Enlisting the help of a tutor is a practical step taken by many parents to support their child’s academic journey. Whether the goal is to provide additional support with schoolwork or to fine-tune their exam technique, finding the perfect tutor requires careful consideration. This article will discuss the key factors to consider when selecting a tutor for your child, how to effectively communicate your needs to a tutor, and how to make the most of your child’s first lesson.

Why should I get a tutor for my child?

There are several reasons to consider hiring a tutor for your child. Tutors can identify and fill knowledge gaps, offer targeted assistance in learning content, and help refine exam technique.

  • Targeted support – Tutors can address specific challenges like knowledge gaps or misunderstandings of content.
  • Boost confidence – Receiving 1-2-1 support is a faster way for students to see improvement. The feedback and support they get from their tutor can boost their confidence, which is harder to achieve in a classroom setting.
  • Work at your child’s pace – Instead of the one-size-fits-all approach of classroom teaching, a private tutor can tailor the content and pace of sessions to suit your child. Whether your child requires additional time to understand the concepts or needs to be challenged with more advanced material, a private tutor can adjust their teaching accordingly.

As parents, understanding your child’s specific needs is crucial in determining whether a tutor would be beneficial for their academic progress.

How many tutoring sessions does my child need?

The ideal number of sessions and their frequency will vary depending on your child’s individual needs and goals:

  • Weekly sessions – Many parents prefer weekly sessions to help their child stay on top of their schoolwork. Tutors can review topics taught in school to ensure the student has thoroughly understood everything.
  • A few intensive sessions – A lot of students opt for a few intensive sessions before assessments. Parents book a few hours of tuition in the run up to mocks or the final exams to hone and polish exam technique.
  • One-off sessions – Sometimes students need help with coursework or a particular area of the specification and a one-off session is all they need to boost their confidence and understanding.

Communication with a tutor will help determine the appropriate duration and frequency of sessions.

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Parent searching for a tutor with her teenage son.

Should I get online or face-to-face tuition?

The decision between online and face-to-face tuition depends on what you think will work best for you and your child. Both options have advantages and disadvantages.

Online tuition allows you to pick from the best tutors, regardless of their location. You will have far more flexibility with booking slots, and rates are competitive. Building a rapport with a tutor can be more challenging through a screen. However, many believe that the technology available for online learning makes it more engaging and interactive. Tutors can easily utilise a wide range of teaching resources with online tools, including collaborative whiteboards.

Face-to-face tutoring can provide a more personal touch and you’ll be able to converse with your child’s tutor in person. However, your options will be limited to local tutors who may not fulfil your child’s specific requirements or be available when you need them. Face-to-face tutoring can be costlier than online tutoring and may also require additional payment for travel expenses.

How much should I pay for a private tutor?

Private tutors set their own hourly rates. The cost can vary significantly depending on a variety of different factors, including their qualifications, experience, and demand. You should have an hourly budget in mind and explore different tuition platforms to get a rough idea of the type of tutor you can expect to find within your budget.

University students often provide more affordable options. On our tuition platform, they typically charge £20 or more per hour. Keep in mind that students at top universities or those studying competitive degrees like medicine may charge more. If you prefer to work with an experienced professional tutor or qualified teacher, expect to pay upwards of £40 per hour. Tutors with years of teaching experience, or who have worked as examiners, are likely to charge more.

View of laptop during online tutoring session.

Where can I find a tutor?

There are several avenues to explore when looking for a tutor. Tuition platforms are where the majority of parents look to find tutors. These platforms offer a wide selection of tutors to choose from, and you won’t be restricted to those available in your local area. This means you can pick from the best tutors around the country, which is especially beneficial if you live in an isolated or rural area. Additionally, the rates are more competitive. We personally interview and hand-select all the tutors on our tuition platform to ensure we provide high-quality tuition. We also verify ID and all the qualifications shown on a tutor’s profile.

