The private tuition industry is booming. Increasing competition, over-stretched schools and an ever-increasing pace of change are prompting parents to turn to tutors to give their children the edge. But with a proliferation of agencies, freelancers and online giants all promising results, what should parents really be looking for when choosing a tutor for their family?
Securing a place at a top school or university continues to be one of the main drivers behind private tuition. Whether it’s for the 11+ or an Oxbridge interview, it’s important to find a tutor that has experience in preparing students for challenging entrance exams. That doesn’t just require extensive subject-matter knowledge – the best tutors will have a sound understanding of the whole application process. This is particularly valuable for families who have relocated from overseas, and may not be familiar with the UK education system.
One of the widely recognised benefits of tuition is the one-to-one focus it provides. As school classes get bigger and children’s needs become more diverse, the attention of a private tutor can see students leap up the grade tables. But the success of this approach relies on an effective personal relationship between tutors and their students. It’s the tutors that can build mutual trust and respect, who understand their students’ unique needs and know how to challenge appropriately, who will really get results.
The need for a good working relationship doesn’t stop with the students. Top tutors will be adept communicators with all their stakeholders – from parents and prospective schools to teachers and other tutors. By recognising the blended nature of learning, and working together to create lesson plans that complement rather than conflict or compete, great tutors can shape a child’s whole educational experience.
The role of a tutor may be to guide their students’ learning, but that doesn’t mean their own learning should come to an end. Parents should look for tutors that are invested in their own development – who seek feedback to continually improve themselves, and their services.
Tuition is a significant investment for parents, and as more families turn to private tutors the margins for success are becoming slimmer. That means doing your homework – but while you’re checking academic credentials and exam track records, make sure you consider how your tutor will fit with your family, and whether they can provide the nurturing support that’s right for your child.