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How to Choose a Private Tutor

2012 February 20
by nannyjob

Choosing a private tutor can be a daunting task.  It can be difficult to find a private tutor initially that is within your budget, and that offers the level of tuition you need, so once you have found one you will want to ask them the right questions to make sure they can deliver.

When you meet a prospective private tutor, you will want to ask them the following questions:

Are you CRB checked?
Your prospective private tutor may already have an enhanced disclosure, as many work with children or vulnerable adults in their ‘day jobs’.  However, there are many that won’t have one.  It is of course important to remember that CRB checks are not a guarantee of somebody’s safety to be around others in this way, but it’s a very important thing to look out for – especially if the private tutor is for a child or vulnerable adult.

How qualified are you?
There are no legal requirements for whom can provide private tuition.  However, most agencies require that any private tutor on their books must be qualified to at least degree (or HND) level in the subject they wish to teach.  Who you hire is of course down to you, and it may be cheaper to hire a private tutor who is in the final year or two of their degree – they will almost certainly have the knowledge and skills to teach to GCSE level, and they will be more affordable.  In every case it is important to be sure that they are familiar with the current syllabus, too.

How much experience do you have?

Plenty of years of experience don’t always guarantee that a private tutor will provide a better service.  However, as a general rule, the more years of experience they have, the better.  Make sure you ask for references to see what their previous clients had to say about their tutoring skills, reliability, and results.

Do you have any teaching experience?
Being a master at your chosen subject is quite a different thing to being a good teacher.  However, this does not mean that a private tutor without a PGCE will be a poor tutor altogether.  It is better to look at their references and successes to judge what kind of a tutor they will be.

What are your terms?
You will need to know what the private tutor’s terms are for situations like missed sessions and lateness.  Most private tutors will charge their full rate for sessions that are cancelled without very much notice, simply because they will likely not be able to fill the slot if not given enough forewarning.  Also, you will want to find out what their policies are on keeping up with the student’s progress.  The private tutor may wish to set up regular meetings, either in person or on the telephone, to let you know how things are going (this is of course assuming that the private tutor is for a child).

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