The Times’ Nicola Woolcock cites findings from our Shadow Schooling report.

A quarter of children are being privately taught outside school as middle-class parents engage in a “tutoring arms race”, according to analysis.

The report by the Sutton Trust think tank suggests that children at independent schools are twice as likely to have private tutors as their state school peers, meaning that their parents are paying twice over for their education.

The proportion of state-school children with private tutors has risen from 18 to 25 per cent in a decade and stands at 42 per cent in London.

Last year a tenth of children aged 11 to 16 were tutored.

More than four in ten state-school teachers have been paid to tutor at some point in their careers, according to the report, Shadow Schooling.

It values the private tuition market at about £2 billion. One in six secondary school pupils eligible for free school meals has been tutored, compared with one in four of those who are better off.

The charity said that the government should give poorer families vouchers to help them to compete. It suggested that there was a “tutoring arms race” under way as parents try to get their children into selective schools or universities. More than a third of the pupils tutored had help for specific GCSE exams and nearly a fifth were preparing for grammar school entrance exams.

Private school pupils were twice as likely to receive extra tuition as those in state education, the report states. Girls were more likely to receive private tuition than boys. About 41 per cent of ethnic minority pupils had private tutors compared with 21 per cent of white pupils. The average cost was £24 an hour, but some tutors charged far more.

The trust said it wanted a meanstested voucher scheme to enable lower income families to pay for experienced and well-qualified tutors.

It also wants more agencies to provide free tuition to disadvantaged pupils. Some agencies already support poorer students with the fees they charge better-off families.

Sir Peter Lampl, the trust’s chairman, said: “Private tuition is widespread and increasingly so. But with costs of at least £25 per session many cannot afford to benefit from this extra support, which exacerbates education inequalities.

“No one wants to limit parents doing their best for their children but we need to ensure that extra tuition is as widely available as possible. Otherwise, it will continue to widen the attainment gap.”

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See the article here.

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