A quarter of British families now hire private tutors, but the industry is not yet regulated in the same way that, say, school teachers are. So in theory a private tutor could set themselves up and work without a current Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check or any particular qualifications in their subject.
That means that, whether you're looking for help with maths tutoring or perhaps some extra English tuition, it's important that you go through a reputable agency which carries out the right safety checks, and makes sure they are renewed every three years.
And this is a key reason for choosing a tutor through a good agency, rather than just finding someone online or, say, through local advertising.
It's also worth knowing about the different checks that agencies use:
• Police check: Look for National Identification Service at the head of the document. This check only reveals local convictions and is not thorough enough for working with children.
• Standard CRB check: The Criminal Records Bureau carries out this check, which compares applicants' details with information on the Police National Computer to highlight any previous convictions and to see if the candidate is on List 99. (This is information held under the 2002 Education Act which prevents some people from working in schools.) It's still not really enough for those like tutors who come into direct contact with children.
• Enhanced CRB Disclosure: This is the most wide-ranging and thorough check available and aimed at those who come into direct contact with children and young people, including private tutors. As well as encompassing List 99 and the national police database, it also includes local police departments. This means that anything which could make a candidate unsuitable for work with children is revealed. Extra information, such as if the person is currently being investigated, is also disclosed.
What Parents Should Look For
Parents should make sure their tutoring agency:
• Is a CRB registered organisation - look for enhanced CRB checks
• Offers more details than just a website - including a landline phone number and an address
• Interviews all its tutors, and double checks references
• Asks tutors to have at least a first degree in their subject, along with teaching experience and qualifications
An established, reputable agency does all this legwork for you by carrying out these checks - so you don't have to.
At Fleet Tutors, we have more than 30 years' experience helping children and young people reach their potential. We've matched some 100,000 clients with 20,000 locally based tutors across the UK.
Our Tutor Screening
Our tutors go through a rigorous selection process, including the following stages:
• Document verification
• Enhanced CRB checks
• Reference checking
This screening is then followed up with ongoing monitoring of tutors' progress to ensure they are effective. We do not retain tutors who are not up to scratch, and always ask clients to submit feedback forms so that we can be sure they are happy with the tutor that is working with their child.
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