Somehow, the best students seem to be favored with more of teacher's attention in class while the students who actually need teachers' intensive focus and would truly benefit from it remain in the back of the class, and at the bottom of the rolls.
Ironically enough, it seems these best students are the ones who can and do take private lessons from home tutors or tutoring services.
Educational inequality in the UK is a proven fact; one that has the government, educators, tutoring centres and parents working to find solutions to.
Students who struggle in class would be well served with one on one tutoring. However, when private tutoring fees average £17 per hour, families restricted to a tight budget cannot easily pay out what it takes for their children to achieve academic success.
Don't despair! Academic tutoring is not out of your reach. Read on to find out how your child can find a tutor, benefit from private tuition and get homework help for free.
Government Offerings of Academic Support
Have you checked your local council website? Cities and towns all across Britain offer homework help in their libraries for all students up to GCSE level.
These 'clinics' are staffed by trained professionals and feature free Internet access and printing, should your learner find relevant information online that s/he wishes to capture for future reference.
Nottingham libraries are a prime example of such government coordinated scholastic support. At facilities throughout the city, students can drop in any time for tutoring in their most troublesome subjects. Furthermore, qualified tutors host weekly sessions specifically geared to homework help.
Everywhere in the UK, libraries sponsor homework clubs where your child can participate in peer tutoring and group learning. These clubs are especially valuable because they permit your student to build confidence by helping others, while receiving needed help themselves.
Talking with your child's teacher may point you to other free learning and study resources. Many UK schools offer after school programmes, for example. While some systems promote enrichment activities such as sports or music, others boast after school tutoring in academic subjects for free.
One outstanding program, called Bricks 4 Kidz takes an innovative approach to after school mentoring. They use Lego bricks to teach about engineering, architecture and building. Although these aren't standard school curriculum subjects, these sponsored activities help to develop maths skills and critical thinking abilities.
Does your child's school sponsor an after school program or homework help club? If not, you could be instrumental in getting one started!
Volunteer Organizations that Offer Tutoring
The UK is home to several charitable organizations that offer free tutoring, especially to economically disadvantaged students.
Benevolent agencies work through schools, with teachers that help identify at-risk students whose chances at academic success would markedly improve with private lessons.
“One to one tuition can be transformative... that is why I am backing Action Tutoring” - David Blunkett
Action Tutoring matches volunteer mentors with students who are having trouble studying, to help them learn study skills and improve competencies. Through their efforts, students gain confidence - a sure boost to their academic career, as well as knowledge.
Action Tutoring works across the UK, from Birmingham to London. Please refer to their website to see if they are active in your area. If not, you could be instrumental in initiating their program in your city!
The Access Project pairs high-achieving college graduates who volunteer with those students who need their help the most. Access tutors receive direction from school teachers on what should be emphasized during extracurricular learning sessions. They also offer university support.
Receive Free In Home Tutoring Online
The positive effects of one on one tutoring has long been demonstrated, and with today's technological advances, it is easier than ever to accelerate learning through online tutoring.
With resources, tutors and classes offered from anywhere in the world, you could study physics in America or computer science in India without ever leaving your home.
Free STEM Tutoring is a cooperative that offers online tutoring, one on one lessons with an American Maths tutor or Science tutor at no charge. Subjects covered include maths, science, physics, biology, chemistry and language arts.
You can also find abundant educational support websites online that offer free learning materials – videos, tutorials and practice tests.
The Khan Academy is one such site. There you can select from science and maths instruction, delivered in short video segments, arranged by grade level and topic. Whether in kindergarten or at the highest level of secondary education, the Khan Academy has course materials for everyone.
They even offer university level course materials in macro- and microeconomics, Statistics and Probability, Computer Science, programming and coding.
Even though you will not have an online tutor who works with you personally, the site provides tests and practice exercises, to be worked after viewing video tutorials. The site also offers a progress tracker that measures how well you have absorbed the concepts you are studying.
Note: Because Khan Academy is based in America, its materials and curriculum are geared toward that country's education system.
Although the content is similar to what is studied in Britain, you may have to adjust your search – search by subject instead of by grade level to find exactly what you are looking for.
Take Free College-Level Courses
Many of Britain's institutes of higher learning offer free classes in academic subjects such as: English, history and mathematics, and from natural science all the way to environment and urban studies.
The courses are presented in several ways: online – as podcasts with an exam following; in traditional lecture format on campus, with students demonstrating their grasp on the subject by writing papers; or a combination of both.
After successful completion of the course(s), students are issued certificates that, of late, employers have been accepting in lieu of traditional higher learning degrees.
The United Kingdom's Open University has been lauded as the most innovative and user-friendly provider of online college courseware. Established in 1969 as a brick-and-mortar facility, this institution was among the first to embrace technology as a tool for learning.
Their catalogue of free courses ranges from politics and law to philosophy and living sciences, divided into 8 broad categories which are subdivided into tailored courses.
The Rise of the MOOCs
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. In part an effort to combat the rising education costs, many universities have partnered with (or founded) digital learning companies.
MOOCs are now considered the vogue of university education.
Welcome to FutureLearn, a wholly online educational platform owned by Open University. Registering on their site, you can choose a degree programme or study subjects that fascinate you.
FutureLearn receives its material from institutes such as University of Leeds and King's College London, to give you as broad a learning experience as possible... for free!
Other MOOCs include:
Coursera is based in America, and offers courses in Engineering, Biology, Humanities, Computer and Data Sciences and Marketing.
Eliademy builds free online courses through cooperation of students and teachers. Subjects range from Accounting to resume writing.
Udacity focuses on vocational courses for professionals. Some courses are free while others are for a fee, albeit substantially lower than traditional schools.
EdX, a collaboration between MIT and Harvard, offers free university level courses in subjects ranging from Anatomy to Marketing.
Learning, Just for Fun
Not all tutoring results from dire need and distressing economic conditions. Pupils who are more advanced than their current classroom curriculum may seek one to one tutoring as a challenge to their abilities.
Who doesn't love music? For those who wish to learn the piano or guitar, online music tutors are standing by:
The Hoffman Academy offers free online lessons in composition and theory, based on the piano
The Piano Nanny is one of the longest-running music tutorial site on the web.
May Music Studio diversifies its teaching to the guitar and drums
Berklee Shares extends their tutoring to brass and wind instruments, going further into arranging and production, as well as other behind-the-scenes aspects of the music industry.
For those who prefer to learn alone, there are a number of online resources to help you learn different skills.
- For those looking to take up a musical instrument, Beginner Guitar HQ offers a wealth of information for beginners to help you choose the right instrument for you.
Today's current business climate demands extraordinary skills. Studies show employees who can speak more than one language receive a 5 to 20% higher salary than workers whose only language is English.
Are you eager for a pay raise?
You can learn a second language with native speakers at Lang-8. This learning exchange program focuses on written aspects, such as grammar, verb tenses and word usage.
At Lang-8, you would tutor foreign learners of English while they would teach you their language's mechanics.
Another language tutoring website is myhappyplanet, where you can interact live with people native to the language you wish to learn. In addition to active learning through conversation, the site offers video tutorials.
Subscribing to both sites is free, and would give you a well-rounded language learning experience.
Whether your student is stressing over academic challenges or just has a curious mind and wants to learn more; whether s/he is more intellectually advanced than his/her peers...
When you want to promote your abilities and expand your knowledge, the choice is clear: online tutoring offers many avenues to achieve everyone's learning goals.