September is fast approaching and the familiar signs of ‘back to school’ may bring fear or joy to parents and children.  Parents’ minds may start to turn to the upcoming academic year and the challenges which lie ahead. Many parents will say that they are looking for a tutor simply for a bit of peace and quiet and a return to a structure, while others will be thinking about their child’s grades and how they can assist in shifting a grade 8 to a 9.


Tutors are a great way to help any child struggling with a subject or perhaps squeezing a better grade out.

1 Safety first

Probably not the first thought that goes through parents’ heads when considering a tutor but it is arguably the most important. Protect your child and tutor by making sure the teaching takes place in a public area such as an office block with a high footfall.

2 References

Ask the tutor for other parents’ to talk to so you can ask the parents questions. Ask about the teaching style and results achieved and how their child is progressing. Do not be shy in asking for references as this could make the difference between your child passing a subject or failing and not wasting your money.  Ask the following questions: will they be taught by actual teachers?  Are the teachers qualified?  Have they ever worked in a school? Are there unqualified assistants?

3 Experience

Try to find a tutor who is up-to-date with the current syllabus and curriculum.  A Maths teacher will be aware of the new GCSE and the grading system whereas a person who has never worked in a school may use the terminology but have no experience at all.

Also, you must ask if the tutor has exam experience and has taught exam classes? Teaching a subject to the required level requires experience and skill. Teaching a student how to answer exam questions requires different techniques and skills. Teacher who have marked exam papers are the best equipped to teach and provide tips to your child on how to answer exam questions. Exam boards usually want teachers with experience to be examiners rather than unqualified adutls.

4 Begin tutoring early

If you notice that your child is having difficulty understanding an exam subject and you feel a tutor is the best course of action, then start your search as quickly as you can. Do not wait until the mock exam results to find a tutor as this just increases the pressure on your child to learn the subject in a shorter time frame.  An effective tutor is a teacher who has relevant qualifications and will be able to help with the understanding very early on.