By Luke Scrutton
Many people have certain assumptions about tutoring. They often think tutoring is solely focused upon exam preparation, and tuition sessions may centre around endless practice examinations. However, the tutoring environment gives an opportunity for spades of other benefits to creep into tuition sessions beyond the strictly educational benefits. A previous blog post of ours, 5 benefits of learning in small groups, highlighted some of these benefits, including the ability to inspire confidence and allowing children to interact with people out of their usual social norms. Generally speaking, while tutoring has direct targets in terms of education, we try to use this opportunity to improve as a platform from which we can build and develop young people more broadly.
This is why we find recent quotes from Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw slightly discouraging. Recent news stories have talked about a North/South divide emerging in education, as Southern schools, generally speaking, outperform their Northern counterparts in examination results. The Ofsted boss has said the “Northern Powerhouse” will “splutter and die” if current trends continue.
At Genie Tutors, we don’t believe in a culture of finger pointing. Whilst it is important to recognise potential issues, the way in which the news story has been handled levels an accusatory tone at every school, every teacher and every child in the north of the country, which is unfair. Quotes like this may lead to cases of individual teachers feeling blamed for a regional trend, or even for pupils themselves (especially as they get older and interact with the news more) to feel disadvantaged because of their location, and in turn more likely to seek educational opportunities elsewhere once they leave school.
Much like how we treat individual children at our centres, an issue must be met with a positive solution for progress to occur. Looking to positive examples in the regions to spread their example, rather than focusing on those schools that are failing to meet standards should be the focus of our efforts. At Genie, we are proud to say we have a new centre opening in Liverpool, which will provide another avenue to success for children who may not have access to the education or attention they need at the moment.
There often seems to be a trend of pointing to the macro, of looking at statistics for whole cities and regions as a single entity, rather than getting on the ground and changing children’s lives for the better. At Genie, we believe the only way the nation can address any educational difficulty is with a proactive approach to create a better environment for learning, rather than simply pointing fingers at the issue.
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