Tutor agencies, which one?

(52 Posts)
Akiko Mon 22-Nov-10 21:13:20

I have been looking to find a 11+ tutor for my y4 Dd and it appears that I am late as the ones that have been recomended by word of mouth are fully booked for years in advance.
I am now looking at the option of finding a tutor throught an agency and spent all day reading and researching the list of agents in the Good Schools Guide and on the internet.
To make the choice easier, the GSGuide compares the service some agents provide to a lunch in Dorchester and others to a Marks&Spencer or an Asda meal.
The prices these tutors charge start from £25 and goes up to £40, £45 for an hour.
The "Asda" tutors are not been checked by the agency, they just list their services on the website. And then there are the "Dorchester" tutors that have all the relevant qualifications, track record, experience and references checked.The agents also assess, tailor your child's needs and monitor the progress.
Some of you may have used agents and may be able to give me advise. How far have you gone in order to help prepare your child for those exams?
Is it madness to spend £45 ph on a tutor?

sali81 Sat 18-Dec-10 22:00:18

I want to know the answer to this question as well!

tinselistooaddictive Sat 18-Dec-10 22:15:48

I am with 2 "asda" agencies and I am fab wink. I don't think the price is any reflection of quality. I just charge a fair rate for my services. Anyone charging over £30 per hour for 11+ is ripping you off if you ask me. I don't do anything below GCSE by the way so you won't find me btw but price is no reflection of quality. My assurance of quality is my track record and the fact my students like me. I will now stop before I sound arrogant!

goingmadinthecountry Sat 18-Dec-10 22:38:59

I do it privately and charge £20 - I know I could charge more but it's pretty well only people I know. I did some school supply for an agency when I went back to teaching, but they were taking 40% shock , so decided to work independently. I'd go for word of mouth, or only sign up for one lesson to see how you get on. There are some pretty lazy tutors out there along with all the brilliant ones.

granted Mon 20-Dec-10 22:53:57

Price is no guarantee of quality. We had 3 lessons with a tutor, at £30 a shot, whom I pretty quickly realised was pants, contrary to word-of-mouth recommendations.

I then did it myself, which is my recommendation - cheaper and no-one knows your child like you do.

shirljon Wed 29-Dec-10 18:14:36

I am a private tutor and most of my pupils come through personal recommendation.
I have registered with on-line agencies but they haven't come up with anyone so far.
I used a tutor for my own children because they did not like me tutoring them and I found her by personal recommendation. Ask other mothers at the school gate. Even if a tutor is too busy she may know someone else who has vacancies.
Try your school newsletter or parish magazine.

SouthernTutors Mon 03-Jan-11 09:50:46

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granted Mon 03-Jan-11 18:40:29

That last message is a lie - there is no such thing as a 'qualified tutor' for 11+ - there is no course in the country or elsewqhere that exists in training teachers how to teach kids towards the 11+. They may be qualified primary teachers - but again, these are not trained in how to teach 11+, because VR, for example, is not part of the National Curriculum.

I am an Oxbridge graduate and have been offered work to each through these agencies that I was eminently unqualified to do. They're just after your cash, I'm afraid - and an unscrupulous tutor will teach and take the money, whether or not they know they can actually deliver.

Make sure you test the tutor - find out exactly what areas they will work on, when, how, and how progress will be measured. Do a practice test with your child at the start and at regular intervals, to ensure progress is being made.

Or better still, as I suggested, do it youself.

Any parent who can't handle maths/VR/NVR aimed at 11 year olds is frankly unlikely to have produced a child bright enough to pass the exams, anyway.

SouthernTutors Mon 03-Jan-11 21:24:18

Dear Granted,

I think you misunderstood my message to Akiko. At Southern Tutors we have qualified teachers, all who have enhanced CRB disclosures and are very successful tutors.

One of our students got 272 out 280 in the 11+ this year, much to the delight of her parents. Her parents were local GP's and yet felt that their children would be better served by being taught by our tutors, who are qualified teachers, rather then teach them themselves.

granted Mon 03-Jan-11 23:12:15

Well, their salaries probably meant their time was worth more per hour than a tutor would cost, so fair enough.

