Since 23rd March, schools throughout the UK have been closed to most students due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is unclear how long they will remain closed but it seems unlikely that students will return to school before September at the earliest. This is a very significant period of time to lose from a GCSE or A level course.
Most schools are setting work for students and, I’m sure, will be working hard to minimise the impact on students’ learning. While a small fraction of schools are providing online classes, in the majority of cases, there will be minimal opportunity for direct teaching or for students to ask questions about problems with the set work. Further, any new topics will inevitably require largely self-directed study by the students. Under these circumstances, many students will struggle to maintain adequate progress through their GCSE or A level courses as they move towards the exams in summer 2021.
Online tuition provides all the benefits of individual face-to-face tuition while observing the current health guidelines and keeping all concerned safe. Many of those I am currently teaching have said that the online lessons provide a focus and structure to their studies at a time when it could become more difficult to remain motivated. Students are able to ask questions about set work and resolve problems which have arisen as they work independently at home. In addition, we are able to work on filling in gaps in knowledge or understanding as well as moving ahead to prepare students for subject matter which will be taught in future lessons - perhaps after returning to school.