Why the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Tunbridge Wells wants to bring tuition out of the shadows and normalise it for both pupils and parents
Historically, a private tutor might be brought into the home to support a child with a specific subject or subjects, to enhance their attainment and to achieve exam success. However, the growth of Kip McGrath Education Centres is changing the face of private tuition, bringing it out of the shadows and onto the high street. Such tuition centres are not a new phenomenon (the Tunbridge Wells centre opened in 2011), but their place within the private tuition market have noticeably developed in recent years.
New research from Brunel University London has explored the role of tuition centres and found they are having a key role in making private tuition accessible to more families. The research found that the increasing emphasis and role of tests and exams in primary schools has created a more pressured classroom environment, which often propels families to engage with tuition centres.
“Private tuition can simultaneously encourage and alleviate parental anxieties around educational attainment,” said Dr Wainwright of Brunel University.
In some parts of the world, notably parts of Asia, extra academic work or tuition is a regular part of childhood, but it is still a taboo subject in the UK. Families often choose not to discuss their weekly visits from a tutor due to feelings of shame or embarrassment.
Kip McGrath Education Centres are keen to change these negative mindsets, with staff keen for tuition to be seen as a regular part of childhood, in their permanent and obvious premises.
“The high visibility of tuition centres helps to dispel the perception that private tuition should not be discussed or that it should be hidden,” added Dr Wainwright.
The research also found that the support tuition centres offered to families went beyond academic attainment. “Private tuition can be used to assist families as children develop their communication skills and self-efficacy, in addition to their subject knowledge,” revealed Dr Wainwright.
For example, Kip McGrath Tunbridge Wells’ tuition is also geared towards fostering confidence and helping children to self-motivate and work independently, building life skills for secondary school and work beyond.