11 Sep 2019

A Parent’s Guide to Primary School Tutoring: Everything You Need to Know

Primary school tutoring

Like many parents considering primary school tutoring for their child, you will want to be certain you’ve made the right choice when it comes to KS2 tuition. To help you make sure that you find the top tutor for your child and their individual needs and requirements, we’ve put together a number of things you should consider before you choose a tutor, and things you can do to help your child when tuition begins!

Is primary school tutoring right for my child?

You might be considering tutoring for your child for several reasons. Preparing for KS2 SATs is the most obvious one, but preparing for entrance exams (11+, 10+, 7+) and even just to help them improve in a subject are also popular. 

Find out how Matr’s online tutoring programme could help your child improve their maths attainment. Create a free account today.

Further Reading: 

The 8 things you need to consider before beginning primary school tuition 

If you do decide to find a primary school tutor there are many factors to consider before you make your choice. To help you out, we go into detail about them below. 

primary school tutoring factors

Which type of tutoring is right for your child?

Today, parents have a lot of different tutoring options available to them. 

The most popular forms of primary school tutoring are: 

  • private tutoring; 
  • agency-based tutoring;
  • online tutoring.

types of primary school tutoring

Private Tutoring

Private tutors are often a popular option because they are usually highly trained in the subject they teach. They are also self-employed, meaning they can offer cheaper rates than agencies.

But it can be harder to make sure a private tutor is qualified and has been properly vetted, and if they are offering to tutor multiple subjects it’s a good idea to ensure they have enough curriculum knowledge to be effective. 

Agency-based Tutoring

Tutoring agencies have lots of tutors working for them, and usually take care of making sure their tutors are safe and qualified. They will often try to match your child with a tutor that they think will meet your needs, so their lessons are often highly tailored and specific. 

However agencies charge a commission on top of the tutor’s rates, to make up their own costs e.g. for matching tutors and providing resources and support. This can make them a more expensive option overall. 

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Online Tutoring

Online tutoring is an increasingly popular option. Online tutors work like the agency model, but tutoring is done through programs like Skype instead of in-person. This is often the ‘best of both worlds’; you get the same support and legitimacy as an agency, but at a much lower price. 

Online tutoring may not be for everyone, however; families without access to a PC or a regular internet connection for example will not be able to make good use of this option. Fortunately this has become a more and more accessible option nowadays. 

You should choose the option that you’re most comfortable with, both in terms of cost and other factors. The video below is a great example of how an online tutoring service (in this case, our own) works. 

If you’d like to learn more about online tutoring with Matr, click here to create a free account today!

How much will it cost? 

Remember, the cost of tuition is never normally just the fees that a tutor quotes you. 

The things you need to think about when considering the cost of primary school tutoring are:

  • Is the price quoted  per hour or per session? If it’s per hour, how long would a lesson last? 
  • Is there a commission to pay on top of the tutor’s rate?
  • If you’re tutoring with an agency and you have to take your child to be tutored, how much will it cost to pay for fuel for the drive, or use public transport? 

How long will sessions be, and how often will they happen?

Different tutors and agencies have very different session lengths. It’s important to know how long each session will be, and how often they will happen. 

It’s a good idea to consider what type of lesson will be best for your child. Will they be able to focus all the way through a two or three hour session? If they can’t, can the tutor manage a break in the middle, or are shorter sessions better? 

You may also want to ask about how each session will be broken up; will being late mean your child only misses a starter activity, or is it cutting into the main lesson content? 

Is it convenient for you and them?

As well as whether tutoring times work for you, there are other ‘quality-of-life’ factors to think about. 

Will the tutor come to your home, or are you driving your child to their agency/home? In case of any unexpected issues, are they flexible or will you lose money for a missed session? Will you always have the same tutor or are they likely to change? 

Online tutoring for example means that you don’t have to leave your home for your child to enjoy some one-to-one tuition, and this is both convenient for you and means your child will take part in a tuition session in an environment they are comfortable in, namely their home. 

online tutoring example

Online tutoring is a great alternative tutoring option.

Are you looking for a convenient tuition solution for your child? 

Matr’s online tutoring programmes provide high quality, affordable maths tutoring options that are tailored to your child’s needs. 

You can book lessons at your convenience, and our flexible tutoring options have already proved popular with 100s of parents already.. Sign up and see which of our programmes is best suited to you!

Is the tutoring of a high quality?

No matter which form of KS2 tutoring you get for your child, you want to be sure it’s of the highest quality. The best way to make sure of this beforehand is through client references, not just on their website but on forums like mumsnet and other sites. 

Good things to look out for are how reliable they are, whether the children they tutored liked them, and whether the parents liked them and thought that they were getting value for money.  

