• Richard Perry

Why do Top Grades Education only offer small group tuition?



At Top Grades Education we only offer small group tuition for the following reason. We know that it is really difficult to find a good maths tutor and one-to-one tuition is very expensive. Our aim is to make high quality tuition more accessible and affordable so that more children can benefit from additional support.


It is well known that one-to-one tuition is effective, but there are disadvantages when compared to small group tuition.

One-to-one tuition:

  • is very expensive

  • is inefficient and not great value for money

  • can be stressful for students

  • reduces the opportunity for independent practice

  • reduces the opportunity to make valuable mistakes

  • is often difficult to find as tutors are scarce.

I have taught students on a one-to-one basis for many years, it occurred to me that it doesn't provide great value for money. The pattern tends to be, input from the tutor followed by watching the student work, followed by more input then watching the student and so on... The tutor input is the valuable part, the tutor watching the student work is not great value.

Last year I started tutoring two sisters who were in different year groups and required support with different topics. I found that I could easily manage working with them on different topics and still end up spending lots of time watching them work.



Students can find it stressful to have someone watch them work. Have you ever tried being the person typing in a meeting while everyone else is watching you type? Everyone gets to see all of your errors and typos before you have chance to think and correct yourself. Being under that pressure can cause students to rush their thinking and make errors that they would not make given some thinking and correction time, thus reducing confidence.


One-to-one tuition provides a false situation in which all mistakes are corrected as soon as they are made or students have immediate reassurance that they are correct. Small group tuition provides opportunity for independent practice. While I move around the room supporting students each student has the opportunity to work independently for a period of time before I return to check for misconceptions and assess their progress. This supports students to work in a style which is closer to their exam experience where they will need to have the confidence to move on without immediate reassurance that they are correct.


Mistakes are one of the most valuable learning tools; we learn more from mistakes than anything else. Seeing a set of questions all containing the same mistake exposes a student's misconceptions and these are some of the most valuable learning opportunities. One-to-one tuition corrects the mistake straight away and does not necessarily expose the fundamental misconception.



Top Grades Classes provide each student with the resources they need to support them to work on their individual areas for development. They have time to complete work independently while having access to support when required. A further benefit of small group tuition is that if students need to work on the same topic then they are able to discuss their work with each other which promotes independence and helps them to gain a deeper understanding.


Small group tuition is both effective and efficient. Students receive the support they need to address their personal areas for development and have an expert on hand if they get stuck but they do not have someone watching them every minute while they complete their work.


Tuition is not a one size fits all activity, some learners may want the reassurance of someone focused solely on them while other students will wish for more independence. If you have any questions about our tuition model please contact us to discuss how we can support your child to achieve their Top Grades.



23 views