Hi, I'm hoping that someone with more experience can help me with this - I'd be very grateful for any thoughts at all! I'm a primary teacher (27 years' experience) and have recently started giving private tuition in English and Maths (KS 1 and 2). Because my first degree is in English I decided to take on students up to GCSE for English. My concern is that I have a student who began lessons with me the week before he took his November English Language paper. He got the expected E as we heard last week. He will be retaking it in June and his parents are relying on me to get him up to a C. I have told them I can't guarantee anything without the boy's co-operation. He lacks confidence and application but more importantly there are huge, howling gaps in his basic grasp of English! The parents (and their son) are nice people and I don't think they expect miracles, but I really don't want to let any of them down. My dilemma is: how far do I dedicate the lessons (three hours a week) to basic spelling, grammar and so on, and how far do I go top-down from past papers? My instinct is to try a balance of both. His father wants me to do past papers under exam conditions but is this a good use of my rather expensive time? I really want to do my best here but am not the most confident person in the world.