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The Great Education Catch-up

The last year has seen much disruption to our work and home lives, and education has been no exception. As schools start to return to face to face teaching across the world, the education catch-up is top of the agenda for many.

Governments have been rolling out catch-up programmes, with talk of shorter holidays and summer schools, and of course many parents are concerned about the impact of virtual learning and missed classes on their own child’s development.

When it comes to students, many of them would like to opportunity to catch-up in full. According to youth training charity National Citizen Service (NCS) more than half of sixth form students are opposed to extending the school day and shortening the summer holiday, with the majority in favour of re-sitting the year so they could be assessed by exam, rather than teacher assessed grades.

So what should we be considering when it comes to helping our children to catch-up?

Re-engaging children with learning

While schools have worked hard to re-create lessons in a virtual setting, as many of us who have been working remotely will know, long Zoom calls and video sessions can be exhausting. Being out of the classroom, and away from friends and classmates is a very different atmosphere, and many young people have become fatigued by virtual learning. So, when it comes to catching-up it’s important that any additional study is focussed on bringing some excitement and curiosity to learning.

Carl Morris, Principal at Carfax College, said: “For proposed summer catch-ups, it’s important that these aren’t simply an extension of the summer term – they need to be structured differently, with the goal of actually re-engaging children with learning. Bringing in more practical elements of teaching like science experiences and hands on projects is important – education is about skills as well as knowledge. It’s easier to identify gaps in knowledge that need to be plugged, but right now the focus needs to be on skills and engagement.”

Change in focus

While many parents have turned to extra tuition over the last year in a bid to support their child’s education, for some it has also been about expanding on it.

The increase in independent learning, brought about by homeschooling and remote study, means that many students have had more of a chance to develop their interests and passions beyond the syllabus.

Mr. Morris said: “The increase in online learning during the pandemic seems to have pushed parents to question what the focus of their children’s education should be, and we are increasingly seeing this shift towards personalised education and programmes which are much broader than core syllabuses. We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of parents approaching us to explore courses not found on traditional curriculums, such as computer programming and robotics.

“Private tuition is much more than just exam preparation. It’s about exploring innovative and personalised ways of teaching beyond the classroom, that not only take into account a child’s ability, but also their interests and aspirations too.”

Looking for expert one-to-one tuition? Call Carfax Tutors now on +971 4 438 5276 or email to

Mental health

Although there are many concerns about what children have missed out on in terms of academia, it’s important to remember they’ve also missed out on so much more when it comes to their social lives, extra-curricular activities and other important parts of their development.

Mr. Morris, said: “Despite having missed out on many aspects of school and education over the last year, the lockdown has been strangely exhausting so young people do need a break and a chance to get back to normality.”

It’s important to consider the way in which we approach the idea of catching-up with children, and consider the pressure that young people might be feeling, after what has been a very stressful time for all of us.

Individual child

At Carfax our whole approach to education is based on the individual. We know all young people are unique. While some will be concerned and disappointed by exam cancellations, others who struggle with traditional exams may thrive. Some may have managed to keep up quite easily in virtual lessons, whereas others will have found it harder to concentrate and to ask questions so may have missed out on more.

The reality is, when it comes to catching-up, every child will be different. The most important thing is to keep them curious and get them excited about learning.

Carfax offers a range of one-to-one and group tuition, tailored to support your child where they need it.

For advice and information and to see how we can support you and your child, contact our tutoring team at


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