What Parents Need To Know About Finding & Hiring A Tutor

With the summer holidays fast approaching, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do to support your child’s learning over the break. Perhaps you want to help them work towards an entrance exam or just make sure they stay on track ready for the new school year? Either way, a tutor could be a worthwhile investment. Here, we asked the experts to answer our questions, before rounding up some of the organisations worth investigating.

Why Might Children Need A Tutor?

“A tutor should be used as a safety net to address problem areas within a child’s schooling i.e. where they might be falling behind. Confidence at school is so important and sometimes, just an extra session on something they’re struggling with can keep them on track or prevent them from becoming stuck, which may affect the learning of other skills that build on that knowledge. The best people to talk to about how a child is doing is the child themselves. Dislike for a subject can often be due to low confidence. Likewise, avoiding certain subjects when it comes to homework could indicate they are struggling. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the school for feedback.” – Josh Blackburn, COO at TLC LIVE

“Most people believe their children would only need a tutor if they’re failing certain subjects in school. But nowadays this isn’t always the case. Some parents and children also really appreciate tutoring because they find multiple advantages in one-to-one support. Personalised support can help children feel more confident and the tutor can take the time to explain things in a way that fits them. Family life can be so hectic and challenging that parents sometimes lack the time to help their children with homework or other additional studies. A tutor is a perfect solution.” – Mya Medina, Senior Tutor Team Lead at GoStudent

Is It Worth Having A Tutor Even If Children Aren't Falling Behind Academically?

“Children often experience ‘summer slippage’ over the school holidays when they are not attending school. As a result, teachers are often required to recap many concepts that have been taught the previous year. This gap has also widened due to the impact of the pandemic in the previous two academic years. In addition, tuition can also help support children to reach beyond their potential and help them achieve above their predicted grades.” – Charles Cory, director, teacher & tutor at Teachers That Tutor

“Loss of learning over the summer (also called the ‘summer dip’) is very common. Schools work hard to tackle this on pupils' return to the classroom in September, but a tutor to keep your child's progress ticking along can certainly help. It is also vitally important that children have downtime and plenty of opportunities to be away from formal learning, though. The summer holidays should be a time for some freedom and experiences which go beyond the school curriculum. What you don't want to do is switch a child off from learning, however, so finding the right balance is essential.” Mike Fairclough, headmaster & author of Rewilding Childhood

What About Children With Learning Difficulties – Can A Tutor Help?

“Children who experience a specific learning difficulty would require extra support and possibly a tailored approach to their learning and lessons. Depending on the area of difficulty, a tutor would be able to spend more time with the child, identifying the gaps in their learning and the best ways to address these. It is often the case that due to large class sizes, reduced budgets and staff shortages, the child won’t get a sufficient amount of support in school to cater for their needs. It would be recommended that when looking for a tutor, you find a qualified teacher that has some experience working with children with learning difficulties.” – Charles

“Good teaching should, by its nature, be dyslexia friendly. This means using a range of approaches to teaching, such as visual stimuli and prompts, kinaesthetic techniques (using physical objects to explore themes) and clear, engaging auditory delivery. Just because someone is a tutor, doesn't mean they are right for your child, so the right match with your child and level of skill of the tutor is very important. I also believe that a tutor absolutely must be passionate about their subject. Their enthusiasm for whichever curriculum area they are delivering will be transferred to your child.” – Mike

Which Subjects Could Be Helped With One-On-One Tutoring?

“This depends on the outcome the student is working towards. At GCSE level, tuition in any subject could benefit the child, as it reinforces specific knowledge needed and provides extra support with exam question preparation. At younger ages, students would benefit most from tuition in English and maths. These skills are transferable across their time in school, so will result in better outcomes across all subjects.” – Josh

“Essentially all subjects can be tutored one-to-one. Tutoring is for all students who need some extra support for whatever reason, or for those who want to learn something new. At GoStudent we offer tutoring in more than 30 subjects and this number is growing. As well as this, many tutors on the platform offer more niche subjects, such as coding and Photoshop – you can even learn how to play guitar (or any other instrument) online. That said, when asked what the most popular subject for tutoring is, the answer, based on our own data, would be maths.” – Mya

Can Group Learning Be Beneficial & Can Tutors Lead This?

