How to choose a tutor?

As a parent, finding the right tutor for your child may seem like a daunting prospect. Multiply that thought 10-fold if you’re looking for a tutor to support a child with learning differences.
This guide aimed at parents will tell you what you need to know, the questions you should ask, and most importantly what is best for your child!

What to look out for:

• Anyone can set themselves up as a private tutor, even those who falsely offer specialised support.

• Being well-qualified does not automatically mean you can teach a subject, or that the tutor is familiar with the current curriculum or exam structure.

• Not every Tutor has all the correct qualifications or paperwork.

• Responsibility for checking that a tutor is an appropriately qualified and responsible person ultimately lies with parents. These extra steps will ensure you don’t waste your time or money with the wrong tutor.

• At its best, private tutoring is effective, confidence-building, enjoyable and can be positively life changing.

• Engaging a private tutor involves a commitment to invest both time and money in supporting your child’s educational progress.

What can you do to help these issues?

Check qualifications and teaching credentials

Subject qualifications are important as you will want to make sure your tutor is educated on the subject they are teaching. You want confidence knowing your tutor understands all principles they are teaching. Check their teaching qualifications, having a PhD in maths means you're a great mathematician but does not qualify you to teach. Also, check other credentials, however impressive they appear to be, not all are relevant or unfortunately, may not be genuine.

If a tutor claims to offer specialist support for dyslexia, for example, check what experience and additional qualifications they hold to justify that claim and if they’re members of any professional bodies such as BDA (British Dyslexia Association) or PATOSS (Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties)

Check safeguarding credentials

The process of ensuring your tutor is an appropriate and responsible person to be around children is called Safeguarding.
Ask for proof that the tutor has completed appropriate training and holds current versions of all of the following:

• DBS enhanced certificate (Disclosure & Barring Service)

• First Aid training certificate

• Voluntary registration with Ofsted

• Public liability insurance

• Policies and procedures for working alone with children

Ask the right questions

Does your tutor understand the difference between tutoring and teaching?  There is a difference! Tutoring is education that’s centred around the individual student. An excellent tutor is proactive, recognising gaps and weaknesses in the student’s knowledge that may be holding their progress back in subject areas. They will put together personalised strategies to help in those gaps. They should also have systems to track progress and discuss regularly with both the student and parents their child’s development.

Ask around; you'll be surprised how many other parents have experience with tutors. Check social media and review sites such as Google My Business. This will give you a better idea of the tutor’s service.

Meet the tutor(s) with your child and see how they interact. Watch and listen for cues that can show how comfortable your child is in the tutor's company. Follow your instincts! After all, your child will be spending their time with the tutor and if they are not happy then their progress could be affected.

Sort out the practicalities (Ideally, not in your child's presence)

Agree on the number of lessons, these can all affect the cost. Understanding where your money is going and what you are buying can help reassure you their services are worth it. Clarify which, if any, additional resources you’ll be expected to supply, some tutors provide additional equipment like notepads and pens.

In conclusion, finding the right tutor for your child can be a daunting prospect, especially if your child has learning difficulties. It's important to keep in mind that anyone can set themselves up as a private tutor, regardless of their qualifications or expertise. As a responsible parent, you can never be too careful and should check the tutor's qualifications and safeguarding credentials. You should also ask the right questions to ensure the tutor is a good fit for your child's needs.

By taking these extra steps, you can ensure that you invest your time and money in the right tutor, who can positively impact your child's educational progress. Remember, private tutoring is a commitment that requires both time and money, but when done correctly, it can be effective, confidence-building, and life-changing for your child.

Kip McGrath tutors are fully qualified and experienced. All staff have current DBS checks, and safeguarding qualifications and there is always a member of staff with paediatric first aid qualifications on the premises.

If you’re interested in finding out more about supporting your child with professional educational tutoring, find your nearest centre and book a free assessment to find out you child's strengths and weaknesses at

Published in UK