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Talk to me about a private tutor

(23 Posts)
petal2008 Fri 19-Oct-12 15:19:04

My DS has just started 6th form and is struggling with one subject that seems to have knocked his confidence big time with everything. We are thinking of employing a tutor to point him in the right direction. His teachers have been brilliant and have been there for him after school but their time is limited and I am aware that they have dozens of other students to look after etc.

So - is this a good idea?

When looking for a tutor what do I ask, look for etc and how many hours a week do we go for?

Do they come to you or vice verse?

This is all new to us as DS was A* in GCSE's but now seems a different student with A level which we were told would be a different ball game.

We just want to help him all we can to get his mojo back so to speak.


happygardening Fri 19-Oct-12 16:06:25

When my DS was in yr 8 at his prep school we discovered that the latin teacher knew barely any more Latin than I did i.e. none and that in a mock entrance exam for his next school he scored 10%! We engaged a tutor. He transformed my DS's Latin and he got an A in the exam 4 months later. We've never needed to use him again.
If there is something your DS doesn't understand a short spell with a tutor can be invaluable. Also there are without a doubt many good teachers out there but it doesn't mean that they work for all people. Maybe your DS doesn't understand the way something is being put across a tutor may just get him over this hurdle and then he will find the subject come easily.

happygardening Fri 19-Oct-12 16:09:09

Whether or not they come to you of course varies we're rural but the Latin tutor who wasn't he was 35 miles away we alternated between him coming to us and us going there and we paid the petrol cost when he came to us. Mind you he lives in a very nice city with fab shops and me taking my DS there was caning my bank balance!!

kingprawntikka Fri 19-Oct-12 16:15:12

We have used a tutor at AS/A level. We found him through First Tutors. They generally say whether you travel to them or they come to you so you can chose. We had one for 1 hour a week in two seperate blocks of ten weeks, geared towards exam dates. My son found it helped... There's no where to hide if you don't understand one to one!

petal2008 Sun 21-Oct-12 12:28:31

Thanks for your thoughts. We are due to see the 6th form head on Tuesday to get a clearer picture and then take it from there.

Hopefully it's just a fit of nerves and it can be sorted at school but it's an option I feel we will take even if it's just in the run up to the first lot exams in January.

MsAverage Sun 21-Oct-12 22:47:46

We have tutors in several subjects. One was through skype, the others are visiting us, to some DD has to travel. It depends on how you agree upon that and on your preferences. I do not mind DD walking 10 minutes, but when we are talking about 45 minutes one way, I'd better pay the fare.

Once I was told that a term with a tutor rises the mark by half a grade. I would tend to agree.

mumblechum1 Sun 21-Oct-12 22:52:13

I've just hired a biology tutor for DS but he hasn't started yet. He just needs a bit of polishing and has missed a couple of weeks so there are some gaps.

I found her thru' a local tutoring agency run by an ex teacher from DS
s school. She charges £35 per hour at her home.

It's not unusual for sixth formers to go downhill.

Last year DS went from A/A* in all his sciences, did hopelessly badly at Chem and just gave up, and got a U.

Obviously I am trying to avoid the same thing happening with Biology (he's at C level now, needs a B for uni), hence finding a tutor.

SecretSquirrels Mon 22-Oct-12 13:57:23

DS1 had a tutor for English. He went about twice a month through year 10 and 11 and I reckon it brought him from a probable B at best to A* in his GCSE this year. He travelled to her house half an hour away and we paid £25 per hour.

Tutoringmummy Mon 22-Oct-12 15:36:33

If he has chosen the wrong subject altogether than it's maybe time to re-think that?

How well did he do in it for his GCSE?

It would hep to know the subject because for some there is a huge leap from GCSE to AS/A.

My DS and DD both had tutors. This was because they wanted/needed a specific grade to get into uni and were afraid they'd be a grade too low.

DD also went on an Easter crash revision course in year 13.

You need to make sure the tutor is qualified and has real experience of the exams and syllabus- be wary of graduates who have never taught but think they can because they got a degree in the subject!

You need to discuss whether they will just go over what your son has done at school or if they will come with their own text books and questions etc to help. Will they prepare a lesson or just make it up when they arrive taking the lead from your son?

If they travel to you it will cost another £5 usually.

One hour a week is usually okay- no less as they can forget from week to week.

BeingFluffy Mon 22-Oct-12 15:52:30

I currently use a tutor we also got via the website mentioned above, First Tutors. It does charge a (fairly reasonable fee but only once you have picked a tutor). You do get to read the biographies, feedback (if there is any) and can suss out whether they are a student, experienced teacher etc. Not that students can't be good teachers but as the posters above have mentioned for AS/A2 in my opinion you need someone with experience of the syllabus or willingness to learn it inside out in a short time.

I told DD's teacher that I had hired a tutor - DD is dyslexic, struggles with languages and a language GCSE is more or less compulsory at her school in year 9. The teacher suggested areas to work on and said the tutor could call her her anytime. That might be an idea rather than using it as a substitute for the teaching at school during the day.

