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Film by Scott Margetts

Diana Thompson investigates an alternative to school

As life in school becomes more and more pressured and pressurised, some pupils are becoming too stressed, others are falling behind, and increasingly many parents are turning to individual daytime tuition, with its more flexible approach to the different needs of each student. If your child's happiness or progress has become an all-consuming worry, this is definitely an option worth considering.

As many parents know, it is only too easy nowadays for any child to find himself left behind in his work. This worrying situation can arise for unavoidable, practical reasons such as long absences caused by illness, or a spell abroad or even a change in location. Other children simply need more attentive explanations and take more time to understand, whilst others need more stimulating demands to challenge them to greater achievements. Another cause for lack of progress can be experiencing bullying. This can devastate a child, crushing confidence and making concentration on lessons very hard.

Once a child has fallen behind, it is often hard to catch up. Unfortunately, in many schools there is simply not the time, nor the staffing, to give sufficient individual help in this situation, and before long a previously bright and happy child can feel confused, insecure, and sometimes alienated. However good the school, and however bright the child, confidence and self esteem are crucial to success, and if these have been lost he will not be in a state to rise to all the demands of a day in school.

Increasingly, many parents are turning to Individual daytime tuition with its more flexible approach to the different needs of each student.

In response to this growing interest, Sue Laidlaw and Victoria Webb, of Laidlaw Education, have created a comprehensive education programme with a full range of lessons and courses for nine to eighteen year olds. Situated in the purpose built Education Rooms at Dukes Meadows Golf & Tennis, Dan Mason Drive, Chiswick, London W4 2SH, it has also become invaluable as a stimulating 'half-way house" while waiting for a school place to become available, or for a talented child who is taking advantage of a special opportunity in, for example, sport or music, which has led to temporary loss of schooling.

Whatever the reason, and whether for one term or for several years, home schooling at Dukes Meadows can provide the solution and result in a happier, more fulfilled child/student./young person.

Responding to all the attention and support he is given, he re-discovers his natural desire to learn and soon, quite simply, thrives. In the calm, bright and modern classroom situated at Dukes Meadows Tennis and Golf Club, each student has his own attractive and spacious work space, shelves and cupboards. Working for the whole or part of each day, he has a timetable consisting of a selection of subjects agreed with his parents. Each subject is taught by our team of specialist teachers whose priority is to find the particular approach which will trigger confidence, enthusiasm and involvement in each child. Working at a pace just right for him enables him to feel greater fulfillment and an increasingly positive self-image.

All students are fortunate to use the facilities at Dukes Meadows Club - the welcoming cafe is open throughout the day for a drink or a snack, and a nourishing lunch can be arranged, indeed the students benefit from their new-found independence and this sense of responsibility is encouraged. Homework can be completed as part of the daily timetable or at home. Fitness, tennis, squash and golf lessons can be arranged as part of the daily timetable.

With over twenty-five years teaching experience in both State and Independent schools, and a strong and diverse team of highly experienced teachers, Laidlaw Education also offers private after-school tuition, courses, assessments, special needs assessments, guidance and knowledge of secondary school admissions and all educational support for both children and their parents.

If you are interested in discussing any aspect of this article, you are welcome to contact Sue or Victoria who can give you more information and arrange a visit if you wish. CONTACT US >>

Comments from parents:

• "Our son has never been interested in school to any great degree and struggled significantly at most academic subjects. Laidlaw Education has opened up a treasure chest of learning for Marco and he now absolutely loves learning and studying."

• "The relationship that our son has with the teachers is both friendly and inspiring. He is motivated like never before and there is a great sense of joy, ownership and achievement for him in his academic work. Thank you to all the teachers who have helped achieve this dramatic turn around."

• "The learning was very individualised, and Sue Laidlaw and her team really spent the time in figuring out exactly who our daughter was and what she needed. As she is extremely creative, certain subjects were taught incorporating her love of art and imagery in order for her to express herself as well as learn the subject at hand. She has held on to everything she learnt with a strong sense of the subject matter on returning to her school."

• "Our daughter was able to get the one-to-one learning time that she needed to improve her concentration, as well as interest in the school curriculum across the board."

• "As parents we are delighted to have been able to enable our son to attend the educational classes with Laidlaw at Dukes Meadows. Thank you to all the teachers who have helped achieve this dramatic turn around."