“Group learning has fantastic positives and working as part of a group is certainly a life skill that should be encouraged. The issue with group learning is that students are working at someone else’s pace. If someone grasps a concept quickly, they are then held back whilst others continue to struggle. Vice versa, if a child is struggling to grasp a concept, they might fall behind as more confident students answer questions.” – Josh

“Working as part of a group has additional benefits to one-to-one tutoring. However, it depends on the makeup of the group and personalities of each child. When it works, children will spark off each other with ideas and encourage one another with their achievements. The tutor must be competent when it comes to group work, for this to be successful. That said, one-to-one tutoring, from an effective tutor, is proven to result in accelerated progress.” – Mike

Loss of learning over the summer is very COMMON. Schools work hard to tackle this on pupils' return to the classroom in SEPTEMBER, but a tutor to keep your child's progress TICKING ALONG can certainly help.

How Much Should You Expect To Pay For A Good Tutor?

“The tuition market is vast, and people could spend huge sums of money on tutors. I would advise that a good, experienced fully qualified teacher will normally charge between £30-50 per hour. There are excellent tutors out there who aren’t qualified teachers, however my view is that teachers go through extensive training to put the child at the centre of their teaching. Tutors may not have this knowledge if they have just undertaken a degree in a specific topic. The other area to consider is what else you get for your money. For example, we provide parent access to our portal, where they can review feedback reports and assessment data.” – Josh

Are There Any Other More Affordable Options Out There?

“We provide tuition in a unique way, as we have three students working individually with one teacher and we operate solely online. This means we charge just £25 per hour lesson and tutors are always available.  Other options are to maybe share a tutor with a friend which some tutors might provide a discount for. Group tuition is an option but potentially harder to fit into family life.” – Josh

“At Teachers That Tutor, we offer a range of possibilities to suit every parent’s needs. These include one-to-one tuition, group sessions, online sessions and even free content now available on our YouTube channel. The best advice would be to look at the free online content that is available on websites like YouTube first, and then look at private tuition; group and online sessions tend to be the most cost-effective.” – Charles

What's The Best Way To Find A Tutor?

“My advice first and foremost would be to talk to other parents and see if they recommend any tutors. Also, speak to teachers at the school your child attends to see if any teachers provide tuition. Although policy can vary from school to school, some schools allow teachers to tutor children as long as they are not in their class. Also, look online and do a Google search in your area to see if there are any local tuition centres. Just bear in mind tuition centres can often vary in quality and many of the tutors are not qualified teachers.” – Charles

“Word of mouth is a positive way to find a tutor, however tutors are often fully booked, so may not always be available to help. The child’s school may know of tutors or companies that can support them – The National Tutoring Programme was also introduced in 2020 to provide schools with high-quality catch-up tuition options at a subsidised price. This does mean there are several tuition companies who have been quality assured.” – Josh

“There are a huge number of tutoring agencies on the market and all of them will claim to be outstanding. Independent reviews will give an idea about their true quality. However, even within a single agency, the quality of each tutor may well vary enormously. I would suggest a chemistry meeting and a taster session before committing.” – Mike

What Are Some Of The Qualifications To Look For?

“While the UK does not have any legal requirements for an individual to work as a private tutor, there are many ways you can check for a tutor’s qualifications. You can ask for references from previous clients or copies of any relevant teaching certificates. Some tutors, such as all those collaborating with GoStudent, will possess a safeguarding certificate such as an Enhanced DBS which shows that they have no previous convictions related to working with young people. Having a conversation with the tutor before any session begins will also allow you to see if you feel that they will be the right person.” – Mya

How Do You Enrol A Tutor – Is There Anything You Should Discuss First? 