For those with less spare cash, though, I'd question whether it was such a straightforward investment.

In the case you cited, I suspect the score of 274 was down to the fact this was a naturally bright child, as their parents occupations would suggest - we have no way of knowing if your tutor added any value to their performance.

I'd be more impressed if your example had been say a single mother who worked as a cleaner. The fact that the child of two GPs performs well in academic tests is hardly a surprise; and it is disingenious to claim all the credit.

Moreover, you are deliberately misleading - no-one knows the actual scores, only the standardised ie relative scores, in 11+ tests. 272 out of 280 doesn't mean they only lost 8 marks - it depends on the relative abilities of those against whom the paper was standardised - if it was against the national verage, for example (rather than the self-selected group who actually sat the test), then scores of 280 out of 280 are not unusual.

SouthernTutors Mon 03-Jan-11 23:56:26

Dear Granted,

I am not being deliberately misleading. That is just how the exams are marked. It is a parents choice if they wish the best for their children to employ the best.

I think their job is largely irrelevant. Even Tony Blair employs a tutor agency for his children. We have famous celebrities and also key workers in the public sector who value our tutor's excellent results.

I would also add a persons job or marital status does not necessarily reflect their ability to teach their children or their children's ability.

I gave you only one example as we have lots of children from varying backgrounds and abilities who have benefited greatly from one to one tuition. Individual attention is always more beneficial than what one teacher can provide to a class of 36.

granted Tue 04-Jan-11 22:14:55

I think Tony Blair is probably a bit busy to tutor his children!

Anyone who chooses a tutor based on what an unnamed 'celebrity' does deserves everything they get, frankly.

We habe only your word that your tutors are any good. To paraphrase, "You would say that, wouldn't you?"

I do agree with you that one-to-one tuition will work wonders for all children - but you do NOT ned to waste money on tutors to give your child that; no tutor knows what a child is capable of better than his/her parents do.

Any adult whose scraped a few GCSE's, let alone got a degree, can handle the intellectual demands of 11+ - by definition, they're aimed at 11 year olds, so they are hardly very taxing for an adult.

If you want to waste your money paying someone to set and mark papers, or teach tips and techniques that you can easily find in a huge range of cheap and widely available books and on various websites - google 1+ and see what comes up! - chukra is good - then go ahead.

If you'd rather bond with your child, by spending quality time with them - and save a small fortune in the process - then TUTOR THEM YOURSELF.

I really, really dislike Southern Tutors - I've certainly never heard of them before, and I sugget they try spamming a different website, or actually try paying for their advertising next time.

It seems strange that if they're as goodas they claim, what with all those celebrities falling over themselves to use their services, wink , that they actually have any spaces left for their tutors. Given they're officially 'the best'.

What a load of tosh. angry

BondGirl008 Tue 04-Jan-11 23:16:41

I'd love to have the time to tutor my children myself, but just don't have that luxury.

Both of my boys have had tuition from both Fleet Tutors and Southern Tutors and I found ST much better organised.

granted Wed 05-Jan-11 10:27:03

How interesting that someone else has appeared to defend Suthern Tutors, just as I lambased them for spamming mumsnet for free advertising. hmm

If they're too cheap to pay for proper advertising, and word of mouth clearly isn't doing the trick, I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole.

BondGirl008 Wed 05-Jan-11 11:08:18

Have you ever thought of using tutors yourself?

Perhaps you could get someone to help you with your spelling. Which Oxbridge college did you say you went to?!

SouthernTutors Wed 05-Jan-11 11:26:47

Oh dear, this chat room seems to have gone south pretty quickly!

I think Akiko's original question has been answered adequately though.

granted Wed 05-Jan-11 22:08:11

My spelling's fine - my ttyping's shit, though.

I went to St Hugh's - and you, Southern Tutors BondGirl008?

granted Wed 05-Jan-11 22:14:19

I think you are right, though - at least everyone reading this thread will know the name of one tutorial agency to run a mile from - the one so cheapskate that instead of paying for classified advertising, they've taken to spamming parenting forums.

