The private tuition industry is booming. In 2016, it was estimated that 40% of London school children have a private tutor at some point in their academic career. Maths tutors are most in demand, closely followed by those teaching English and foreign languages.
Finding the right tutor, however, is not always straightforward. As you browse through a mass of smiling digital faces and are bombarded with mortar boards, qualifications and testimonials, it is often hard to know where to start. How do you distinguish one English tutor’s ‘passion’ and ‘experience’ from another’s? Can you be sure that a Maths tutor’s credentials are what they seem?
What’s more, there are a surprisingly large number of ways to go about hiring a tutor. One route is to approach a tutoring agency, such as Hampstead & Frognal Tutors. Agencies listen to what you want and assign tutors who best fulfil your requirements. In the case of Hampstead & Frognal Tutors, this involves searching through a pool of carefully selected, highly educated individuals to find the best match.
There are also online tutor platforms, however, which operate very differently. These websites allow parents themselves to hunt through thousands of profiles and to select a promising-looking individual. Online platforms such as Tutorhunt, Tutorful and The Tutor Pages have proved popular in recent years, allowing parents to contact who they think is best for the job.
Problems of quality, expense and safety swirl around these different courses of action. What this blog post hopes to do, therefore, is to break down the pros and cons of each approach. From cost to convenience, here is the information you need to make the best decision for your child.
So how do the different companies work?
A search feature allows parents to find tutors who are operating in the local area. Parents browse through profiles free of charge, messages can be sent to tutors and testimonials are available on Tutorhunt’s site. When an appropriate tutor has been identified, a one off payment is required to attain their contact details.
Tutorful (formerly Tutora):
Parents can browse through thousands of tutors using the search feature to see who is operating in the local area. Parents can then message tutors for free. A lesson booking is confirmed when you have entered your payment details. Tutorful takes a commission from the payment received.
The Tutor Pages:
This is an online publication which accepts advertising from tutors and tuition centres. Tutors place adverts on the website, and parents can browse through the different profiles. Parents can then contact tutors free of charge. The platform makes money from the tutors’ adverts and not from commission.
Hampstead and Frognal Tutors:
This is a tutoring agency. Parents can either fill in a form to request a tutor or telephone the company directly. The company then proceeds to match the most suitably matched tutor to the student.
|Tutorhunt||Tutorful (formerly Tutora)||The Tutor Pages||Hampstead & Frognal Tutors|
|Are tutors’ documents and credentials checked by the company?||√||√||x||√|
|Are tutors interviewed face-to-face before being taken on by the company?||x||x||x||√|
|Do tutors need to provide references before being taken on by the company?||x||√||x||√|
|Are tutors offered continual training?||x||x||x||√|
|Is there a finder’s fee?||√||x||x||√|
|Does the company charge commission?||x||√||x||√|
|Are tutors encouraged to have a DBS certificate?||√||√||√||√|
|Are tutors required to have a DBS certificate for in-person tuition?||x||x||x||√|
|Can you speak to a member of the company on the phone?||√||√||√||√|
When the different agencies and websites are placed side by side, obvious disparities emerge. Online tutor platforms like Tutorhunt, Tutorful and The Tutor Pages promise convenience and reasonably priced tuition. However, the quality of the tuition cannot always be depended upon. Nor do you know whether thorough background checks have been carried out on the tutors. The due diligence is down to parents when hiring a tutor online.
Tuition agencies such as Hampstead and Frognal Tutors offer a different service to online platforms. Whether parents wish to hire a tutor through an online platform and interview the tutors themselves and check credentials or save the time and use a tutoring agency. In the digital age parents now have a wider choice for deciding how they wish to invest in tutors for their children.