The pitfalls of an unregulated home tuition market

Last Updated: 22 Jan 24
Young girl receiving tuition from a female qualified primary teacher | Teachers To your Home

What do the worlds of art, cryptocurrency and home tuition have in common? They are all unregulated markets with few controls and where pretty much anything goes.

For home tuition, this means that anyone can set themselves up as a home tutor. They don't need qualifications, and they don't need to be vetted or approved.

It's a situation that has evolved since the boom in home tuition, where supply has been chasing demand. It is estimated that the market was worth £2 billion in 2016 - a figure growing rapidly as parents respond to the lost teaching during Covid 19 and the falling standards in UK schools.

The Sutton Trust estimates that 25% of all 11-16 year-olds receive private tuition at some stage, rising to 42% in London.

To be honest, most tutoring companies have minimum standards, but tutors are not legally obligated to be qualified or registered. We frequently hear reports of students or newly graduated people setting themselves up as tutors without experience in teaching and certainly no DBS checks.

We believe this is fundamentally wrong on two levels. Firstly, it is critical that anyone in a close environment with a child is safe to do so. Secondly, expertise and teaching are two quite different things.

Safeguarding children

Creating a safe environment for home tuition is something the NSPCC is concerned about and it has issued clear guidance for both parents and tutors, chief amongst which is the need for all tutors to have Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This effectively checks for criminal records and any cautions or reprimands.

Even with a DBS in place, parents should take additional safeguards.

For example, we recommend the following:

  • Avoid holding the lesson in a bedroom
  • Sit in on the first lesson
  • Always leave the door open so you are within earshot
  • Always interview potential tutors before inviting them into your home

At Teachers to Your Home, all our tutors are professional teachers used to working with children and fully vetted with an enhanced DBS check. In addition, they will have undergone checks by the Government’s Teacher Services.

Experts are not necessarily good teachers

Safety aside, there is another compelling reason why your tutor should be a qualified teacher. Knowledge of a subject is not a substitute for teaching experience. We all know that so-called experts sometimes find it difficult to communicate. Because they know their subject so well, it's second nature, so they often miss out on the building blocks for learning.

All experts suffer from what is called "The Curse of Knowledge" - not knowing what it was like not to know what they now know. Without this empathy for the student, it is difficult to be a good teacher.

Of course, there is always the risk of getting neither an expert nor a teacher. One student website, which actively encourages students to take tutoring jobs, claims babysitting experience is a good qualification!

Here at Teachers To Your Home, we go to great lengths to ensure all our tutors are qualified teachers with classroom experience and fully approved to work with children. We interview every teacher who applies to become a tutor to ensure only the most professionals join our team.

We actively encourage parents to interview their shortlisted tutors before appointing them, and we offer a money-back guarantee if the first lesson is not up to standard.

We have a saying here: No one teaches like teachers teach.

Find out more by visiting our website

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