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to think we should pay for a personal tutor for dd in her GCSE year?

(95 Posts)
madmomma Fri 23-Aug-13 20:44:05

So dd is 15 and has just sat some of her GCSEs a year early, as seems to be the fashion these days. She's passed her English but has got an F in her maths and a U in her science. Obviously she will sit them again next year, but I am alarmed by the F and the U and I feel it warrants us getting her some personal tuition. I couldn't help her much with either of these subjects as I am more of an english-y persuasion. Her Dad is not able to either (not academic enough). We've had lots of discussions with her maths and science teachers and school seem to be doing what they can, but I think by this point if she is to get Cs next year she would need to be working at at least a E or D now. She already has an hour's maths tuition per week, which costs £20 and she really enjoys it + finds it helpful.

The aibu is because my husband (dd's stepdad) feels that we should be helping her/teaching her ourselves and we are letting her down if we don't. He is adamant that I or he should be spending time doing maths and science practice with her, rather than 'farming her out' to a tutor hmm

I want her to have 4hrs tuition per week for the rest of her school career, which should hopefully help her to hit those Cs next year. I think the total cost would be well over 1k but to my mind it's what money is for and it's totally worth it. We have about 10k saved for insurance against redundancy so it would mean dipping into it, which I think is what concerns dh. Dd's Dad is broke so he can't really contribute.

AIBU to think that this is a vitally important and worthwhile expense for our hardworking but struggling daughter?

I think that if you cannot help her yourself then YANBU to get a tutor, providing you can afford to do so. I know you say that she gets an hour maths a week now, is that Kumon. My friends swear by it. I think it's appalling that you should have to pay for it tbh, it's not fair as many people can't afford to and I am in that bracket but fortunately I can help them myself, so swings and roundabouts. If you want to try to help herself I would recommend the Usborne Dictionary of Maths and also the Usborne Dictionary of Science. They are really simply explained and cover everything children meet from Junior school to GCSE level.

Amy106 Fri 23-Aug-13 20:50:59

You are not being unreasonable. You are trying support your daughter in the best way you know how. I think it's a sensible choice given the circumstances. Not your FIL's decision to make. Good luck and best wishes to your dd.

SaucyJack Fri 23-Aug-13 20:51:29

I wouldn't agree tbh. I've never found anyone other than the woman processing my application for sixth form had the slightest interest in what my GCSE results were. Sorry.

seensomuch Fri 23-Aug-13 20:51:33

dont worry too much my dd just got a c in maths , she got an e in the first attempt in nov, some schools give them extra tuition,she came out of pe and re and studied maths and english instead , so in 6 months she went up 2 grades,i wouldnt spend the money until you have asked for more help at school .

trinity0097 Fri 23-Aug-13 20:54:03

Does the school subscribe to MyMaths, get your daughter on that ASAP if they do, I think that they have booster packs that she should work through in addition to tuition, CGP workbooks and past papers are good.

Did she have and actually use a calculator in the calculator paper? Did she do foundation tier or higher? Lowest grade you can get n higher I think is D before a U kicks in.

NomDeOrdinateur Fri 23-Aug-13 20:54:24

YANBU - a good tutor will have a confident grasp of the subject, syllabus, exam rubric, and teaching methods, all of which will make a huge difference to your DD's progress and enjoyment of the subjects. Your responsibility as a parent here isn't to slog through the courses with her - it's to vet tutors for suitability and provide them with all of the information they need (e.g. exam spec, homework timetable, exam dates etc) to do a good job, and to support them by monitoring/facilitating the consolidation work that they set your DD outside of sessions.

wonderingsoul Fri 23-Aug-13 20:55:29

saucy-- but you need goodish gradesto get into sixth form though/ collage.. so they are important to the road of further education.

well you used to when i was in school.

i would request a meeting with the teachers in thouse subjects, find out where she is going wrong/having trouble with.

i would maybe bumb up the tutoring an hour a week.. and sit down and help, so you know personally whats she good at and help build confideance with it.

wonderingsoul Fri 23-Aug-13 20:56:50

also past papers will be great help.

mysteryfairy Fri 23-Aug-13 20:56:54

The school are likely to target her heavily if she is not achieving a c with extra lessons after school etc so perhaps find out what they will be offering before you jump into anything or you might just duplicate/overload her. My DS2 was shaky academically going into Y11 and has had loads of support and tutoring from my parents. This is partly because DH and I both work full time and also because with the best will in the world even if you have the academic knowledge its extremely hard to tell your own 15 year old anything! DS was more willing to listen to Grandpa and Grandma plus its pretty boring at their house with no siblings or electronic distractions. Do you have anyone like this who could step in?

noblegiraffe Fri 23-Aug-13 21:00:10

Don't teach her maths yourself if it is not your strong point, you could well end up confusing her and make things worse.

Disagree with whoever said that no one will be interested in GCSE results, getting a C in Maths and English would open so many doors for her. Science isn't so important, so don't put lots of money/effort into that if it would detract from the maths.
If she sat maths with Edexcel, get the maths teacher to print off her exam analysis from ResultsPlus so you can see exactly what she got right and wrong, this would be a good starting point for any tutor. Other exam boards might have a similar service but I'm not familiar with them.

Mymaths is a good suggestion, but I find that with students of very low ability they struggle to even access the explanations and need things broken down further than it goes.

