Monthly Archives: Mar 2016

Budget March 2016 – A Big Change in State Education

Education has featured more prominently in this budget than I can ever remember, and this is a great thing. The three points that strike out to me as the most important are:

  • The conversion of all English schools into academies
  • The compulsory role of maths until the age of 18
  • A sugar tax to tackle childhood obesity
Victorian School

Time to move on from the 3:30pm school bell.

In this particular post I am interested in the academisation of schools and potentially longer hours for schools. What academies are and how the conversions of schools into academies is discussed really well in the following post by Bright Young Things Tuition, a tutoring agency I did some work for in the past.

Budget 2016 – Every English School Set to Become an Academy by 2020

In their article they say that the Victorian schoolbell for 3:30pm for every school in the UK will be a thing of the past. They also discuss the percieved pros and cons of turning schools into academies. Currently in England, over 60% secondary schools are academies already (2,075 out of 3,381). And that number is over 14% for primary schools (2,440 of 16,766). In the article the academy is defined as:

Academies are state-funded, independent schools which are run by charitable trusts via a contract with the government. Rather than receiving their funding from a local authority, it’s delivered directly from central government

Academies have more independence and control on what they do without state meddling. Indeed, what seems like a really bold leap of faith is that schools are even set completely free from the national curriculum and can decided to sit iGCSEs instead of GCSEs, which has been adapted by all the private schools already.

I think this is a good thing and makes State schools a bit more like private schools in terms of the hours provided at least. There are concerns however that this could be the first step in the full privatisation of State schools. Personally I don’t believe that. I am in support for this move, and if an academy can be open for longer and run longer school hours, I think that is all the better for the students who really need it (eg GCSE and A Level students). ‘The death of childhood’ by making students stay at school is not something I agree with. Indeed in the case of many primary schools, parents may well appreciate the extra childcare the school is able to provide through after school activities.

Most secondary schools are academies already and students I have tutored from academies generally seem to be fairly positive about them. Of course they are getting tutored by me because they feel like they need the extra help and school may not be adequate. In terms of the tutoring industry, it is hard to tell what the impact of academies will be. In any case, I think this is a welcome move and I always work with schools anyway. I make direct contact with many school teachers and I think it is always best to work as a tutor-school-parent-student team together. The State education sector is going through a crisis with not enough teachers in schools and it is time such big reforms are put into place. We simply do not live in the Victorian world anymore.

The Exodus of Tutors to Online Tuition

The benefits of online tuition for both tutors and students has been covered well in this blog post by Matthew Barnes, who is a full time online Biology Tutor. I will write a further post to add to Matthew’s post on why I think online tuition is better than face to face tuition in not just one way, but several ways.

I am slowly converting to almost all exclusively online. There are some tutors and parents who just cannot be convinced about online tuition, so if you are one of them then close your eyes now!

Mass Exodus of Tutors

All head towards the land of 0 commuting.

Tutors who work online also network online faster, much faster than they could ever do offline. In fact, since I have started tutoring online, I have been seeking more and more online tutors to exchange notes with, to learn from and to refer each other to potential new students. Each tutor has their unique, individual personality and flair that they bring to the table. I have met several tutors through the Tutor Pages LinkedIn page and also somewhat surprisingly through twitter. I have also had several video conversations with new tutors. I have met and chatted with more tutors in the last two months than I did in the previous 9 years before when I was tutoring face to face. A staggering difference!

Gordon is the latest such convert to online maths tuition, and following on from Matthew’s 100% online tuition model, he is taking the step from next school year to also almost exclusively tutor online. This makes perfect sense. From a tutor’s point of view travelling time and effort are a waste of time and money. There are tutors out there who I have chatted to that are clocking up hundreds of miles per week of driving mileage, not to mention petrol costs and the tiring amount of effort. In London I have to battle a commute, often changing trains and the London metro up to three times. Just one train has to be late to throw my entire day off.

I predict that all the truly great tutors will soon move completely (or almost completely) online. It is inevitable. Someone who values their time knows how precious that time can be for other themselves and for tutoring other students. The quality of life for a tutor improves substantially. There is no reason left to commute. I fully welcome the digital revolution in tutoring and look forward to reporting how things progress for me in the digital domain.