How To Find A Maths Tutor For Your Child: 7 Questions Parents Should Ask Before Choosing A Tutor
- By Connor Whelan  |
- 07 Feb 2020  |
- 8 min read
Looking for a maths tutor for your child can be a difficult task for a busy parent. There is a lot to consider before you commit to a tutor that’s right for your child’s requirements in maths and it can feel a little overwhelming.
You probably know already that personalised one-to-one maths tuition can give a huge boost to a child’s mathematical development but you may not be aware of all the options, and the pitfalls available when choosing the maths tutoring companies or online maths tutor for your child?
Let’s start with a few of the basic qualifying questions before moving on to the 7 specific ones you should ask before choosing a tutor.
A. Why does my child need a maths tutor?
There are lots of reasons parents might choose to hire a maths tutor but broadly the three main reasons are:
- to improve their performance in exams, whether that’s KS2 SATs, 11+, GCSEs or A levels
- to build their confidence and give them the personalised attention a teacher might find it hard to provide in classes of 30 pupils
- to support the child to reach their full potential, either by stretching them with more complex mathematics, or alternatively plugging gaps where they struggle with maths.
B. Do maths tutors help?
There is lots of evidence that one to one maths tuition is one of, if not the best, ways to achieve excellent results in maths. In fact, in research done by the Education Endowment Foundation one to one tuition was found to add up to 5 months of additional progress in maths.
Of course the results you achieve will only be as good as the effort that you and your child put into the maths tutoring. Turn up to the maths lessons on time, do the homework activities, and you’ll soon start to see an impact.
C. How much is a maths tutor?
It’s almost impossible to answer this question as the cost of maths tuition varies so widely. From A-level tutors to tutors for 5 and 6 year olds going for the 7+ entrance exam you can expect to pay anything from £15 to £75 an hour.
Online maths tuition is, as a rule, cheaper. To put this in context, with Matr, parents can pay as little as £9.99 for a lesson with one of our online maths tutors including as many homework activities and supporting maths worksheets as you can persuade your child to do in between sessions!
We’re putting a particular focus in this article on maths tuition companies and online tutoring agencies for maths as that’s generally where your online search will take you.
Although there are plenty of individual private tutors in maths you are likely to find a tutor like this through personal recommendations rather than an online search.
And frankly, you are just as likely not to ever hear about the really good home tutors or private maths tutors! As the Good Schools Guide puts it
“A good tutor, especially in English, maths or science, is a local treasure. Their name is guarded jealously by parents who, are often less than keen for other people’s children to have the advantages they are buying for their own.”
So, what follows is a list of the 7 key questions you should be asking yourself and the online maths tutors and maths tutor agencies before you even consider the first step of taking a free trial maths lesson. Let us know if it’s useful, or if we’ve missed anything.
1: What is the vision and the ethos of the maths tuition company?
The first, and one of the most important things to find out, is the tuition company’s mission, A.K.A the real reason behind why they started.
Is maths their real focus or are they generalists? If you’re looking for primary school tutoring in maths, then an organisation that specialises in GCSE maths or A level maths may not be ideal.
How much experience do they have in tutoring or training their tutors or are they just a ‘marketplace’ for any individual tutor to have a ‘shop front’.
To to help you uncover this, when looking through a website you should always be asking questions such as:
Are they educators who care about children?
Do they put the children first in their tutoring sessions?
Will my child get the gain from the tuition lessons?
Or are they just looking to make money?
A good primary maths tuition company will always have your child’s education at the heart of everything they do, and if this does not seem to be the case you should be a little wary!
Matr’s online tutoring programme for primary children has been developed over 5 years teaching 50,000 primary school pupils maths in the UK. We passionately believe in both our curriculum and our tutors, with recruitment and training for tutors being key to our ethos.
2: What are the reviews like? What do other parents say about the one-to-one tutoring?
When searching for a maths tutor, it is important to look out not just for the experience they have with children like yours, but the feedback they have received from educators, other maths teachers and parents.
They should showcase rich experience with parents and in schools, alongside a good amount of positive testimonials from happy customers.
Find out what children and parents think of Matr’s online maths tuition.
3: Does the online tuition company have any partnerships or sponsored relationships you should know about?
If the tuition platform is working with other organisations, be sure to take a look at what they do and the reason that partnership has been formed in the first place.
Is the partner robust with high standards?
Or do they hand out rewards to any company that asks for one?
There are hundreds of websites that give away badges that look like quality awards nowadays, but don’t actually hold much weight.
Your best bet is to look for companies that work with trusted institutions that are well-known (online and offline), such as universities or educational charities.
That way, you can trust that they know what they’re talking about, and if they are working with other educational institutions, chances are they have access to expert advice, which bodes well for the quality of the content that their primary maths tutors will be using.
As for commercial sponsorships, be wary of companies partnering with big brands.
While some do it in an effort to make more engaging learning materials, it’s often the case that the brands have a lot of influence (but none of the know-how) when it comes to creating learning sequences and materials.
Just ask yourself what the real aim of the brand is, and you’ll know who to trust.
Matr’s own initial tutor training programme was devised in conjunction with University College London (UCL) and, each year, through our sister organisation Third Space Learning, we work with hundreds of UK primary schools.
4: How are the maths tutors recruited and what qualifications do they have?