“The most important point is to be open and honest with the tutor from the start. Many tutors can be put off if a parent hasn’t explained that the child has a learning need, poor concentration or is easily distracted. If the tutor knows this information beforehand, they can prepare the appropriate material for your child and the session. In addition, don’t expect too much after the first few sessions. It takes a few weeks for most tutors to build a relationship with the child and to see your child making progress. Most children, particularly if they are struggling with their learning, will take a few weeks to build their confidence.” – Charles

Tutoring is all about reaching GOALS but these also include raised SELF-ESTEEM and CONFIDENCE, greater RESILIENCE and an interest in themes and concepts linked to the main SUBJECT.

What Can Parents Do To Support The Tutoring? 

“Creating a positive attitude towards tutoring and education is key. Some quick steps you can take include showing active interest in the tutoring sessions and schoolwork and giving genuine, positive praise for any accomplishments. Providing a nice, quiet space for schoolwork, including tutor sessions, can help a student focus and do their best. Consulting with your tutor about any specific subject help or resources you can offer is always recommended. We always make sure the tutor provides the parent with an update after every single lesson, so the parent is completely aware of the material that has been discussed and what went right and wrong.” – Mya

“To support the extra tuition, parents can ask the tutor what they can work on with their child at home and ask about specific methods or strategies for questions because when the parents were at school, the methods could have been different. Depending on the subject that the child is studying, the resources will vary. Amazon is amazing for resources if your child is taking the 11+ – I'd recommend the Bond books: English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning and the website ExamsPapersPlus.co.uk.” – Danielle Baron, tutor & owner of D B Tuition

Editor’s note: We also recommend checking out the free worksheets, exercises and game available via Explore Learning, Teach Your Monster To Read, The Toolbox Handwriting, Top Marks and S-Cool.

How Long Before An Important Exam Should A Tutor Be Brought In?

“Slow and steady is definitely better than cramming. If you were looking at the 11+, for example, we would suggest hiring a tutor for the six to 12 months before, rather than one or two months before the exam. This allows time for the areas of need to be identified, the skills to be developed, and exam techniques to be honed.” – Josh
 

So, Can A Tutor Help You Work Towards A Certain Goal?

“Tutoring is all about reaching various goals. These will usually be academic targets and aspirations. In addition to gaining new skills and knowledge pertaining to the subject being taught, other goals are likely to be achieved. These include raised self-esteem and confidence, greater resilience and an interest in themes and concepts linked to the main subject. Hopefully, you and your child include "enjoyment" as a goal with tutoring. A good tutor will inspire a love of learning in your child and enthusiasm for their subject.” – Mike

Finally, What’s The One Thing About Tutoring All Parents Should Know?

“Boosting confidence is key. That means you need a tutor who can adapt to the student and is good at building rapport. A tutor who comes highly recommended may not end up being right for your child, so it may be a case of trying a few before you find someone that clicks.” – Josh

“A positive relationship between the child and the tutor is imperative. It’s important the child looks forward to the sessions and see themselves as a learner. In our experience, qualified teachers make the best tutors as they are experienced working with all kinds of children and have the specialist training to allow them to support every type of learner.” – Charles

For more information visit TLCLive.com, GoStudent.org, TeachersThatTutor.co.uk & DBTuition.Online. We also recommend reading The Good School’s Guide To Tutors here.

Want to know more? Here are some reputable agencies to look into…

BEST FOR STATE SCHOOLS: The Brilliant Club

The Brilliant Club supports state schools who have faced disruption over the course of the pandemic. Working in tandem with schools to provide extra support in core curriculum subjects, tutors select three modules out of a list to tailor the course to the pupils’ needs. Offering intensive tutorials and heightened support for small groups of four pupils to one tutor, they also measure progress via formative assessments throughout, and an assessment completed at the end of the programme.

