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Biggest Tuition Scams - Explore Learning, Kumon & Student Support Centre

(50 Posts)
Sophie1978 Thu 14-Apr-11 18:15:16

The 3 Biggest Scams in After-School Tuition

1. Explore Learning Scam No. 1 (charging for crappy American software, when much better is free on internet - see many free links below that offer better software than Explore Learning).

2. Student Support Centre Scam No. 2 (massively overpriced videos that children cannot understand - they still ask for a tutor).

3. Kumon Scam No. 3 (massively overpriced worksheet printing service - includes no tuition, marking, teaching or support - parents have to do everything).

All three of the above rake off massive amounts of money, use aggressive sales tactics, and are not 'tuition providers' at all.

The fact is it’s only because we parents have been so gullible that all 3 of the above get away with. Don't get ripped off by Explore, Student Support, or Kumon.

Kumon worksheets actually reduced my child to tears through a combination of no teaching or explanation, endless repetition and intense boredom. Children need more.

I myself have been ripped off by two of the above, and warned about the other by many parents. Now I am much more careful.

If you want tuition (and the truth is all children need it today), then my advice is get free worksheets and software off the internet. But if you are serious about your child's education pay for it. We get what we pay for. A good tutor usually costs £30-50 per hour now. However, if you are lunch you can get some very good tuition centres that will teach properly with real teachers for just £15 per hour. That is pretty good value.

These are good and are free.

These are very good and cost peanuts.

But I would still recommend getting a proper tutor or tuition centre. In the long-run they are worth the investment.

chopchopbusybusy Thu 14-Apr-11 18:26:54

All children need tuition? Really? Mine haven't had any. DD1s GCSE results were excellent. A levels look promising. She uses some Internet resources which her school tells her about.
I do know some parents who have used Kumon classes and were happy with them.
Quite frankly it's bollocks to suggest all children need tutors though.

SamanthaHemmings Thu 14-Apr-11 20:21:24

Chopchop I disagree.

I personally believe that when it comes to education it's important not to be cheap.

If a child is good at tennis do they need more or less?

Most parents would say more. Tennis could be their talent, their future.

It is a fallacy to say a child needs less education because they are doing OK at a subject. It could be their talent, and it is more likely to be their future than tennis.

Also in education they don't stand still at school. A child doing ok on one topic, can stuggle on the next, or struggle the next year.

Take maths. Many children that find multiplication easy then struggle with division. Many children that do well in algebra then struggle with quadratic equations. And so on. This is what happened to my son.

I know many parents from my school's PTA, and I have yet to meet one that said their child didn't need tuition or help. Every parent want their child to get an advantage because we all know how competitive it is getting for jobs.

Of course the type of tuition matters. Free only takes us so far. When I gave my son worksheets he asked for help. On some of the more advanced things I didn't know how to teach it or explain it properly. I just got him confused. Have you tried explaining quadratic equations to a 13 year old?

To play tennis well we go out and get a good tennis coach. That's just for a sport. To do education well, we need a proper coach as well. I think most reasonable people would agree with that.

SamanthaHemmings Thu 14-Apr-11 20:26:30

I found Explore Learning to be a complete waste of money. It does not help at all.

The teacher said my child seemed 'vacant' and 'spaced out', and wondered if he was spending too much time on the computer and TV.

He was on computer tuition for a year with Explore, and actually did worse in Maths and English at the end of the year. I asked Explore for a refund.

If you want progress, get proper tuition. I also found that Explore Learning uses untrained children to teach! The 'Centre Directors' are their salespeople, not their teachers! Awful.

I've found BBC Bitesize to be better. And it's free! For tuition I know have a proper tuition centre. And it's going much better now.

PeachyAndTheArghoNauts Thu 14-Apr-11 20:31:20

Sometimes IME the key for a child is to take a step back and give them a break from (formal) education: different difficulties present differently and the key is understanding how your child learns and what the root of the issue is. Most of my experience is with kids with an SEN or SN (do not assume low IQ- very much not the case) and often especially with them time out is key to maintaining interest adn input over time- and to facillitating other forms of learning.

DS3 could not read; he gained a love of a certain game that he'd never have encountered at school, now he reads at a level above his reading age. DS1 did not cope well in primary (AS), in his comp induction term he is sailing ahead- not pushing it too much enabled him to not lose confidence.

Equally I know children with great results from Kumon, and those for whom bitesize is a brilliant resource (cerrtainly when I was an educational mentor it as a recommended resource).

candleshoe Thu 14-Apr-11 20:34:23

I heartily agree - but then I would!

I am a private tutor with a waiting list which includes two 'bumps' not even born yet! At £36 p.h. I give excellent value for money and Kumon in particular (don't know so much about the others) is utterly dreadful. What a con and a waste of money and time. Kumon is so dull kids want to give up after a few weeks! And as for it being personalised or differentiated - pah!

chopchopbusybusy Thu 14-Apr-11 20:51:50

Samantha, I've had no need to explain quadratic equations to DD1. Her school taught her. She got an A* in maths so they did their job well. My point is that not all children require additional tuition.
As for registering 'bumps' with a tutor - words fail me.

candleshoe Thu 14-Apr-11 20:54:21

What can I say - I'm very good! grin

RoadArt Mon 25-Apr-11 08:48:38

Chopchop - your child(ren) obviously went to a good school. Sadly we are not all in the same situation as you and not all children are taught fully what they should be taught at school, for a huge number of reasons.

