There can be a lot of pressure on youngsters to achieve certain goals – if they hit a block on a particular topic a private tutor can help, not least to restore confidence.
While a school will be doing its best, there are times when a good tutor could make all the difference to a child’s approach to a subject they find challenging, especially when exam time looms.
According to The Tutors’ Association, which represents the tutoring industry, it is estimated that there are more than a quarter of a million tutors in the UK. Their details come up on all sorts of search groups; many work as part of agencies, others work independently. You’re as likely to find a good tutor advertising on a card in a shop window.
Word of mouth recommendation from someone you know is a good start, but as every child and their individual need is different, it’s essential to do your own research. Being a member of The Tutors’ Association will tell you that the tutor has signed up to a 16 point code of ethics which includes elements such as confidentiality, duty of care, and keeping up with subject knowledge, as well as a child safeguarding policy. Members are also encouraged to complete courses, such as those run by the NSPCC.
Ruth Palomino, spokesperson for The Tutors’ Association, suggests that parents speak to the tutor to find out about their background, qualifications and experience. Have they had a DBS check? Ask about their own code of practice, terms and conditions, as well as payment terms. Ruth says “Check references, CV, and qualifications. Understand their background and be open minded.”
Online tutoring is becoming popular, however, though it might offer convenience, it is not necessarily cheaper than face-to-face help. As Ruth points out, handling this type of lesson requires specific skills to ensure that the pupil’s attention is fully maintained.
Although The Tutors’ Association do not offer a directory of tutors, they are happy to help advise parents in their decision making.
HERE’S WHAT THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TOLD US:
- Nothing is more important than the safety of children and if parents decide to employ a private tutor for their children they should assure themselves of a tutor’s suitability beforehand.
- There are a range of checks parents can carry out, including checking the outcomes of the teacher misconduct panel hearings to see if a private tutor has been prohibited from teaching. (Search: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/teaching-regulation-agency)
- In addition to asking to see a private tutor’s basic DBC (Disclosure and Barring Service) certificate, we would encourage parents to consider what other information may be available to help them assess a tutor’s suitability to work with their children. We would recommend that parents confirm a tutor’s identity. Testimonials from parents and/or students themselves will help provide reassurance about the tutor’s teaching ability and also about the way in which they interact with the student.
- A parent should arrange that home tutoring takes place in a place in the home that allows the parent access to enable them to supervise.