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Should we tell parents about the school?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by Mathsteach2, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    This is a continuation of earlier debates concerning whether or not as private tutors we should make recommendations to parents regarding their children's lessons at school. However, I am starting a new thread to focus on just one of my tutees.

    The parent asked me to meet the boy (7 years old, Y3) and assess his needs in english and mathematics. She brought his recent School Report for me to see. It was unbelievably traditional (just like my own many years ago, and the ones I filled in as a teacher 1966 to 1990). There were many more criteria, however, and the child gained "C" grades for all of them, apart from cleanliness and deportment (both A's). His class position was 17/19. The comment from his teacher was that as parents they must ensure that he does his homework, and from the HT was to take notice of the class teacher's comment!

    His mother has now booked him in for one hour after school, next Tuesday; a half hour for maths, and a half hour for reading. As a result of my one-to-one assessment, I found him of quite acceptable intelligence for a 7 year old, his english is at Level 2 (En1), Level 1 (En2), Level 1 (En3), and his maths is at Level 2 (Ma2), Level 1 (Ma3) and Level 1 (Ma4), (UKNC criteria). He was obviously not capable of committing himself to any activity left on his own. I am no supporter of ADHD because on a one-to-one basis he responded readily to my tuition. He occasionally writes some of his letters and numbers backwards, but is aware of his mistakes.

    As a parent, I would investigate the possibility of putting him into special needs in his school. This parent is going to pay for private tuition, which he certainly needs, but I am reluctant to do what the school ought to be doing without making some sort of representation to that school.

    Any comments will be greatly appreciated.
  2. In a similar situation, where a child appears not to be achieving at the level I might expect - given their general apparent intelligence, I usually assume that the child has probably got a few gaps in their basic knowledge, and would start by checking the expected prior learning ...looking out for misunderstandings/incomplete methods/or misremembered method (I'm thinking mainly of maths here).
    Usually, by working one-to-one with the pupil, watching their methods carefully while they are solving puzzles etc and asking them to explain what they are doing and why, I usually find that there is some chunk of maths that wasn't completely understood in the past and the student has found a method that "sort of works" some of the time. In this situation, I help them find and fix the misconception and gradually work myself out of a job!
    If there do not appear to be any misconceptions, either the pupil just finds it difficult to learn in a classroom situation, or there is some other issue preventing learning. I have never been in this situation, but I think I would inform the parents, and leave them to decide whether to approach the school or not. If the student is able to achieve their potential by having extra lessons with you and the parent is happy with this - and possibly feels that the school would be unable to provide equivalent help, then that would be their choice. Equally, if the parent wanted to contact the school, then you would be able to provide concrete examples of issues that cause difficulties with the pupils learning, that the school may or may not be able to address.
    Hope some of this helps..
  3. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Many thanks, lizziec, I am secondary trained, not primary, early years nor special needs, although I have quite a lot of experience with these children, and what you have posted is very helpful to me.

    I also fully agree with you regarding this boy's school, I too have always advocated going through the parents, it is their decision.
  4. I am also secondary trained, but have tutored upper primary when requested.
    However, I have also seen the issue with missing basic knowledge in secondary pupils ...one that particularly surprised me got quite a long way through secondary school in middling groups without realising that his method for subtraction only worked half of the time... The teacher had noticed he was struggling, but hadn't been able to get to the bottom of the problem during class time (of course, half of the time he was getting the correct answers!).
    I have to admit that in a class situation I probably would also not be able to identify the exact issue - but that is the benefit of being able to work one-to-one with students on occasions!

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