Choosing a tutor for your child – what questions should I ask? - Mums NI - A Hub For Parents in Northern Ireland

Choosing a tutor for your child – what questions should I ask?

Clare Rimmer
Written by Clare Rimmer on Thursday, 08 June 2017 Posted in: Your Kids Education

Choosing a tutor for your child – what questions should I ask?

After taking some time out of teaching after having my second child I decided the time was right to get back to doing the job I love – tutoring and running our successful tuition business with my husband Martin.  I began the search for the perfect childminder. I needed someone who could fit around my working hours but most importantly someone who I felt would allow my girls to feel happy and secure.  I needed and wanted to get this right.  This person was going to be providing care for my babies and I wanted the very best!  

It wasn’t as difficult as I had thought it would be.  Childminding is a regulated industry.  Childminders have to go through home checks and prove that they will be providing a quality service before they can be put on the register.  I was able to find someone fairly quickly who was the perfect fit for my family.

It makes sense that parents would want to have the same level of confidence and reassurance when choosing a tutor for their child. After all you are putting your trust in this person to educate your child and for a short time every week your child will be in their care. You will be paying them your hard earned cash to provide the best possible education for your child. However, unlike childminders, tutors do not have to go through the same checks and balances. The tuition industry is unregulated! If you look online you can get the names and phone numbers of many people offering their services as tutors, who have no teaching qualifications. They may have passed exams in their subject area or be graduates but many are not qualified teachers. 

As a qualified, experienced teacher who has been working in the tuition industry for 10 years this has become a bugbear of mine!  It has taken years of studying and learning first hand on the job to become an excellent teacher.  Good teachers adapt and differentiate their teaching to accommodate the many different learning styles that children present to them.  In fact great teachers make this their art.  It is a skill that takes time, lots of patience and a love of the job to master.  In a tuition setting a teacher uses these skills to determine the most effective method of teaching and learning for the individual child sitting in front of them.  Knowledge of the subject and experience in how to adapt the teaching to your child's learning style is why it is important to make sure your child's tutor is a qualified, experienced teacher.

So how can you make the right choice when choosing a tutor for your child?

Here is a check list to help you make the right decision.

Is the tutor a qualified teacher?

Make sure you ask to see the certificates that prove the tutor is fully qualified. Teachers really do have the experience and crucially the curriculum knowledge to make sure your child is completing appropriate work for their stage. They are trained to teach and to adapt their teaching style to the needs of individual children.

Is the tutor AccessNI checked?

Ask to see their certificate or insist that they go through this check before they commence tutoring. This gives you peace of mind that your child is in safe hands.

Will they assess your child?

All children are different and come to tuition with different levels of ability and therefore the starting point is never the same. Even if your child is being tutored for a test such as the Transfer Test the tutor cannot assume that every child they teach will be at the same level.  A good tutor will assess your child to find out where the gaps in their knowledge lie so they can put together an appropriate plan of action designed to meet the targets you require?

What feedback will the tutor provide me?

One of the benefits of having your child tutored should be that unlike school you receive detailed feedback after each lesson. This allows you to discuss their progress and any areas that your child is struggling in as well as the next steps in their learning.

What resources will the tutor be providing?

Make sure the resources that are being used are up to date and appropriate for the curriculum that your child is following.  It is crucial that your tutor is teaching the NI curriculum and understands what your child will be covering that year in school.  

Where will the tuition take place?

Will the tuition take place in your house/their house? Make sure that the area chosen is quiet and without distractions. Or will the tuition be provided in a professionally equipped tuition centre?  Make sure your child is comfortable in that environment.  I still have nightmares about my own experience of 11 plus tutoring as a child.  I felt uncomfortable being alone in someone else’s house.  If your child feels this way, a tuition centre where there are other adults and children about might be the solution for you.

Is the tutor paying their taxes?

Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies is not always the best policy! It is easy to turn a blind eye and say this doesn't matter, however the government has been having a crackdown on tutors that do not pay their taxes in recent years and you might not want to be involved.

At On Target Tuition in Lisburn we provide parents with peace of mind.

Our tutors are:

✓ Fully qualified, experienced and insured.

✓ AccessNI checked.

✓ We provide an assessment that enables us to identify any strengths and weaknesses and develop a programme of study designed to target these areas and bring your child up to a

level that allows them to be comfortable in their class or to achieve their academic goals.

✓ Assessment is ongoing and embedded in every single lesson.

✓ We provide detailed feedback after each lesson.

✓ Our centre is professionally equipped with a wide range of resources including professionally designed worksheets, modern textbooks, computer software, multi-sensory learning aids, a wide range of past papers and appropriate stationary.

✓ Tuition is provided in a professionally equipped centre where every care has been taken to create an atmosphere conducive to learning.

✓ We are professional tutors.  We are celebrating 10 years in business this summer and know that we wouldn’t be here today without all the parents and students who have recommended us to their friends throughout the years.

If you want to find out more about the quality service we provide please give us a call on 9267 5071 to book an assessment. This will also allow you to have a look around our centre.  Visit our website www.on-targettuitionlisburn.co.uk to find out more about the tutoring services we provide.

Tagged with: 11 plus, 1to1 tutoring, AccessNI, choosing the right tutor, kids education
About the author:
Clare Rimmer

MA, PGCE Primary Education

Clare Rimmer
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