Parents warned of 'charlatan' private tutors


London parents have been warned to resist the growing pressure to employ tutors for children under the age of five, where more children are given after-school coaching than anywhere else in the country.

The Sutton Trust  warned that the boom in private tutoring, which can cost up to £40 an hour, is putting poorer children at a disadvantage.

The latest research from the Sutton Trust found that four out of 10 state school children in London have had private tuition, meaning youngsters in the capital are almost twice as likely to have received extra help than those elsewhere in the country.

Tutoring is particularly common among children being prepared for entrance to London’s top independent schools.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the trust, said: “Parents naturally want to do the best for their children. Providing private tuition for them puts those children whose parents can’t afford it at a disadvantage.”

Ralph Lucas, Editor of The Good Schools Guide, said he was concerned about the extraordinary excess of private tutoring in London – where some children are being tutored every evening and at weekends arranged by parents who feel they must do this because everyone is doing it and they have no choice.

He recommends that parents who are seeking a tutor aim for a local person who has coached generations of children, but warned that parents will only pass on their names once they no longer need them themselves.

The Sutton Trust’s sister charity, the Education Endowment Foundation, is testing the impact of offering private tuition to youngsters from low income backgrounds. It is analysing the work of the Tutor Trust, which trains university students to give tuition in challenging schools. One in seven of the lessons is given free of charge.

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