Questions to ask a tuition centre when looking for private tuition

It is the case that some young people are better off having private tuition at a centre rather than being visited at home by a tutor. In a discussion I had with an AS student called Tom recently, he confessed that the maths tuition he previously had at home was not of great help as he was often not prepared for when the teacher arrived. Now that he has to travel across London and knows he needs to be on time and ready to work, he is getting a lot more out of the time…

There are numerous private tuition schools, revision companies and out-of-school-hours tuition centres right across Britain, with a large proportion based in London and the Home Counties. The quality varies very widely as the service they deliver is not the same and whether or not your son or daughter will benefit from the tuition provided is not certain. In order to improve the likelihood that you pick a tuition centre of genuine quality, below are a list of questions you may want to ask:
1. What are the criteria the centre has for recruiting their teachers (tutors) – are the tutors fully qualified and experienced teachers or are they just graduates? Having a PhD is no guarantee that the teacher can deliver and make a positive impact on your son or daughter

2. What are the qualifications and experience of the particular teachers who will teach your child each of the subjects they are taking at that centre? The types of schools where the tutors are teaching in their full time job or have taught before retiring (if they have retired) are important things to know too. A teacher with experience from an independent school, a grammar school or a top academy/comprehensive is usually better to provide private tuition for above-average students. They are more likely to have the skills needed to nurture your child to success

3. Do the teachers teaching your son or daughter have experience of teaching at your child’s particular level or year in school? For example, a teacher whose experience is in teaching GCSE is usually not good at A-level teaching; quite often some teachers are only good at teaching A-level and they will not be good to teach GCSE or be particularly enthusiastic about doing so.

4. How enthusiastic and committed are the teachers? Are you able to meet or speak to each teacher both before and during the period of your child studying at the centre?

5. What is the average class size and is there an upper limit? For a tuition centre or revision programme, about 8 students should be the upper limit. Where the range of abilities of the students in the group is broad, the number should be even less.

6. Are their courses arranged according to the examination boards, whereby all the students in each group are taking the same examination board? At GCSE and A-level it matters for most subjects. For English and Maths, it does not matter a great deal – a skilful English teacher can manage fine and often they have read many texts and can make the effort to check the examination board’s specification. There is not a great deal of variation across Maths specifications between exam boards; a good maths teach who is well organised will check the modules that the students are taking and will plan and deliver accordingly

7. Are the students assessed at the start, regularly and do parents get feedback in the shape of a report? How easy is it to contact the centre and speak to someone who will be of any real help if you have any concern as a parent

8. How fees’ payments structured and are there options for paying the fees?

9. Is there a cancellation policy for bad weather, teacher’s illness, pupil’s absence?

10. One last important point is that it is a standard requirement that the teachers’ should have a CRB check. However, it is something that is always worth confirming.

First blog on private tuition: –

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Our next blog is on Thursday and the title is: “Questions to ask a tuition centre”

If you have any questions relating to the topics raised in this post or education in general please let us know. If you would like to speak to a member of our advisory team about any education-related matter, please feel free to contact us through the following mediums: Tel 020 7112 4832; Email [email protected]; Web