Visit TheBrilliantClub.org

BEST FOR NICHE LEARNING: Titanium Tutors

Founded in 2011 and run by a qualified teacher, Titanium represents thousands of inspirational tutors across the UK via Skype, Zoom and Teams, all of whom have immaculate academic records and have been hand-picked by teaching experts. Offering over 200 subjects for all ages and levels, lessons can be tailored to young learners, older learners and even undergraduates and adult learners. Tutors also cover a wide variety of niche subjects from accounting and computer coding to Ancient Greek and memory skills, alongside the usual English, maths and science.

Visit TitaniumTutors.co.uk

BEST FLEXIBLE OPTION: First Tutors

First Tutors puts you in control to choose the private tutors you like at hourly rates. Tutors write their own profiles, so you can get a strong sense of how they approach tuition and if they don't meet your requirements, you can leave feedback to tell the team why and they’ll connect you to another one free of charge. They’ll even take up references and run an identity check for you. Simply pay the one-off fee (between £9.99-£34.99) to start lessons – there are no fixed term commitments or hourly commissions.

Visit FirstTutors.com/UK

BEST IN LONDON: King’s Tutors

King’s Tutors’ services include private tuition and education consultancy. By handpicking the tutors they work with, they can tailor high level of tuition to the individual requirements of their clients – to ensure children reach their full academic potential. The tutors provide advice and academic tuition both in person and online to clients in London, with the principal objective being to help tutees complete the UK’s most competitive entrance and national exams. 

Visit KingsTutors.co.uk

BEST FOR SPECIAL NEEDS: The Specialist Tutoring Co.

This agency uses the latest techniques and technologies to support learners with dyslexia and other learning difficulties, including ADD, ADHD, dyspraxia and autism. They even go as far as offering nutritional guidance and mindfulness techniques to encourage the child's mind/body connection and to help reduce anxiety. Lessons are taught at your home or online and are scheduled at your convenience. Providing qualified, specialist, dyslexia tutors, they’ll give your child the confidence to understand that learning new things can be a fun, enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Visit SpecialistTutoringCompany.co.uk

BEST FOR EXAM PREP: Choice Home Tutoring

Through online learning and home tutoring, Choice support children in primary and secondary school. Parents can choose between a 360° approach or lessons in one or two subjects – the team cover all the main ones, as well as computer science, business studies, arts and performance, and creative writing. Choice can also coach your child through exam prep, and even devise their own mock exams to prepare them ahead of time. They’ll receive one-to-one feedback on how to improve and how to prepare for an exam, both academically and mentally. With seven locations across the UK, as well as extensive selection of online tutors, each plan is personalised and led by educational experts.

Visit ChoiceHomeTutoring.co.uk

BEST FOR ONLINE TUTORING: Tutorful

If you’d rather opt for online-only learning, Tutorful offer one-to-one lessons with experienced tutors. Using impressive technology and videos, children will develop a range of skills and can share their results and progress with both parents and teachers. With access to an interactive whiteboard (a space for making notes, sharing ideas, and getting feedback), and a special screen-sharing function, there’s an extensive range of subjects to choose from, including over 50 languages and computing courses specialising in various software. Suitable for 12- to 18-year-olds, as well as children with special needs, you can look through the tutors online to find the right person.

Visit Tutorful.co.uk

BEST FOR FREE TUTORING: Mentor Jr

If you don’t want to commit to a private tutor, Mentor Jr is a great initiative to get involved in. Set up by Jessie Pitsillides, a sixth form student who wanted to give back to his local community, Mentor Jr matches students to primary school children for free educational support and mentoring. After the pandemic, Jessie decided to launch the online platform, which now provides subject-based tutoring and music lessons, including violin, piano, cello, clarinet, and music theory practice. You can also book university mentors where sixth form students are paired up with younger students to guide them through the UCAS process and higher education applications for diplomas and vocational courses.

Visit MentorJr.com

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at info@sheerluxe.com.

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily