Is tutoring too cheap?

The national recommended rate for one-to-one tuition is £30 per hour. This is what I charge to everybody. But is this too cheap?

cropped-hat-image.jpgA few quick searches on the internet reveal the following average figures for what other professionals charge for their services per hour. Here are a few of them:

Solicitor £100
Car mechanic £74
Chiropractor £65
Counsellor £50
Plumber £45
Personal trainer £35
One-to-one tutor £30
Driving instructor £25
Gardener £20
Cleaner £10

I will leave it to you to put a value on education from an experienced, qualified professional. Is tuition for your children more or less valuable than the other services on this list?

As a general point, I would argue that education professionals are greatly undervalued in our society (not in some other countries though, I may note). Teachers work long hours and are generally poorly rewarded. Most have been to university for three, four or five years and have then started in the profession at the bottom and had to work their way up.

I respect everyone on this list and can hardly blame them for trying to make as much money as possible. But what price education?

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Try this GCSE Mathematics question

Pupils sit GCSE maths examCan you answer this GCSE Mathematics question?

Send me your answer on the form below and I will tell you if you got it right!

In August 2008, Eddie hired a car in Italy. The cost of hiring the car was £620. The exchange rate was £1 = 1.25 Euros.

(a) Work out the cost of hiring the car in Euros.

(b) Eddie bought perfume in Italy. The cost of the perfume in Italy was 50 Euros. The cost of the perfume in London was £42. The exchange rate was still £1 = 1.25 Euros. Work out the difference between the cost of the perfume in Italy and the cost of the perfume in London. Give your answer in pounds (£).

(Question taken from June 2010 paper. A calculator is allowed)

By the way, this was one of the easier questions, being number 3 on the paper.

GCSE English: How I can help

Improving in English is a gradual thing. That’s why it is best to begin private tuition as soon as cropped-hat-image.jpgpossible. If your child is encountering any difficulties in Year 7 and 8, I would recommend that you intervene as early as you can and consider private tuition.

A great deal can be achieved in a one-to-one weekly session. My approach would be to work through the appropriate level of exam-style questions to diagnose any areas of weakness your child may be experiencing. I would then design sessions to work on these weaknesses. Some work would be necessary from your child between sessions but I would aim to keep this to a minimum, because of the volume of homework which schools set.

Whatever your areas of concern, it is absolutely vital that your child reads regularly. This is the single most important key to unlocking development in writing both in English Language and English Literature. I strongly recommend that your child reads at least twice a day. There are many helpful websites which can guide your child’s choice of their next book.

If you think I can help, please fill in the contact form on the front of this website.

By the way, I have an A-level in English and specialised in English during my Education degree at the University of Northampton. I gained a First Class (Honours) degree.

Answering a GCSE English question

The question is: Write an entry for your blog about your favourite time of year. (16 marks)

Aah summer. I just can’t wait. Imagine those long, warm evenings sitting on the boundary watching a game of cricket gently unfold. Shouts. Laughter. The occasional moment of excitement. My son grabs a catch, an appeal is turned down: but it’s not really about the game. It’s about the feeling. Somehow, worries melt away and the drudge of work becomes a faint glimmer, outshone by the brilliance of sunshine and blue skies. Calm descends and, as the evening light eventually fades, even the darkness cannot overcome the simple joy of summer.

The sense of enjoyment continues: perhaps there are television highlights of the Test Match to watch. Maybe there is the chance to catch a game live, as long as the weather holds. Best of all, though, is the playing – taking on my son.

We haul the wickets to the rugger field and set up our mini-game. Real ball, real bat – and, as the young terror turns teenager, so the pace of the ball quickens. Some I see, some I don’t, but the days of letting him win or offering up steepling, but simple, catches are long gone. This is a battle to the death, a matter of survival. It’s either him or me: and these days, much to my emerging pride, it is almost always him.

What a privilege to witness his growing bravado, his genuine pace and his towering, angry strikes when facing my throw-downs. How much longer will I be competent enough to even stand up to the bombardment of vicious deliveries which he subjects me to?

It seems like long ago now, when summer nights meant knockabout matches in the back garden. Endless searches for missing tennis balls saw us groping through trampled foliage, poking among harsh branches in our beech hedge, or constructing increasingly ambitious structures with picnic chairs and brooms to reach over to next door.

Almost imperceptibly, something changed.

His shots were suddenly hitting the middle of the bat. I was having to dive this way and that not to catch the ball – but to avoid it! Thrilling drives were banging into windows and prompting shouts from within. The shed was cleared in one hit, the roof was reached: and the only target left was to strike a ball clean over the entire house.

I miss those days. I miss pretending to be famous players. I miss the comradeship and mock anger when we blamed each other for losing the ball. But I know everything changes. One summer is never like another. We grow older together. We can hang on to the past only in our recollections. We can comfort each other with the thought that next summer could be the best ever.

It will be the best ever.