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Tutees asking to see references and DBS

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by humbug, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. humbug

    humbug New commenter

    I haven't taught in a school for a while, but have been on the two major tutoring sites for over a decade, and taught many private students.

    A parent recently bought my details and their son is coming for a trial lesson tomorrow. She texted me this evening and said the tutor site has said they should check my references and DBS so is it OK to do that tomorrow. I said I
    will have a look in the morning.

    No one has asked me this before, and I thought the tutor sites dealt with this for us. For example I asked two parents to provide references recently and they liaised with the site, who now say on the site that I am verified. I don't have an actual reference to show. They saw it. Although I don't work in a school, I did have a DBS recently, through a voluntary organisation I worked for. This has now run out, and you can see that on the site. But I understand that it is not compulsory to have a DBS if you are only doing an hour a week with a student. This is GCSE level.

    So what will they be expecting me to show them? I probably have my degree certiicates somewhere. I think it would be strange for me to actually have a reference. This would normally just be a name to contact, but I don't feel comfortable letting individual parents contact my references who have kindly given glowing reports to the site, already.

    It's a bit late and this student is coming tomorrow moring, but any help appreciated.
  2. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    I've never had a parent ask for a DBS, moreover if they got your details from a tutoring website they give you the opportunity to upload your DBS/or a reference via the site and the client can see it there when they book you. On one of the two tutoring websites I'm on, I uploaded the DBS, but didn't bother with the reference & I've done pretty ok without it. They don't do it for you, you have to upload one. (If you have one)

    I personally think this parent is looking for an excuse to get out of the lesson. You could ring the tutoring site and ask them for advice, but you could tell them to ask the tutoring site, as they would be able to see if you have one on your profile.

    Generally, it's a good idea to message/text the client before the lesson & on your profile, make sure you make it clear that you need contact (via messages) from the client before a lesson is booked to iron out queries etc.
    Hope this helps!:)
  3. humbug

    humbug New commenter

    Thank you very much for the reply.

    Yes, I have slightly bad vibes about this student. There was a bit of confusion over the lesson time too. I have emailed the site too, to check they are advising parents to do that, and what I should provide.

    On the other hand, sometimes it is hard setting up a lesson via a site and I have parents I am anxious about who turn out to be lovely and reliable. I need to remember to stick to my boundaries though, taking payment up front for subsequent lessons, not making up time if the student is late etc. I know that's a different topic, but sometimes parents who expect a bit too much just keep pushing the boundaries. If I can stamp down on that in the first lesson or two they usually fit in or disappear so I find a better student.

    Thanks again
  4. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    You could show them the one that has just run out and just print off the references from the site. I always make it clear to the awkward ones that I am over subscribed and often have a waiting list, but sometimes, like you said, when they show up they are as nice as nine-pence. I think if you show them who is boss they fall into line ;-)
  5. humbug

    humbug New commenter

    Thank you.

    Hmmm I don't have the one that ran out. I knew they had seen it, so threw it away when time was up.

    I have 5 feedbacks they must have seen but I notice the email addresses of my references are shown on the site. I'm not too happy with that.

    I'll let you know how it goes, in particular what advice the tutoring site gives.
  6. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    I would contact the tutoring website about making your references seen online. That's tantamount to having your own personal email available for all to see. I'm sure they're not allowed to do that, in line with the GDPR/Data Protection act we all have to follow nowadays.

    As before with regards to the client asking for references, refer them back to the tutoring company. Draw up a tutoring agreement/contact setting out clearly what is expected with regards to cancellations & what is expected of the student etc.If you show them that this is your business & you expect certain things, they will respect you for it & it will demonstrate your professionalism.
    bonxie likes this.
  7. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    I think I've only once had someone ask to see references. I showed them some of the "thank you" cards from former students and they were happy with that.
  8. sabram86

    sabram86 Occasional commenter

    I've only had one set of parents ask to see my DBS - which I dutifully took with me and then they didn't bother to ask to see it.

    I do wonder about the obsession with references. They're more or less worthless as a guide to someone's usefulness. The feedback on tutoring websites is normally enough for most people.

    You might be wise to get rid of this time-wasting family. Time is money!!
    suzette likes this.
  9. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    BTW: DBS Certificates don't really run out, generally a company just does a new one for you in order to be up to date to work with kids or vulnerable people etc. As a general rule of thumb even when they are old you shouldn't throw them away. Even an old one will show that you have been checked
  10. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    Quite right there is no expiry date for DBS certificates.
    suzette likes this.
  11. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    I have never once been asked for any of this and I've been tutoring more than seven years since I left the school system
  12. DrJay

    DrJay Occasional commenter

    Best to tell them that the site has fully verified you: vis-a-vis; acceptable references; proof of ID and DBS. Therefore, if they’re in any doubts, they should contact the tutor site to make the needed clarification. I wouldn’t give them any of those documents which contain personal details.
    langteacher likes this.
  13. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    The tutoring site is covering their own backs in the event that something happens. They have done their statutory safeguarding duties and are ensuring the parents do the same.

    It like when you enter a school from an agency, and the school wants to see your DBS, passport and proof of address. Everybody should be cautious however, I do not give parents access to view my DBS nor the references, I just show them my passport and proof of address, as the DBS contains more confidential information, such as all your addresses for the past 5 years, any previous names etc. and is a good source for committing fraudulent acts and my clients deserve to be left in peace and not bothered by phone calls from idiots.

    So yes, the tutoring website probably are saying this to clients, but clients should always be present, i.e. in the house when you are tutoring them and you should never agree tutor a child under 18 alone.

    There are various sites you can go on to get a DBS, many tutoring sites are now offering this, or you could register with a tutoring agency and get one for around £50 and enrol on the DBS update service.
  14. doctoryes

    doctoryes Occasional commenter

    I have been asked twice for a DBS certificate in 15 years tutoring. I don't use the original document, but have a photo on my phone of the section with my name and the certificate number.
    if they would like references then I do some work through a local agency and suggest they book me through them (which works out more expensive for the client). The agency are quite good at weeding out awkward clients though.
  15. humbug

    humbug New commenter

    Just an update on this...

    So the tutee and mother turned up and seemed very genuine etc. They understood that the references had been verified by the site. I told them my DBS was on there, although seemed out of date. Having read your further responses above, I realise I neednt have drawn attention to that.

    Anyway, they paid for the one off lesson and said they wanted to continue. Last night I sent through yes and conditions and payment details. Heard no more yet, but nothing lost either.

    The tutor agency said they don't tell tutees to check refs and it's up to us to show or not. They also assured me that although I can see the ref emails online, this is not available even to tutees who have bought my details.

    So I'm ok with all of this and thank you for all the messages. Still agree with others that referees are. Or that useful and it's a bit embarrassing to ask parents. Feedback if they want to, is less hassle.

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