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Finding a Tutor


With schools going back, parents will soon be wondering how best to support their children. Many opt to find a tutor to help out. According to the Guardian Newspaper, a quarter of all secondary school students have a tutor. This was 11 months ago, well before the Covid-19 crisis.

Tim Clarke has worked in various secondary schools as a Maths specialist. More recently has been recruited as a Maths and English tutor to help with government tuition.

Some websites offer tuition at £12 per hour. A huge number of undergraduate students have found that tutoring can be an easy way to earn money. Can this be any good?

Well, it depends!

If you would like an enthusiastic 20 year old to help with many of the primary school skills, this will work well. Some teenagers will develop an immediate rapport with people closer to their own age. Many elements of secondary school work can also be covered. In maths, most of the material on the foundation level can be taught by anyone studying for a maths-based degree. The same is true for a fair portion of the higher level GCSE maths course. If you would like your child to get more than just a ‘pass’ then you really need someone with specialist knowledge and experience. The old ‘C’ grade pass is now equivalent to a level 4. GCSEs have been made more difficult recently, so someone with a working knowledge of the more tricky areas will be important. They do not have to be a qualified teacher, although this will help.

For English language GCSE, competent adults will be able to assist with much of the work up to around year 9. Recent changes to the syllabus however have introduced lots of new skills which will be needed. People who have not studied A-level English (or beyond) will find a lot of this quite difficult to teach.

Face-to-face lessons are generally preferred to online lessons by parents, but online lessons can be excellent. The student will need a laptop to get the most out of these lessons. You should also try and find a way so that the tutor can read what the student is writing. This can be with a webcam, or with a ‘tablet’ and electric pen. (Wacom sell one online for around £35).

Child safeguarding is important. Tutors are advised to have another adult in the house while they are working with a student, (normally the parent). For online lessons, the advice is to arrange the lessons so that the parent can listen to the lesson. Further detailed guidance on child-safeguarding will be available from the various tutoring agencies.

Prices for lessons have changed recently. The guide used to be around £25-£35 per hour for face-to-face lessons for GCSE. The online market has meant that some tutors will now advertise for twice this amount. This will not guarantee that they are twice as good!

Whatever the case, investing in your child’s education is a great thing to do. Any competent adult can help with the simpler areas of school work. A specialist will be needed for more advanced work

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© 2014 Tim Clarke - Private Tutor.