07 Oct 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 want to be certain you’ve done enough research, and know enough about the tuition options available to you before making any decision. Here we review the reasons people decide to hire a tutor or get extra help for their child while they’re at primary school and then look at your options for taking the next step. 

Is primary school tutoring right for my child?

The decision to provide your primary school aged child with an extra academic boost is one that can divide parents. While some may believe in waiting till secondary school or even think it’s unnecessary altogether during the school years, the majority of parents, finances permitting, want to give their child extra academic support if it’s available; and extra tuition while your child is still at primary school is much the most effective way to achieve this.

Reasons why parents hire a tutor for primary school pupils

The reasons parents give for wanting to start tutoring for their child depend on their ages. For 7 year olds it’s often about building confidence or worries about possible maths anxiety, although the 7+ test looms for some. Once a child gets to KS2, then parents may be looking for support if by aged 9 they’re still struggling with maths and then towards the end of primary school tutoring when children are aged 10 or 11 it  is more about preparing for secondary school, 11+ entrance exams for grammar schools and private schools, and the KS2 SATs.

Broadly, however, if your child is in a primary school class with one teacher for 30 children or more then the level of personalised individual support they can receive will necessarily be limited by the constraints on the primary teacher’s time. That’s where the benefits of one to one tutoring for your child really start to look like a worthwhile investment.

Throughout this article we’re mostly referring to primary maths tuition as that is what the majority of children require support in, but primary school tutors for English are also available if that’s more where your need lies.

So once you’ve decided to go for primary school tutoring primary school tutor there are still many factors to consider before you make your choice. 

primary school tutoring factors

Let’s look at each one in turn

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 tuition means giving your child lessons one to one with a private tutor either at their home or yours (when it’s usually referred to as home tuition). They can offer cheaper rates than agencies.

However it can be harder to make sure a private tutor is qualified and has been properly vetted with DBS or equivalent. If they are offering to tutor multiple subjects it’s a good idea to ensure they have enough curriculum knowledge to be effective, especially when you’re looking for primary school tutoring as this is where there tends to be less expertise. 

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 may try to match your child with a tutor that they think will meet your needs, but they are unlikely to control the quality of the lessons the tutor gives so you’re still dependant on the quality of the individual you’re matched with. 

Agencies also 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 additional numeracy 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. 

At Matr, we have created our own online classroom where the tutors can deliver the maths lessons following a planned programme of learning objectives that has been developed by primary maths experts to match what your child will be learning through the national curriculum at school.

Primary school tutoring lesson

It’s worth remember however that online tutoring requires access to a PC with a regular internet connection so unfortunately it may not be ideal for those with very poor wifi. 


To see if online tutoring works for you, take advantage of a free trial lesson from Matr.

How much will the primary school tutoring 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 the tutor’s lessons 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? 

Are the tuition options offered convenient for you and them?

As well as whether tutoring times work for you, there are other ‘quality-of-life’ factors to think about, whether you’re looking at a private tutor or an agency or other online maths programme like Matr. 

Are they offering to be a home tutor who comes to your house, 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 and relaxed in. 

online tutoring example

Online tutoring is ideal for primary school pupils as it’s so flexible

Free trial now available of our own one-to-one online maths tuition 

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 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, how many years of teaching experience they or the organisation has, whether the children they tutored liked them, and whether the parents liked them and thought that they were getting value for money.  

To put this in context, Matr has been teaching maths to primary school pupils for over 5 years and in this time, we’ve taught 50,000 Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils. It’s unlikely that a private tutor will be able to match this level of experience but they should, as a bare minimum, have a good list of previous successful primary school students that they’ve taught and can provide references.

Do the tutors have the correct qualifications and training? 

In order for them to best help your child, you want a primary school tutor to be an expert in the subject they teach. It’s very important that you find out well before you book whether they are an experienced tutor who is qualified for the job. Even better, have they received teacher training like a PGCE or are they a qualified teacher or qualified primary school teacher themselves? And what about their ongoing professional training to ensure they’re kept up to date with pedagogy and the curriculum? 

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 the lesson content provided by your primary school tutor?

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. Find out how a primary school maths tutor from Matr can support your child to make excellent progress.  

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 primary school tutoring experience is a good relationship between the tutor and the client: you. This is particularly important with younger children who can be a bit anxious about their tuition – much less so if you make sure it happens at your home. 

Not only do you want to ensure your child will be safe and happy during their lessons, you want to be kept in the loop with what’s happening. This is why Matr provides regular reports for all parents about the progress their child is making. 

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. 

Tips to ensure a great tutoring experience for your primary school child

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 primary school 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 with your tutor 

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 evidence of progress if you can – this can be online reports or marked work. If you have a good relationship with your child’s class teacher you could even speak to them about their progress in primary school, 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. 

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

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