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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.

BrummieBelle Wed 02-Jan-13 17:35:54

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maz1982 Fri 11-Jan-13 14:18:22

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tersha Sat 02-Feb-13 15:15:30

I want my kids helped (when they need it) by people not computers. Having said that, I did hear that some places have 'tutors' with only two grade Cs at GCSE! My friends kids all seem to go to MagiKats and seem to like it. I need to find out more.

mumofteen Fri 22-Feb-13 17:21:42

Chopchop I also disagree. Kumon works! Surely everyone realises we learn through repetition. How does a baby learn to talk, how do we learn to play an instrument. In order to be good at something we need to practise it over and over till we have mastered it. Andy Murray has hit more than a few balls to get to where he is today, Tiger Woods has put in a good few hours of practise. If you want to understand why the Kumon Method works read "The Talent Code: Greatness isn't born. It's Grown" Daniel Coyle and "Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practise". If you want to master something you need to practise it a little every day. I have two DD's doing Kumon, both were middle of the road students before they started. Now eldest DD is in the top Maths set in the top school according to the Times List, this is not a coincidence. Is she overworked and pushed too hard - No! she does 15-30 mins maths a day, and still manages to squeeze in 4-5 hours on facebook/TV smile
If your thinking about Kumon give your child a chance and decide for yourself, you wont regret it.

Startail Mon 25-Feb-13 14:09:53

With the exception of languages and possibly to get inside info on the 11+.
Why the hell would any educated parent need to pay a tutor.

Surely the only reason you can afford a tutor is that you have a decent job, to get that job you had a decent education. Surely with a good CGP revision text book and BBC bitesizesd you can tutor your child yourself to at lest GCSE.

Startail Mon 25-Feb-13 14:11:34

Although tyhe dyslexics amongst us do have to get our DH or 12 yo's to proof our spelling.

teddybear21 Wed 04-Dec-13 10:03:40

We learn by having things explained to us as adults rather than performing tasks as automatons. Why should children be any different? Short term examination results by no real teaching is a false economy. Real teaching has to involve explanation and mentoring so building a child’s confidence. Flash marketing machines and computers are no substitute for true one to one teaching. I learned this to my cost. After experiencing several “tick box” tutors only one stood out as providing real tuition for my daughter. I would suggest to parents to try They really made a positive long term difference to my daughter’s education.

SlightlyMe Sun 09-Mar-14 16:49:52

I use a number of sites
but also
but for maths is simply awesome
and all are free!
Maths-aid I can give my kids loads of extra work and as it generates work sheets on the fly never runs out..

BelleOfTheBorstal Sun 09-Mar-14 17:01:43

I underwent kumon maths as a teenager. My basic addition and subtraction were appalling ( as I am dyspraxic).
It really helped me. The worksheets were marked by the people running the sessions and I got a small prize every week upon completion of that weeks worksheets.
I did find it utterly dull but at least I can now do basic mental sums!

gd1976 Tue 27-May-14 22:14:20

My son has been lacking in confidence when it comes to reading and writing, and we recently were told by school he was far below the expected level for his age, and I cannot start to tell you how explore learning has changed that. He has only had 5 sessions and already his teachers are commenting on what a dramatic improvement he has made, he can't wait to go to explore learning, having always been so negative in the past about anything associated with letters:numbers/reading.... And for people who think "but you can do it at home", well my son certainly would not entertain the idea of doing that level of work with me at home, and short of forcing him to do it, and therefore creating a negative way of doing the work, this would not be an option for me. I have not found the money easily and it is a commitment and expense, but from our personal point of you, it has been absolutely

ExitPursuedByABear Tue 27-May-14 22:19:55

Clarinet9 Fri 13-Jun-14 13:27:17

I have no experience of Explore learning other than going to the local supermarket and seeing children sitting in front of computers, after a quick look at the website it was pretty clear they are (?most of the time) not using teachers.

One of the mothers at my son's previous school had the franchise for Kumon, again no suggestion that she was a teacher or teaching, but one of her very close friends did tell everyone in the playground who would stand still long enough that the Kuomn lady's son had got a scholarship to a local public school ONLY because he had done so much Kumon!!!

this went on for months and just made me laugh but she sucked quite a few of the parents into paying her for Kumon worksheets!

AntoinetteCosway Fri 13-Jun-14 14:01:09

I do private tuition and recently Explore Learning opened up nearby. I contacted them to enquire about jobs but they told me they only really hire students and pay minimum wage! Needless to say they weren't interested in my £30p/h fee or my decade of teaching experience...

ragtimer Sat 14-Jun-14 13:22:54

Don't your kids go to school?
Exactly was I felt like asking, Bananarama!
In my days, the school was supposed to teach you.
A child got extra tutoring if they were getting Fs.
If you got a B, well that was ok. You were a B student. It wasn't the end of the world. The streets are not filled with homeless unemployed B or C students from the seventies.
I agree the above mentioned learning centres are scams. But they exist because parents are willing to pay. Push. Push. Push.

