Many teachers earn a nice little tax free income by giving private tuition. This is not officially a tax free income, but very few declare it on their income tax return.
Private tuition can be extremely beneficial to students. It can boost their confidence, fill in knowledge gaps and give practice in answering examination questions.
Finding individual help for your son or daughter is not cheap. You may be able to find a teacher who will work at your house for £5 an hour, but, you have to ask yourself why he is prepared to work for such little reward.
A good tutor will have a full diary and will be able to command a reasonable hourly fee. I charge £25 for one hour with a GCSE student and £30 for AS or A2 work. I also have a full diary and do not need to advertise, as I get my tutees from word of mouth recommendations.
·How do you find a good tutor?
Ask friends. You may be given names to ring, or names to avoid.
Advertise in the newspaper or answer newspaper or postcard adverts from tutors.
Ring a local school that you know has at least one good teacher in the subects you are interested in.
·How can you check a tutor out?
Ask him, or her, for references.
Find out which school or college the tutor works in. Ring and ask if there is a teacher there by that name.
·Is it worth going through an agency?
Tuition agencies take a very large slice off the payment you make to the tutor, typically about a third. Good tutors do not need to work for agencies. The agency has usually checked out the tutors it uses, so at least you are not likely to be employing a paedophile.
·What precautions can I take?
Leave the door open in the room where the tutor and student are working. Listen to see how much teaching is happening. Go in and out a few times. Never leave your daughter in the house alone with a male tutor. Some tutors ask you to stay in while they are working, to avoid the possibility of malicious or unfounded allegations being made.
Private tuition can make an enormous difference to an individuals chances of success at GCSE or A-level, but only if you start early in the final school year. Leaving things until the Easter before the exams will just be wasting your money. It takes time to build trust between a tutor and student and to establish full two way communication.