Exploring Year 6 pupils’ perceptions of private tutoring: Evidence from three mainstream schools in England

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While quantitative research on the nature and extent of private tutoring in England is increasingly available, very limited evidence exists regarding pupils' voices in evaluating their participation in private tutoring. Thus, the present qualitative study seeks to investigate the perceptions of 14 Year 6 pupils from three primary schools in East Kent of receiving tutoring. Data were collected through semi-structured focus group interviews and pupils' drawings. The data suggest that the participants displayed prevention (ought) orientation by conceiving tutoring as a powerful means to help them to pass the grammar school entrance exam and thus avoid failing their parents' expectations. However, some participants gradually realised that the advantages of receiving tutoring were not restricted to tangible (quantifiable) benefits related to improved examination results. Tutoring also enabled them to achieve their desired possible self-image by boosting their self-esteem and interest in learning, and becoming more confident when socialising with others (i.e. intangible benefits). The participants acted agentively, not only reflecting on the benefits of tutoring but also on its disadvantages including creating pressure on their parents and themselves and being somewhat an unfair advantage in competition. From this qualitative study, pedagogical implications and areas for ongoing research are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 514
Number of pages531
JournalOxford Review of Education
Publication statusPublished - Feb 22 2018

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