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What qualifications do you need to be a tutor?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by Joanne2009, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Joanne2009

    Joanne2009 New commenter


    I am interested in tutoring and wondered what qualifications are needed? I am not a teacher but work for the NHS. I help out in my local primary school and the headteacher suggested I look into tutoring. I thought a teaching qualification would be needed. If so, what course would you recommend?
    I already have a BSc and a Masters in science subjects.
  2. GordonNome

    GordonNome New commenter

    Need? By law? Err.... none. Which is why some professional teachers get understandably very het up about it all.
    However, to be a good tutor who gets work via agencies or is recommended to others for good results etc it would seem sensible to have some sort of further education qualification in your subject (e.g. your degrees) and to gain a decent idea of what is expected at each level you tutor. GCSE, AS, A2 curriculum and exam expectations for example. Most of which can be gained via the relevant exam board websites.
    An enhanced CRB check may also be wise, although it is not possible to get yourself checked as an individual. If tutoring privately you would probably find that the one you have for the NHS or the one for the school will suffice. (In 6 years I have NEVER been asked to show my CRB by a single parent!)
    After that, some sort of liability insurance in case a picture falls off your wall and hits a student, or they trip on your loose carpet. Ditto for covering you when you knock over the priceless ming vase they have in their hallway - and notify your house insurer in case they steal on the way into/out of your house. Mine won't cover me for theft from the property while I am teaching unless a third party breaks in by violence. You may find it makes more sense to tutor only at their home as some insurers refused to cover me as I tutor at home.
    Make sure to tell the taxman within 12 weeks of starting work - or you get a £100 fine. Keep good accounts with a note of who pays you, how much, when. Also keep all receipts and work out petrol expenses, paper, printer ink, books etc. Costs of these can be claimed back against tax (ie you work them out as your business costs and then pay tax only on your profit, not your income).
    Of course, you CAN get by without any of these things, and many people do. But if you want to make a decent business out of it then I would recommend all of the above. If it is just for some extra pocket money then definitely make sure you tell the tax man and then you could just cross your fingers and hope you don't need the rest.
  3. Georginalouise

    Georginalouise New commenter

    My background was also NHS, almost 30 years. I tutor A level biology now. I have postgrad qualifications in biochemistry and immunology and also a PGCE to teach post 16. I'm now a full time private tutor - and yes, I do run it as a business and not as a pocket money venture. I was lucky in that for the last ten years of my NHS life was heavily involved in training and education and also a "guest" lecturer for a local university whenever they needed a healthcare professional. It takes time, and a huge amount of effort if you want to make a decent living from private tuition but it is possible.
  4. Joanne2009

    Joanne2009 New commenter

    Thank you for the valuable information.
    I am interested, at the moment, in KS2 so spending a lot of spare time in school working with children in groups and observing the teachers. I have done this for quite a while now so feel ready to take things to the next level.
    I will look into courses though.
  5. Joanne2009

    Joanne2009 New commenter

    Hi GGeorgina,

    Were you a biochemist then? I am in microbiology. I am part time now but have always had a strong pull to education.
    I was going to call it a day with the NHS but realised I had worked too hard to give it up.
    I have been asked, in the past, to lecture a little at the local Uni but I didn't feel that I wanted to do degree level. I am interested in Primary level although I would also be interested in GCSE and A level biology.
    I did look into the post 16 PGCE last year and was quite interested but you needed to spend so much time teaching in further ed. I wouldn't rule this out but it is KS1/KS2 I am interested in.
    How did you end up doing a post 16 PGCE? Were you working in college at the time? It sounds like you are doing really well with it.
    Do you miss your NHS career?
  6. leftieM

    leftieM New commenter

    I don't see how you can tutor (or teach) a specification without knowing the mark schemes and the types of questions. If you are tutoring for your own entertainment, then skip that part and wing it.
  7. I agree that you need to know the specifications and understand mark schemes. I still think doing all the papers would be excessively boring and more importantly quite unnecessary.I have been doing this a very long time.
  8. Georginalouise

    Georginalouise New commenter

    I've been tutoring a fair while too, I'm in my 6th year but I still do all the past papers "blind" in the first instance. If I don't get full marks because I've misunderstood or misread a question, I know my students will also. It helps me find the pitfalls in certain types of questions. Boring? maybe. Necessary? Yes, absolutely.
  9. Six years? You're just getting started. :)
  10. armandine2

    armandine2 Established commenter

    Who do you think does tutor undergraduates?
  11. Think?

    I remember who I learnt my undergraduate maths from and I can assure you they were well past the point of almost knowing what they were talking about.
  12. armandine2

    armandine2 Established commenter

    Seems a pity they didn't pass it on though.
  13. I suppose we'll have to agree to differ.

    I'll just restate my opinion though. If anyone thinks it's unreasonable perhaps they could tell me why.

    I believe it is essential that a tutor or teacher, of any level up to and including A level, should be able to complete any question, relevant to the course they are teaching, on sight, with ease.
  14. armandine2

    armandine2 Established commenter

    This reminds me of the first-aid instructor who said much the same thing ... I only hope that when you are in need of help that you still feel the same.
  15. Check the papers if the pupil is struggling but I don't think it is that crucial that tutors need to go into the depths of examination paper teaching. Thats for the pupil to do as homework and study practice, or for a tutor group that occurs at school after hours. Tutors can teach so many areas of the curriculum or subject they are highly knowledgeable about and they can swap or "visit" the areas that their paying client's offspring is having problems with as well as other core subjects to that area.
  16. I don't see how this is relevant.

    When choosing a tutor, parents don't have to accept the first passerby and hope that they have some useful skills and knowledge. They generally seem to ask a friend for a recommendation.
  17. Hi there's a really useful site which provides an outline for recommended requirements to become a private tutor. Although it's aimed at maths tutors you may still find it useful I hope. Here
  18. Georginalouise

    Georginalouise New commenter

    There is no one size fits all in private tuition. At A level I spend a lot of time on exam technique. Schools around my way often don't get through the syllabus, let alone look at exam papers. I find it grossly unfair that the first time a student sees an A level paper is when they open it in an examination room, but it happens. If a school doesn't give out past papers and help the kids understand exactly how particular types of question need particular types of answers, then it is up to me to do so.

    The above was a response to a post that has disappeared, apologies folks that it makes little sense out of context in this part of the thread.
  19. I would say that it is absolutely essential to do examination paper teaching - after all, surely the parent has employed a tutor to get their child through an exam?!!! You can't assume that this will be done by the school - the more exam questions a student has done, the more chance they will have of getting a good grade. Obviously you need to help them with their understanding, but without a good grounding in exam technique their chances of getting a good grade are definitely impaired...

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