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Don't knock tutors for helping children to aim high

"My life as a private tutor" does not reflect my experience. I have tutored in many types of residence, from stately homes to social housing. I have met people from a wide variety of backgrounds: some are wealthy; others struggle to pay me. I am usually paid by parents, but sometimes students earn the money to pay me themselves. That is dedication to a personal goal that no one could query.

Every student and parent has the right to pay for help. Inequality is part of life. Either try to get what you want - hence tutoring - or accept your limitations.

I teach business studies at A-level and above. I am passionate about my subject and have lived and breathed it for 30 years. I cannot express how much happiness I feel when one of my disenchanted, failing students achieves a good grade.

Our school system does not prepare students for failure when exams become harder. I can help them accept failure and work out how they can improve.

I stopped teaching in schools in part because I could not do the best for my students. The fact that last year I had more students from state schools than public schools is indicative of the situation in today's state-sector sixth-forms. As a former sixth-form teacher, I had already observed what this year's students have told me: there are discipline problems.

We are told we can't send disruptive pupils out of the classroom, but that the other students have the right to learn in a peaceful environment. One minute we are told disruptive students have the right to leave if they want to; the next we must keep them in class.

Between the demands of staff, students and senior management, I never had enough time to do quality lesson preparation. Eventually, after being on the receiving end of an extreme insult from a student, I decided I had the right not to be treated like that.

The students I tutor have respect for my age, knowledge and wisdom. They know I get them where they want to go, and I don't see why they should be criticised for paying for this. They enjoy learning and I enjoy teaching.

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