There are so many tuition sites that advertise ‘expert maths tutors’, or qualified teachers with QTS, but fail to provide details about their experience and background.
If you find tutor profiles only on display, it’s likely that the company takes a ‘hands-off’ approach, leaving tutors to fill in their profiles as they please (often leaving them unchecked for long periods of time).
While many will have a sign-up process that requires tutors to input experience and qualifications, very few actually check for real documentation. So make sure when a tutor says they’re a qualified maths teacher, that they can prove it!
Tuition companies should be clear about where they get their tutors from, and how qualified they are to be teaching your child maths.
The best companies will provide both a stringent recruitment process and training in-house so that their tutors know the latest goings-on in the world of education, and are always at the forefront of new educational developments.
After all, what’s the point of hiring a tutor with twenty years of experience if they haven’t ever updated their teaching skills and knowledge?
Times have changed, and so has teaching, and it is certainly safe to say that the national curriculum is different to how it was 20 years ago, so it is important that your tutor has kept up.
On the more practical side of things, it’s crucial to check that your maths tutor has had a professional and thorough background and DBS or equivalent check with the company.
Finding a tutor you know can do the job of teaching your child maths safely and efficiently is one of the most important steps in your journey to finding the right online maths tutor.
5: How much does the maths tuition cost with each company?
One key thing to note is that quality maths tuition companies will be open about their pricing.
Make sure you look for sites that clearly state their rate (and whether it’s monthly, weekly or per session) and how much time you get for your money.
Be wary of companies offering rates ‘from’ a certain amount – unless they’re upfront with the maximum cost, you could be in for a nasty surprise when you book a maths tutor.
You should also spend some time exploring the depths of the website and dissect the terms and conditions, as they will show you any additional costs that might be incurred. If you’re having trouble finding the details, it’s a sign that the company isn’t confident in or transparent about their pricing model.
Always check for a minimum term too, as good tuition companies will be flexible about letting you cancel when you need to. Incredibly some tuition agencies ask for an introductory fee before they’ll introduce you to a tutor. Definitely avoid these!
Finally, it’s worth reiterating, online maths tuition is almost always cheaper and – in our opinion – more effective. Read more about the benefits of online tutoring.
With Matr, we offer all parents a free trial lesson to experience our unique online maths programme, specially designed for teaching primary school children maths (suitable for 6 to 11 year olds). Try it for yourself here.
6: What do they say about their educational methods and maths teaching?
Educators don’t talk about being ‘good’ at maths anymore.
They talk about mastery.
This is the idea that anyone can master mathematical skills if they’re given the right support, and it forms the basis of our curriculum at Matr.
Equally teachers now try not to refer to students as high ability or low ability because the research shows that all children are capable of quality learning.
Avoid companies that label your children this way (even if they promise academic success, they don’t understand the best route to great maths skills).
One way to do this is to check out the company blog – is it full of useful educational material, or is it all promotional material for the company bragging about their brilliance?
If it is the former, this means there are people at the organisation who know their stuff when it comes to education, which is exactly what you want.
The best organisations will provide free advice on how to help your child with maths at home, recent changes to the curriculum and useful information to support parents navigating their way through primary school.
Some may even have case studies available that showcase the real-life impact of their maths tuition. This kind of evidence is a sure sign of a company that focuses on education, and one that will go the extra yard to help your child achieve all they can with maths.
After all, tuition organisations should have your child’s best interests at their centre, and a good primary maths tutor will know how to help your child in the best way possible.
7: Will they support primary school tutoring for maths?
Primary school is the best time to start finding a maths tutor for your child.
This way you can address misconceptions in maths before they become bigger problems at secondary school.
Many people find themselves switching off from maths during secondary school and it’s largely because of a gap in basic numeracy and maths skills that no one ever taught them how to fill.
Imagine trying to do algebra if you can’t remember the order of operations. Or trigonometry if you can’t remember shape properties.
Build a strong foundation now and everything else slots into place.
And those are then the 7 key pieces of information we believe you’ll need to have to make a decision on the best maths tutor for your child.
Whichever online tutoring organisation you go for, the personalised aspect of their one to one will be key to growing your child’s confidence
Whether your child is excelling in their maths lessons at school or if they need a helping hand, one-to-one tuition will go a long way to helping them reach the next level.
Research proves that learning is best when it’s personalised. Even with the best intentions, teachers can’t provide completely personalised learning at school – there just isn’t enough time in the school day.
That means that there are real benefits in hiring a one-to-one tutor for your child.
When else will your child have the opportunity to ask those niggling questions of an expert teacher?
During the personalised lessons with their own private maths tutor, your child can ask away without feeling embarrassed about being in front of their classmates.
We all remember not wanting to ask a particular question in front of our classmates due to the fear of ridicule for not knowing our 7 times tables, so bringing these questions out of the high-pressure classroom environment is highly beneficial for your child.
They can discover how to make mistakes (and that doing so is okay!) whilst learning from them in a safe environment with an encouraging tutor with whom they can also build up a relationship.
It’s this kind of practice that fosters resilience in every area of life, not just maths.
Still struggling to find the right primary maths tutor for your child?
If, even after all of the advice in this blog, you are still struggling to find the right tutor for your child, we’d love to help and show you how we do it! Just take a look at how the programme of lessons for 6 to 11 year olds works with these experienced primary school maths tutors.
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