top of page

Unlocking Potential: 6 Tips for Choosing and Keeping a Quality Tutor

Updated: May 1

As a tutor, I have in the past, been on the end of the spectrum where I was both a tutee and a client; so I can understand it may feel like a minefield when you're looking for a potential tutor.

To maximise the benefits of tutoring, it's essential to establish a positive and lasting relationship with your tutor.

However, choosing a tutor to work with can depend on a multitude of things; but essentially it will boil down to one question;

"Why should I choose this tutor over all the others that are out there? "

Here are six key tips for potential clients on how to choose a tutor and maintain a successful tutoring partnership.

1. Word of mouth

This can be one of the most efficient, tried and tested ways to find a tutor. If you have a recommendation from a former client or student, it cuts out a lot of research with regards to whether the person is experienced and able to do the job.

It also saves you a lot of time and effort, trawling through search engines to find someone.

Make sure though that you ask a potential tutor as many questions as possible about their terms and conditions or whether they have an Enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Certificate.

While it's not compulsory to have a DBS Certificate to be able to tutor, if a tutor has an up to date one, it allows you to have a

sense of security that the tutor has been vetted from a safeguarding point of view.

Generally, your main goal should be to find a tutor that fits YOUR needs. If they don't quite match up, then politely say they're not quite what you're looking for and move on. You are not obliged to sign up with them, just because of a recommendation. A tutor won't mind you being candid about this! They will only hope that you find what you're looking for elsewhere; but they'll perhaps hope you'll give their details to someone else; even if there wasn't a tutoring outcome for you.

Also, don't automatically assume they'll be able to do the job, even though you've been given their name through a recommendation.

2. Is your child/Learner ready for a tutor?

Before seeking to find a tutor, ask yourself why does your child/Learner actually need one? You also need to ask your child/Learner the same question. If you need a tutor for your child/Learner to be in a position to confidently sit a particular exam such as an 11+ English exam; have you researched what is needed for them to pass an exam such as this?

Sometimes parents/clients attempt to start their child/Learner working on subjects such as 11+ English far too early. At Year 3, it will be tricky for a student to grasp how to effectively write a creative writing piece featuring figurative language such as metaphors and making sure their SPAG (Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation) is on point and that they can write at length.

Although a tutor cannot guarantee a student will pass an 11+ English exam or any exam; they will give you a realistic idea of how to get the most out of your Learner. A tutor will have a wealth of experience to give you guidance on whether your child/Learner is ready to begin this particular tutoring journey; or sit this rather challenging exam.

3. Set yourself a budget and don't try to haggle!

If you have a budget in mind, don't automatically expect the tutor to change the amount they charge to suit you.

A tutor will have set an amount they charge for a reason. They've usually factored in their experience, the time it takes them to plan a lesson, the cost of the equipment/resources needed to run the lesson and many more important points. Whatever the reason, they will have definitely thought about practical things such as paying their bills and how much they need to make in order to live. Even a tutor that is tutoring as a 'side-hustle', will have thought about the money side of things. Therefore, as a potential client, if you try and 'haggle' the amount they charge down, inevitably they will be the one losing out.

It is important that if you have agreed to pay a particular price for the tutoring lessons, that you stick with it and pay on time once a mode of payment and a particular time frame has been established. Don't defer the payment or not pay the amount you have agreed. It makes it very difficult (and embarrassing) for tutors to have to 'chase-up' money they are owed and it can lead to a permanent cancellation of lessons or your contract as a result.

There's no point in contacting a tutor who charges more than you can afford to pay and then asking them to lower their rates. You can still find a great tutor that fits your budget. A tutor will understand your predicament, so shop around if needs be. If a tutor is going to give you a discount of some sort, they are more than likely to talk about it to you when you first make contact with them regarding your query; therefore if they don't bring it up, haggling is probably not a subject on the table.

The same goes for free trial lessons. If it's not mentioned anywhere on a tutor's website, Facebook page; or in any conversation you have with them, then they probably don't do free trials.

At Steph's Tutoring, you can do one lesson with me to see what I'm like, but they are not free. The lesson is paid for by the client before the first lesson takes place. It enables the client and student to get to know me, how I work and whether I am a good fit for you and your Learner. If things don't work out after that; then it's fine, you are not obliged to sign up for more lessons, but the first lesson and subsequent lessons are lessons you have paid for beforehand.

Click on the link below for my current fees and price list.

4. An Ideal Tutoring style

Does the tutor work in a way that appears to be in harmony with your child/Learner? What do they have in place to demonstrate this?

It's important that a tutor can demonstrate in some way a tutoring style that fits you. An ideal tutoring style is one that shows the tutor is experienced, adaptive, engaging and flexible to suit the individual needs of each student.

An area you can check for verification of their skills is on their website or social media page (if they have one); or even when you phone them regarding an initial query. Do they seem organised when you contact them on the phone? Are they asking you questions as well as yourself asking them questions?

Click on the links below to get to my Social Media pages.

When a tutor displays their work through social media posts and then you actually meet them in person or online; does the reality of what they're like match up to the phone call you have had with them, or their social media presence? Do they seem positive and do they have a sense of professionalism and seem to display a genuine interest or passion for what they do?

These are the first impressions you should be getting from a potential tutor. Equally your child/Learner should feel comfortable in their company and have a sense that they're going to feel relaxed with them and be able to work in a way that evokes positive learning experiences.

5. Subject Knowledge, varied resources and Encouragement

A tutor should know their subject well and be equally open to new learning processes through training they have had previously. They must be keen to stay up to date with new trends within the educational sector; as well as enhancing their own personal development.

Good quality tutors won't mind if you ask them about their past or present experiences with regards to their specialism. They should be able to teach their subject confidently and deliver lessons in a way that is flexible, up to date with the main aim to get the student actively engaged throughout the lesson; by incorporating interactive activities, lesson discussions, and hands-on experiences.

Additionally, they should be encouraging your child/Learner to engage in the lesson and participate in the activities on offer in order to get the best out of the tutoring lessons.

As a client you should also make sure that before the first lesson takes place you have established what is expected of you, to play your part in assisting with these goals. That means having a conversation with your child/Learner about what is expected of them with regards to their behaviour or areas such as handing in homework on time. It should be in line with their current Terms and Conditions (T&C's), or their Code of Conduct Policy.

It's crucial that as a client you know what the procedures are with regards to cancelling a lesson due to holidays or sickness; or whether you want your child/Learner to be set homework to underpin their learning in the lesson.

Click on the links below to get further information about my Terms and Conditions (T&C's) and my Code of Conduct Policy at Steph's Tutoring.

6. Feedback and Communication

Once you have both agreed on payment, days and times then the work can begin!

A good tutor should give you and your child/Learner feedback on a regular basis; whether that's verbally or written, so that you're aware of what learning is taking place. It's also a way of tracking progress, work covered and skills they may have learnt.

However, there should equally be communication with each other as to what your expectations are, what they are doing at school; or if they have any forthcoming exams or tests. This is so that your tutor can perhaps assist the tutee with some much-needed advice on how to overcome any obstacles in their learning at school and how to get the best out of any exams or tests they may have to do.

Remember though; while a tutor can assist your child/learner in their school work, they cannot guarantee a pass in any exams or tests they may have to take, but they can give a tutee skills, techniques and the confidence to achieve their goals.

So, what are you waiting for?

Go get the best tutor that you or your child/Learner deserves and here's hoping they become the quality tutor that you're are looking for!

Good Luck with it all!

To find out my availability with regards to tutoring, please click on the links to fill in the form on my Contact Us page; or email me at the address below.

© SjS 2024

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page