As the start of the next school year approaches, there are many emotions at play: excitement about seeing friends again, buying new bags and pencil cases, showing off a new haircut are all top of the list!
Of course, there can be uncertainty too: with any change can come some feelings of anxiety and nerves. New lessons, upcoming exams and new teachers can all feel like a lot to deal with at the start of any school year and worries about work, progress and relationships are very common.
Finding the right tutor for your child at this time can support them with this transition. They can help to boost confidence and celebrate your child’s strengths and individual interests, to alleviate fears about the year ahead, to support them to work through new learning and give them someone, set apart from school and home, to talk things through with.
However, finding the right tutor for your child can feel like somewhat of a minefield. There are so many options on the market and so much information out there that it is difficult to know where to start, let alone where to find someone that is the best fit for your child.
These five areas are a great place to start, to help you sift through the noise and have confidence in where to look.
With so many tutors available in the online space, how can you make sure that you find one that will be a good fit for your family, who is qualified and has a good reputation for tuition?
Word of mouth. Ask around in your local community groups, local Facebook groups and friends and family. Can anyone recommend a tutor that they have used?
Use a tuition agency to find a tutor. Most (good) tuition agencies have an application process that their tutors must go through before being allocated any students. Have a look who is on their books and see if any of the tutors seem to be a good fit.
Use online tools to help you decide. Social media, websites and testimonials are a great way to vet tutors before you contact them and will help you to decide what kind of experiences others have had when working with them.
The cost of tuition will vary greatly depending on the tutor you hire.
Anywhere from £30-£70 an hour is the norm for 1:1 online tutoring, though this may vary slightly depending on the area and service you are looking for.
Like most things, more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better, but you should try to be wary of tutors that seem to significantly under charge as this may indicate a low level of experience or lack of qualifications. Ultimately, it will depend on your family’s budget as to which price works for you. If cost is a concern, group tutoring is a great, affordable alternative to 1:1.
3. Online vs face-to-face
Since 2020, the demand for online tuition has increased significantly.
The convenience and flexibility it can offer is appealing for many families - see our previous blog post for a more in depth look that this.
Despite this, some families prefer the idea of more traditional face-to-face tuition as they believe it will suit their child’s needs better. Either way, it pays to be mindful of reputation and experience before committing to any sessions with a tutor.
The student-tutor relationship can be an amazing one! When a tutor has 1:1 learning time with a student over a number of weeks, teaching becomes more personalised, the student’s confidence grows and rapid progress can be made.
Of course, the flip side to this is when the relationship is a little more difficult. This can be for many reasons – but put simply, not every style of teaching and not every kind of personality is going to suit everyone.
So how do we try to find the best fit for our child?
Speak to the tutor on the phone, via zoom or in person before starting any sessions. That way, you will be able to get a feel for the tutor yourself and judge if you feel they would be a good fit for your child.
Be in earshot, but not in close proximity during the session. To keep everyone safe, being around when a tutoring session is taking place (online or face to face) is recommended, and frequently expected, by many tutors and tutor agencies. Having you there, but not directly involved can help your child feel they are in a safe space to get to know their tutor, whilst remaining focused on their learning.
Explore using an agency. Agencies have access to multiple tutors, which means there are several people to choose from. Speak to the agency and work out together which tutor may be a good fit for your child.
5. Meeting their needs
If your child has a special educational need (SEND), some tutors may offer targeted support.
It’s worth checking their training and experience via their website, contacting them directly or if you’re looking through an agency, enquire about any tutors who specialise in your requirements. (Karen, for example, specialises in dyslexia and dyscalculia!)
Also, bear in mind that any tutor that is a qualified teacher will have had specific training to support SEND children and many will have extensive experience of working with children with a multitude of needs in a classroom environment. As always, a conversation, prior to booking, will always be the best way to check if they meet your needs.
Picking the right tutor for you and your child can feel overwhelming and a bit of a mine-field, but remember:
- Take your time. Try not to feel pressured by time or circumstance: picking the right tutor for your child doesn’t need to be rushed.
- Do your research. Online and word of mouth are invaluable sources of information.
- Always know you can change your mind and nothing is permanent. If it doesn’t work out, despite your best efforts, give notice to your current tutor and try again!
If online tutoring is the right choice for your family, we can help, with options for both primary and secondary-aged children! Send a message to Karen who will be able to help you with an initial assessment and matching your child with the perfect tutor for them.