Everything you need to know about becoming an 11 Plus tutor...
If you enjoy working with younger students, then specializing in Eleven Plus tuition can be a very rewarding career move. Helping students gain entry to the UK’s top grammar schools is a challenging job but one that can command a significant fee.
There are several counties in the UK that still use Eleven Plus testing and there are currently 164 Grammar Schools in England and Northern Ireland. These schools generally have a reputation for performing consistently well in secondary school league tables. We’ve put together this guide to help advise anyone interested in working as an 11 Plus tutor in the UK:
What is the 11 Plus?
The 11 Plus is an exam that a select group of children sit, usually early on in their last year of primary school. The exam is used by schools in certain areas of the UK as a means of selecting for grammar schools. Some children start preparing for the 11 Plus as early as Year 5 and as such, demand for private tutoring is extremely high.
Although the 11 Plus exam varies from county to county, each exam usually tests for Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Typically, students are expected to sit three papers:
- A multiple choice reasoning paper
- A multiple choice literacy and numeracy paper
- A written exercise
The two multiple choice papers are marked electronically by an automated marking machine. However, the written exercise isn’t normally marked and is typically only looked at in cases of appeal.
What’s the Market Like for 11 Plus Tutoring?
According to a report published by the Sutton Trust in 2011, students in Year 7 and Year 11 are most likely to receive private tuition, so this suggests that a lot of children receive tutoring when they’re aged 11 and 15. Furthermore, 23% of state-school pupils aged 11-16 said they have had private tuition at some time. In London, it’s estimated that this figure rises to around 50%.
In 2009, an Ipsos MORI survey, estimated that there are 1.5 million private tutors currently working in the UK. These numbers surpass those of classroom teachers and even NHS workers and with an estimated 500 agencies operating in the UK, the market for 11 Plus tutoring seems clear.
What Qualifications do You Need to Become an 11 Plus Tutor?
At the moment, there are no official accreditations for private tutors in the UK, so in theory, anyone can start a private tutoring business. However, at 11 Plus level, parents generally look for tutors to be qualified to degree level, or at least be undergraduates. Qualified teachers often tutor at 11 Plus level as a sideline to their full time teaching job and others tutor after retirement for additional income.
How qualified a tutor should be is generally left to the discretion of parents and older students using their services. In any case, it’s always a good idea to ask for evidence of a tutor’s qualifications to provide you with piece of mind.
As an 11 Plus tutor, you’ll need to have a bank of resources that you can use with your students. Practice papers and other subject specific exercises are particularly useful in preparing children for the 11 Plus exam. One particular resource that we recommend is Bond 11 Plus. They provide access to hundreds of practice papers and they provide some excellent advice for private tutors and parents on how to prepare for the 11 Plus exam. They also have an impressive collection of free 11 Plus resources that are very useful (requires sign up but well worth it).
For more information on 11 Plus resources, have a read of our post on the best 11 Plus resources, blogs and websites.
How to Obtain a DBS Check as an 11 Plus Tutor
When it comes to tutoring students under the age of 18, it’s recommended that you obtain a DBS certificate. Although not a legal requirement, at 11 Plus level, parents generally expect tutors to have had a criminal background check. Somewhat inconveniently, at the moment, in the UK, individual tutors can’t apply for a DBS checks on themselves. Instead, you’ll need to apply for one through a third party like an employer, an agency or an associated umbrella body.
If you plan to tutor students at home, then you might also want to consider taking public liability and private indemnity insurance in the event that a student injures themselves during a lesson or parents wants to take legal action resulting from advice you’ve given.
Marketing Advice for 11 Plus Tutors
As with any new business venture, at the beginning, marketing is always the most difficult task. As an 11 Plus tutor, finding students to tutor in your local area can be a bit of a challenge, especially if there are already other tutors in your area. However, don’t be put off by this, as competition can be a good thing and provide you with a good indication of the 11 Plus market in your area.
One of the first marketing steps you’ll want to take is to establish an online presence. Nowadays, the first place parents look for 11 Plus tutors is online. To help get you started, you should consider joining an 11 Plus tutor directory like the one we have, where you can create a profile and have students and parents contact you directly.
Likewise, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can also help spread the word about your tutoring business. Although the following list isn’t by any means exhaustive, it may help get you started in marketing yourself as an 11 Plus tutor:
- Contact other private tutors in your local area who don’t cover the 11 Plus and ask if they’d be willing to set up a referral system with you
- Assuming you already have some students on your books, tell their parents that you’re looking for new business and encourage them to spread the word
- Participate in online forums where students may be looking for 11 Plus tutors
- Create your own website and optimize it for search engines
- Consider tutoring online via Skype or other online tutoring platforms
- Consider advertising in 11 Plus directory websites like The Tutor Website
- Create business cards and display them in shop windows
- Tell people about your 11 Plus tutoring business on Facebook and other social media websites
If you have any other questions about how to become an 11 Plus tutor, please post them below. Perhaps you’re an 11 Plus tutor yourself? What advice would you give to anyone considering pursuing a career in 11 Plus teaching? We’d be keen to hear about your experiences.
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/4195916777