How to become a tutor
At the moment, there's no official accreditation for home educators in the UK, so how qualified a tutor should be, is generally at the discretion of students and parents using the services. To advertise on this site however, it's recommended that you are educated to at least degree level or be an undergraduate in your final year of study.
Home educatiors are far more likely to be seen as valuable in the eyes of a student or parent if they have shown dedication to the subject they are tutoring. It also gives students and parents piece of mind that tutors know their content.
Qualified teachers often decide to become home educators and offer their services to supplement their full-time teaching job. Newly qualified or retired teachers also offer their services as private tutors and are sometimes the preferred choice of educator as their previous experience clearly shows their expertise.
On the other hand, many students and parents consciously decide to choose a tutor who is not a teacher, who may have a slightly different approach to learning.
CRB Checks and disclosures
Anyone in the UK who works with young or vulnerable people needs to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. If you’re registered with an agency or an employer, it’s relatively easy to obtain a disclosure certificate but if you’re a sole trader it can be more difficult as an individual cannot apply for a CRB check on themselves. There are however, umbrella bodies to which you can apply for one. For more information on CRB checks and disclosures, please visit our Safety Advice for Tutors page.
If you're considering becoming a home educator, it's important to ask yourself if you have the personal qualities needed to work with students. Generally, tutors should be friendly and approachable yet maintain a professionalism that reassures students and parents that they are good at what they do.
It's important to have patience and to have a genuine interest in working with younger people. If you have the ability to motivate people and approach new challenges with enthusiasm, then working as a private tutor can give you great job satisfaction.
Tutoring adults can be just as rewarding as tutoring school children. In order to tutor adults, you don’t necessarily need to have a CRB certificate although having one will give your tutees piece of mind. Classes will most likely take place at local colleges, universities, and often, at places of work. Tutoring adults can be a rewarding experience and can open up opportunities for specialising in specific areas of adult education such as dyslexia, which requires further training and experience.
Home Tutor or Travelling Tutor?
Tutors tend to tutor from their own home, from a fixed location, like a community centre or town hall, or prefer to travel to students' homes. For some, working from home can be a convenient way of earning a living from the comfort of their own dining room table. It's worthwhile considering the following list when deciding where you will base your services:
Where will lessons take place? Do you have enough space in your home to provide a comfortable and stimulating learning environment?
Consider your utility bills. Will the cost of your utilities increase as a result of your tuition business?
Do you need public liability or professional indemnity insurance?
If you are a private tenant, are you permitted to run a small business from your home?
How far will you travel and what impact will this have on your travel costs? Will you need to spend more money on petrol or bus fares?
What will you do about students who cancel at the last minute? Will you decide to use a cancellation policy?
Most private tuition takes place after school hours, so are you willing to give up some of your evenings and weekends?
Where to advertise?
Generally, tutoring tends to be seasonal, with busy periods and not-quite-so-busy periods. Students and parents generally start contacting tutors at the beginning of the school year in September then again in January, after prelim exams. It can however, take some time at the beginning of the school year for interest to pick up. Many tutors however, find themselves able to tutor full time, even over the summer months.
Do some research of your local area. If you can identify the areas that young families live in, by distributing leaflets to those areas, you'll automatically increase your chances of reaching someone who might consider using a tutor. Try posting leaflets in areas which are near to high schools as there's more likelihood of families living nearby.
Create Your Own Website
There are a number of free website templates on the internet that can get you started quickly and easily. Many of these sites also offer web hosting to display your site. At the moment, Google are offering free website layouts, a domain name and web hosting for a whole year to encourage British businesses to get online. For more information, visit their website: GBBO.
Register with an Agency
If you find yourself struggling to find students at the start of the year, you could also try registering with a tuition agency. One advantage of registering with an agency is that they will do most of your promotion and marketing for you. It's worth bearing in mind though, that agencies will take a cut of your profits as a result. They may however, also apply for a CRB Certificate on your behalf, if you don't have one, which could prove useful for any future tutoring work.
Word of Mouth
Building up a good reputation in your local area is a great way of ensuring that more students will use your services. Sometimes a good word from a previous parent or student can do wonders for your services.
Finding the most effective advertising methods involves some trial and error. It may be worthwhile setting up a business email address and telephone number, solely for the use of tutoring enquiries. This will make it easier to keep track of how successful your advertising has been.
For more information on how to maintain students over the summer, please read this article on our blog.