According to the Sutton Trust’s 2011 report, nearly a quarter (23%) of schoolchildren receive private or home tuition at some point during their school careers, up from 18% in 2005, so it’s clearly an increasingly popular solution for parents looking to help their child get to grips with a subject they find challenging, or help them ensure the very best grades in upcoming exams.
Not only that but a good tutor will be able to highlight strengths and identify perceived weaknesses and consider all areas of development i.e. physical development such as hand/eye co-ordination if a child is struggling with handwriting; intellectual development such as concentration skills, processing of facts and so on; language development such as verbal and written communication skills or ability to learn and correctly use new vocabulary; and emotional and social skills so that a child develops social skills and builds confidence to express themselves emotionally.
If you’re considering hiring a private tutor, there are a number of things to consider before doing so.
For example, would you prefer an online tutor or face-to-face visits. Online study can prove slightly more cost-effective and gives you wider choice since tutors needn't be geographically close to you, however it is better suited to certain lesson types over others.
Handwriting support, for example, is better delivered in person, but language lessons may work well online. Of course, it also depends on the preferred learning style of the child, and those who struggle with concentration are often better suited to a quiet, face-to-face environment.
If you opt for face-to-face tuition, an important early consideration is how you will provide an appropriate study space. While a separate room for study may be a luxury, a dining room or kitchen table can be equally good provided there are no distractions. This of course holds true for homework and home study in general too.
Both a face-to face and an online tutor should also be able to demonstrate and show you examples of some session plans, together with how progress is recorded and feedback given. You and you child should feel confident that you will work well with the tutor.
Where safety is concerned, all private tutors must have a current DBS check, which recently replaced the old CRB checks. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. Ask to see a copy of your tutors certificate before you begin working together.
All tutors should also be able to provide at least two professional references will full contact details. Even with glowing references, important to call at least a couple of the names given to ensure that both the children and the parents/carers are as happy as they appear to be on paper.
Because private tutors deliver lessons outside of the formal education system, there are no formal qualifications required to be a private tutor and there is no accreditation system currently in place for tutors in the UK. That said, it is still important to look for a tutor with qualifications and age group experience relevant to your requirements.
You might prefer to favour a tutor with qualified teacher or lecturer status, or consider a degree level qualification in the subject taught to be sufficient. If the lessons are intended to bring your chid up to speed with a particular area of the curriculum or upcoming exam, you will probably want to find a tutor who is up-to-date with the relevant curriculum they will be teaching, be it Early Years Foundation Stage, the National curriculum (to include GCSE and A level), or indeed vocational subjects such as Salon Services or Child Care. Exam boards differ so check that the syllabus is the same as the ones employed in school or college if relevant.
Many parents opt to go through a private tuition agency to help find a personal tutor, since it cuts out a lot of the groundwork. Most reputable agencies will gather employment and education history, references and DCBS before signing a new tutor on to their books, so that it’s all ready for your to review on request. All you'll need to do is tell the agency about your requirements, review their suggestions (and their documents, as described above), interview your preferred candidate and chat with references to make sure the tutor is right for you and your child.
This is a commissioned for Fleet Tutors, who offer just such a service. You can learn about them at www.fleettutors.co.uk