While the vast majority of private tutors are reputable, parents and carers still need to be cautious when hiring a private tutor directly.
Here is The Tutor Pages advice for contacting independent tutors:
Consider hiring a tutor who has an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) check. The Disclosure & Barring Service perform a DBS check on anyone before they work at schools, charities or other organisations to make sure there is no known reason why they may not work with children or vulnerable adults.
Ask the tutor for details of two referees, and follow them both up with a phone call. In addition, ask the tutor for details of the parents of some current or former students, and follow them up with a phone call.
Check to see whether the tutor is properly accredited and qualified by asking to see evidence such as certificates. Verify these by contacting the relevant accreditation body or organisation.
Safe Study Space
Be clear where the tutoring will take place and who will be present. You may wish either to be present in the same room, or to leave the door open and enter the room at random. The child’s bedroom is not a suitable private tuition space.
Make sure that all communications – whether by email, phone or otherwise – are with you and not your child. At the very least you should be copied into such communications.
A Word on Contracts
We recommend the use of a written contract between yourself and the tutor as it sets out clear boundaries and raises expectations all round.
If a tutor doesn’t use a written contract, you may wish to suggest using one in the interests of maintaining a clear and professional relationship. A sample contract is included in The Tutor Pages’ free e-book for tutors.
Ask the tutor pro-active questions, listen for inconsistencies in information you are being told and observe body language. Trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid of calling off the lessons if you or your child feels uncomfortable.
Suggested questions to ask a tutor you are considering for your child include:
- How much experience do you have?
- Can you provide a reading list?
- Which study books do you recommend?
- How do you measure students’ progress?
- Do you provide periodic progress reports?
- Where do you teach?
- Do you provide online tuition?
- Can I wait in another room at your home?
- Can I watch the lesson?
- How many hours per week are usually necessary?
- Do you set homework?
- How many hours a week should my child study/practice at home?
- Do you offer discounts for block bookings or concessions?
- Do you charge for travel?
- When does tuition normally begin for school exams?
- What are the requirements for local school entrance exams?
For confidential, professional support on any parenting, family or bullying issue we recommend the free helpline service provided by the UK charity Family Lives.