Your experience might be very different to what you read about, but references give you the best impression you can get without meeting the tutor yourself – and if there are lots of references you can be reasonably sure of what you’re reading.

Do they have the correct qualifications?

In order for them to best help your child, you want a tutor to be an expert in the subject they teach. It’s very important that you find out well before you book if your potential tutor is really qualified for their job. 

Are their qualifications easy to find or well advertised? 

Do they provide proof if asked? 

Agencies often take care of these questions for you (in-person or online), but if a tutor has a non-UK qualification listed it’s worth looking it up to make sure it’s equivalent to something we use here. 

Another factor to consider is whether their qualification matches the level they’re teaching at. A university graduate tutoring KS2 maths may be capable of it, but are they the right fit for your needs? 

What is their lesson content like?

Ultimately, your child’s tutor should be helping them succeed at school and beyond. To have the best chance of this, you should make sure that your tutor is teaching in line with the KS2 National Curriculum – especially if they’re helping your child prepare for tests like the SATs. 

On top of that, it’s worth checking if they will tailor their lessons to your child’s needs. Are they focusing on your child’s weaknesses or just following a ‘standard’ model? Have they brought along materials and resources for your child to use and if they have, are they from a good source? 

How a tutor is teaching your child is just as important as what they’re teaching them, and it’s always a good idea to make sure it’s up to the standard you expect. 

Matr tutoring example

A slide from one of Matr’s online maths tutoring programmes.

Establish a good line of communication with the tutor

One of the keys to a successful tutoring experience is a good relationship between the tutor and the client: you. 

Not only do you want to ensure your child will be safe and happy during their sessions, you want to be kept in the loop with what’s happening. 

Has your tutor passed the necessary safety checks? If they’re tutoring somewhere other than your home, is it in a safe and secure place? You can often visit the address they provide to be sure (with permission). 

How often do they communicate with you directly- either in person or through messaging systems? If you’re using a tutoring agency or online tutoring, make sure that they have a good support system – email, phone numbers etc. in case you have any issues. 

There’s a lot to cover, but don’t worry about feeling overwhelmed. Following these ideas will help you ensure you find the right tutor for your child. 

4 Tips to ensure a great tutoring experience

Now that you’ve got your tutor sorted, it’s important to check in regularly and make the most of it!

Here are four tips to help you keep a close eye on your child’s tutoring journey. 

how to make the most of tutoring

Have you helped your child prepare for their tutoring sessions?

Most of what happens in a tutoring session will be up to the tutor and the child. But there are certain things you can do to help your child be ready to take on their lessons.  

Just like their teachers in school, good tutors will set your child homework to do between sessions. And just like their schoolwork, it’s a good idea to take some time to check what your child’s homework is and whether they’ve done it. 

If you’re home tutoring, set an area aside for the sessions. This could be a table, a room, even a garden in good weather – it just has to be somewhere quiet where the session can take place without distractions. 

If you’re using online tutoring make sure your internet connection is strong and that no-one else needs to use the computer while the tutoring session is going on. 

Make sure your child has everything they’ll need for their session – papers and pencils, but also something to drink and a snack if it will take a few hours! 

Maintaining a good line of communication

Keep in touch with your tutor, with their agency (if they have one), and with your child about their tutoring. This helps you stay in the loop and quickly spot any issues or problems. 

Sometimes your child might be more comfortable talking to you if they’re struggling than their tutor – be a sounding board and help keep things on the right track. 

Monitor your child’s progress regularly

Your tutor might give you updates on your child’s progress every so often, but you can be proactive in keeping track of things. 

Ask for ‘paper evidence’ of progress if you can – this could be marked work, mock exams etc. If you have a good relationship with your child’s class teacher you could even speak to them about progress reports, so you can see whether their work in tutoring sessions is paying off!

Is it value-for-money?

All of these tips and things to consider are leading up to the big question: are you getting your money’s worth? 

No matter the price you’re paying, your child should be getting the help they need and you should be happy that that’s happening. 

It’s about what’s best for your child

In the end, all of these considerations and tips are aimed towards one simple thing: making sure your child gets the best possible outcome from being tutored. 

Their experience – and yours – will be unique; but guides like ours can help put you on the path to making it a positive experience instead of a negative one. 

Related Articles: 

How To Find A Primary Maths Tutor – The Things You Need To Know For Your Search

Parent’s Guide To Private Tutoring: What You Need To Know

Online Tutoring Vs In-Person Tutoring: 10 Reasons Why Online Tutoring Is Better For Your Child (And You)!

How do you know when your child needs a tutor? – Matr: Making one-to-one maths fun and affordable