In times past historians noted, how in the wake of the plague of the “Black death”, fundamental changes were of necessity wrought in society, giving rise to greater freedoms and new ways of thinking, including an aspiration for wider access to education. Having access to education has long been a cherished societal ideal. When children were apprenticed to work in harsh and dangerous conditions in Victorian times, the reformer Dr Barnado made the then, unprecedented assertion, that education for all children was a right. This belief, has subsequently shaped education legislation culminating in the Butler Act of 1944 and moulded it into the expectation that we have today – that our government has a responsibility to ensure that the children of the nation will receive an education – and not just any education, but equitable access to the best education that might reasonably be expected of any wealthy forward thinking modern country.
The government has again reinforced this expectation and ideal of access for all to education in the form of the equally unprecedented National Tutoring Programme. As further details of just how this funding will be allocated – there is perhaps real hope that education has, along with the NHS, moved up the priority list in terms of significance in the eyes of our government. It has been said that funding for the National Tutoring Programme will straddle 3 years. It is the hope of this author that the benefits of tutoring through the programme will be felt to such an extent that it will leave a legacy of tutoring becoming a normal service that schools will be able to provide, in some measure, for their more vulnerable pupils.
Online Tuition – Access is key
We have reflected above as to the aspirational significance, throughout many generations, of children receiving and having access to, not just an education, but the best education to be had in our modern world. Whilst face to face tuition must play a crucial part in this access, it must be noted that, in a very real way, online tuition provides greater access and choice, for parents, when selecting tuition for their child. As we have stated in previous articles, the online facility means that both parents and child can have access to a range of suitably qualified professionals together with a greater range of subjects and specific areas of learning within subjects.
Online Tuition – The value of smaller groups
Just as in history, so too today, what can be provided for children in terms of additional support through tuition, is to a certain extent governed by cost. We at Learn as you teach have begun offering small group courses for individual year groups in both French and Maths, at a reduced rate per child, such that more children can gain access to high quality tuition.
Small groups should, of course, be such that they are small enough to ensure that children do not become “invisible” to their teacher or tutor – that they will still be able within the dynamic of the group to avail themselves of much individual attention. Groups can also add the dimension of some helpful interaction with other pupils – itself a valuable tool which may be exploited by the teacher or tutor to explore learning. Small groups are also more practical and economical for both the tutor and the child, the lower cost meaning that children may be able to receive tuition more than once a week in at least two different subjects.
Online Tuition – Short high-quality courses
Groups also mean that tutoring organisations like Learn as you teach, have the opportunity to field short specific courses. During this time of home learning, parents have become more aware of the shortcomings of their children in certain areas. Again at Learn as you teach, we are moving forward with developing and fielding a short series of lessons or course within subjects like Maths, so as to provide parents with an opportunity to access more specific support in certain learning areas for their child. In this way both the short course and small group dynamic can help to provide a more extended and supportive learning environment beyond interaction with just the tutor alone. In brief, parents can pinpoint the needs of their child and sign them up for a course as appropriate. The short course can also relieve parents of committing to a long-term tuition arrangement thus enabling them to be more flexible in how they allocate their personal tutoring budget for their child.
The short group course also provides advantages for us at Learn as you teach, as it enables us similarly to focus upon providing exceptional, interactive teaching and practice materials, for the area of learning being addressed. In short, online tuition, with burgeoning technological advancement in communication, is not only a signpost for the way education may be delivered in the future, it is also something of a vision for greater access to better quality education itself.