Our school-facing approach is best illustrated by anecdote:
- Two brothers left the American School of London at the end of Years 5 and 6 to join a London prep school. Over the course of the summer holidays, they needed an intensive programme of Latin, History and French so that they could “hit the ground running” in September. The tutors we provided worked extensively with the school to ensure this transition. The tutors were given the medium-term plans by the relevant teachers so that they could see what curriculum foundations were required. They also discussed the textbooks that had been used in the previous year's teaching. The boys started their new school in September with enthusiasm and confidence.
- A girl in Year 2 came to London from Dubai. Her Maths was excellent, but she needed weekly sessions of English language support (especially idiomatic English) so that she could socialise comfortably in her London pre-preparatory school. Given her age, the tutor did not go too heavy on grammar. Instead, the tutor played language games, and vocabulary extension games like “I-spy”. Clearly, the language of an English school playground is very different from that learnt in a text-book; we ensured that the girl in question did not feel too out-of-depth.
- Three boys in Year 8 were suitable candidates for the Eton scholarship. The school was keen to support them, but did not want to jeopardise the chances of the rest of Year 8 by tailoring lessons to scholarship level. The tutors we provided worked in triangle with the school and family to provide three Eton scholarship lessons per week in class-time. The tutors love preparing students for scholarship (many are past scholars themselves), as it is a truly exacting and stretching exam. They covered Latin, Logic and Essay-Writing in these classes, and witnessed an astonishing development of the boys’ maturity as they grappled with difficult poetry comprehensions, and writing analytically rather than narratively.
Private tutoring is rightly criticised by schools when it de-professionalises the teachers: when it misleads, feeds off parental anxiety, or undermines the school’s own preparation and analysis. We feel that tutoring should be a transparent, positive move by parents - and the school’s support allows us to create accountable tuition programmes.
We have been fortunate to have had the chance to assist a number of top London prep schools with practice interviews, which were intended to prepare students for interviews at St. Paul’s, Westminster, King’s Wimbledon College School, Eton, Harrow, Winchester and others.