As a tutor I am getting asked this question more and more from first visit parents… and it is something that I too am noticing. This, of course, does not apply to all children but to a great number of them. These are the reasons why, in my opinion:
1. The school they are at is failing them for any number of reasons:
- The child hasn’t been diagnosed with a special needs learning difficulty and this makes it difficult to teach the child in the most appropriate way for them.
- The child has disliked school, been anxious within the learning environment and the learning environment has not been adapted to meet their needs.
2. As the child falls more and more behind they feel threatened or feel they will be found out as not being clever so they decide to ‘go slow’ or feign illness to avoid going to school and hence their attendance becomes a knock-on contributing factor.
3. Some private schools fear losing children at age 7 or 11 as those are the times schools set entry tasks. To avoid losing the fees associated with that child they may choose not to push the child towards that exam. So if the child does not have a tutor they will likely not reach the required level to get out of the failing private school to a better one which will contribute and enhance their educational journey.
This is controversial point and one that some grammar schools will not like me making. But I have seen this happening more and more as the years pass.
4. Competition for Grammar School places is fierce and a lot of parents believe testing or working out of Bond books is the best way forward. This may give the children practise in the skills required but this does not give the children the best grounding needed to become good creative writers, with an imagination and an interesting vocabulary.
I believe parents need to take the anxiousness out of learning for their children. The fun element is crucial and essential in building confidence, resilience and a thirst for learning. The old saying “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’ is definitely true! I believe we should think less about the academic success but think more about the foundation of learning. The fundamental steps involved in getting your child to be an all-rounder.
So here are a few habits you can build and encourage to support your child in a positive and nurturing way:
- read books together – read aloud, discuss the words your child does not know
- play word games – this helps with sounding out and vocabulary development and it is fun!
- visit museums – The Science Museum is a must!
- go on nature walks – collect leaves, and berries, make a nature table and write a nature story
- get involved in environmental issues – plastic in oceans, poaching of animals, put together a research project
- Watch David Attenborough’s Planet Earth – learn how animals live and how they survive in their natural habitats, how they migrate from one place to another, what they eat, etc.
- write a novel together – Look at my blog here with an example of a pupil’s work, draw pictures, explore a theme, keep the book forever.
I love projects and writing and is something all children should take the time to engage in. Enjoy your child and enjoy the educational journey you share together.
Once you start doing this everything will fall into place and passing tests for whatever school will become less stressful and more about happy, achievement.