Tutoring is an excellent opportunity to support your child’s learning, enable them to progress in areas they find challenging, and give them an invaluable boost to ensure they have all the resources to succeed!
It is essential that you select the right tutor, one who has the skills and qualities to provide optimal benefit – and one who ensures your child enjoys their tutoring experience and all the advantages it offers.
The Elite Tutors Sussex team always focuses on the unique nature of every child – and knows that the best tutor for your child must be carefully selected to deliver the best learning, leaving your child confident, inspired and educated.
As digital learning becomes the most popular way to leverage flexible, bespoke tutoring, the process for many parents can feel daunting and may parents are now needing to consider candidates through virtual interviews.
Here’s our run through of our top ten tips for assessing online tutors and selecting only the very best candidates.
1. Why Enhanced DBS Checks are Vital for Online Tutors
There are three types of DBS checks (the Disclosure and Barring Service that replaced the old Criminal Records Bureau checks). These are:
- Basic DBS Checks
- Standard DBS Checks
- Enhanced DBS Certification
DBS checks are used to ensure a tutor has no criminal convictions, and are a critical part of the process when appointing any individual to work with children, in any capacity.
At Elite Tutors, we insist on every tutor having an Enhanced DBS Certificate, which is entirely up to date and renewed periodically. This mandatory requirement is essential, and you should always require evidence of this certificate, here’s why:
- Enhanced checks provide a more thorough assessment, including analysing the DBS Children’s Barred List.
- Only enhanced certificate holders are suitable to work with vulnerable people.
- When an adult is working directly with a child, either in-person or virtually, only the highest standards of DBS checks are acceptable.
The ETS recruitment standards require Enhanced DBS Certifications from every tutor and verify these independently for your safety assurance. If you recruit a tutor through a website or agency, ensure you have sight of this certificate before you make any decisions.
2. How to Verify that an Online Tutor is Not Barred from Teaching
Our next recommendation is also about safety, and we appreciate how this is such a fundamental concern for any parent seeking educational support for their child.
In some cases, an online tutor may have chosen the profession following a career in teaching; whether public or private, at a school, college, university or independent institution.
What an Enhanced DBS Check cannot reveal is whether an accredited tuition provider has been barred from teaching – which is a red flag that they have breached professional standards.
This is a safety precaution that many parents may not be aware of. Hence, the ETS recruitment team checks the National Register for Qualified Teachers to ensure we only ever recruit the highest qualified candidates, with exemplary work experience.
3. The Importance of Qualifications in an Online Tutor
The next stage is to request access to your tutor’s qualifications – be they accreditations or certifications.
These qualifications must be verified so that you know that any tutor working with your children has the appropriate skills, and independently awarded qualifications that demonstrate they have the knowledge to deliver excellent educational support.
We require a minimum of:
- Qualified Teacher Status
- A Relevant, Certified Degree
While many tutors might have a wealth of experience from previous roles, it remains essential to demand evidence of such qualifications.
This matters since a tutor must be educated to the appropriate level, with an awareness of curriculum standards and teaching methodology that makes them suitable to provide the learning your child needs.
As with Enhanced DBS Certificates, we recommend asking for copies of qualifications from any prospective tutor, even when recruiting through an agency or website – for your own peace of mind
4. How to Follow Up Online Tutor References
References are a vital part of any recruitment process. We’re all used to checking out a business online, reading product reviews, or seeking personal recommendations before we buy a product or service – and so, references are equally valuable when appointing an online tutor.
The only way to feel confident that references are true and accurate is to request permission to contact a referee directly and speak to them personally to make sure your prospective online tutor is the right person for your child.
If a tutor seems otherwise well qualified and experienced but isn’t able to provide a reference, we think that this raises red flags; there will be a reason that past employers, teachers or clients cannot give a positive testimonial.
Remember that character references are sometimes as useful as professional references, so it can be worthwhile following up, say, one employment and one character reference, to get a well-rounded, independent assessment of the character of your tutor.
5. Setting Up a Remote Learning Agreement
Elite Tutors Sussex believe that rigorous safety standards and digital communication guidelines are fundamental in this age of instant interactions and live chats – and this needs careful consideration when it comes to contracting a tutor.
If you’ve consulted a tuition agency that does not offer such agreements, we would recommend you look elsewhere; it is crucial to have guidelines in place right from the outset, to ensure everybody is safe and protected.