Solution: fix parents' mindsets and let these joke businesses run out of clients.

ragtimer Sat 14-Jun-14 13:24:17

Correcting typo: What I felt like asking.

PrincessV22 Tue 17-Jun-14 13:06:11

My eldest DS has been doing Kumon for nearly 3 years now and while there are still some areas for development in his maths in general, he is a happy confident chappy who is 'near' the top of the class. 3 months ago he asked me if he could start the English too because he didn't feel as confident with his writing as he did with his maths. This is what I wanted for him - to take ownership, care and responsibility of his own learning. For him to have done this at 8 years old I'm thrilled. Some days he moans, but I've learned over the years that as long as the work is at the right level and manageable for him, he's happy to complete it. If not, I speak to his instructor and she tweaks his level. I started my youngest around 6 months ago and while his ability hasn't improved hugely, his teacher at school tells me he's her most enthusiastic learner and demonstrates far superior concentration and posture while working than any others in her class.
I have to admit, Explore Learning looks tempting - the idea of being able to do the shopping in peace while the children learn - it's ideal for any busy mum. But I urge anyone thinking about it to just stand outside and watch the children for 10 minutes. The classes are noisy, unstructured and the children are not taught to sit quietly and learn to concentrate, which let's face it - must be the most important skill needed for any learning.
I've been a teacher for many years and i do think private tutors have their place, but I believe developing independence and study skills are much more important. Surely the worst possible outcome is that a child becomes reliant on having someone sitting next to them teaching them how to do each different topic and this is what a tutor will unavoidably nurture. If the commitment of Kumon is too much I think the books in WHSmith are much better (and cheaper) than a tutor.

forago Tue 17-Jun-14 13:08:15

I'm not convinced all children need tutoring - why if they are not struggling with anything?

PrincessV22 Tue 17-Jun-14 13:21:05

I also don't think extra learning or tutoring is right for all children. But maybe think of it like this (similar to another message above):

Do all children have the potential to be amazing at maths (or any other subject?). I think not but this may be open to debate.... Will they become 'amazing' without a coach or just through school? What if Andy Murray hadn't had extra tennis coaching?......

Gathambo Mon 16-Jan-17 15:45:45

Regarding the student support centre, has anyone managed to get a refund after successfully opting out?

windypolar Tue 17-Jan-17 11:53:37

MEP maths has a good reputation in the HE community.

Also Conquer Maths, if your child doesn't already use it through school.

spaghettihoopsagain Tue 17-Jan-17 21:10:06

Conquer maths is excellent. Kumon is good for some children and not good for others...So therefore money well spent for some and a waste for others.
Getting an A* at GCSE maths without tutoring does not mean that the child is an excellent mathematician, it just means they got a good score, which is primary level in Korea. Some children thrive under a tutor, some thrive having school and then free time, but a child who takes responsibility for their own learning, is interested in developing themselves as a learner and is motivated is the sort of child who will grow into an employable adult. GCSEs spoon feed pupils and some tutors do the same, which, sadly, is the system.

user1484683493 Thu 19-Jan-17 16:03:06

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andplus Thu 25-Jan-18 23:20:56

Spot on Sophie... unbelievably poor tuition at Explore Learning. Results pretty poor. For parents debating between this type of "help" or a tutor... not doubt you will get the results you want with a tutor.

Malbecfan Sat 27-Jan-18 13:58:28

I agree with chopchop and forago. It seems to depend on location but I don't understand why so many people think their child needs tutoring. Neither of my DDs has been tutored in a school subject because I trust their teachers. DD1 aced 12 GCSEs and 6 A levels and is now at Oxbridge. DD2 is taking 5 A levels without any sort of tutor.

The poster who used the sporting analogy is misguided; yes, apparently it takes 10,000 hours to acquire the skills to be world-class but these are what I would term practice and not tuition. In music, you have your half-hour lesson but you then put in a good couple of hours at home practising the skills before you see the teacher again. It seems that people don't value homework, or schools do not set it, but these are the ways that students get better and are a lot cheaper than one-to-one teaching.

Not ALL children need tutors. ALL children need good schools with appropriately-trained qualified teachers and an ethos where learning is prized. Discipline is maintained so that everyone can reach their potential.

pipilangstrumpf Sat 27-Jan-18 15:01:49

Shouldn't the school be teaching our kids? Yes, what is taught at school needs to be understood and practiced, but kids should be able to do that by themselves. If they don't understand something they should ask their teacher!

I've never had a tutor, nor did my kids, one of which is currently doing GCSEs (and is working hard to achieve an 8 or 9, by herself and with the help of her school).

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