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Looking for advice on student support

(11 Posts)
RyanLondon Sun 02-Dec-18 16:51:31

Hello Everyone,

I have been a member on here for a while, and the members here have been very kind with advice and support in the past. I am looking for some advice on a project that I am working on which relates to parents, secondary school and students. I am hoping you would be kind enough to help me again - just with your opinion and thoughts nothing else.

I am not doing any self-promotion or posting any links or mentioning any company names. So I am hoping you would be kind enough to give me a bit of advice and opinion.

As a parent, I have in the past struggled with finding tutoring support for my daughter, and on average we spend about £300 a month on tutoring for our child. However, even as graduates, we often struggled to help our daughter with her homework, because it has been such a long time since we were at school.

This, in short, led me to a journey to create a solution around this. Basically, I wanted to provide instant tutor support to secondary school students for a small monthly fee. By instant, I mean instant, within a few minutes or within a guaranteed level of time. No such thing exists in the UK as far as I can see. There are Q&A services.

It wouldn't be "tutoring" in the traditional sense, of one-hour pre-scheduled tutoring on a regular basis. This would be more Q&A, homework help, and asking a tutor for help when you (students) get stuck.

To do it cost-effectively, we would provide Q&A service with a guaranteed response time via a forum, through live chat, and a virtual classroom. If you don't know most online tutoring services use a virtual classroom which enables tutor and student to work on the same document in real time. However, to keep costs down, the virtual classroom would not use voice or video, it would be through live chat. Please bear in mind that average tutoring in the UK can cost £25 an hour, and this would more or less give you a months access to tutor support for less than £50 a month!

Most online tutoring services mostly use students and graduates to provide the tutoring, however, our team would be mainly current and retired teachers.

What I want to know from parents is, are we mad? Is this something that would be attractive to parents if done right?

Please let me know as a parent would you use such a service? If not, why not? What could we do to persuade you to use such a service?

Thank you so much for reading.

Ryan

OP’s posts: |
TeenTimesTwo Sun 02-Dec-18 17:22:01

I've a few thoughts.

First you were spending £300 per month on tutoring? shock

Second, for me the value of tutoring is that the tutor builds up the relationship with the student over time. If you are going for 'instant' support, presumably you would need a bank of people available at different times so you wouldn't get the relationship build up.

Furthermore if using live chat, you wouldn't be able to explain maths very easily, or draw mind maps, or diagrams.

So I can see how it could be useful for quick queries but I can't see how well it would work for skill based essay subjects, where pitching support to the right level of the student is so important, nor for concepts in maths or science.

Maybe there is a market, but it isn't me.

RyanLondon Sun 02-Dec-18 17:33:47

@TeenTimesTwo Thank you for your response. It is very much appreciated.

The whole point of asking people like you is to fine tune it so that, if we can adjust adapt we should.

To answer your question point by point. £300 is easy, 2 hours a week home tutoring for one subjects, and another tutor for something else. And I know many people who do. But I am not here to say if that is right or wrong.

For maths you would use a virtual classroom, and it has been used effectively for maths and physics.

I was actually thinking that it would be more effective for discussion based topics. Because if you have multiple tutors and students chiming in one discussion topic it is a very effective way of discussing things and generating ideas. Maybe I am wrong. But take this thread as an example, its likely that you will have 10 different people give different opinions, its a good way to learn and discuss things?

OP’s posts: |
AlexaShutUp Sun 02-Dec-18 17:48:34

It's a nice idea but it sounds very expensive for what it is. There is so much information on the internet for free, if you teach your child good research skills. Without the personal relationship and planned support that a 1:1 tutor could offer, I'm not sure what value this would really add.

As a general rule, I feel fairly confident that I can help my dd as required. There are lots of things I don't know, but with a bit of effort, it's usually possible to find out.

I can see the attraction of having stuff handed to you on a plate without having to look too far. It would obviously save time. However, I'm keen to ensure that dd learns to be resourceful and researches things for herself, so I'm afraid I'd be unlikely to sign up.

£300 a month on tutoring sounds insane btw, but I accept that this may be the norm in London, where everyone seems to be ultra-competitive.

RyanLondon Sun 02-Dec-18 17:57:38

@AlexaShutUp thanks. Yes in London things are very expensive smile

Although tutor support is just one aspect, that's the part that I am worried about. We have worksheets, iPhone and iPad mock exam apps and quizzes etc. However, as you have said you wouldn't buy it.

I assume right now you don't have have any tutor support for your dd? Forget this service for a second, would you ever consider tutor support?

OP’s posts: |
titchy Sun 02-Dec-18 18:04:55

OP very very very few people spend any money on tutoring - even then only for a short period of time eg 11+ - and no-one with an ounce of common sense pays £300 a month.

And let's be honest - if you're a graduate GCSE homework shouldn't be that difficult to access...

Why is your service going to staffed by teachers, when others use graduates - have you looked at the costs?

As others have said, the benefit of tutoring is the tutor gets to know your child and develop their skills. Someone telling you the key points that led to the First World War helps that one piece of homework - but what value is that in the actual GCSE exam.

RyanLondon Sun 02-Dec-18 18:07:52

@titchy thanks for your input. I'll spend that money buying common sense smile

However, I take on board what you said long-term relationships and tutoring. I'll take that back to the drawing board.

OP’s posts: |
AlexaShutUp Sun 02-Dec-18 18:22:32

I assume right now you don't have have any tutor support for your dd? Forget this service for a second, would you ever consider tutor support?

Yes, if it were necessary, but at present, dd seems on track to do exceptionally well in her GCSEs without it. If I felt that she was struggling in a subject and that DH and I were unable to provide the support that she needed, then I would certainly consider getting a tutor. Perhaps that's more likely at A-level though, as it really isn't that hard to help them at GCSE level if you're willing to put in a bit of time.

I would - and do - buy past papers and/or revision aids, but it's easy to get these online for quite a lot less than £50 a month!

RyanLondon Sun 02-Dec-18 18:34:19

@AlexaShutUp Thank you.

The £50 price point was on the basis that you could easily use up 15 hours of tutor time over a month.

However, if we were just providing the worksheets, past exam papers (which are always available free) , and the mock exam apps, then obviously it would never be £50 a month! It would be a small price.

OP’s posts: |
AlexaShutUp Sun 02-Dec-18 18:53:49

Yes, I understand that. I guess my point is that the kind of tutoring you seem to be offering (if I have understood properly) doesn't seem to me to add enough value to make it worthy of the £50 per month price tag.

If I felt that my dd would benefit from tutoring, and that was my budget, I'd far rather pay for just a couple of face to face sessions per month, for the reasons that others have outlined earlier. I feel that I am quite able to find answers and different points of view via a bit of careful googling, whereas I'd expect a face to face tutor to build my child's confidence by establishing a personal relationship and tailoring a programme of learning to her specific needs.

Of course, there will be plenty of parents who wouldn't want to bother with researching stuff that they don't know, so they might be quite happy to shell out for what you're offering. For me, it's important that I model the attitude and interest that I want to see in dd, so if I don't know enough to help her, I try to learn so that I can. It helps that I'm a quick learner!grin

TeenTimesTwo Sun 02-Dec-18 20:00:16

Revision apps could be well received.
Tassomai seems to be well respected on this site for science revision. Don't know how much that costs.
So I guess there might be gaps in the market for other content heavy subjects like History?

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