Grind school offers classes on 'how to be an A1 parent'

Dublin school offers classes for parents so they can assist and motivate their children

The Dublin Academy of Education  says parents will learn how to assist and motivate their children to maximise their “confidence, preparation and ultimately their grades in the Leaving Cert exams”. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

The Dublin Academy of Education says parents will learn how to assist and motivate their children to maximise their “confidence, preparation and ultimately their grades in the Leaving Cert exams”. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

 

For middle-class families keen to boost their children’s grades in the State exams, there’s now a new frontier: grinds for parents.

The Dublin Academy of Education, a grind school based in the capital, is offering classes on “how to be an A1 parent”.

It says parents will learn how to assist and motivate their children to maximise their “confidence, preparation and ultimately their grades in the Leaving Cert exams”.

There will also be advice on how to provide a calming study environment and provide a balanced diet for teenagers.

Chris Lauder, founder of the Dublin Academy, said the classes are in response to demand from parents who want to know how they can best help their children.

“They often feel powerless when it comes to the Leaving Cert and feel they can’t help their children with the subjects because they’re out of touch,” Mr Lauder said.

Many, instead, want to learn about ways of inspiring and motivating their children to help reach their full potential, he said.

While some accuse grind schools of being “exam factories” and adding to pressure around high-stakes exams, the Dublin academy’s principal, Michael Ruaidhrí Deasy, said the parents’ classes aim to ease exam stress.

‘Cheerleader’

He said while some “involved” parents may feel they helped their children at Junior Cert level by managing their children’s study, this approach can be counterproductive in the Leaving Cert.

“We ask parents to consider themselves as being their child’s number one supporter and cheerleader – rather than manager,” Mr Deasy said.

This, he said, involves parents negotiating the boundaries of study and students taking on more responsibility.

The parents’ course also seeks to ease conflict at home by helping parents understand the differences between the generations when it comes to study habits.

While parents may have been able to study for hours at a time, Mr Deasy said “generation Z” can have a shorter attention span which requires more breaks.

They are also more reliant on technology and may genuinely need a phone or computer at times.

The courses, which are free and take place this month, come at a time when demand for private grind schools is on the rise.

Full-time enrolments at grind schools, which charge more than €7,000 a year, are on the rise.

Expanded

The Institute of Education, one of the largest grind schools, has expanded to two new locations in south and north Dublin.

The Dublin Academy of Education, the newest grind school on the market, says it has enrolled 200 full-time students for the current academic year and thousands in evening courses at a new €4.6 million school in Stillorgan.

The rise of grind schools has been criticised by equality campaigners, who say they are a way for privileged parents to give their children an advantage.

Kathleen Lynch, professor of equality studies at UCD, has said they undermine the equality principle that governs education policy.

“Major social and economic inequalities inevitably undermine all but the thinnest forms of equality of opportunity in education because privileged parents will always find ways of advantaging their children in an economically unequal society,” she told an Oireachtas committee earlier this year.