I’ve written extensively before about how to find a good private tutor (see an example here). However, as we emerge from the restrictions put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I feel compelled to publish some updated thoughts.
With a worrying number of children trailing behind where they would otherwise be, it comes as no surprise that an increasing number of parents are turning to private tuition to catch up.
As new entrants to hiring private tutors, Google is asked thousands of times how to find a good tutor…
And it’s precisely here that many take a wrong turn.
The top spots on Google are usually the reserve of advertisers, whereas many of the more established tutors, such as me, rely on being found organically, letting our websites, word of mouth referrals and testimonials do the promotion for us.
What often occurs is parents click on the top link and assume they must be the best. Invariably, the company will be a portal or agency for a range of tutors of mixed experience. Many will be transient, between jobs, resting actors and increasingly, recent graduates.
How does one establish whether appropriate qualifications are held?
Does a new degree make for an excellent tutor?
Does a recent graduate have the life experience to be able to coach a student through a crisis of confidence?
It’s also worth pointing out that the essential move to everything online has exacerbated the problem and we’ve seen a vast number of people attempt to trade as private tutors.
The truth is that there’s no formalised accreditation to be a private tutor. No OFSTED and no ‘Kitemark’ to give clarity and reassurance. So, it’s up to parents to do your research and carry out appropriate due diligence.
The easiest approach is per the above. Assume that by clicking on an agency ad that quality is assured.
It’s worth keeping in mind that many of the best tutors do no work through agencies. They simply have no need as their reputations speak for themselves and they are booked up year after year thanks to word of mouth recommendations and extensive public testimonials of their successful engagements.
It’s saddening to think of how many parents have taken what appears to be a cheap option, only to come to me months later with extensive catching up to do for their child.
Another missed overlooked consideration is ensuring that your chosen tutor is up to speed with all new changes to the curriculum, not just right now but on an ongoing basis.
Additionally, every parent should ensure they ask the question about DBS checks. Most reputable tutors will have this in place. Is it fool proof? No, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Tutors should also be able to provide references. In speaking to a brand-new tutor, while they may not have tutor-specific references, it is still worth gaining character references.
Furthermore, at MST we believe that a good private tutor will deliver far more than a thorough understanding of the subject matter and great exam results. A great tutor will inspire and build confidence that a student can take with them for life. In fact, this is one of the joys of being a successful private tutor!
A genuine passion for education is vital, for tutoring and for helping students to excel. Credentials are for nothing without the ability to connect with a student and to encourage the best from them. In my opinion, this can be one of the most overlooked traits when looking for the best tutor for your child.
As an example, this is feedback I received after a trial lesson recently:
“We’re really pleased that you are happy to tutor our son. I feel you have understood his maths need brilliantly after one session! He was really enthusiastic afterwards too – which is great”.
This is part of what you are paying for in skilled, passionate and professional tutor.
I will leave you with a couple of quotes:
“The best way to find a good tutor is through word of mouth. Other parents (with no connection to the tutor) are more reliable than any advert, open testimonial or ‘independent’ website rating.” Shaun Fenton, Headmaster of Reigate Grammar School
“The best tutors are usually the local ones who are knowledgeable and experienced and whose names are guarded by your friends and neighbours until their children no longer need tutoring.” Susan Hamlyn, Director of The Good Schools Guide Advice Service
As always, if I can be of assistance, do feel free to get in contact for advice or to discuss your specific requirements.
0207 686 4307