Did you know that around a quarter of UK pupils now have private tutoring at some point in their education?

As the pressure to obtain high level GCSE marks to secure places at the top colleges grows, parents are increasingly turning to tutoring to supplement school work. But tutoring does come at a cost and if it’s an expense you can’t spare, you may feel like your child is being put at a disadvantage.

But don’t worry there are effective alternatives that can give your child the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

The GCSE shake-up and extension of compulsory education means that more pupils than ever are vying for limited college places. And it’s not just further education that can be affected by the results of GCSEs either, it can have an impact on career prospects.

Tutoring in the UK

A 2015 survey revealed that 1 in 4 children are now tutored in a bid to help them succeed – in London some 44% of children have private tuition. The number of tutors has exploded in the last decade. But at around £35 an hour for GCSE aged children, it’s a luxury that’s out of reach for many parents.

Tutoring is typically most effective when it’s delivered consistently, rather than cramming just before exams. It means that the cost of tutoring can quickly mount up, especially if your child needs support across multiple subjects.

There are many reasons that parents turn to tutoring in preparation for GCSE, including:

  • To provide additional support for a child struggling in certain areas
  • To maintain skills and learning routine over the holidays
  • To provide specialist tuition, typically in the core subjects of English and maths
  • In preparation for certain examinations
  • Pressure to offer their child the same opportunities as peers

Pros and cons of tutoring

It used to be that tutoring was thought to be the preserve of private school pupils. However, the rising figures show that it’s a practice that is quickly spreading. In fact, over 6 in 10 pupils that sit the 11+ exam to secure a grammar school place use a tutor and many children at public schools are given one-on-one tuition alongside their regular schooling.

It’s the pros of tutoring that attract parents:

  • The ability for your child to work at their own pace
  • Tuition that specifically considers your child’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Continuous feedback to aid progress
  • Ability to select a tutor that will work well with your child
  • Homework and practice test support

But there are also negatives to consider too:

  • The associated expenses
  • Putting additional pressure on children and leaving less time for other activities and relaxation
  • Disruption in the home

Turning to online resources

If tutoring is out of your budget, online resources can provide an effective alternative and allow your child to take responsibility for their own learning. Many people know about BBC Bitesize and AQA, but here’s a selection of other resources that can offer support. Among the websites and apps to choose from are:

  • SchoolOnline – Exam practice is key for getting prepared. SchoolOnline lets pupils practice GCSE in the core subjects and receive detailed feedback from experienced teachers on exactly what they’re being marked for. The approach means areas to improve and exam techniques can be worked on before the exam date and help students achieve their potential.
    Cost: £9.99.
  • Get RevisingGet Revising was created to help students learn and take responsibility for their own learning. It’s a great tool for students covering a range of topics and the ability to create a study plan. But not all the resources have been recommended by teachers and it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for.
    Cost: Free.
  • Flashcards+ – This app gives students the ability to create flashcards for revision purposes and help to improve memory. While Flashcard+ is a useful revision tool, it requires students to already have access to the information and isn’t suitable for some subjects or topics.
    Cost: Free.
  • YouTube – Video sharing platform YouTube can act as a useful revision tool too. However, with over 300 hours of footage being uploaded every minute, it can be difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for because of the sheer volume of material.
    It can be a challenge to know what areas are relevant unless you know the curriculum well. Anyone can upload a video so you don’t know how trustworthy the information is or the videos can be boring and dull, leading to your child switching off.

Preparation for exams is key

While tutoring can help a child perform well in exams, teachers and tutors often cite that exam practice is key. Understanding how to answer questions and what is expected is vital for success. But even if you have past exam papers for your child to practice, understanding the methodology and marking them yourself can be a challenge and teachers are unlikely to find the time to mark papers not set within school.

SchoolOnline provides a solution to this dilemma. Students can practice exam papers and can mark them themselves so they know where they’ve made mistakes.

Not only do these teachers show the grade given but give easy to understand feedback, step-by-step methodologies, and walkthroughs – providing pupils with the tools they need to succeed. What’s more, it’s a brilliantly affordable solution.

Here at SchoolOnline, we also have many resources to help your children revise for GCSE’s that won’t break the bank. Browse our online exam revision website today!