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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

A Critical Review of Private Tuition in the Uk: A Case Study of the Northeast of England.

Kontou-Watson, Vasiliki (2023) A Critical Review of Private Tuition in the Uk: A Case Study of the Northeast of England. Doctoral thesis, The University of Sunderland.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)


Private tuition and its individualized ethos have often been at the center of global educational debates. Consistent changes in the UK national education policy and practice have over the years increased the phenomenon of private tuition creating an unregulated market amongst practitioners. This has had a significant impact on quality assurance. British neo-liberalism and cultural socio-economic disadvantage across the teaching and learning arena saw parental agency and stakeholder divisions driving the marketisation of private tuition to become a profession where the driving priority was of personal profit. Research in this field of study has long recognized the need for a critical review of the monetary driven educational support systems and the diversified culture of private tuition. This research presents a critical review of the phenomenon of private tuition in the UK with a close insight into the situation in the Northeast of England. Establishing the historically political narrative of British education which encourages competitiveness between schools, this research identifies educational factors that have increased volume of this phenomenon in practice, determining variables of parental agency in the investment of private tuition. The thesis presents and concludes with a pioneering framework which offers potential to regulate the private tuition market.
The research involves a population sample of 195 parents and 494 teachers from across the UK. It employs mixed methods study which includes to use of quantitative and qualitative methods, to canvas participant experiences and perceptions regarding influential factors that necessitate the use of private tuition. An open-ended questionnaire was digitally disseminated to both sample sets, in addition to semi-structured interviews conducted with 30 parents and 30 teachers, alike. The research further utilized three sets of set and mixed focus groups to validate the data. The use of SPSS software platform was used to provide the analysis of the quantified responses, while NVivo thematically analysed qualitative data.
Findings demonstrate that school conversions into academies have created a culture of unnecessary pressures for both parental and teacher populations, namely administrative pressures, securing exam grades in lieu of a place on league tables, jeopardizing pupil individual focus and quality assurance. Data regarding parental agency demonstrate that variables that instigated the increase in the use of private tuition, despite their financial burdens, are the attainment of exam grades that were exacerbated with Covid-19 gaps, and failure to focus on individual needs. Despite the need for further research to capture responses that represent the whole of the national cohort, this research provides an empirical model demonstrating a regulatory framework that could be used to secure the ethical practice and improve quality assurance of private tuition provision, as well as raising standards of educational practice in this field of study.

VaCorrected_Kontou-Watson_Thesis_A_CRITICAL_REVIEW_OF_PRIVATE_TUITION_IN_THE_UK.pdf - Accepted Version

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Uncontrolled Keywords: private tuition, quality assurance, compliance, stakeholders, school tutoring, teachers, tutors, parents, special educational needs, regulatory framework, exopaedeia.
Depositing User: Delphine Doucet


Item ID: 17220

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Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2024 13:21
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2024 09:31


Author: Vasiliki Kontou-Watson

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Education > Educational Research

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