutor for Vi. She had just moved school, seemed to be learning well, was snowed under with homework and definitely didn’t want to be doing extra work at a weekend or evening.
Fast forward 12 months and the dreaded SATS are approaching. We still have the homework, we are still keeping up with extra curricular activities and still maintain that SATS are a measure for the school rather than for the child. But something has changed too. There’s no question that the curriculum is much harder than when Millie went through Y6 4 years ago. I’m amazed how much the children have to learn and the level of spellings is something else. Words I’ve hardly ever used myself and I’m a wordy type.
We’ve always known that Vi is more of a maths person than literacy so as the year has progressed we have kept an eye on her progression. Her reading has come on leaps and bounds which we are so proud of her for. The problem has been confidence. Vi has always been a bubbly, talkative, creative little girl who will come forth with ideas and solutions but recently had started to hold back. She didn’t want to be seen to get things wrong, often wouldn’t question if she didn’t understand a word and would get upset if she didn’t get the answers right.
I was approached by the ladies from Delle Education, 2 teachers from local primaries who were setting up their own tutoring company, to see if Vi would be interested in trying them out for a few weeks. The first thing we did was ask Violet – it simply wouldn’t work if she felt she was forced into it or didn’t want to go. Surprisingly to us, she said yes. We told her that if she didn’t feel comfortable, she didn’t have to go again.
The first week was all about assessing where Violet was up to and what she would be best concentrating on. All this was done without her feeling she was being tested. Delle Education operate in small groups – most weeks there are only a couple of children but at the very most there has been 5. Debbie & Michelle have created such a lovely environment in our local village hall – Its light and airy, welcoming to the children and their parents with candles, plenty of space and the cutest drinks station. Very hygge!
At the end of the ‘lesson’ Violet has come out calm and happy. There is time for feedback to us parents and the children know what they will be working on the following week. (Fractions apparently!) She seems really relaxed chatting to the ladies (who it has to be said are gorgeous – I even brush my hair when I drop off!) and isn’t desperate to leave the building. What is really lovely to see, is that some of the other pupils are actually from the classes that the ladies teach in during the week – How lovely must they be for the kids to want to spend Sunday with them too?
We are now 8 weeks in (Delle Education are term time only) and not one Sunday morning has Violet moaned about going. Her confidence seems to be improving, she now talks about subject areas and we have made the decision to carry on indefinitely. Her marks are improving in school too, which is lovely to see for Violet’s sake – She has been so proud tonight to tell everyone she saw about her test results today!
So back to the original question? When is the best time to get a tutor? I can only imagine it is different for every child. 2 years ago, it wouldn’t have been right for Vi but now the ladies at Delle Education have been a life saver – they have shown Vi that learning can be fun and doesn’t have to be confined within school hours. If they manage to get us through the SATS tests unscathed in May, then even better.
For more details about Delle Education visit their website www.Delleeducation.co.uk or contact them via their Facebook page. I promise you, Debbie & Michelle are truly lovely, they have over 20 years of teaching experience & love what they do. They will tailor the learning experience for your child, whether it is KS1, 2or 3 and cater for special learning needs.
Please note: Pictures were taken after the session so as not to get other children in them.