Wow, you must be hard up. And shit.

BondGirl008 Thu 06-Jan-11 14:27:45

Not sure who you are talking to (ranting at) now, but I read Endovascular Neurosurgery (MSc) at St Johns.

We have been living in Monte Carlo for the last two years now, so no, not that hard up.

penguin59 Fri 07-Jan-11 12:48:43

Is there anybody with direct experience of their child attending Ace Academy? I am considering if this is a suitable programme for my son. The testimonials all seem to be for children below age 11, not Secondary School. I need 15 yrs , Year 10, GCSE level feedback.

BondGirl008 Fri 07-Jan-11 13:14:51

Oh I haven't heard of them. Are they new?
Sorry the only ones that I have used are Fleet Tutors, (who didn't have anyone suitably qualified) and Southern Tutors. Southern Tutors did have lots of tutors, so am not sure which area you are in, but they might be able to help you.

penguin59 Fri 07-Jan-11 14:29:29

Sorry Bond Girl008 - here is the Ace Academy website link www.aceacademy.org.uk

BondGirl008 Sat 08-Jan-11 10:58:46

Thank you penguin!

Southern Tutors was easy to remember: www.southerntutors.co.uk

I also noticed that their MD was quoted in the Guardian last week:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/dec/29/st udents-private-tuition-university

Lilith451 Sat 08-Jan-11 13:17:00

Need a tutor ASAP for son about to start sitting GCSE science exams in two weeks! He's rubbish at revising and really needs some assistance quickly. SE London area

BondGirl008 Sun 09-Jan-11 10:11:43

Suggest you find exam papers for him to practice on. At two weeks it is too late to find a tutor. Try bribery to give him an incentive!

granted Mon 10-Jan-11 17:52:22

Bond Girl - how interesting that you push Southern Tutors at every opportunity.
Of course, you don't work for them...

You just happen to remember their email address... smile And follow their progress in the Guardian.

If you went to Oxbridge and studied anything, then I'm a penguin. (St John's has an apostrophe, BTW - strange you don't know that, given you claim to have studied there and all.) Please stop spamming this forum - it's really, really tacky. Amd cheap. Just blooming pay for advertising. angry

caffeineaddict Mon 10-Jan-11 18:41:11

Granted. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your posts xxx

granted Mon 10-Jan-11 22:43:45

Thank you. blush

It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it...

BondGirl008 Tue 11-Jan-11 15:42:30

Granted, this talk page was set up to ask people their opinions about tutor agencies, which is just what I was doing.

I will make no apologies for that.

I'm going to ignore your personal attacks. They are so boring. Although, regarding the Guardian, I don't think it would do you any harm to read a quality newspaper from time to time.

Also, just to qualify www.southerntutors.co.uk is a website address, not an email address. Do you know the difference?

catinthehat2 Tue 11-Jan-11 22:04:26

Bondgirl, stop digging, put that spade down before its too.late
<peers down deep hole>

BondGirl008 Wed 12-Jan-11 10:11:58

Digging for what? Buried treasure, for sure there isn't any here.

BondGirl008 Wed 12-Jan-11 10:22:19

Cat, I really have no idea what you are talking about. confused

CathyCC Mon 28-Mar-11 14:38:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chocolatemarshmallow Mon 28-Mar-11 19:31:38

Lilith451 and Akiko, I've just used an online tutoring agency for my DS (GCSE level) - I don't know how to direct you to my other post about it, but it's titled 'can anyone recommend an online tutoring agency' and there are more details there! It was www.tutorme.co.uk and he had his first session today -v impressive, great tutor, from our own home, didn't have to have anyone in or take him anywhere, and best of all we keep the lesson to replay for revision - I would def recommend! Otherwise try the tutor pages I've heard they are very good for finding someone near you (it's a website I think)

redapple80 Thu 21-Apr-11 10:50:36

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NWThreeMum Wed 07-Nov-12 23:51:33

