From The Telegraph (United Kingdom)
Families return to live-in tutors
By Julie Henry, Education Correspondent
Live-in tutors - a standard feature of the upper-middle class Edwardian household - are making a comeback.
Parents are increasingly looking beyond ordinary schooling and hiring full-time tutors to provide one-on-one instruction at a cost of up to £45,000 a year.
The growing market includes families who have relocated abroad and do not want to rely on local provision and parents concerned that schools will fail to meet their children's special needs.
Others have removed their children from school because they are falling behind or unhappy, in the hope that full-time tuition can provide the answer.
Tutors International, in Oxford, has 30 tutors placed with families in Britain, America and the Middle East. David Spencer, the director, said that business had grown in the past six years and that families were increasingly hiring live-in teachers, much as they would nannies, butlers, chauffeurs or housekeepers.
The company charges £45,000 a year, with the tutor receiving 80 per cent. For families with several children, hiring a tutor can work out cheaper than paying for boarding schools, which cost more than £20,000 a year at the most expensive end.
The resurgence of live-in teachers mirrors big increases in the numbers of families employing after-school tutors because of concerns about state schools.
One in four children will have a tutor at some point, according to research published last year by London University's Institute of Education.
Disillusionment with schools has also fuelled an increase in the number of families teaching their children at home. Research by Nottingham University estimates that about 84,000 children in England are educated at home.
"Some parents think tutors give an enriched educational experience, particularly for gifted pupils," Mr Spencer said. "In other cases, there has been some kind of problem. A child may have been doing poorly at school.
"We also have tutors working with children with dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Wealthy people are not immune to such problems, but they have the resources to address the issue directly and we have found that they are increasingly prepared to do so."
Sam Dickinson, a 26-year-old teacher, was hired three months ago by a family in California to tutor their 12-year-old daughter who has dyscalculia, an inability to understand numbers.
"Individual tuition gives my pupil the opportunity to ask questions whenever she needs to, and that is not the case in a classroom environment," he said.
Mr Dickinson, who used to work at a London state school, spends up to three hours preparing lessons for his pupil and three hours a day teaching subjects including mathematics, English, geography and Chinese.
"Having one focus is very intensive and different to the 1,600-pupil school where I used to teach," he said, "but I really enjoy it. Also, I love surfing and sky-diving and I get the time to do those things here."
Lucy Cawkwell, the principal of Osborne Cawkwell education consultants, said residential placements were increasingly common.
"A number of our 120 tutors are placed full-time with families and we have parents requesting live-in tutors for anything from a few days to a number of months. About 10 per cent of our work is residential."
One drawback is the lack of contact with other pupils, compared with school. According to Ms Cawkwell, however, families with tutors went to great lengths to ensure that their children made friends through groups and clubs.
Edited by ert on June 23 2006 10:28 PM