Our kids are more tested than ever. Starting with SATS in Year 2, it’s a constant process of testing and exams until A-levels, or Highers if you’re in Scotland. Some kids sail through the exams with the bare minimum of revision and study, whereas others find it much more challenging. Parents can of course help to some extent, but when your child is studying at an advanced level in a subject you’ve no experience with, expert help is often preferred. Getting a tutor is a very popular option, but this isn’t always as straightforward as it seems.


Different Types of Tutor

There are many different ways of getting a tutor, all with advantages and disadvantages. For younger children, a class type environment with regular tuition on maths and English is a popular option. This is a more sociable way to learn with qualified teachers, but the downside is that you’re often asked to sign up for a term or more at a time. Subject teachers might also be prepared to do some extra work in the evenings tutoring kids before exams. Using a tutor who is currently a teacher in Maths, Chemistry or German means you’re getting expertise and up to date knowledge of the curriculum, but at a cost – anything between £35 and £40 per hour. Online tutoring is a further option, but quality can vary between providers. A final option is using university students or older teenagers to help yours. Teenagers may feel more comfortable being helped by people closer to their own age, but without teacher training, it’s difficult to get any guarantees about the quality of the teaching.


Are Tutors Police Checked?

This is an issue about which parents can often feel quite awkward, and reluctant to ask people to prove. Anyone working as a tutor and as a franchisee with one of the large numeracy or English providers will be DBS checked for working with children. Similarly, if you make an arrangement for private tuition with someone who is working as a teacher in a state or private school, they will also be thoroughly DBS checked as part of their main employment. Students who are doing a bit of tutoring on the side to supplement their studies won’t be DBS checked in most cases. Although this doesn’t mean that they are in any way a potential danger, it may be worth asking if they can get a standard DBS check as a self-employed person.


Results Guaranteed

Finally, be wary of any tutors or organisations which “guarantee” results or boast that they have a 100% pass rate. There is only so much that a tutor can do to reinforce learning in school and give guidance on which topics should be revised. The effort and hard work has to come from the learner themselves. On the day of the exam it’s the student who will sit in the exam hall and turn over the exam paper, so using a tutor should only be seen as part of the study effort.