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Is your school-aged child getting enough out of their 9am-3pm or is it time to call in a tutor in 2017?

Private tuition is something many parents consider, but it can be a costly add-on to the educational experience. Regardless of cost, there is high demand for tutors around the globe, as parents want to give their kids everything they can to help them succeed. Tutors can help break down complex concepts, help kids gain confidence in their academic ability and teach kids skills to enhance their studies.

An interesting statistic has emerged in recent years around tuition. When once tuition was regarded as a necessity for high school students, they are no longer the biggest consumers of private tutoring. Young children, some as young as four, now occupy the biggest marketshare of one-on-one private tuition.

Progressive Home Tutors’ Gary Sudran has been working in private tuition for 26 years. He says that back when he started, 60 per cent of his clients were high school students and 40 per cent were in primary school but that stat has completely reversed. 

“There’s been a massive increase in the number of children between the ages of 4 and 10 coming to us for weekly tutoring in the past decade,” Gary says. “It’s a combination of anxious parents, homework wars and the speed with which the school curriculum is now being taught in schools which is faster than ever.

“Early childhood teachers are also more likely to highlight to parents their child’s learning difficulties and recommend seeking additional tuition so their child doesn’t get left behind in the classroom.”

Gary says it’s not just children who are struggling with reading, writing, and maths who benefit from private tuition, it’s also children who excel and require outside tutoring to help them get further ahead to reduce the risk of boredom.

“Some parents are even opting to have their child tutored to improve their chances of getting into selective and private schools by Year 3,” Gary says.

The growing demand for one-on-one academic tuition is reflected in the growing number of tutoring companies opening their doors in the past decade – a figure Gary believes has quadrupled over time. Market research firm Global Industry Analysts predicts the global private tutoring market will surpass $103 billion by 2018.

A Brisbane mother of two teenage girls, Fiona says private tutoring has greatly benefited both of her daughters and believes it’s the relationship the students form with their tutor that benefits their learning the most.

“The most important thing is the tutor,” Fiona says. “If the kids connect with the tutor it’ll be their best subject. A tutor can make them look at the subject in a different way.”

While general tuition is not for everyone, it can still provide value for kids who need it. Specialised tuition, such as music tutoring is more vital when students are looking to learn an instrument. Charlotte Ashcroft from Ashcroft Music Centre on Brisbane’s southside xhas been tutoring for more than five years and believes private tuition makes a huge difference for kids in specialist subjects. 

“Private tutoring is beneficial in all subjects, but is crucial in specialised areas such as instrumental music,” says Charlotte.  “Private tuition allows for teachers to tailor their lessons individually for each students’ needs and learning styles.”

If you can’t afford a private tutor, don’t fret. Kids can benefit from study groups where they tutor each other. Peer tutoring is one of the best study techniques for students at any level and it’s completely free.

Five signs your child could benefit from a tutor

1. Homework wars: When trying to help your child with their homework becomes a battle zone and they’re increasingly frustrated that they don’t understand the work in front of them and refuse to listen to you.

2. Self confidence: If your child is losing self confidence in a particular subject because they find it difficult, it will soon affect the subjects they are good at as well.

3. Behavioural issues: Children who have trouble understanding work often act out in the classroom so they’re known as the class clown rather than as having learning difficulties.

4. Low grades: It’s the obvious indicator. 

5. Talented and gifted: Children who are highly intelligent often enjoy further academic stimulation that challenges them outside the classroom.

Words: Nicholas Grech

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