Letter: Revision colleges are no holiday for students

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The Independent Online
Sir: As a Director of Studies at an independent college offering retake tuition alongside our other courses, I read your article 'How to make the best of a second chance' (25 August) with interest. While I accept that there may be a few private colleges with dubious credentials, I feel it is unfair to suggest that revision courses 'often fail their students'.

In our experience, students respond positively to the friendly, work-centred environment such colleges generally provide and are able to get the personal attention and advice they may lack elsewhere. It is wrong to suggest the colleges are usually an expensive waste of time. Each year such institutions provide many students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed in their exams and prosper at a university or in a career.

I was particularly surprised by the experiences of Georgina in Oxford and this case certainly does not reflect the quality of the courses available. In our own case, for example, GCSE students work a full seven-hour day, live in single-sex accommodation and are closely supervised throughout their stay; I believe the same is true of most other colleges in Oxford. Far from being a holiday, the most common comment we get about our courses is how hard students work and how much they achieve, often in very short periods of time.



Director of Studies