Tutoring: Case Study 2 – Beth – a Year 11 pupil

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Beth had just completed her GCSE when we first met her, but unfortunately, had failed to achieve the grades she needed to achieve the next step in the career that she desperately wanted.

It was the summer holidays. August is typically a time when children get to relax and take life easy for a few weeks. Not for Beth however. When we first met Beth, we found a very mature and sensible young person who already knew what she wanted to do with her life.

Beth had developed a strong ambition to become a nurse when she left school. Unfortunately, the chances of her achieving this important aim in life were not looking very favourable at that time. She had just completed her Year 11 GCSE exams and not done very well unfortunately, earning just an E grade in both her maths and her English Language.

Such low grades were a barrier to her progress and basically, unless Beth was able to achieve a C grade in both subjects at a later resit exam, her ambition to become a nurse was unlikely to be achieved.

After a long, initial conversation with Beth and her parents, it was agreed that Beth would start an intensive course of 4 lessons a week with us in an attempt to help her achieve the grades she needed when she eventually attempted her resit exams the following June.

Beth worked hard throughout the rest of the summer holidays and then continued through to May. We gave Beth class lessons in the small group (ratio 5:1) for maths and 1-2-1 lessons in English, as writing exam-type English was a bigger challenge for Beth.

Not long before the GCSE exams, Beth’s parents had paid to have Beth tested for dyslexia and the results indicated tendencies that had contributed to poor retention, compensatory strategies and generally low self-esteem. With the dyslexia confirmation coming so late in her school life, that meant the school hadn’t had the opportunity to adapt the teaching methods needed to suit her learning style, before she was thrown into the full force of external examinations that would determine her future life course.

In our more personalised learning environment, we were, however, able to provide the individualised support Beth needed for her particular learning style. This, coupled with Beth’s enthusiasm and determination eventually made all the difference.

In the resit exams the following June, Beth achieved the C she needed in maths. Initially she was awarded a D in English but following our suggestion, Beth’s parents were able to arrange for her English paper to be remarked, following which her D was upgraded to the C she needed. It was a nail-biting time!

Achieving the Grade C in both English and maths was a genuine struggle for Beth. Without our dedicated support and the willingness and ability of her parents to make sure Beth could attend lessons every week for 10 months, Beth would likely have failed again to achieve her goal.

As a post-script to Beth’s story, following the successful resit, by then Beth was 17 years old and she wanted to pass her Driving Licence theory test but was worried about that. Because she liked the style of learning we offered her, she trusted us to create a short course to help her pass the test, which as you can probably guess now, she successfully did.