There are several reasons why you would want a tutor for your child but whatever the reason there are some important points that need to be considered.
Do you use an agency or an independent tutor?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both as you can imagine.
At the bottom of this post I have included some links to various tutor agencies based around the UK.
Advantages of an agency
- They usually have a range of tutors
- Tutors with an agency should have a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check before they are allowed to work for them.
- Good agencies will have an interview and selection process.
- They usually have good information and contact details on their website.
Disadvantages of an agency
- This can be quite impersonal.
- They are usually more expensive as the agencies fees will have to be taken into account.
- Finding a reputable agency that serves your area may be difficult.
Advantages of Independent Tutors
- You won’t be paying for agency fees.
- Can sometimes be found by recommendations.
- They are usually well known locally.
Disadvantages of Independent Tutors
- It can take a long time searching in your area.
- The DRB will have to be checked.
What do I need to know about the tutor?
References and Testimonials
It’s good to look at these for a general idea about the tutor but remember you will see the good comments not necessarily any negative points.
One testimonial or one hundred doesn’t mean the tutor will be right for your child.
Just because someone has a teaching degree doesn’t make them an excellent teacher. Although it is, of course, a guide showing that they have studied to teach.
If you employ a tutor without qualifications I would suggest you have a look at their past successes with tutoring. If possible talk to other parents who may have used them.
This is difficult to decide but I think if you have found someone with the same ethos as you and they are someone with whom your child relates well, give them a trial. For security though, stay close by.
A tutor needs no formal qualification to teach in the UK.
What is their teaching style?
A good tutor should be able to offer a good indication of their teaching style.
Do they have a plan for learning?
- Are they able to be spontaneous and take advantage of situations eg a rainbow in the sky?
- Is their plan suitably structured?
Does their style suit your child’s way of learning?
- Will the tutor adapt their style to help your child more effectively.
What is the price of their services?
- Tutors normally charge per hour/session. It is important to make sure the price is confirmed and, hopefully put in writing.
- The price of a tutor can vary wildly but just because one may charge a high amount does guarantee good results. In the same way, a cheaper tutor may be the best for your child.
- Some tutors may give a discount if they are working with small groups of children.
Small group or one to one?
This really depends on lot of factors.
- Child’s learning style
- Subject being taught
- Age of child
- The end result eg, ‘A’ levels, 11 plus etc.
- With a language subject, English as a second language, etc working within a small group may be more beneficial than one to one teaching.
- Preparation for an exam may need more intense learning and a one to one situation will be more useful.
Other points to consider
Cost. Tutoring is expensive and can take children away from other beneficial after school activities.
Time. Children spend long hours in school, supposedly, learning. When they come home are they too tired for more learning?
Quality time. Parents seem to have less and less time to spend with their children but if you are able to make some quality time with your child, this could many more positive effects than an hour with a tutor.
Whatever you decide, it must be right for your child and for you. Just because other children cope with one method doesn’t mean it’s right for your child.
If tutoring works well it can be a boost for the child’s self esteem and confidence.
If tutoring doesn’t work it can have the opposite effect.
What are your views?
Have you have any good (or bad) experiences with a tutor?
Here are some agencies that may be useful in your search for a tutor. I have searched the internet for this list and so have no personal experience of them. I thought it may help.