Some tutors will provide their own, and at Elite Tutors Sussex, we have a tailored Remote Learning Agreement, to uphold the most vigilant safety standards.
You need to know:
- When and how your tutor will liaise with your child?
- What communication methods/ platforms will be used?
- That the tuition is delivered in a suitable safe and protected way?
- What media, learning materials or digital resources will be shared?
- How will you communicate and discuss progress with your tutor?
Such guidelines are as crucial for a smooth service as they are for safety, and so an agreement should be in place before any lessons begin.
6. How to Choose an Engaging Tutor for Your Child
Next, we advise considering how your tutor will engage with your child.
- What will they do to motivate them?
- How will they keep lessons interesting and exciting?
- What techniques would they use to tackle waning focus?
Selecting an online tutor who has a diverse enough skillset to keep your child fully engaged is essential – a bored, disenfranchised child will find it very tough to extract benefit from their tuition sessions.
Here at ETS, we appreciate that children and students are digital natives; and we need to connect with them on their own terms to make sure they feel motivated and enthusiastic.
One of the ways we do this is by using Zoom in our lessons. This tool is a fantastic way to get students involved in their studies, with remote control functionality so they can immerse themselves in a learning experience, rather than trying to sit and listen.
Your tutor should be caring, patient, compassionate and understanding; and if in any doubt as to the teaching style of a tutor, look elsewhere – you want your child to feel happy and encouraged in their learning to get the most benefit from their tuition.
7. Why Bespoke Lesson Plans Make for a Better Tuition Experience
As much as we need children to feel excited and enthused about learning, we also need to understand how unique every student is.
Lesson plans should be crafted around the needs of the student, rather than fit an inflexible, standardised lesson plan that doesn’t take into consideration how that particular child finds it most comfortable to learn.
Speak to prospective tutors about how they tailor learning to each child, ensuring this takes into account:
- The learning gaps you are helping your child to fill.
- What interests and passions they feel enthusiastic about.
- How they engage, learn and play – do they like to draw, listen, sing, interact, watch, try for themselves, role-play, use practical examples, or test out a theory?
Just because learning is digital doesn’t mean that it needs to be a watching and listening experience; information we see in action is much easier to absorb, and each child will have their own personality and learning style that a tutor should adapt to.
We recommend avoiding any tutor or tuition provider who uses a fixed ‘programme’ – one size does not fit all, and neither should your child’s tuition.
8. How to Communicate and Liaise With Your Tutor
Once lessons are underway, it becomes essential to share feedback with your tutor; both from your perspective, to understand how your child is progressing, and from theirs, to ensure you and your child feel happy with how things are going.
Without feedback, you might find that students who are making profound progress are not aware of this, or be unable to discuss any issues that together you can overcome.
At ETS, tutors write reports after each and every lesson. This process helps to:
- Keep detailed progress reports.
- Share records of topics covered and successes achieved.
- Adjust lesson planning as required.
- Improve student confidence as they can see their improvements.
When it comes to academic success, confidence is key, and by having quality feedback and open communication forums, we ensure every student and parent receives the best possible communication and feedback.
9. Online Communication Essentials for a Digital Tutor
While communication equipment might be going back to basics – it’s still a fundamental criterion when making sure your child has the best learning experience.
Ideally, any online tutor you consider should have:
- Sufficient bandwidth for fast, clear communications.
- Quality camera equipment for quality visuals.
- Excellent sound to ensure lessons are never patchy or challenging to understand.
We’d advise asking for a 15-minute meeting before any lessons begin, or a trial lesson where you can assess the clarity of the connection and make sure it’s sufficient quality for your child to engage with.
10. Finding the Best Quality Online Tutors for your Child
Finally, we’d recommend spending some time assessing potential tutors and weighing up the skills and experience on offer.
Professional tuition can be a life-changing experience for a child, and can help a student who is struggling with barriers to learning, or complex subject matters, to recognise their abilities and make substantial progress even in a relatively short period.
Choosing the cheapest tutor is nearly always a false economy. By using the best quality tutors available, your child will learn faster, be better skilled, and receive an excellent educational experience that will help them to succeed now, and for the years to come.
We hope these tips are useful and provide an overview as to the minimum requirements you should expect when finding a tutor you trust to deliver an excellent level of support for your child.
For further assistance with finding the highest qualified, and best quality tutors for students across the UK, hand-picked for academic excellence and inspirational teaching styles, contact the ETS team today.