I for one do recommend additional tuition sources for ensuring that the whole curriculum from the very basics is learned and understand fully before moving up to the next level.

If children are exposed to different methods of learning, it gives them more opportunities to understand the topic, rather than the one way they are taught/shown in school that they instantly forget when they move to the next topic. revision at home helps.

Himalaya Mon 25-Apr-11 09:01:26

The Student Support Centre is particularly unethical. They pay schools to send home 'this is very important' letters signed by the Headteacher, drawing parents attention to the service and telling them to return a reply slip to the school. Then salespeople come round to your house and do a hard sell and try to get you to sign up to a 2 or 3 year contract for thousands of pounds.

I complained to my DS's headteachers - they said they had no idea the kind of costs and long term contracts the company was trying to tie parents in to.

cory Mon 02-May-11 23:26:23

Why does additional learning have to come in the shape of formal tuition? I learnt literacy from raiding my parents' library. I learnt basic maths mainly from doing lots of cooking and baking and rejigging recipes.

"Of course the type of tuition matters. Free only takes us so far."

Doesn't that depend on the individual parent/grandparent/elder sibling/aunt/neighbour that happens to be on offer? Or would they automatically get better if they started charging?

VanessA001 Sun 16-Dec-12 18:12:23

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Mrsrudolphduvall Sun 16-Dec-12 18:16:05

Nice advert Vanessa...have reported

EdnaScoggins Sun 16-Dec-12 18:57:43

These are good and are free.

These are very good and cost peanuts.

EdnaScoggins Sun 16-Dec-12 18:58:20

Just doing the OP's links ^^

Am just going to look at them...

EdnaScoggins Sun 16-Dec-12 19:01:36

This ixl one looks useful to me.

ReallyTired Sun 16-Dec-12 19:10:31

I think that a good tutor is worth his or her weight in gold. A small amount of individual attention can raise a child's confidence.

However the difficulty is that some people who become tutors are not that good. They tend to be ex teachers who could not could not take the heat of the classroom.

I love bbc bitesize. There are some other good pages as well.

If you want to try the Kumon approach you can buy work books from Amazon.

ContinentalKat Sun 16-Dec-12 19:14:06

Our primary keeps inviting explore learning to do taster sessions after which the kids come home with these invitations to join. I absolutely hate it!

Explore learning are inside a local supermarket, so I have ample time to witness their abysmal standard of "tutoring" when I go shopping.

I think it's despicable how they play on parents' fears.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Sun 16-Dec-12 19:21:30

My son has been tutored once a week since the beginning of the calendar year. It has been really good for him. He had big gaps in his learning after 3 years away from the UK curriculum. He also likes bitesize and Mathletics. But, some of the children in his class go to their tutors 3 times per week.... No wonder the level is high in his class. His school benefit immensely from such pushy parents when it comes to SATS, and pride themselves on their good teaching, ha! hmm

ReallyTired Sun 16-Dec-12 20:18:46

I am surprised there are many parents who can afford tutoring 3 times a week. I assume they are parents who can't get their children to sit down and work.

Where I am tutoring is £22 a group session and is a lot money for many families to find. I am agast that parents fork out money for tutoring 3 times a week.

AChickenCalledKorma Sun 16-Dec-12 20:22:59

"I know many parents from my school's PTA, and I have yet to meet one that said their child didn't need tuition or help."

If that was the case at my children's school, I would be seriously worried about the school. No school should be relying on all parents to make up for its deficiencies by paying for tutors.

Totally agree with you about the Student Support Centre, though. I think their marketing techniques are shocking.

EdnaScoggins Sun 16-Dec-12 20:24:20

Like the look of the khan academy, ReallyTired. smile

hamstered Mon 31-Dec-12 01:20:18

I tried Kumon with my daughter for about a year. She was bored , frustrated and hated maths. It was a complete waste of money. I have heard similar things about explorelearning and did not appreciate their hard sell techniques either.

My daughter was using for school and homework and that worked really well for her. I was wondering if there was anything similar out there?

Thanks EdnaScoggins for the tip on the khan academy, I have spent a good hour checking it out and am very impressed.

anitasmall Mon 31-Dec-12 12:58:55

I also checked the Khan Academy. It is really good.

Tutoring is important for those children who has many LA class mates. Not all the schools and classes are the same.

bananaramma Wed 02-Jan-13 07:54:59

Don't your kids go to school?
That is where my children learn their maths and English (and other subjects). That is also where I learned these subjects. Why in earth do kids need all this extra tuition shock?

My kids would rather pursue their other hobbies in their (little) spare time.

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