Platforms like Nextdoor and local Facebook groups can be a valuable means to find tutors, especially if you’re looking for face-to-face tuition. Don’t forget the power of word-of-mouth; ask around in your community. If you choose to find tutors this way, try to conduct some background research about potential tutors to ensure they are who they say they are.

How do I know if a tutor is a perfect fit for my child?

With hundreds of profiles to choose from, it can be difficult to work out who looks like an ideal fit for your child. As well as considering your budget, you can ask yourself some questions to help narrow down your search. Does your child need someone closer to their age for inspiration, such as a university student or recent graduate? Or do they require a qualified teacher or examiner for more structured guidance? Does your child require assistance with specific learning difficulties? Is scheduling flexibility important for your family?

It’s crucial to involve your child in the selection process, especially if they are not entirely on board with getting a tutor.

Face-to-face tuition session.

What should I look for in a tutoring profile?

Reviewing a tutor’s profile is essential, but there can be a lot of information to process. Here are some important things to keep an eye out for:

  • Bio – Carefully read what the tutor has written in their bio to determine whether their tutoring approach and teaching philosophy resonates with you.
  • Subjects – Some tutors teach a range of subjects and levels. This can be beneficial if your child requires support in multiple subjects, as you will only have to work with one tutor. However, if a tutor lists several subjects and levels, it is unlikely that they will have an equal level of expertise in all of those subjects.
  • Qualifications – What are their qualifications? Are their qualifications relevant to the subject they are tutoring? A tutor’s qualifications are generally a good indicator of their expertise. For example, if you’re seeking an A Level English tutor, but a tutor only studied English up to GCSE, they probably aren’t qualified enough to tutor your child.
  • Reviews – Has the tutor got reviews on their profile? Are they positive? Was the last review recent?
  • Enhanced DBS Check – While not legally required, you may prefer to have a tutor with an enhanced DBS check for added piece of mind.

Should I message a tutor before booking a session?

Absolutely! You should message a few tutors before committing to a lesson, especially if you have a shortlist you need to narrow down. Communicate with the tutor to discuss your child’s specific requirements, expectations from tutoring, and any questions you may have. The information they provide and the way they respond to you can help you decide whether you would like to proceed with them or not.

Information you may wish to provide:

  • Qualification, year and exam board your child is enrolled in, e.g. My son is in Year 11 and doing triple science. I’m looking for a biology tutor to support him. His exam board is AQA.
  • What your child is looking for help with (the more specific the better), e.g. Struggling with understanding inorganic chemistry, can’t apply knowledge to practical questions, wants to make their essay writing style more sophisticated.
  • Frequency of lessons, e.g. I’m looking for weekly sessions or I would like to book a one-off session.
Young girl studying with her online tutor after school.

Should I book a trial lesson with a tutor?

Yes, booking a lesson is the best way to see if your child clicks with a tutor and if they feel they will benefit from sessions. Keep in mind that it often takes a few sessions before you can really tell if a tutor is the best fit.

Remember, you are under no obligation to book another session with a tutor. If your child really didn’t click in the first session, then you can continue your search. You can even have sessions with a few different tutors before committing to one.

How should I prepare for my first session with a tutor?

Providing your tutor with more information ahead of the first session can make the session more targeted. If you don’t provide much information, your tutor will use the first session to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses and come up with a proposal for further sessions.

This article has provided you with the necessary knowledge to navigate the process of finding a tutor. By understanding your child’s specific needs, considering various factors such as budget and learning preferences, and actively involving your child in the selection process, you can ensure a positive and productive tutoring experience. Remember, the key is to find a tutor who not only imparts academic knowledge but also inspires and motivates your child on their educational path.

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Michelle Wright

With a background as a full-time tutor, Michelle's journey at PMT Education began when she was recruited to organise their revision courses. In her capacity as Head of Operations, she not only manages the day-to-day aspects but also takes the lead in running the tuition platform and holds a crucial role in tutor recruitment.