@TheProfsTuition – National Tutoring Programme: Tutors should be qualified
The Government have recently announced the news of the £1 billion ‘catch up’ fund for schools over ‘lost learning’ to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Prime Minister stated that the most disadvantaged children would have access to tutors through a £350 million ‘National Tutoring Programme’. It will run for the duration of the next academic year and provide schools access to subsided tutoring sessions and free coaches for up to two million disadvantaged pupils.
There have been concerns over the quality and costs of the tutoring as the trained coaches will consist of university students and recent graduates. Richard Evans, founder of The Profs shares his thoughts on the government’s National Tutoring programme and why he doesn’t agree that university students and recent graduates should be tutors.
- What are some of the reasons why university students become tutors?
- Tutoring makes you a far better learner as you are forced to communicate your ideas to someone else – just like in an exam! Private tutoring is possibly the highest-paid flexible work available for a student. It can be done easily from your home using online software such as BitPaper.io
- Why does this method of tutoring provide a risk?
- Allowing an inexperienced tutor to work with your client can seriously risk harming that students’ confidence. If the tutor is unable to improve their students’ understanding, we have seen sad cases where the student felt foolish and less confident than had they not taking the tutoring. This is often compounded by parents’ expectations that paying for additional tutoring should lead to better grades.
- In the worst cases, inexperienced tutors can reinforce negative emotions around learning so that students become less likely to ask questions and want to learn. On the contrary, a top tutor makes a student enjoy the learning environment, stimulates curiosity and passion for the subject and increases overall confidence both in and out of the classroom.
- Parents must be discerning about their children’s education. Teachers must go through strict vetting standards and training before being allowed to teach. No such standards exist for tutoring and so it is very important to look at the experience of the tutor. Agencies such as The Profs have the strictest vetting standards and teaching interviews which can help to mitigate those risks – only 3% of applicants become tutors.
- If the university students had to take a qualifying exam prior to tutoring, would that work?
- There is no such test currently available. Agencies should personally meet their students and have an experienced tutor run the interview process to adhere to the strictest tutoring standards – including soft factors such as building rapport and building confidence of the student.
- Everyone must start their career somewhere and professional agencies will make parents aware of the risks of less experienced tutors and the good reasons why they might recommend a less experienced tutor in certain circumstances.
- What alternatives are better for those needing a tutor?
- There is no substitute for one-to-one tutoring. Whilst there are many brilliant free online resources and videos to cover topics, which should be encouraged as students learn to feed their academic curiosity, the tutor is partly a motivational coach who will set project manage their student to ensure that they are keeping up with their learning each week and not skimming over any subjects.
- What are The Profs doing to ensure safety during the Coronavirus pandemic?
- The Profs were pioneers of online tutoring. In the first 2 weeks of lockdown, 250 tutors – the majority from outside of our network – were giving free online sessions to help them move online. 90% of our work was already conducted online so we were well-prepared to support students and tutors in making the transition to professional online learning.
- The Profs does not work with undergraduate students except in exceptional circumstances when they can demonstrate at least two years of tutoring experience. Our senior management team personally interviews every tutor to test their ability to teach professionally online. Only 3% pass the process to become tutors. This strict focus of quality is why we are the top-rated tutoring company in the UK.
“We have concerns that at this time of crisis, the National Tutoring Programme funding may go to the cheapest, rather than the most cost-effective, interventions. In the tutoring world, you get what you pay for and we know that quality is always worth the extra investment.”