Beware of children’s burnout
The chair of The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) has recently been quoted in an article in ie today as saying that parents should be wary of introducing too much extra tuition into their child’s life.
Shaun Fenton, who is also head of Reigate Grammar School, said in an interview with Vanessa Feltz on BBC Radio London: “Tutoring isn’t always bad, tutoring can be helpful. A little focus on catch-up work or keep up work on literacy or numeracy can help.
“As my gran used to say, everything in moderation.”
Fenton also said that parents would do better to “help their children to climb trees and make believe, there is so much more to a great education than what they learn at school”.
“Children don’t need, at a time when we are worried about mental health, their parents to get anxious and competitive and pass on that worry,” he continued.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
Fenton, who has teenage children, described himself as “in the trenches when it comes to this”, but said parents do have an important role in helping their children to succeed at school.
“Parents can help. They can provide a place to work and set a routine so homework becomes a habit and does not become a chore, they can manage phones and access to social media,” he said.
“Fundamentally children need parents to be present, to give time, to care, to be loving,” he told Feltz.
BBC Radio London interview
Feltz was interviewing Fenton after a story from The Times reported that parents felt so out of their depth helping with their children’s homework that they were hiring tutors to help them learn the curriculum. Feltz said parents were confused by concepts like fronted adverbials, quadratic sequences and the role of the omniscient narrator.
Fenton said it was right that the curriculum is always evolving and advised parents to instead ask teachers for advice rather than seeking private tuition.
Balance is essential
Whilst we can appreciate Shaun Fenton’s viewpoint, for many of the parents and children we work with, they have recognised that the time their children spend in class isn’t fully supporting their studies.
It’s important, therefore, to follow a planned and targeted tutoring schedule, so that an approach rather similar the ‘Goldilocks method‘ is applied.
Not too little and not too much. Just enough.
If you’re considering applying for your child to attend a senior school, perhaps an independent or grammar school, then we’d be pleased to discuss a tutoring programme that might help.
It’s never too early to start; little regular is much better for the whole family than a last minute binge-fest of studying.
To discover more you can contact us for an in-confidence discussion.