Your Guide To Employing A Private Tutor

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Costs Of Private Tuition In The UK - What Do Private Tutors Charge?

This is one of the most common questions we at Home Tutors Directory get asked by tutees and students. It is dependent on many factors including the experience and qualifications of the tutor. Generally the more qualified and experienced the tutor is the more the parents / student will have to pay for their private tuition sessions. The private tutor may also provide resources and may travel to you so again there will be a higher charge for private tuition in these circumstances to cover the extra costs incurred. For further details of what private tutors charge in the UK, please see the costs of private tuition.


When you have found an appropriate tutor who you are interested in it can be quite daunting knowing what questions to ask and what to look for upon your first meeting. Therefore from our experience of tutoring hundreds of students over several years we have prepared the following guide to help you ask the right questions in order for you to choose the right tutor for you.

Students & Parents Questions To Ask A Private Tutor - How To Choose The Best Private Tutor For You

How to choose the correct private tutor can often be a daunting task if there are an overwhelming number of tutors in your area offering the subject that you require. It is important that when choosing tutors you are able to find the best tutor for your requirements and who will deliver the best service. After you have contacted a private tutor and decided that you wish to go ahead with private tuition, it is advisable to consider the following points :-

Arrange An Initial Tutoring Meeting With The Tutor

The reasons for this are to observe whether the student can get along with tutor. It is essential that the student and tutor can communicate well to enable the student to understand and improve.

Also good tutors plan ahead and can identify areas of weakness that a student is experiencing. If you arrange an initial tutoring consultation with the private tutor, the student and parent have the opportunity to discuss the main areas of difficulty on the syllabus. From this the tutor is able to plan the tutoring sessions more effectively in advance and quickly distinguish the actual topics that they need to tutor to help the student improve.

What to Discuss With The Private Tutor At The Tutoring Consultation

This is a general guide and is dependent on several factors such as the age of the student, the syllabus studied, whether the private tutor will be providing home tutoring in your home etc. Before meeting the private tutor it is advisable to jot down a list of questions that you will want to raise with the tutor. These points may include the following :-

  1. CRB Checks - It more than likely that if you are employing private tutors who are school teachers or are individuals working with vulnerable adults or children in unsupervised circumstances that they will have an enhanced disclosure check. This is a more detailed form of checking than the basic CRB check. Some private tutors do not have CRB checks if they have not worked in the aforementioned capacity. It is worth mentioning here that CRB checks are not mandatory for private tutors and that CRB checks are not infallible either. That said if you are employing a private tutor it is up to you whether you ask for proof from the tutor of a CRB check. Concerns may arise is you have young children more than if the student is for example a mature student or a student studying an A-Level course or FE qualification. If a parent is unsure or feels concerned, they may want to ask the tutor to see their disclosure confirmation. This is proof that they have a current CRB check.
  2. Private Tutor Qualifications - Obviously the more qualified a tutor is, you would expect the tutor to have more knowledge regarding their subject specialism. From our experience of private tutoring of nearly twenty years we have seen an influx of private tutors with less than a degree qualification, offering a private tuition service. Most reputable tutoring companies and tutoring agencies require a minimum of a degree qualification to register their services as a private tutor. Home Tutors Directory is no exception to this rule and we always ask that the private tuition advertisers on our site have at least a degree or HND qualification.
  3. Does A Private Tutor Need A PGCE To Provide Private Tutoring ? - A Postgraduate Certificate Of Education (PGCE) is obtained by a graduate if they wish to teach in a school or an F.E. college to a group of students. If a private tutor does not have PGCE status it does not mean they will not be an efficient tutor. Private tutors with teaching and non teaching backgrounds can be equally successful at improving the student's confidence and understanding. More often what a parent or student should be concerned with is what the tutor specialised in for their first degree. This will indicate that the tutor has a good grasp of the subject knowledge. Also take into consideration that private tuition is carried out in a one to one environment not to large groups of learners. Private tutors do not require the skills obtained from a PGCE that qualify teachers to deliver to large groups of students in a classroom or lecture theatre environment.
  4. Experienced Private Tutors - Should Parents Ask For References ? - The art of becoming a successful private tutor, takes time. After nearly twenty years in the private tutoring business, we are still learning. It is believed that the more private tuition experience that a tutor has, the better they are. However there is no guarantees that the tutor has the ability to improve grades because they have a great deal of tutoring experience. However it can be concluded that the more tuition experience a private tutor has the better.

    Some parents and students do request references from private tutors, however if a tutor has been recommended to a student this is very rare. Whether you ask a tutor for references depends on the circumstances of where you received their details from. The choice lies with the parent and student.

