The past decade has seen a real boom in the home tutoring trade; despite the worldwide recession, parents are spending more on personalised tuition. Education charity, the Sutton Trust, reveal that while some 18 per cent of children in the UK received private tuition in 2005, that number had risen to 23 per cent by 2011-2012.
If in the past, parents were rather discrete about the subject of their child needing tutoring, nowadays, it’s all about finding the best tutor for their money. If you feel your child could do better in certain subjects, or there are other reasons why you feel they are not reaching their full potential (especially if they have a learning disability or they suffer from conditions like shyness), a tutor can be of great help. But how to choose the right match for your child?
We offer you our list of Top 10 Tips for Finding a Good Tutor:
1. Ask other parents for recommendations: If a tutor is working very well with their children, there is a good chance that they will be able to help your child as well. See about organising small group sessions, to keep the cost per child down.
2. Enquire at your child’s school about teachers who also offer extra tuition. While it is true that you do not have to be a teacher to inspire and teach children, a qualified teacher will appeal to many as they are familiar with the core subject matter for different key stages, know how to deal with behavioural issues and they usually have access to a host of material which may make the classes more enjoyable and useful for your child.
3. Consider online tutoring. Home tutoring does not come cheap, with local tutors normally charging £30 – £60 per hour, and popular tutors charging as much as £150. Online tutoring is much more affordable – normally around £20 per hour, it’s cheaper as you are not paying for travel time.
Delivering tutoring direct into your home over your pc or laptop, a tutor will be able to talk to your child, use an online whiteboard and features like file sharing to make the lesson as effective as it would be if it were face to face. All you need to get going is a headset with a microphone, usually available for less than £10.
Good online tutoring websites will ensure that tutors are DBS / CRB checked, so that you know that they are safe to work with children. They will also have a long list of available online tutors, widening your choice when looking for a tutor.
4. Talk to tutoring agencies: Most tutoring agencies are local, though there are a few national agencies as well – these are easily found in the Yellow Pages. Good tutoring agencies make it easy to find a perfect match for your child, since they normally employ tutors who specialises in specific ages and subjects. If your child has dyslexia or other special education needs, good agencies should also be able to provide you with specialist qualified teachers.
5. Local shop windows and newspaper ads: If you do opt for a private tutor this way, please make sure they are able to provide you with a DBS / CRB certificate and references, and make sure that you follow these up – there is no agency doing this for you.
6. Turn to Friends: If you don’t have the budget for private tutoring, have you thought about turning to close friends or other parents you know and trust? Tutoring ideally is an on-going effort, but if your child is stuck on one nasty area of learning (e.g. calculus), a good friend may be able to clear the road to learning for your child in as little as one session.
7. Consider tutoring your child yourself: Sites like Home Education UK will provide information and resources which will help you gain confidence to teach your child at home full-time or simply provide them with extra tuition.
8. Check out online recommendations. Forums like Mumsnet or popular tutor listing websites may help you narrow your search down. Be aware that many online tutor directories will charge you for the introduction to a good tutor.
9 Education and childcare sites can be very informative. Check out childcare.co.uk, for instance, which offers information on tutor in various subjects, including Mandarin, swimming and cookery!
10 If your child has special needs, ask their SENCO to recommend a tutor who has experience in teaching children with your child’s special needs. The SENCO’s duties include assessing, planning, monitoring and reviewing your child’s education and progress. They are therefore a great place to start when it comes to assessing your child’s strong and weak points, and in recommending help from a private tutor where necessary.
Well, here are our top 10 ways of finding a tutor. If you have found another, please share it with us in the comments section.
Finally, all that is left is to wish you the best of luck finding the right tutor for you!