How much does tutoring cost in the UK (2023)?
If you were to type ‘private tutor’ into Google this would likely be one of the top questions to come up. Parents and students are understandably anxious to know how much tuition will cost and how much it ‘should’ cost. So in order to address this question, we’ve broken down the expected costing into three budget brackets. We will also explore the different types of tutoring available and how that tuition is accessed i.e., via an independent tutor, tutoring platform or a tuition agency. The type of tutoring and cost of tutoring largely go hand in hand, although there are always exceptions!
Where should I get my tutor?
This might sound like a very basic question, but it is important to know that you have choice, almost too much choice, and it can feel very confusing for parents! The tuition industry is fast becoming a saturated market, so you need to be informed of the benefits and risks of the choices you are making when hiring a tutor. There are, broadly speaking, three main ways to hire a tutor – to hire an independent tutor directly, to go via a tutoring platform or to use a tuition agency.
Using an Independent tutor
This type of tuition can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You might strike a home run and find a great independent tutor. If you have decided to use an independent tutor, start by enquiring amongst friends and teachers if anyone is already using a reputable independent tutor to get an informal reference or recommendation. Sometimes, part-time or recently retired teachers carry out tutoring so if there is a natural continuation with your child’s academic support that way, then that’s great. By and large, this will likely be one of the cheaper options as they work for themselves and won’t have overheads for staffing costs or premises. However, this is not necessarily the case, and the price can range from a university student tutoring at £15-20ph, to the upper price ranges if you are hiring an in-demand qualified teacher with a limited capacity. Student tutors can be great but just be careful to check their A-level grades and ensure that they are DBS checked. Also, ask what exam board they studied themselves, as they may be less likely to be able to transfer knowledge and content over to a student who is studying another exam board without some additional help or training.
When selecting an independent tutor you need to be aware of both safety and quality. Because you won’t have an agency carrying out safeguarding checks, ID checks or quality assurance, you will need to do this yourself. As a basic starting point, you need to ask to see a hard copy of their Enhanced (not basic) DBS check and check if they are on the government update system if their certificate is over a year old. You should also ask to see proof of their relevant qualifications and you are within your rights to ask for a reference, too. A professionally minded tutor should not squirm at this and any tutor who does should be treated with a little caution.
Using a tutoring platform
In recent years, tutoring platforms have been on the rise. No two are the same but they form a halfway house between hiring an independent tutor and using a tuition agency. Usually, tutors will set themselves up with a profile and upload supporting documents such as ID and qualifications, which will be verified by an administrator working for the platform. This means you get some level of checking but the extent and nature of this will vary from platform to platform. Many of these platforms offer online learning as well as face-to-face introductions. If this is what you’re interested in, it might be a good idea to try out a couple of platforms to see which online whiteboard you find the easiest to use as they all vary in capacity and ability to genuinely facilitate learning. You might also consider trialing out a couple of tutors for test lessons, whether online or in person, to see which you get on best with. These sorts of referrals will be in the lower bracket of £15-30ph.
Using a Tuition Agency
Tuitions Agencies pre-date tutoring platforms by quite a long way and for fairly good reasons. As a tuition agency or tuition service provider, they must adhere to a very strict set of regulations for safeguarding and are able to provide customer support. More recently introduced legislation requires all tutoring agencies to make sure all taxes are paid through Employment Intermediary reporting or deducting tax at source through payroll. They must also comply with industry specific legislation and so have had to introduce relevant policies and procedures, much more so in recent years. Significant effort also goes into finding the right tutor match for you which reduces the need to cast a wide net and try out lots of tutors.
How much a tuition agency charges will vary depending on the agency’s location overheads and types of tutors they recruit. However, generally speaking, you can expect to pay £30-65ph when using a tutoring agency, with the majority being in the £45-60ph bracket. For this extra cost you should be expecting regular progress reports and details about safeguarding policies and quality regulations. Whereas sometimes there is a value on having an instant chat with a tutor via a platform for a sense of immediacy, with an agency you will have someone on the end of a phone who can help you if you want to discuss any specifics needs or concerns prior to or during the matching process or simply find out how it all works if this is new to you. You can ask questions if you’re confused about the whole process and not be alone navigating the complexities. It is much more personalized and can be tailored to you and your child more easily.
Some tutoring agencies charge above this £45-60ph bracket, which is much more common in the wider London area. Cost is not always a reflection of quality or a better tutor but what you can be assured of is a more diligent process. That is why schools and councils only use approved tutoring agencies for hiring tutors as they need to be able to have a safeguarding statement on file from them and they have to factor in Ofsted audits which external contractors must also, by association, pass with flying colours. As such, look out for agencies like Greenhouse Learning and Bristol Tutors Ltd who carry out extensive school tuition work as they will be more informed about safeguarding and quality updates as and when they come in and it is an intrinsic mark of quality that schools chose to work with such agencies.
If you are interested in tuition and would like to talk it over, we’re always here to help!