Top tips for choosing a tutor for your child

Picking the best tutor for your child can be a headache, but luckily we have some tips to make your selection easier

The past 18 months have touched almost every part of our lives, and one area where many parents may be feeling concerned is the impact of school closures on their child’s education. Tutoring is something that, in recent years, has become more accessible—both in terms of price and, thanks to the boom in online learning, geography. With this in mind, and with the summer holidays approaching, perhaps now is the time to consider private tuition for your child?

From which service to use and how many hours to opt for, to selecting the right tutor based on your child’s learning style, there are a lot of questions to ask before getting started. To help, we spoke to the in-house tutor team at the 1:1 online teaching platform, GoStudent, who offered their expert guidance.

Why does your child need a tutor?

An illustration of a tutor

Are you looking for a tutor that will help your child catch up in a subject that they struggle with, or are you looking to nurture a passion of theirs? By asking this question first, you will be able to zero in on exactly why you are looking for a tutor, and what you want to achieve.

We find that approximately 75 per cent of parents are looking to help their child either achieve a specific grade or reach an academic goal, and so they will be keen to be matched with a tutor that is familiar with the curriculum for their child’s year group.

Other parents are looking to nurture a particular passion, talent or interest. In these instances, they will be looking for an equally passionate individual that has a deep and wide-ranging knowledge of a subject, that can help their child to really grow their curiosity and understanding in that area.

"Other parents are looking to nurture a particular passion, talent or interest"

How does your child like to learn?

A tutor high fiving a child

Is your child a visual learner? Do they learn best through play? Do they struggle with their attention span? Do other children distract or motivate them? Which teachers do they like best at school and why? By building a learning profile for your child, you can work out if they would be best-suited to 1:1 or group tuition, and if online or in-person tuition would be a better fit.

Once you have your profile, don’t be afraid to contact several tutoring services to talk them through what you are looking for and, if they can’t offer the exact type of tutoring that you are after, don’t be afraid to keep looking. Understanding each child’s learning style is key to ensuring that their potential is fully unlocked. You want to find a tutor that engages your child and teaches in a way that they enjoy—be that by using computer games like Minecraft to teach maths or incorporating music to make lessons more memorable.

What results am I hoping to achieve?

When setting up tuition for your child, you should think about the results that you are hoping to see. If you are aiming for sizable academic change, then it could be wise to opt for 3-4 tutoring sessions a week; however, if you are looking for a little extra support, or to nurture a passion, perhaps 1-2 hours will suffice.

It is also really key to keep in mind that when it comes to learning, there is no quick fix. If you are looking to ensure long-lasting academic success, then plan to work with your chosen tutor for at least six months, so that you can track progress and see real results, not those that are the product of short-term cramming.

"When setting up tuition for your child, you should think about the results that you are hoping to see"

How many subjects are too many subjects?

A pile of books up against a blackboard

We are often asked if there is a limit on how many subjects a child should be studying outside of school hours. There is no one rule: so long as the child is engaged with, enjoying and taking in the lessons, then there is no reason to set limitations.

That said, we do recommend opting to start small, and to see results in one area first. This will boost the child’s confidence and, in turn, enthusiasm and excitement. Once a learning routine has been established, then new sessions can be introduced, either with the same tutor, or with a different expert.

What checks should I carry out?

In the UK, The Tutors' Association is the only professional membership body for tutoring and the wider supplementary education sector in the UK. If a tutoring company is Tutors' Association approved, then you have assurance that the company follows a strict code of conduct. You can learn more at the Tutors’ Association website.

Is convenience important?

Historically, the tutoring services that are available to a person have been limited by location and the distance that a parent is willing to travel. If you are not tied to face-to-face tuition for your child, or you are short on time, then online learning is a fantastic option. Because the tutor can join the video call or enter the virtual classroom from anywhere in the world, the very best match for your child can be found. If your child responds well to video-based learning, this is a great way to make the most of your tutoring time, because no travel is required.

"If you are not tied to face-to-face tuition for your child, or you are short on time, then online learning is a fantastic option"

What if the tutor isn’t a right fit?

If you or your child does not feel that the tutor is the right match, then you should feel able to address this immediately. If you feel that the teaching style isn’t right, then open a dialogue with the individual or company and discuss together the changes that you would like to make. Equally, if there is a clash of personality, or the lessons are just not resonating, then feel empowered to ask to switch tutors, or to seek a different style of tutoring for your child. Paid tuition is an investment, and all parties will want to ensure that you are seeing the very best results.

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