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Private tutors – your questions answered

Desk with lots of learning gear on it
Giving children a bit of extra support with their learning is something many parents choose to do. We take a look at what you need to consider when choosing a tutor.

How do I pick a tutor?

First and foremost a tutor should have a DBS certificate verifying that they have been checked and passed to work with children. So ask about the tutor's CRB checks, and make your own.

Always follow up references if you are employing someone directly. Parents can ask tutors to show them a copy of their DBS certificate, which they receive to prove they have been checked and cleared to work with children.

They can also check with the General Teaching Council as all qualified teachers are required by law to register with the Council.

What else should I look for in a tutor?

You generally want a tutor who is committed, works well with your child, and has a good grasp of their subject.

The best way to find one who fits this profile is to ask for and follow up on references. If these check out you should then interview the tutor together with your child. Your child could come up with one or two questions to ask during the interview, so you can watch how well they get on. Don’t forget to ask for your child’s verdict afterwards!

Is a tutor that comes to the house best?

You can choose to employ a home tutor, or one that works online or out of a centre. Each type of tutor service has its own pros and cons, so your choice will depend on what suits you and your child. It may also depend on what the tutor teaches, too. For example, if there is special equipment that a tutor needs, such as a piano or science resources, then it may be better for the child to go to the tutor.

Home tutors

Home visits may be more convenient in terms of keeping an eye on what takes place, not having to leave the home if you have other children and getting more involved in what your child is learning, creating a team effort involving the child, tutor and parents.

Tutoring centres

A centre has the advantage of giving your child the opportunity to learn alongside others but in a much smaller group than at school. This means that your child still gets the opportunity to practise learning independently without feeling conscious while the tutor goes off and attends to someone else.

Online tutoring

This method has been gaining popularity in recent years. Online tutors tend to offer lessons using a web-based platform and can work out to be flexible and affordable. The online advantage is that your child can often work at their own pace, saving work to return to later, and can work from the comfort of home.

How long should a tutor session last?

A period of 40 minutes may be the best option for younger children and up to an hour and a half for teens.

What does tutoring cost?

As there is no general scale of fees, tutors will set their own rates. Ask about how they set their rate and do some comparisons with other tutors. Some tutors may include materials such as worksheets or music scores in their fees. They may also encompass a cost to travel to your home. So bear these factors in mind.

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