AN INDEPENDENT maths tutor based in Winchester says she has never been busier and forecasts no slow down over the summer.

Her message comes as the Daily Mail reports 100,000 pupils failing to return to education when schools reopened. This is the extreme tip of the iceberg: many more have simply struggled to keep pace during a difficult year for the lost children of lockdown.

Rita Cottle, 48, says demand for tuition has soared in recent months, as concerns about the effects of the Covid crisis on the education of youngsters mount. July and August holiday period is usually a quiet time for independent tutors. But this year, she says, things could be very different.

“The Covid crisis has robbed many children of two things,” she said. “The first is a strong foundation on which to build their knowledge. But the second is confidence. When I receive messages from parents it’s almost always to tell me that their child is not bad at maths, but that he or she has lost confidence.”

“Summer offers the chance to re-build confidence and prepare youngsters for the school year ahead,” Cottle added. “It’s been an incredibly tough time for everyone particularly children. But independent tutors are like a quiet army of educators, ready to support teachers and parents - arming children with the tools they need to recover and then thrive in the years ahead.”

Rita has been working in education for 25 years and has been an independent tutor for the last four.