Many home educators provide all of their child’s teaching themselves, or employ tutors for occasional sport, music or art training, but some home schooling families do opt for more home tutoring time within a home education. Some of the benefits include a child getting used to a different style of teaching, and the tutor having experience of teaching the current curriculum and/or exam board requirements, if that is important for your family. This article looks at the intricacies of home tutoring and discusses ways that families can feel assured by a tutor’s background and qualifications since the law surrounding home tutoring is not watertight.
Finding a Home Tutor
Choosing a tutor is a significant decision and should not be undertaken lightly. It is important a tutor has valid qualifications and safety checks, discussed later in this article, but also, from a child’s perspective it is crucial that the tutor is someone that they get on with and can feel relaxed learning with, especially in the home environment. Ask potential tutors if you can arrange a ‘taster’ or sample session where a child can be introduced to the teacher and discover whether he or she is a good learning match for your child’s needs. You might want to sit in on early sessions, unobtrusively remaining in the background but around to hear what kind of learning and teaching is in place.
Home Tutors and Safety Checks
Your Local Education Authority (LEA) might be able to provide a list of local home tutors or teachers who they have used in their past for local teaching, and have checked with bodies like the Criminal Reference Bureau. If not, there are few laws surrounding home tutoring so it is a good idea to go to a local agency which carries out such checks themselves; ask about Criminal Reference Bureau checks (police checks), but also List-99 (banned teacher lists) and how extensive the background checks on new tutors are. Criminal Reference Bureau checks are not a legal requirement but many reputable agencies do nonetheless carry them out. Other ideas are to ask for references from other families.
Funding a Home Tutor
Local Education Authorities might be able to provide a list of local tutors, but they will not usually be able to offer financial assistance for home tuition. Prices can range from £5 – £50 an hour, depending on a tutor’s experience and qualifications and a student’s requirements.
Remember that while background checks and references are crucial, prices will not always reflect quality – sometimes a young university student who gets on really well with your child’s wavelength may be able to more successfully tutor than a qualified teacher with a long list of experience and letters after his or her name. So remember to try a few taster sessions with different tutors if necessary. Some tutors will also be able to offer discounted rates on tuition if you book for several sessions or for several subjects – this can especially help to bring down the cost of longer term home schooling tuition, so do inquire.