Dawndonnaagain Fri 23-Aug-13 21:00:37

I don't think it's unreasonable but a tutor will cost you around £25-30 per hour, depending on where you are.

Dominodonkey Fri 23-Aug-13 21:03:34

I agree with mystery - If she has a c in english the school wil give her loads of extra help with her maths in particular.

I am not trying to be rude but I have genuinely never heard of someone getting a U overall in any GCSE unless they didn't turn up/submit any coursework. One of my students got a G in English despite achieving no marks whatsoever for coursework and writing about 1/2 a page in a 2 hour exam. I would recall her paper if I were you as I suspect she left a large amount out or completely misread most of it.

A tutor may not be a bad idea but 4 hours a week sounds very excessive.

EdieSedgwick Fri 23-Aug-13 21:04:36

I'm a tutor, but 4 hours a week will cost about £5,000 per year for a good tutor at £25.00 per hour. Good luck though smile

madmomma Fri 23-Aug-13 21:06:04

Thanks for the replies they're all really helpful.

justforlaughs she's got the usborne maths dictionary but thanks for the science tip off - I didn't know they did a science dictionary too. We're not using kumon - my friend is a teacher and she's doing it to support herself through a doctorate. She's brilliant, but an hour a week isn't much. And if I let myself think about how disgraceful it is to have to pay, I'd go mad. We only have the savings because my Dad died last year and left us some money - it makes me so angry to think that in better/poss private schools my dd might have been at more of an advantage.

amy thank you

saucy that's actually really helpful. Half of me thinks that, but then the other half thinks 'what if she can't do what she wants work-wise because we didn't put the effort/money in now? I totally agree that loads of people are really successful without a set of GCSE passes though.

seen that's encouraging, thanks.

trinity she's doing foundation (was diagnosed with dyscalculia [hmm} in primary) She does mymaths sometimes, but thanks for the workbook reccs.

My friend (who does her tuition) reckons her understanding of the abstract concepts is fine, but she has very weak recall of number facts - like basically she doesn't know her times tables. God knows what's going on with the science <worry>

Jan49 Fri 23-Aug-13 21:06:48

Why did she take those subjects a year early? I'd expect that to be because she was extra good at them and expected to achieve high grades, otherwise why do them early?

What does your dd think about having extra tuition? If she is keen and willing to do it then I think that would help. As she already has a maths tutor, perhaps you could speak to him/her about why she got a low grade and what help she needs. But workbooks with answers might also be good if she is keen and good at working independently. As your h thinks one of you should be doing one-to-one work with her, perhaps you should see how he gets on at doing work with her.

Beastofburden Fri 23-Aug-13 21:19:58

I am very against taking subjects a year early. Your DD would be better served by spending the time learning the course as it was designed to be learned, over two years, and doing the exam at 16. She may do much better next time just by being older,

But your DH is talking nonsense I am afraid. You are not farming her out to a tutor, any more than you are farming her out to a school, or to the gP when she is ill. Tutors know how to teach, it's not a question of just understanding the maths/science yourself.

Getting a C in maths and science is important for all kinds of jobs. £1000 is nothing compared to what it will cost you to have her sitting around with no job then she is older. Go for it.

marriedinwhiteisback Fri 23-Aug-13 21:21:06

I think it's too late. What were her levels at the end of Y9. Presumably much under 6. If so you should have addressed it then. If not, you need to talk to the school about what could have gone so wrong in a year.

What were her levels in Y7. Surely such low grades haven't come completely out of the blue. How does a child get to 15 and still not know their times tables?

utreas Fri 23-Aug-13 21:23:22

YANBU A grade C is maths and english is essential for doing pretty much anything so GCSEs are very important.

kim147 Fri 23-Aug-13 21:25:00

4 hours a week is a hell of a lot. Nice business for the tutor but intense for your DD.

I'd find it hard motivating someone for that long every week.

It's strange she was put in for the exams early. I know that some Universities used to ask for the 1st result achieved, to prevent people endlessly taking modules until they got the desired grade.

madmomma Fri 23-Aug-13 21:43:18

Wow thanks married that's so encouraging hmm. I've addressed her maths since primary thanks, she went to special needs maths classes but hated the teacher and so was moved back into mainstream. She has always been very low ability. We have been through times tables over and over again but she doesn't retain them. Hence (as I mentioned upthread) the diagnosis of dyscalculia.

cantspel Fri 23-Aug-13 21:47:15

My son is in the same position as your daughter. Fine in most subjects but struggles with maths also took his mock this year and got a F. He has started with a tutor for 2 x 1 hour sessions a week . Plus his tutor sets him extra work to do over each weekend. So far he has had 6 sessions and is already making progress.

I wouldn't go for 4 hours as it is a lot on top of other school work but find the 2 hours just about right.
My son wants to do double english at A level but still needs a c in maths to get a place on the english course.

littlewhitebag Fri 23-Aug-13 21:47:37

Seems strange they would let her sit subjects a year early if she has no aptitude for the subject. In my DD2's school only the top set sat maths a year early. They all got A* and A as they had some aptitude in the subject. DD1 was terrible at maths and we got her a tutor. She managed to get a B which was a miracle. I would hone in on the important subjects - maths and English if you want a tutor.

cantspel Fri 23-Aug-13 21:49:25

married gcse maths has very little to do with knowing your times tables. If it was just a matter of a bit of adding up and long division my son would be on straight A's.

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