Safety Advice for Parents and Carers: references and DBS checks
The Tutor Pages is not an Agency
Over 200,000 UK parents, carers and others have used The Tutor Pages as a trusted way of finding private tuition for themselves or their children. The Tutor Pages is not a tuition agency, but is instead an online publication which accepts advertising from tutors and tuition centres. It is important to understand this distinction because it means that:-
1. If you're over 18 years of age, you can contact tutors on our website free of charge, and without the need to log in. After using our tutor search facility, either click on their contact me button, or click through to their own website to contact them there. Payment is a private arrangement between you and the tutor.
2. The profiles you see on our website are all adverts, and so we don't perform background checks on the tutors listed. Any tuition arrangement you enter into is your responsibility, and so you'll need to make sure that:
- the tutor is safe for you or your child
- the tutor has been truthful in the information they've provided in their profile
- the tutor is competent in the services they offer
- you understand the payment terms and conditions which the tutor offers you
Some tutors have subscribed at a Gold or Silver level, meaning that they can display additional information on their profile. Gold and Silver level are not an indication of the quality of tuition provided.
Why do we work it this way?
The major reason is the cost benefit to both the enquirer and tutor. Using the services of a tuition agency will mean paying an introductory fee and/ or commission on every hour that you study. If you're confident in making an assessment of the tutor yourself (and we show you how to below), then hiring a tutor directly can certainly be a good option.
A direct arrangement with the parent or student is the method of choice for many well-qualified and experienced tutors. This way of working has always worked well for private music tuition, and we're extending the principle to academic and other types of tuition.
What if I have a complaint about a tutor?
The Tutor Pages cannot control what happens between students and tutors once they decide to meet in person. However, if you encounter behaviour that you think might be harmful to other students, contact us with full details and we may, at our sole discretion, suspend or delete the offending tutor’s profile.
Please note that The Tutor Pages will not get involved in any disputes between students and tutors.
A Word on Contracts
Tutors may present you with a written contract, or it may be a verbal contract. In our advice to tutors, we recommend the use of a written contract, and this is because 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. We include a sample contract in our free e-book for tutors.
The terms of a contract are for you and the tutor to negotiate. This means that any agreement you make is with the tutor and not with The Tutor Pages. Finally, use of this website means that you agree to our own terms and conditions.
Safety Advice For Parents and Carers
While the vast majority of private tutors are reputable, we recognise that parents and carers still need to be cautious when hiring a private tutor directly. So here is our 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. Tutors who have had a DBS check will say so in the interview section of their Tutor Pages profile, and you can ask to see their DBS disclosure certificate when you meet them. However, please remember that paper credentials are no substitute for parental vigilance, that many excellent tutors do not possess a DBS certificate, and that it is not a legal requirement for tutoring.
- ask the tutor for details of two referees, and follow them both up with a phone call.
- 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, and then contact the relevant accreditation body or organisation.
- ask the tutor pro-active questions, listen for inconsistencies in information you are being told and observe body language.
- 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 study space.
- trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid of calling off the lessons if you or your child feels uncomfortable.
For more information on keeping your child safe, please visit the NSPCC website or the Stop it Now! campaign website. For confidential, professional support on any parenting, family or bullying issue we recommend the free helpline service provided by the UK charity Family Lives.
For further information on private tuition in general, do visit our private tuition blog for parents and students.
Safety Advice For Students
While the vast majority of tutors are reputable, students should still bear in mind their personal safety when meeting a tutor for the first time. The Suzy Lamplugh Trust campaigns on all areas personal safety, and we've based the following tips on their expert advice:
- try to talk on the phone before meeting. Ask pro-active questions, and listen for inconsistencies in information you are being told.
- trust your instinct and don’t be afraid to call off the meeting if you feel worried.
- meet in daylight, and in a public place if possible.
- don’t let anyone pick you up by car.
- take your mobile phone with you, and possibly a personal alarm.
- tell a friend or family member where you are going, and when you expect to return.
- if you are visiting someone’s home, ask if anyone else is going to be there and, if you’re concerned, also ask about any pets.
- if someone is visiting your home, let them know that a friend or family member may also be there.
Safety Advice For Tutors
Our acclaimed free e-book for tutors contains a wealth of advice on all aspects of tutor safety.