Does tutoring reflect badly on schools? One award-winning company shows how the two can complement each other perfectly.
By Mark Kebble, The Resident
For a service that does receive bad press from time to time, tutoring is very much in demand and on the rise. One London-based company, Enjoy Education, is at the forefront of the industry and will next year celebrate its tenth anniversary – but don’t think for a second they are here as a replacement for schools.
‘It’s not us or them, it’s not tutoring versus schools,’ insists Enjoy Education’s founder, Kate Shand. ‘Schools do a great job in terms of providing a place where children go every day – they are interacting with each other and they are covering content. Schools are hampered by the inherent nature of their set up, which is that they are sometimes dealing with very large classes of students, whereas we focus on one to one support.’
Enjoy Education boasts a selection of top tutors who can help children achieve top results at all levels, including pre-school preparation, 7/8+, 11+, 13+, GCSE, A Level and Oxbridge preparation. But the fact that they also host a series of events with top Headteachers speaking suggests that the work they do is not seen as a criticism or as a means of replacing our schools. ‘It’s a wonderful way for Heads to be talking about their school, and parents love it because they have direct access to these Heads in a relaxed setting – but can still ask difficult questions,’ Kate says. ‘We pick all sorts of different schools, whether it’s co-ed and single sex schools, or boarding and day schools, as parents are often in that situation where they haven’t yet decided what is best for their child. It goes back to one of my primary reasons for setting up Enjoy Education: we want to inform parents about their children’s education as much as provide tuition, because when parents understand the system they can relax and that feeds through to the children.’
The next event will be held at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge on 29 September and again has a high quality line-up. ‘We are delighted that Vivienne Durham from Francis Holland School, Nick Baker of Wetherby Prep, and Richard Harman from Uppingham will be speaking,’ Kate says. ‘It will be fascinating. Vivienne runs an all girls’ secondary school, Richard runs a co-ed boarding school and Nick is launching Wetherby secondary school in September. It will be an exciting opportunity for parents to understand better the pros and cons of these types of education.’
Enjoy Education was also one of the founders of the Tutors’ Association, launched three years ago, who had a well-respected guest at their second AGM recently. ‘Dr Tim Hands from Magdalen College School came to speak and that was wonderful,’ Kate recounts. ‘He spoke freely about all of us having a shared goal of building a child’s confidence and it was a great moment showing how schools and tutoring companies can support each other. There will always be a healthy tension between the two, but at the same time what I do like is that schools are more open to collaborating with tutoring companies and we already work in-house with a number of schools in London.’
With a big anniversary to be celebrated next year, Enjoy Education show no signs of slowing down. There are plans afoot to help low income families apply to Oxbridge, more involvement at primary school level with children whose families can’t afford one-to-one tutoring, and continuing a partnership with the charity Chance UK. As Kate sums up: ‘Tutoring can be so powerful and life-changing.’