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Incredible insight into the world of high-end tutoring in this week’s Times, which claims some wealthy families from overseas are offering the best-qualified British tutors up to £80,000 a year (including housing) to prepare their kids for the Common Entrance exam, as well as provide GCSEs and A-level help. Wow.

In Korea, spending on after-class tutoring is thought to be almost as large as spending by public high schools and in the UK, an EdPlace study found parents fork out £6bn a year on private tuition with more than a quarter of families using the service, an average spend of nearly £3,000 per year per family.


The article argues that middle-class parents who want to prepare their children for school entrance tests face being priced out of the market by the super-wealthy, often from Europe, Asia and Russia who are willing to do “almost anything” to pin down the best tutors in the scramble for top places and top marks.

I spoke to Lucy, a 29 year old teacher working in a prestigious school in Kingston, Greater London, and asked her about the market for private tutoring where she lives; essentially an affluent, middle-class area of the capital.

“In my experience it’s very common for teachers to sideline with private tutoring – young teachers and part-time teachers in particular use it as a means to supplement their income, it’s very common.

“Most will tutor after school once or twice a week but there are those that only do it during school holidays. There is huge demand in the London area, where there are lots of grammar and high achieving state schools where children are expected to perform highly.

“Demand is particularly high during the Spring term before the exams start in the summer and also during half terms and holidays.

“Most teachers will charge between £25 – £35 depending on their level of experience and position within the school. I know of one teacher who is a head of department who charges £40 per hour.

“The reason why most parents get their kids tutored is to ensure they get decent GCSE grades, there is definitely more demand for GCSE tutoring than A Level.  Also many of them tutor their kids to pass the 11+ test.”

So it seems the market for private tuition is very much alive and kicking, and more used among middle-class families than The Times suggests. Yet with entrance exams becoming more rigorous and competition for school places intensifying, it’s reasonable to surmise that demand will increase yet further and costs will continue to spiral upward.

Where will that leave lower-middle and working-class families, or those from rural areas who struggle to find suitable tutors? They will be left at a serious disadvantage if private tuition continues to be a normal function of family life. Online tutoring is certainly one of the answers – firstly it’s cheaper, the average cost for a qualified tutor per hour on Tutorhub is just £20.

Online tutoring is available to anyone with a decent internet connection, without discrimination. You don’t need to block book tutors for set times over the month, simply log on to the world of learning at your fingertips.





One Response to “The rise and rise of private tutoring – how to keep up with the pack”

  1. Jean-Yves Rollin

    Thank you for your blog (in general) and for this reporting around this article in Times.

    I’m tutoring and e-tutoring in Paris, France, and I don’t recognise a booming market, a least here on the Continent.

    France is the Kingdom of exceptions and peculiarities, as you know it, of having this unique law providing school-aged parents a PAYBACK of one-half of their expenditure (of school-work support to their children). By the way, this acrobatic and anticonstitutional law does not reach its objective (which was, as stated officially, to open this facility to the poorest parents) at all, since the targetted ‘poorest’ cannot pay the expense (in a first step), then wait for a partial reimboursement by the State.

    It does work for an other money reason which stands on a reinforced control (by the State) of THE DECLARATION of the work in SALARY, wages then submitted to the highest* social charge in the world: 83% ! E.g: Should the tutor be given then declared 20 £, it then involve automatically a 16.60£-take by the social administration in the parents’ bank account. Which totals a full-scheme expense for the parent of (20+16,6) £ = 36,6 £. An hourly notch of expense that most families cannot withstand, not to point nowadays at one third of them being jobseekers or pending to become such. *: As far as I know.

    To provide figures is quite impossible since ‘declared work’ – only countable part of this home-work help activity – represents a teeny part of it. Its complement remaining MOONLIGHTING (despite the pre-mentioned money incentive gadget put on by the State, involving ‘the declaration’.).

    One actual data which everyone may note is the volume of PAGES of school-work help OFFERS displaying in ads-sites (LeBonCoin, Vivastreet, Micro-boulots, etc.) – this compared to say a max of one page of often peculiar, rare, or complex, or off-dated demands.

    Tutors-live and same in several European dots:

    I’am honoured of a collaboration (in my topic ‘math’ but also on ‘communication technics’) by and with Tutor-live (a European non-profit organization) and with its CEO Bruno Cancellieri who lately reported in a meeting a likely gloomy landscape on his side: ‘We have more than ten thousand [subscribed] tutors … waiting for students to tutor!’. In turn he monitors few enrolled learners (less than 3% of the tutors, in volume), and even fewer active.

    Could I propose the journalist to cross-channel, and come over here surveying? This might interest your ‘Tutorhub Blog’ audience, might it not?


    Jean-Yves Rollin, tutor & e-tutor in math and languages

    Reply (0) (0)


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