7 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Tutor

There are a number of key questions that you need to ask yourself before you start the search for a tutor for your child. Do you want one to one tuition? Do you want the tutor to come to you or are you happy to go to the tutor’s house? What qualifications are important to you? How important is it that they’re DBS checked (formally CRB)? How important is it for them to get on well with your child? How much time can you devote to finding the right tutor for your child? All these questions are important because it will influence where you start your search.

1) Do you want one to one tuition? 

One to one tuition enables a completely tailored solution for your child, working just on the areas that they need to focus on. Small group tuition is often a cheaper solution, but inevitably will be less focused on the exact needs of your child. Group tuition is often offered in training centres, which will require travel to their site.

2) Do you want the tutor to come to your home? 

Work patterns, childcare and other siblings will largely dictate if you’re able or willing to take your child to a tutor. Some tutors will travel to you; others will only tutor at their home. 

3) Do you need the tutor to be DBS (formerly CRB) checked?

If the tutor is tutoring in your home, it’s always good practice to use a space that’s in easy view – a kitchen or dining room table, with the door ajar. You don’t want the tutor to feel scrutinised, but being in view is advisable.
A DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service), formerly CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check ensures the tutor has no previous criminal convictions. It’s advisable to ensure this is in place, done by a reputable organisation, especially if you’re dropping off the student at their address.

4) What qualifications and experience do you want the tutor to have?

The qualifications you want the tutor to have will most likely vary depending on the age of your child. At Primary, Pre-Prep and Prep, the models for teaching subjects, especially maths, are very different from those that are used in Secondary and Senior School. It’s advisable to have a tutor who has experience of the Primary, Prep and/or Pre-Prep curriculum, so that the correct methodologies are taught.  
For GCSE and A level, subject knowledge is important, but also exam technique and familiarity with the exam board that your child is sitting.  

5) How do I find a tutor?

Word of mouth is often a good route to find a tutor, but individuals do tend to get oversubscribed and you may have to travel to them, which can be awkward when you’ve work and/or siblings to negotiate around. It must also be kept in mind that the tutor that suits the child of a friend or acquaintance may not be the best fit for your child.
There are various sites on the internet which list tutors, their qualifications and experience. There is usually a fee to release their contact details and you may need to contact a number before you find the right tutor for you. 
There are organisations that will source a tutor for you. These vary from simply providing the name of a suitably qualified tutor in your geography to those who will visit you in your home and personality interview the tutors to ensure a good personality match too.

6) How do I ensure a good personality match between my child and tutor?

How the tutor gets on with your child can make a significant difference to how effective the tuition is. It’s probably as important as how qualified the tutor is and if they have the right skills and experience to teach your child.
If you are sourcing your own tutor, then this really is a ‘suck it and see’ process. Some tutors will suggest an initial lesson to see how it goes. If you’re using an organisation to find a tutor, there is generally a good understanding of your needs and ethos which enables a good match to the tutor’s skills and personality.

7) How much time can you devote to the search?

Checking qualifications and DBS, taking up references and interviewing tutors can be a time consuming process. If you’re not able to devote the time, it’s worth looking at organisations that can put that work in for you. They also tend to have access to tutors who are not advertising on the tutoring websites, which can a hugely useful, especially if you’re wanting a qualified teacher or are in a location where there are fewer tutors advertising. 
Finding the right tutor for your child can be a tricky business, but a clear understanding of what’s important for you and your child can focus you on where to start your search.  If you are interested in finding out more about home tuition, and how it could work for your family, then please get in touch.  
Rachel Law is Managing Director of Tutor My Kids. Visit the Tutor My Kids Website at www.tutormykids.co.uk or telephone 01223 858421.