“A problem without a solution is a misstated problem.” - Albert Einstein

In the UK, 100,000 pupils a year are leaving school without basic qualifications. This doesn't necessarily mean that they're dropping out before school leaving age, it just means that by the time they finish their schooling, they lack 5 GCSEs grades A-C or equivalent. This is an increase of 28% since 2015 and affects almost one in five pupils. Generally, this affects the poorest families the most.

Academic support is a way to help struggling students by giving them confidence in their abilities, helping them to improve their grades, and improving their study techniques.

How Do You Recognise When a Student is Struggling?

Students begin to struggle when they lose interest in a particular subject. Several factors can cause this.

How can you tell if a child is struggling with school?
Many different factors can cause a child to struggle at school. (Source: Miloslav_Ofukany)

Here are a few examples:

  • Peter has just started secondary school and is already struggling. It’s difficult to work out home due to his economic situation. His parents can’t help him much because they’re too busy with work. Bit by bit, Peter starts to feel lost at school. By the time he reaches A Levels, he drops out during his first year.
  • Anna is from is a poor area in London. Her parents have just got divorced and her life has been turned upside-down. She doesn’t understand the courses or the rules at school. Exams don’t work for her and she has to resit her GCSEs. Instead, she decides to leave school.
  • Sarah is gifted but doesn’t know it. At school, she gets bored with classes that are too easy for her and starts to drift apart from her classmates. She struggles to follow rules at school as she doesn’t understand what good school is. Her parents decide to home school her instead.
  • Thomas has health problems that cause him to miss a lot of lessons. The change between primary and secondary school has been tough for him and he’s struggling to catch up with everything he’s missed. He doesn’t like the environment at school and is struggling to make friends. His parents decide to teach him from home.

So when can a child be taken out of school?

There’s only one answer to this question.

  • Children can be homeschooled until the age of 16.
  • At the age of 16, they can either continue full-time education, start an apprenticeship or traineeship, or spend at least 20 hours a week working or volunteering while doing part-time education or training.

Even though falling behind is often linked to bad results at school, struggling students aren’t necessarily failing students. There may be several reasons to take a child out of school. There are different reasons parents choose to home school their children:

  • The education provided by the parents is better
  • The poor quality of the school environment
  • An objection to the content on the national curriculum
  • The level of teaching at schools

Just because a student is struggling, it doesn’t mean that they’re incapable of learning. Generally, falling behind is down to losing interest in school.

So how can you fix it?

Find out more about how often you should get private tutorials.

What Are Schools Doing to Help Students?

Generally, schools are tasked with ensuring that students don’t fall behind. After all, struggling students cost the country. For many students, school is the reason they’re struggling and it can negatively impact their self-esteem. This problem compounds as they’ll struggle to find work. Students struggling costs society and it takes more than just public policy to deal with it. In short, it’s bad for both the student and the country.

How is the government helping struggling students?
A lot of secondary school students skip class because they're not interested in school. (Source: nastya_gepp)

EU Policy on Struggling Students

The UK is a partner country in the EU’s Education/Social policies and measures for ESL (Early School Leaving). The main goals are to:

  • Reduce ESL
  • Improve education levels
  • Promote social inclusion

The goal is to get the rate of ESL below the EU target of 10% by 2020.

With youth unemployment in the UK 2.5 times higher than that over unemployment generally and the UK needs to improve the quality of vocational training to ensure that young people attain the necessary skills to enter the labour market.

Actions Taken by the UK

Both education and youth policy in the UK attempted to improve education through increasing school autonomy and created a discourse of individual aspirations, choice, and responsibility. However, most of the effort has gone towards improving grades at the higher end of the scale. 18% of pupils in English in 2018 failed to get five Grade-C GCSEs or equivalent and 37% of them were on free school meals.

The government spends around £100,000 per pupil throughout their 15 years of compulsory education and nearly a fifth are not getting the lowest possible qualifications needed for technical courses, apprenticeships, traineeships, or A Levels.

This, in turn, makes it even harder for them to find work.

So what can you do to combat the failings of the government?

Find out more about the benefits of private tutorials.

Academic Support for Improving Students’ Grades

Academic support is useful for students whose grades are slipping or can’t get the grades they want. They might be demotivated or end up giving up entirely on their education.

How can academic support improve a student's grades?
Academic support is tailored to the student and their needs. (Source: Joshua_seajw92)

However, academic support can get students back on their feet once they start to struggle at school. There are plenty of subjects of that a private academic support tutor can help you in:

  • Maths
  • English
  • History
  • Physics, Chemistry, Biology
  • Foreign languages such as French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, etc.

Academic support is available for any subject a student may be struggling with and private tutorials are a great way to help them prepare for their GCSEs, A Levels, or even university courses.

Find out more about the cost of academic support.

Academic Support: How Can You Make Students Love School?

The biggest problem is that pupils don’t like school. While the government attempts to combat absenteeism with fines for unauthorised absences, that doesn’t mean they don’t happen.

How can you get pupils to like school?
Academic support can help children to fall back in love with school. (Source: ExplorerBob)

Missing school can lead to students’ grades dropping and those who are struggling at school are, in turn, more likely to skip school or not attend.

Students who don’t like their teachers or don’t get on with them are also less likely to show up. I’m sure that during your time in school you had subjects that you liked because you liked the teacher and vice versa. For me, it was maths. I disliked maths until I found a great teacher who made me appreciate the subject.

Academic support can help students enjoy subjects with a tutor who’s there to help them and takes a different approach to learning. Talking with a private tutor can also be constructive. Academic support isn’t all about grades but rather making mistakes, learning, and getting better. The student may learn new techniques to help them learn more effectively.

Academic support, in addition to improving a child’s grades, can also help them to enjoy school more and decrease the risk of them struggling.

So are you ready to give it a go?

No matter what subject you need help with or which skills you want to learn, you can find experienced and talented private tutors on Superprof. Regardless of the subject, there are three main types of private tutorial available: one-on-one tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each has its pros and cons and some types work better for certain subjects than others.

One-on-one private tutorials are between you and your tutor. The lessons will be tailored to you, your goals, and your learning style. Since this entails a lot of work outside of class from the tutor, you'll probably pay a premium for them. However, with every minute in class spent teaching you, these are also the most cost-effective type of tutorials available.

Online tutorials are similar to private tutorials since they are between a single student and tutor but the tutor isn't physically in the room with you and is instead teaching you remotely via a webcam. With fewer expenses and the ability to schedule more tutorials each week, the tutor can charge less per hour and they often do.

Finally, group tutorials are when several students are taught in a single class by a private tutor. These students may already know each other or be strangers. You won't have the tutor's undivided attention like in the other types of private tutorials but the cost of the tutorial will be divided amongst all of the students in attendance, making it cheaper per student per hour.

Many of the tutors near me offer free tutoring for the first hour so try a few out and see which type of tutorial and which tutor is best for you.

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.