Choosing a Tutor
Updated: Feb 14, 2021
With lots of parents looking for additional help with school work, here’s a few things to consider when looking for the right tutor.
You may hear the term ‘tutors’ and ‘instructors’ used rather than teachers; do ask if your child is going to be taught by a qualified teacher, with relevant subject experience and up to date training. Especially important when you are looking at secondary tutors they might be qualified teachers but that doesn’t mean that they are qualified in the relevant subject; we’ve heard of History, Geography and IT teachers tutoring English or maths for example, it’s important to ask the question!
You may hear about set programmes of learning and study; don’t be afraid to ask what this involves. Is it computer or teacher led? Is it a prescriptive and fixed programme, or is it planned responsive to your child’s needs?
You may be swung on price but don’t forget that private tuition is a professional service; qualified teachers have studied to degree level and beyond and the time that a teacher spends beyond the session planning, assessing and feeding back to you will also be included in that price meaning the price that you are quoted p/hour is really the price for the hour of teaching plus all the planning, assessing and feedback time which when the tutoring is bespoke to your child can be substantial time that you don’t see behind the scenes. Do ask what the price covers (some organisations like ours can accept childcare vouchers which further reduces the cost by 20%).
Some tutors charge registration fees, bill monthly, or in advance, some tutors may hold deposits and/or have cancellation policies. Do clarify these in advance and be sure about what a registration fee is for or covers, for example.
You might be put off by the idea of a group instead of 121, do ask how the teacher works with the group and it is also worth considering that the Education Endowment Foundation have undertaken extensive research into the impact of 1:1 vs small group tuition with only marginal differences in progress evident by and large.
You may prefer the idea of a home visit but it could be worth considering the importance of environment when it comes to education. Lockdown is certainly showing us that our homes are not quite as productive when it comes to learning as we might wish. A good classroom environment can really improve focus and allows teachers to make use of resources and other teaching methods meaning your child gets the most out of the hour and you get the best value for money.
You may not know that tuition by and large is an unregulated industry; do ask about DBS checks, insurances and whether the company or tutor is Ofsted registered. It is really important to be sure that the teacher has undergone enhanced DBS checks, holds relevant up to date first aid and safeguarding training and has policies in place to govern their practice. Tutors should make these policies on safeguarding and other matters available for you to view. Do ask about these.
Do ask how tuition is monitored and evaluated and how a teacher will ensure that communication about progress is made clear.
Your child’s education is too important to take chances on.