School Guide Edinburgh Interview with GEORGE HAWKINS MBE, Director of STEP AHEAD TUTORING & EDUCATIONAL SERVICES
Whether a parent wants their child to be offered a place in an independent school or a top set in a state secondary school, tutoring has become even more necessary since the loss of teaching time due to Covid. Our tutoring ensures that youngsters are properly motivated, prepared, and feeling confident.
This past year has seen a huge demand where candidates have far outnumbered places on offer in some independent schools.
1. WHO IS TUTORING FOR? Some parents make the mistake of thinking that tutoring is only for children with difficulties, but the reality is that the majority of tutees with whom we work are already achieving well, but whose parents feel that their children’s potential may not be being realised or that they could be extended further. Also many youngsters are perfectly able but lack self-confidence.
2. IS THERE AN OPTIMUM AGE FOR TUTORING TO BEGIN? The principles above can apply to children of primary school age, young people of secondary school age, older teenagers, college or university attendees, young adults, and/or indeed any adults who believe that learning is a life-long continuous activity.
3. FOR HOW LONG DO CHILDREN USUALLY GET TUITION? Just as the tutoring is one-to-one, individual requirements vary. Some have a short burst of sessions in order to prepare for an exam or test or to master a particular need, whilst others have sessions for weeks or months, just like going to Scouts or swimming club, and it becomes part of the fabric of their lives. There is clear evidence that continuity and consistency of sessions is important in making progress. For that reason, tutoring can be continued in school holiday periods, especially during at least part of the long summer break.
4. WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO ENCOURAGE THEIR CHILDREN TO STUDY OR PREPARE? The key to success is ensuring that sufficient time is available for adequate preparation. Few youngsters have a study plan or the necessary rigour which is exactly what needs to be in place, both in order to advise and help the pupil reach their full potential.
5. WHAT DO YOU ADVISE? In the light of fierce competition for places, the best advice that Step Ahead can suggest to parents is not to wait, but to get their children assessed as early as possible, in order that they can be fully prepared for the Entrance Tests and Interviews.
GEORGE HAWKINS MBE, DIRECTOR OF STEP AHEAD TUTORING & EDUCATIONAL SERVICES
Telephone 01383 624599