Ours comes to our home for an hour a week. For A' level which is more intensive it might need to be more. I would expect the tutor to assess the child to see which areas they need to work on.

weegiemum Mon 22-Oct-12 15:57:57

I am a tutor (Geography).

Students come to me - I'm disabled so can't easily travel as I can't drive.

With a pupil who did well at standard grade (Scottish equiv of gcse) I can often turn it round in about 6 weeks. I've also told parents in be past that they are wasting their money - if after 6 weeks they are still incapable. Of map referencing, then they really need to be questioning the ability of the student! Any decent tutor will liase and advise parents like this.

I'd advise that if you want a tutor at this level you engage one with recent classroom experience or great knowledge of the curriculum. I haven't taught in a class setting for 8 years but I'm a senior marker and that keeps me up to date with changes to the syllabus.

And get someone your dc gets on with. It's a different relationship than with teachers.

Expect to pay (where we are) £20 - £25 an hour.

mamabanana Mon 22-Oct-12 16:13:11

I'm a tutor too (Biology)!

I agree with weegiemum - getting a tutor can very quickly turn students around, especially when it comes to confidence issues. I have had students come to me with exceptionally poor grades (U/E) and after a good few weeks bolstering confidence and focusing on the syllabus, they come out with A/B grades. For A-level, I would recommend 1-1.5 hours. 2 hours a time is usually too long. I travel to 50% of my students, the other half come to me. I only travel within 10 miles so expect a tutor to charge mileage if they are travelling over a 10 mile round trip. I charge £28 per hour. Ask around - many good tutors don't advertise and get most work by word of mouth. You can also try First Tutors, UK Tutors and Tutor Hunt. Always make sure you look for someone with a qualification one level higher, so for A-level, the tutor should really have a degree in that subject. Beware students who charge low rates - you get what you pay for and also people who claim they can tutor several A-level subjects (see previous point about having a higher level qualification). Good luck!

petal2008 Mon 22-Oct-12 17:25:22

Thank you all for your advice.


DS is taking Maths, Further Maths, Biology and Physics.

Maths has always been his strong subject yet he says he is really struggling with this and parts of the Further Maths.

He took a test in Further Maths today so we will see what the results are like (if I can get them out of him!).

We have arranged to see his Head of 6th form (also his maths teacher) after school tomorrow as we need to establish if he is just panicking or if there is a definite problem. He seems to think it just him in the class but I am sure there are others who are finding it difficult. There seems to be such a gap between GCSE and A level and with no time to adapt.

JadaSevert Mon 22-Oct-12 17:35:30

My dn is 16 and goes to a very reputable school, she has recently started seeing a maths tutor for her GCSES as she fell behind in her set and couldnt get back to the standard of her class, it can just be one exam that everyone does well in that can knock their confidence. From what my DSis has told me, it has worked wonders, she sees her i think once a week for 2 hours her grades have not improved dramatically yet, but then there is no quick fix, but it seems she is getting her confidence back, it is always worth seeking help because it could be one topic that he can't get his head around and once he aces it it will open up his mind to the rest of the alevel course!

Tutoringmummy Mon 22-Oct-12 18:18:43

OP Maths is notorious for being harder at A level. If he can crack AS then he should be fine with A2- many students want to give up at AS but a friend of mine teaches maths and encourages them to press on for a few months and usually it all falls into place. Having said that, GCSE maths has been dumbed down a lot so can give a false picture of ability in the subject.

petal2008 Mon 22-Oct-12 18:23:13


I am sure his teacher will encourage him to carry on. I am going to try and persuade him to have a tutor if she thinks it's a good idea as I am pretty sure it's a confidence thing.

If anything I thought the Further Maths would be the problem as they only studied it from January last year and then put them in for the GCSE. He got a C grade and I thought that it would be a big ask to go from that to A level but he seems to be coping with most of it.

petal2008 Mon 22-Oct-12 18:24:13

Sorry "studied it from January this year"!

SecretSquirrels Mon 22-Oct-12 19:44:54

DS has just started Maths and FM AS levels and is loving every minute of it.
They were only accepted to do FM if they had a minimum A at GCSE and he says that many A* students are finding it tough.

localteachers Fri 10-Nov-17 16:38:14

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

bebumba Sat 11-Nov-17 09:16:37

We had a tutor for ds to help with AS Physics. We went through Tutor Doctor who were great. He had a crisis of confidence in the February before the exam. He was struggling to understand a couple of topics and his teacher was on sick leave. He had been predicted an A but his grades were slipping closer to the exam.
He sat down with the tutor and they discussed what ds hoped to gain and what he would like to do in the sessions. The tutor was a great help and ds went on to get an A for AS Physics.
I would recommend tutoring but only if your child is prepared to give up the time needed to spend with the tutor.

Jaffajuices Sat 11-Nov-17 09:48:50

If you need a tutor this early on in the year then perhaps he has chosen a wrong subject? My eldest struggled with one subject and switched to another which he was a natural with, he excelled after that. He switched around this time, which meant catching up but he was fine

clary Sat 11-Nov-17 22:49:27


Reactived by i suspect someone advertising their tutoring

bebumba Sun 12-Nov-17 08:50:04


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