  5. What Is The Tutor's Experience With Syllabi Or The National Curriculum ? - This is important because a good tutor who has experience of private tutoring will know the specific requirement areas of different syllabi and the national curriculum. This is because they will have tutored it many times before. The tutor that you employ should be familiar with specific aspects of the syllabus the student needs to cover. This will help the student understand and they will get more from the private tuition sessions.
  6. Private Tutor Resources- Engaging a student's interest in order to improve their understanding is paramount when you are a private tutor. If the student understands they gain confidence and an improvement can be observed much more quickly. Therefore the more resources that a tutor can use in the private tuition lesson, the better. In this case you may wish to ask the tutor if they provide resources for the student. Resources that can be included in the tutoring session include topic plans to improve understanding, worksheets and exam questions to indicate whether the student is improving and past examination papers to help to predict grades.
  7. Educational Resources For Students To Buy - Most private tutors provide resources when they offer private tuition, however, you as a parent or student can help too. You can ask the private tutor for any advice regarding educational resources you can provide such as revision guides, software to use on laptops or PC's and any relevant websites that a student can consult.
  8. Updates On Student Progress and How To Contact The Tutor - Often private tutors do not regularly come into contact with parents or guardians. However the parent will want to enquire if the student is making progress from the private tutoring provided. Therefore you may wish to ask the tutor if they provide regular updates about student progress and arrange a convenient time for you to contact the tutor. Good tutors generally keep records for each student and can therefore quickly gather this information to give you feedback regarding progress. Remember to ask the tutor the best times for telephone contact. Most tutors are happy to speak with parents, however be considerate regarding the times and days that you contact the tutor. For example contacting them at 10.00pm on a weekday evening or a 7.00am on a Saturday morning is not really appropriate. You may laugh, however this has happened to us on the odd occasion when we first started providing a private tuition service.
  9. Private Tutors' Cancellation Fees - Many tutors charge cancellation fees. Before you arrange regular tuition, you will need to ask the tutor about their terms and conditions. Bear in mind that not all tutors have the same terms so it is not safe to assume this. Some tutors may ask for payment in advance and if a student cancels the lesson without sufficient notice, then they forfeit the tutoring fee. Others ask for twenty four hours notice. Some tutors may ask for a full or part cancellation fee. Please consider the private tutor and remember for some that private tuition is their main income. It is only fair to give a tutor notice if you need to cancel tuition, or alternatively pay a cancellation fee. It is extremely frustrating for tutors when students cancel at the last minute. Often other students ask for extra lessons and if you do not give the tutor notice regarding cancellations, it may be too too late for the tutor to fill the cancelled slot with another of their students. This results in the tutor loosing out financially. We stress that it is important that before you begin tuition that you clarify the terms and conditions of the private tutor.
  10. Establishing The Number Of Private Tuition Lessons - The number of lessons is dependent per student. This can vary due to when the student commences tuition and how near it is to exams. Other factors to take into consideration are the ability of the student, the level of achievement that the student needs to obtain and the level of tutoring required. If you begin tuition early on in the academic year (not pending re-sits) or at the start of a course, a recommended number of lessons is one hour each week, for each subject. If you feel that you require more tutoring later, you can always ask the tutor of their availability. Good, reputable tutors get booked up quickly, especially near exams. Therefore you will need to keep this in mind and ask for extra tutoring early if required.
  11. Starting Tuition Early - Once you have identified that private tuition is required, it is best to start looking for a suitable private tutor as early as possible. Leaving tutoring until the last minute can be detrimental. Firstly it is much more effective to have regular lessons over the course of a year or at least several months. If you start tuition late, the student will be effectively cramming. Thus resulting in the student being overstretched with work. It is also more difficult for the tutor because they will need to cover months of work in a short time period, often not having the time to cover all areas of weakness. The student will be unlikely to get the best possible result and reach their full potential. Therefore try to start tuition as early as possible.

Cancelling A Private Tutor - When to Stop Private Tuition

There are a majority of private tutors who are highly professional and have an excellent approach to private tuition. However as in all professions there is a downside and there are tutors who do not provide a good tutoring service. If you are not receiving the level of service you would expect from the tutor, it is advisable to raise these issues with them. Following this if there is no improvement you must speak up and terminate the lessons. The following signs of tutors who do not present themselves in a professional capacity can fall into the following categories -

  • Private tutors who are not punctual and have bad time keeping. - Tutors who are forever arriving late to deliver tutoring, or even worse do not arrive at all and do not give you any notice.
  • Tutors who are always altering the days and times of appointments and lessons. - Reputable tutors organise tuition in advance and tend to allocate specific times and days for each individual student an keep to these during the course of the tuition. Both parties may need to cancel and reschedule on the odd occasion. However if a tutor is frequently changing the days and times for private tuition, this is a strong indicator that the tutor has little commitment to both student and parent.
  • Tutors who do not turn up. - For a student to progress, it must be reiterated that that they require regular tuition usually on a weekly basis. Alarm bells should ring when a tutor regularly cancels at short notice and does not seem to be interested in rearranging the private tuition slots. If the scenario arises whereby you have booked one tutoring lesson per week and find you actually see the tutor one week in three, you need to act and consider looking for another tutor. This shows lack of commitment from the tutor and they are not taking the tutoring seriously. The odds are are that this a sideline job to them. You need to address this situation because the tutor is not providing you with the level of service that you would expect a professional tutor to give.

By Jayne Thomas Co-founder of Home Tutors Directory

Home Tutors Directory has listings of tutors, tutoring agencies and tuition agencies across the whole of the UK including tutors providing tutoring for the following :

  • Private Education
  • Preschool education and early childhood education
  • Primary education i.e. KS1, KS2, 11+ (eleven plus)
  • Further education and college education i.e A-Level, NVQs, GNVQs
  • Higher education and Graduate Education i.e. student tutors for individuals studying for an educational degree i.e Bachelors, BA, BSc, Masters Education, MSc, MA, M.Phil, PhD education degrees
  • Online Education, Distance Education and Internet tuition
  • Language Tutors, Language Tutoring and Language Tuition
  • EFL Tutors, ESL Tutors, TEFL Tutors
  • Music Tutors

Still interested in reading more articles relating to private tutoring ? Please visit private tuition articles for further research.

Do you still have a question we have not answered? Why not have a look at our Frequently asked questions.

If you have reached this page and are looking to find tutors or a tutoring agency, click on the links below to find private tutors providing private tuition in your area.

Good Luck with your search!
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