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Tutor Qualifications / what to look for?

(12 Posts)
FiddleOnTheRoof Sat 17-Aug-19 23:31:16

Used an agency to find a tutor for DC Easter to get through summer exams. When she visited for first lesson, during conversation it came up that she had a PGCE in education and degree in computer science. Didn’t want to be rude and ask what seemed obvious to me but can anyone help me understand how this relates to being able to teach maths and biology to secondary aged child. Need to decide whether to continue or switch ...

Any advise on what is acceptable? Should I even be concerned? Does it really even matter?

JoJoSM2 Sat 17-Aug-19 23:46:16

I a man an experienced teacher, did my degree in linguistics but I'm very good at explaining Maths too. And could quite confidently teach some other subjects: I have the subject knowledge but would need to get up to date with exam specifications. Hopefully, your tutor is a similarly geeky kind.

Maybe just raise it with her, though? See if you find the answers satisfactory.

Or if you're worried, you could always find specialist teachers of Maths and Biology with up-to-date experience.

PurpleDaisies Sat 17-Aug-19 23:52:52

If they’re experienced in tutoring those subjects with good references and results, I’m not sure that the exact qualifications matter. Plenty of teachers don’t have degrees in the exact subjects that they teach.

All PGCEs are in “education”, that’s what the “E” is. Was her specialist subject computer science? Lots of schools have their science teachers teaching maths as well.

FiddleOnTheRoof Sun 18-Aug-19 16:57:51

Thanks jojo and purple I will try to broach the topic with her. Just hope she is not offended. A subject specific teacher might be better long term but what I think is most important when you are paying £50 an hr is that she is aware of what is required for the exam and ensures these areas are taught/covered... or we could end up wasting a lot of money and not getting the desired result.

The E for education is interesting. Do all teachers complete their PGCE subject specific? Or is this qualification general?

JoJoSM2 Sun 18-Aug-19 17:29:15

For secondary teachers it is subject specific. For example, you’d spend your time learning to teach French and Spanish or Maths or PE. However, a lot of the skills are transferable from one subject to another. There will, however, be some subject specific tricks and ideas that teachers of those subjects will be familiar with and other teachers less so. Experienced subject teachers will also know the GCSE exam spec inside out and will be able to mark exam questions with their eyes closed (if they have up-to-date experience).
I have taught other subjects and it can be done very successfully provided someone prepares thoroughly and is generally switched on.

00Cak3bak3r0 Thu 22-Aug-19 16:30:44

Dear FiddleOnTheRoof

That seems ridiculous! Surely you would want a tutor to be qualified in the subject they are teaching your child??? I know I would!!! shock angry LOL

I have been using Bright Young Things tuition for all my three boys throughout their time in school and all of the tutors that have taught my boys have had degrees in the subject they teach! It seems ridiculous that an agency would put forward a tutor that hasn't even studied maths and biology!!!!

I would complain if I were yuo!

Hecateh Thu 22-Aug-19 21:03:11

When I was at school my very best maths teacher didn't have a maths qualification. She knew the curriculum inside out and was a brilliant teacher because she understood that maths (for many people) isn't easy.
The worst was very maths oriented and really couldn't get his head round students not understanding. To him, the level he was trying to teach us was so easy and obvious it was boring and he was only interested in the other 'maths' oriented students.
He believed and demonstrated the belief that those of us who struggled must be thick as it was 'SSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOOO easy'.

Do they know the curriculum?
Do they connect with your child?
Are the two most important questions in my opinion.

FiddleOnTheRoof Mon 26-Aug-19 01:30:30

As I feared, conversation with tutor did not go well. She appear offended by my questioning. blush Maybe I approached it wrongly or maybe it’s just something that would have been easier to address from the outset. Either way, I have decided to continue my search for a subject specific qualified teacher.
If anyone can suggest an agency or tutor in the south London/Surrey area this would be great!

JoJoSM2 Mon 26-Aug-19 08:15:01

Offended?!?!? confused

In terms of finding a tutor, there are several tutor-specific websites, e.g. TutorHunt. The tutors list their qualifications and discuss experience so you know who you're contacting. also has tutors advertising on it.

sashh Wed 28-Aug-19 11:38:28


There is a lot of maths in a computer science degree, in fact you can only get a degree in computing or IT if you don't take any maths modules.

My PGCE is in Computer Science, but I have spent more time teaching health and social care than anything else. This is due to a previous career as a clinical physiologist.

I have taught GCSE maths and I'm currently taking an OU maths degree.

tracystevens Thu 17-Oct-19 13:07:18

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

mummykauli7 Sun 27-Oct-19 15:08:45

Hi I think it depends what you want exactly. For example, I don't have a maths degree, but I did study maths up to A level and I do have a degree in business economics where I took elective modules in statistics. I do maths tutoring up to year 9 (key stage 3 Sat's) as I feel I have studied enough maths that I am confident in teaching.

Also, I've always been one of those people that would always help my nieces and nephews out with their homework so I'm super comfortable teaching kids.

There are some people who have amazing maths qualifications but have no idea how to talk to children. So really does depend on what you're looking for.

I definitely agree with a lot of people on here you and your DC has to be confident in who you choose.

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