BBC Radio Shropshire Interview Edd Stockwell

Breanna

September 14, 2015

BBC Radio Shropshire interview Edd Stockwell about private tuition, why parents buy tutoring, how Tutorfair gives free tutoring and Tutorfair's tutor training programmes. If you missed it, then we've transcribed it for you, or if you'd prefer to listen, hit play on the recording below!


BBC Reporter
Do you remember when you’re little and there might be one subject in particular that you struggled with, and that could mean extra tuition, private tuition. So have your children had any and how effective was it?

Apparently people in London are twice as likely to pay for private tuition than the rest of us, but even so the numbers are going up. Edd Stockwell is one of the founders of Tutorfair, it’s a website that helps people find tutors in their area. Good morning, Edd!

Edd Stockwell
Good morning!

BBC Reporter
Why do you think there’s such an increase in people booking tutors?

Edd Stockwell
I think tutoring is the single most effective form of education you can get (one on one tutoring) and I think it’s probably the oldest form of education. I think Aristoteles was probably right several thousand years ago! So everyone has always had private tuition, and I think it has also gone up quite a bit recently in the last ten years. Due to competition for top schools and jobs, it keeps continuing to increase!

BBC Reporter
Is that what you’re putting it down to? Is not the state of our education system then?

Edd Stockwell
No, I don’t think so at all! I think our education system is fantastic! Yet every child is different, and everyone misses something at school. So, if parents and teachers can find ways to help kids to fill in the gaps if they've missed anything. All good teachers give tutoring, just after class or a little one on one time with kids to help them out - I think it’s fantastic thing.

BBC Reporter
Imagine then that the increase in London is down to the increase in competition and places, would you put it down to that?

Edd Stockwell
Yes I think it's partly that. I think it's becoming more socially acceptable, tutoring does have a bit of stigma to it. It’s the middle class buying the advantage, which I think is exactly what the middle class are trying to do. On one level, they're right to do it! It’s a really effective way to help the students to succeed. I think the difficulties start when you've got to that stigma and it becomes unfair, and those who can’t afford to pay can’t have access to such an incredibly powerful form of education, and we really need to look quite carefully at what we could do to help bridge that gap and make a difference.

BBC Reporter
But don’t you offer tuition to children who can't afford it as well?

Edd Stockwell
We do, so we’ve got a one for one promise, so for every student who pays we give tutoring to someone who can’t afford it.  So we partner with inner-city schools where they have a high proportion of students on free school meals and then class teachers choose which students could benefit most. Our tutors then go into those schools to work with those kids.

BBC Reporter
I was going to say that it’d be hard to choose wouldn't it? Which ones really do need it?

Edd Stockwell
Yes, really tough! But I think class teachers really do know their class and their kids...

BBC Reporter
Yes, Definitely.

Edd Stockwell
... so they’re the right people to make that decision I think.

BBC Reporter
How expensive is it then if you want to pay for private tuition?

Edd Stockwell
Average costs for a private tutor is about £23 an hour outside of London, rising up to £29 per hour inside London, as an average. But a lot of people want a really experienced tutor which are hard to find, they might be about £40, 50, 60, 70, 80 an hour. I think the most expensive tutor we’ve got on Tutorfair is £200.00 an hour, but he’s an extraordinary man but that's also an extraordinary price.

BBC Reporter
£200.00 an hour?! Teaching what?

Edd Stockwell
Maths and science, but when you speak to clients he's worked with, the quotes that I got from one of them was; ‘Mark can organise a child’s mind for success’ and he’s just one of those magical characters that connects with children and inspires them to want to learn and succeed. I mean, I do not recommend hiring him because he’s ridiculously expensive, but he’s the best of the best!

BBC Reporter
Wow, it sounds like we could do with cloning him then?

Edd Stockwell
Yes, that’s brilliant! Solve one problem at a time, but then let’s clone Mark! (Laughs)

BBC Reporter
(Laughs) What you need to do is to pay him £200 an hour to teach 10 teachers how to do it!

Edd Stockwell
That is exactly what he’s doing this Saturday! We’ve got one hundred tutors in a room and he’s leading our tutor training and teaching them all the tips that he’s accumulated over his 17 years of private tutoring. We do a lot of tutor training, and it’s really amazing!

BBC Reporter
And I’m guessing you’ve seen a lot of situations where the children have really benefited from this?

Edd Stockwell
It’s extraordinary the difference you can make just unlocking, or unblocking really the little thing they don't understand. You can so quickly (if you struggle in one subject) think to yourself ‘Oh, I don't understand maths, I’ll never understand maths!’

BBC Reporter
Yes! That was me! (Laughs)

Edd Stockwell
Yes! (Laughs) ‘I’m not going to try maths!’ and it's not true it's just the panic zone of your learning. As soon as someone explains it to you and makes that little bit make sense, inspires you to want to try and to believe that maths is for you, it’s extraordinary!

BBC Reporter
Edd, it has been lovely to talk to you, thank you so much for coming in this morning.

Edd Stockwell
Thank you so much!

BBC Reporter
And good luck with Mark and the tutors this weekend!

Edd Stockwell
Oh thanks very much!

BBC Reporter
Brilliant thank you! That’s Edd Stockwell who’s one of the founders of Tutorfair, which is a website that helps people, so if you’re looking to find a tutor in your area.