Granted, I read this whole thread and like caffeine addict I really enjoyed your posts. Southern Tutors (who I have also never heard of) and 'BondGirl' how did you get in here?! I suggest putting a few flyers in newsagents would be a better use of your time! Or why not ask your celebrity clients to recommend you to their A list friends to give you a bit of free PR? I agree completely that there's nothing a child needs for the 11+ that a parent can't provide and my eldest and I sat for hours going through Bond papers. But with my youngest daughter motivation was a big factor and there were tears, tantrums etc, so I brought in the experts just for an easy life. Got a tutor from Hippocrene Tutors on the recommendation of a friend (I think they're quite a small bunch based in London) and she was fantastic but expensive (although credit to them, when we were having a rocky patch our tutor kindly gave a discount but I'm still talking £££s). My tip would be: ASK FOR HOMEWORK. (I think Hippocrene actually have a load of past papers for the 11+ on their site). If the tutor gets on well enough with your child they'll get down to it, and it means you don't need the tutor for as long. For my youngest it was definitely best that the work came from anyone but me. But all just depends on the child....

Nonnus Thu 08-Nov-12 09:14:07

Oh dear, if BondGirl does have a financial interest in Southern Tutors, she hasn't done the company any favours here.

lucyk2011 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:41:14

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Moominmammacat Mon 11-Feb-13 14:20:47

SouthernTutors ... I do hope you don't tell your pupils that two doctors are GP's.

SarahJenkins Mon 15-Apr-13 20:04:58

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KandyBarr Tue 16-Apr-13 16:56:05

If you are in London, Greater London Tutors have supplied a tutor to help my DS with maths higher tier GCSE and I can highly recommend - the tutor they sent is unflappable, really well qualified and has boosted DS's confidence. Tutor is also flexible about times, and is available by email to help when maths homework gets tough.

rd1709 Sat 20-Apr-13 09:53:38

Has anyone had any experiences with BlackStone Tutors?

Looking for a GCSE Maths tutor in the London area and a friend of mine recommended them especially for GCSE and above but was wodnering if anyone else had any experiences. Thanks!

Ehhn Wed 24-Apr-13 11:24:10

I'm a private tutor and used to be with a London agency who RINSED their clients. Astronomical sign up fees and hourly rates, of which us tutors would receive a fraction. I would be phoned if I was even vaguely connected to the subject area just because I am a PhD student so it looked really impressive.

May I recommend the online tutor databases? You can correspond directly with the tutor, decide if you are going to get on with that person; you can also find someone very local. You only pay between £10-£15 to buy the tutor's details, then you can meet them and see their paperwork yourself. Don't trust an agency! Using this method of personal selection, at most you lose £15 if you decide that you don't like the tutor. The whole point of having a tutor is that is returns control to the parent - you don't get to select the teachers at the school, so don't suffer the same problem by using an agency.

Having said that, I get asked by parents to tutor 8 year olds, just because I'm a PhD student - I tell them they would be better off with a primary ed specialist! Don't think 8 year olds are that keen on debating 18th C history, politics and literature...

helen343 Thu 16-Jan-14 23:01:26

In response to 'rd1709' and 'Ehhm'....i've used BlackStone Tutors as well as online self-search tutoring sites (uktutors etc.), and was generally far more impressed with BlackStone.

Firstly, they have no registration fee, so compared to the online website, I was £20 better off. Secondly, and most importantly the quality of tutor was significantly better; they sent an Imperial College grad. to teach my eldest GCSE Biology, and so far so good......he now wants to continue Biology for A-Level.

Of course, you do pay a little bit extra, but we're hoping this will pay off in the long run!

chloeannjanice Wed 19-Nov-14 00:18:02

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VanillaHoney Wed 19-Nov-14 09:41:37

I have tutored both DC myself. If you have time and invest a little bit of time on your hands to research the syllabus you really don't need one and could save yourself a small fortune. We have put the money we saved towards a week in the sun in the half term after the test...

janeg12 Tue 09-Dec-14 00:51:25

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