Posted on 28th June 2012
University students pay cash for tutors because they are 'spoonfed' at school
From: The Evening Standard
By: Anna Davis
26 June 2012
University students are hiring private tutors because they cannot cope on their own after being “spoonfed” throughout their school life, experts warned.
Students who have used tutors since primary school are now paying around £50 an hour for one-to-one lessons to help them make the transition to university.
Experts from the Good Schools Guide, which reviews private tutors as well as schools, said increasing numbers of university students are relying on paying for extra coaching because they cannot learn independently.
They also warned that tutors are being asked to help schoolchildren with GCSE and A-level coursework, which should be done by the pupil alone.
Janette Wallis, spokeswoman for the Good Schools Guide, said: “It’s shocking to find students still relying on private tutors when they get to uni. If we’re not careful we’ll end up with a whole generation of children who have been spoonfed with private tutors through much of their school career. What’s education about if not about learning to learn for oneself?”
Beth Noakes, senior editor at the Good Schools Guide, said: “The fact is tutoring is getting more and more popular. More people have had tutors from the age of 11 and kept them on. When they get to university they are used to having someone else helping.
“One company said it was because classes tend to be very large at university. Some pupils are just sinking and need one-to-one help with study skills.”
Enjoy Education, a tutor agency in Knightsbridge, reported a 30 per cent increase in demand from university students over the past year.
Managing Director and founder Kate Shand said: “We have seen an increase definitely. They are used to having support at school anyway and they want to continue it. University is so different from school. You are sometimes an anonymous person - the class size is bigger. It’s very difficult and not possible for you to be helped as a person.
“It can be quite stressful at university, because at school - whether state or private - classes are smaller than your group at university. It can be daunting.”
Miss Shand praised university students for being “industrious” in seeking help. She added that students may feel out of their depth at university because their A-levels did not prepare them well enough.
There is a spike in demand when students have exam and dissertation deadlines, she said, as well as in August when results are published and students find out if they have to retake modules.
The Good Schools Guide also reported that parents are complaining if tutors do not help enough with coursework.
Ms Noakes said: “The extent of tutor involvement with GCSE, A level and even degree coursework and artwork is worrying. There is clearly a lot of pressure on some tutors to give disproportionate help.
“I talked to two tutorial agency proprietors last week and both mentioned that they had been asked for GCSE art tutors around the Easter period - one ended up adding art to the revision classes he was organising. The assumption was that the relevant kids hadn’t got their coursework together and parents were throwing money at the problem.”
Miss Shand from Enjoy Education admitted that one student had asked for a tutor to complete an online exam. She said: “We said no. We couldn’t believe they said that.”
Speaking about coursework, she said: “We feel really strongly here.
“Our tutors care about education and know it’s not in the best interests of anyone to do that. But I am sure requests have been made.”