AMID a widely reported school funding crisis and ever-rising classroom sizes, one industry is flourishing.
The UK private tuition business – now worth a whopping £2 billion – is booming.
Those wise to this growth industry include Reenu Gupta, who has just opened a Kip McGrath Education Centre franchise in Crouch Street, Colchester.
Reenu moved to Colchester in 2015 with her family when her eldest daughter earned a place at Colchester County High School for Girls.
“Colchester is a very academic and competitive town and parents are keen to provide extra support for children who are struggling to catch up in a bigger classroom environment,” she said.
“For children struggling to catch up, private tutoring helps in providing that extra support.
“It helps in improving performance and increasing confidence, which in turn helps them later in critical years like GCSE and A-levels.”
Reenu, a qualified teacher and part-time scientist, found extra tuition outside of school helped her two children to progress.
“I have been teaching my children at home and they both passed the 11 plus with flying colours,” she said.
“With my youngest now in secondary school, I was looking to continue teaching in small groups.
“This is when I started looking at options and found the Kip McGrath education programme to be very suitable.”
Many parents will hire a private tutor to visit their own home, but Reenu believes working as part of a small group is more beneficial.
There is an added emphasis on supporting children through exam stress and the pressures of the social media age.
“It is less threatening for a student to be given space to process new learning without teacher involvement,” she said.
“They still have the security of constant help.
“In a small group setting students are encouraged to model each other’s positive behaviour and also build their self esteem by being role models for other students.
“Individual attention is still possible in a group of five.
“Students move far more confidently from a small group tutoring setting to a large classroom of say 25 to 30 students than from a one-to-one setting.”
She added: “Pressure for me really translates into discipline and a small amount of discipline whether it is sports, education or any other activity, prepares us to face the competitive world.
“Private tuition provides that extra discipline, which is missing in a standard classroom environment due to the teacher to student ratio.”
Parents are increasingly looking to private tutors for support outside of the classroom and this support is arguably more accessible than ever.
An assessment at the centre is free of charge.
The child is graded in reading, English and Maths and their score is entered on a computer system which generates a lesson plan for each individual.
Lessons are provided by a qualified teacher in groups of five, with weekly homework given to each child.
However, it comes at a price and there is a common view that private tutoring grants well-off families an unfair advantage.
“Unfortunately this is negative perception about private tutoring,” said Reenu.
“I believe any bright student irrespective of the teaching environment would do well in life, but sometimes a lot of students need a bit of extra support and that is where the private tuition fills the gap.
“Private tuition also provides an affordable option for parents to provide that little extra their children need, without having to pay for expensive independent schools.”
Each 80 minute session at the centre costs £35.
Reenu believes private tuition is “augmenting” the quality of education on offer in the country.
“It is contributing to the basic function of the government and society as a whole to provide good quality education to children,” she said.
“It fills in the gaps in understanding of certain topics – which is difficult to achieve in a classroom where the teacher is trying to get through the curriculum while handling poor behaviour.”
To book a free assessment and further information, parents can call the centre on 01206 563798.
By Tom Dalby