Helping your child to keep up/catch up/stay up in the classroom!

Helping your child to keep up/catch up/stay up in the classroom!
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Helping your child to keep up/catch up/stay up in the classroom!

To tutor or not to tutor?!


I am a teacher and a private tutor. After years of working full time as a teacher and at management level, I decided to move to part time hours once I had the children and supplement this loss of income with private tuition. Remaining in the classroom and working in school I hope gives me an edge over some tutors that may have not been in a classroom for a while- I am still abreast of current educational issues and not out of the loop. 


I have privately tutored for approximately 16 years now. My fees have gradually climbed (I started off charging £20ph in 2005) although I know tutors who charge both more and less than me.


I absolutely adore the families that I work with, and I have been with them for many years; often working through all the siblings! We work well together, have fun and hold a mutual respect for one another.


Families come to me for whole host of reasons- specific entrance exams, interview prep and 11plus; homework help, handwriting & fine motor, Maths & English. Sometimes it’s just the one, sometimes it’s a mix. Often it may be a poor test result or a concerning parents evening that has made them make the jump, or maybe it’s just that the child is lacking confidence. More often than not, it is state school pupils seeking me out- trying to carve 1:1 time from classes

of 30. 


I only ever work with one student but more recently offer holiday camps with a colleague where we cover off 11+ prep, maths, phonics, literacy and even cooking!


I’m not here to judge when a parent comes to me. Some keep it a secret, others do not care who knows. Some have a clear goal in mind, others just want gentle support. The fact of the matter is that tutoring is becoming more common place in primary (or rather junior schools) and for many time poor parents, it often seems a good way to help their child gain confidence and self belief, boost their grades or pass exams…although it is rarely cheap. 


I make no promises. 1:1 tuition is very personal. It has to be good fit. The child has to want to be there and the relationship needs to be a positive one. 


Does your child have a tutor? Do you have any questions about tuition? Maybe this will help… 


A few things I make clear before I work with families

  • I am not here to just help your child pass an exam. They shouldn’t needs too much tuition if they are grammar school material. They need to pass and survive there!
  • I don’t make any promises that I can’t keep. I have a rough idea if your child has the potential to pass- that’s it. You can never second guess the questions or the calibre of the competition. It’s often just down to the luck of the day that is outside of our control.
  • First session is where we see if we are  a good fit for each other- if not, we part ways without fuss. Never happened so far but you never know!
  • I need to see school reports. I need to know how your child copes in class, and I need them to feel confident with me to admit when they can’t do something. I need you to tell their teacher so I can follow their rough curriculum.
  • I don’t set homework. School and one hour a week tuition is plenty. If families want to do more, they can of course, but I won’t set it.
  • Age matters. I refuse to tutor anyone below the age of 6. They need a play-based curriculum. If they are really struggling, then they need to see an OT, S&L or the SENCO at school. If they are not struggling, they do not need a tutor. End of!
  • I tutor children from the age of 7 (my average is 9yo) as they are usually able to cope with an hour 1:1 session (it’s very intensive, don’t forgets there aren’t 29 children to hide behind!) 
  • 11 plus or entrance exam tuition needs to begin from the end of year 4 as the exams are often in the first month of year 6. Small group work is great here as you get a real sense of camaraderie. 
  • We still need to catch up in the holidays. 6 weeks is a long time not to do anything. I still like to touch base with my students, but I try to make the sessions more relaxed and fun!
  • A good tutor is hard to find. Ask at the school first if other teachers tutor (not your own child’s teacher though). Ask friends. Get on waiting lists. Be honest and open. Ensure your child wants it too. Talk to your child’s teacher and tell them your plans. Be flexible with slots they can offer you but don’t waste your money with sessions that are really late in the evening when your child is just too tired. Make sure it’s a good fit!


Need to help your child keep up, catch up or feel confident in the classroom? Private tuition not an option?


Read on…



And ask them to be completely honest and open (some teachers still can’t tell it like it is for fear of upsetting parents) so be calm and open to feedback yourself.


Look through their past reports. Highlight key targets. Look at scores. Is anything going in the wrong direction? How does your child feel they are getting on? As the teacher what is being done to support them in the classroom? Are they meeting expectations? Are they part of any intervention groups?



In June 2020 the government announced £1 billion of funding to support children and young people to catch up on missed learning caused by coronavirus. Most schools are eligible and are using their money in various ways. I am one of the teachers at my school who is now working an extra day as covid support.


Schools can use their funding in any way that suits their cohort and circumstances, as long as it funds specific activities which will help pupils catch up on missed learning. Schools should particularly focus on disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils as we know they have been most affected. Ask your school what they are doing!




The £350m NTP scheme was launched last June by the government to support disadvantaged pupils who had fallen behind their more affluent peers during the pandemic. 


Whether it be through an Academic Mentor, a tutor supplied through a Tution Partner or schools using their own staff, the programme has a range of options that schools can choose from. Schools can also identify which subjects pupils would most benefit from, whether tuition will take place before, during or after the school day and if it is provided online or face to face. My school has opted to use their own staff- myself included- to offer free high-quality tuition to families that need (and want it) 

Ask your school what they are doing?



Talk to the SENcO or your GP if your concerns go deeper. Speech and Language therapists and Occupational Therapists do not often come cheap on a private level (you can see them on the NHS but wait lists are usually high) but the results are usually amazing! 


The Well-being Practice in Brighton is one place that offers support and testing in the following areas- Strengths and Difficulties / Dyslexia / Dyspraxia / Dyscalculia / Dysgraphia / Concentration and Executive Functioning / Giftedness / Emotional wellbeing (self-concept, anxiety, lack of confidence, fear of failure) / Examination Access Arrangements.


Sessions are not cheap, but reports are incredibly thorough. This is not an ad but tell them Mrs Miller sent you if you enquire!

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