Nathaniel McCullagh, managing director of Simply Learning Tuition, explains why more families are opting for a bespoke education
The number of home schooled children in Britain has risen by 20 per cent in the last 18 months to around 45,000, according to the Department for Education. Traditionally, home schooling stemmed from necessity, but more recently we have seen a sharp rise in the number of, ‘lifestyle’ home schoolers, where there is no acute academic or pastoral need. At Simply Learning Tuition, we work with parents who choose to hire specialist private tutors to provide the best possible teaching environment for their child – one that is bespoke, flexible and more in line with their lifestyle and cultural values than that provided by even the best schools.
Parents decide to home school for a variety of reasons. A common reason is when schools are struggling to provide adequate support for their child’s Specific Education Needs (SENs). Parents are told that their son or daughter should stay down a year or join a different school with better SEN provision. Another reason is that their child cannot access the curriculum because of an acute learning difficulty or behavioural issue. Anxiety and depression can be significant and require a quick response. In almost all home school scenarios, a clear goal is in sight; usually an expedited return to school or university, or the completion of important exams. The good news is that no matter what the reason, a period of professionally delivered home schooling results in fantastic progression, both academically and in a child’s happiness and mental health.
Value for Money
At Simply Learning Tuition, we introduce families to a team of specialists; including professional tutors and advisors knowledgeable about London day schools and country boarding schools. Children and parents can choose tutors they like, who matches their capabilities, personality and learning style and who will quickly assimilate into the home environment.
Typically, families in London budget about £5,000 per month for home schooling (local authority grants are sometimes available). The benefits can be priceless. For many children, a year to 16 months of home schooling can overcome the obstacles that were holding them back; helping them to grow in confidence, flourish and, when the time comes, reintegrate into school.
We helped the eight-year-old daughter of a senior diplomat who had relocated to London with her father’s embassy. The girl had undiagnosed special education needs and was home schooled five days a week; ‘life experiences’ were included in the routine such as ordering in cafes and using the bus – neither of which she had been allowed to do previously. School work was brought to life by daily trips to the park, art galleries and museums. On one occasion, the tutor even went camping for the weekend with the girl and her parents, a not uncommon example of how home school tutors also act as mentors, passing on valuable life skills.Case Study One
A family wanted help preparing their son for school; the boy (aged five) had suffered childhood trauma and needed the social and academic confidence boost of one-to-one tutoring before starting at school. After 12 months of home schooling, during which time his two pre-school specialist tutors covered the core basics in English and maths, the boy started full-time school and has now been in mainstream education for three years.Case Study Two
Lisa (name-changed) left an independent school in year ten to join a private college where in two years, she was able to get just one A-level; a D in biology. In one academic year of home schooling she achieved Cs in English literature, language and maths, which was enough to get her to the next stage in her education.Case Study Three
For more information about home schooling please speak to Sophie Taylor Barthorpe on 020 7350 1981 or visit the SLT website.
This article was originally published in School House Magazine Spring/Summer in March 2019.