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Private tuition is on the rise: should the industry be regulated?

In 2009, The Guardian reported that 45% of pupils based in London have a private tutor. Since then, that figure has increased.

A staggering 72% of all children preparing for Common Entrance have a private tutor according to the IOE. 25% of all 11-18 year olds have had private tuition at some point, manly in Mathematics, reports TES.

With over 500 private tuition agencies now operating throughout the country, some with over 10,000 tutors on their books, how on earth do we, or the Government, regulate the industry? And, do we even need to?

Do we need to regulate the private tuition industry?

With the rise of university fees a few years ago, and the surge in (fierce) competition and pressure to get into good schools – the demand for private tuition in the UK has increased yearly. With such an increase in demand, agencies and freelance private tutors effectively charge what they like.

Private tutors usually work on a freelance basis with different agencies, especially in London. The Government has tried to step in and add some sort of parameter to the tutoring world in the past, but have failed.

Without thought and proper investigation, the Government has left it to the taxman to chase tutors and investigate them if necessary.

What kind of regulation should there be?

Well, of course a CRB (or DBS as it’s now named) is a must. Parents should always ask for this, they don’t need a copy, but certainly a confirmation. Adults who tutor children must go through a thorough check-up and a full criminal disclosure.

What about qualification and experiences?

Private (public) Schools don’t have pre-test for teachers, but they must have a degree in the subject they wish to teach.

State Schools, on the other hand, have rigorous qualifications (GTP/NQT), which teachers must pass. At both types of schools, new teachers are interviewed and would be asked to perform trial lessons.

However, private tutors do not undergo anything close to this level of investigation.

I’ve heard some horror stories about big tutoring companies sending tutors to client’s homes. A parent once told me of a tutor who was sent to their home, he was an international student in his first year at University, who had never taught before and his level of English was very basic. Not ideal when you’re forking out in excess of £35 per hour.

Education is a personal thing and parents always want the best for their children, so perhaps some sort of regulation would be a good thing?

I’m not saying intensive interviewing and trial lessons for tutors is a necessity, and with 10,000 tutors that would be hard. Experience and subject knowledge is key here. They are incredibly important qualities, and during trying-times for children and young adults, the right tutor is crucial to improving grades and their exam success.

Majority of tutors that work for Tutor House are full or part time teachers in local London-based schools and colleges. They know the exam boards, keep up with the changing specifications and of course have plenty of experience. We personally select every single one of our private tutors, implementing our own regulations for the industry. I don’t see why other companies don’t enforce the same or similar guidelines.