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Student Support Question 4: Extra Support

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Qs. My child is behind in school what extra support is available?

OK so this is probably the most common question I field when tutoring: "My child is behind at school and I do not know what extra support is available or who to ask.  Please help!"  I hope to offer some advice in that will hopefully support parents and carers.

There are many different options available and many options which parents/carers don't know about.  I want to outline some that I can think of off the top of my head!

  1. Private Tutoring (e.g. on-line tutoring, home tutoring)

There are many different types of private tutoring available.  There are people who work within companies and there are people who work independently as tutors.  Some tutors have more experience than others and some have even qualified as teachers or University level tutors.  Tutors should be DBS checked to work with children and I would always ask this as my first question when choosing a tutor.  Some tutoring companies offer Safeguarding and Child Protection training too.  Tutors can also range in experience and there background.  If your child speaks a foreign language and you wanted a tutor in Maths it is possible to get both these needs met with private tutoring. 

Private tutoring can be face-to-face or on-line. 

Although on-line can seem very daunting to some parents it can be a great method that helps students practice their technological skills in a private, quiet environment on a one-on-one basis.  If you’re a student that travels, is finding it difficult to locate a tutor or lives in a remote place this could be for you.  If your child is being bullied, on-line tutoring can often offer a way of supporting them (see my blog post on child bullying for more information).

Face-to-face tutoring is very personable and can involve the use of physical and virtual resources.  Face-to-face tutoring has the benefit of a chosen location.  It could be in your house, tutors or at a chosen location.  Private tutoring can be for children or adults in a range of subjects and it is tailored to the student's needs.  Tutoring is a great option for excluded and SEND students.

For more information on tutoring visit RK Tutors website.
  1. Extra-curricular Activities (e.g. homework clubs, Maths clubs, Art classes, Adult learning)

Girl, Books and Numbers

You want to help your child yourself but you feel totally underqualified.  There is the option of private tutoring for your child or even yourself.  A number of tutors work with adults and there are many adult learning courses available including ones where you want to gain a qualification (e.g. a GCSE).  Adult learning is available at all levels with various funding options.  You could study at a University or a college.  It is even possible to organise tutoring and adult learning classes together.  Your partner might not be able to read or count.  Classes and tutoring is available to everyone and should be non-judgmental.

If your child is in within the formal school education system and is struggling I would suggest firstly talking with his/her teacher.  I say this not only because they educationally know where a student is up to but because a teacher (particularly at primary level) can spend up to at least 6 hours a day with a student (not including extra-curricular activities!).  This is a 1/4 of the day and if you imagine most of us spend roughly 1/3 sleeping that leaves a primary student with only roughly 10 hours!  My point is good teachers should know their children and they can give you insights educationally, socially and emotionally as to why they are struggling.

Often within schools there are programs aimed to support students.  Some schools have after or before school homework clubs which can help support a child's learning but also support the parents (e.g. a working parent).  Extra homework can even be tailored to a student's needs.  Extra-curricular clubs can be subject specific as well so if a student needs support in Maths or English this may be a great time for a busy teacher to offer the one-on-one or with a smaller group.  Maybe your child has a special talent and actually isn't behind but excelling.  Maybe you can find one-on-one support in extra-curricular clubs.  Please note a lot of extra-curricular clubs are physical.  There have been many studies showing that physical education can support quicker learning and mental health.
  1. Extra-school support (e.g. Teaching Assistant support)

Professional Solutions written on Blackboard

So you have spoken to the teacher and they are worried what's next?  A child who is struggling may be an SEND child (Special Educational Needs and Disability child) but not always.  Different children struggle in different ways and just because a child is SEND does not necessarily mean they are slow at learning.  However, what I would say is a child who is struggling in whatever area they are struggling (e.g. Maths, English, social skills etc.) is required by the school to have that needs met.  Although the following advise applies to SEN children I would read through this information (click here) and it may support you.  Schools often have EHCs for students to support learning and these are reviewed with meetings which parents, teachers, teaching assistants, educational professionals etc. are encouraged to attend.
  1. Books, websites, resources

Books with Never Stop Learning Written on them

Finally there are many educational books, videos, computer games, websites etc. to support a child's learning.  These do not even need to be expensive.  For example, reading 15 minutes a day with your child with a library book can be supportive of learning.  There are creative books now with reward systems (e.g. stickers) that can help your child learn in a creative way.  Ask a teacher, tutor or professional what they think will help.  The web is also changing how we view education.  There are many teach yourself sites and many are free.


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