Marketising private tuition: Representations of tutors' competence, entrepreneurial opportunities, and service legitimation in home tutoring business manuals
journal contributionposted on 03.09.2019, 10:30 by Sarah HollowaySarah Holloway, Helena Pimlott-WilsonHelena Pimlott-Wilson
Education researchers have explored the marketisation of schools resulting from neoliberal education policy, but little attention has been paid to supplementary education markets. Supplementary education services, such as private tuition, are delivered outside of school boundaries but designed to improve performance within it. A small body of research demonstrates that the private tuition market in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) is burgeoning, and that students’ access to this service is differentiated by region, class and ethnicity. These emerging demand-side analyses are vital, but they cannot tell us about the educational entrepreneurship that shapes the supply of private tutoring services. This paper addresses this lacuna through a discourse analysis of manuals, published as part of the developing tutoring support industry, that are designed to guide would-be entrepreneurs through the establishment of a private tuition business. This analysis excavates manuals’ treatment of: tutors’ motivation to work in the sector and their competence to do so; strategies to be employed in the marketisation of tuition services; and the need to build trust to ensure business legitimation in an unregulated industry. In conclusion, the paper sets a new agenda for research into fast developing supplementary education markets that explores: (i) the dynamics of this expanding educational workforce of private tutors; (ii) the ways marketisation addresses and augments parental anxiety about children’s education; and (iii) the need for safeguarding and quality control in private tuition.
Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant
- Social Sciences
- Geography and Environment