Finding a tutor for your child

If you’re thinking of hiring a tutor for child, there are several things you'll need to check to make sure your child is safe and comfortable with them. Here’s our guide to finding a suitable tutor.

School is different for everyone, and you may be worried about your child falling behind with their school work or struggling to catch up.

You may be thinking about getting a tutor to support your child during this time. Or – depending where you are in the UK – they may be getting extra support or tutoring through school.

Some parents also hire a tutor to help support children with special education needs and disabilities or learning difficulties such as autism or dyslexia.

Should I get a tutor for my child?

Tutors can work with groups of children or work with children one-to-one, which usually involves visiting or teaching children at their home or in the tutor’s home.

Tutors have an important role in children’s lives and often build close relationships with children and their families. It’s vital to think about safety and wellbeing for your child, whether the tutor will be teaching them in your home, their own home or online.

These are the steps parents can take to help make sure a tutor is safe for your child.

Four steps to finding a tutor for your child

1. Ask your child what they'd prefer and how it's going

Consider your child’s needs and preferences when it comes to tuition and learning. You could ask them what they’d find most helpful for their learning and if they have a preference around whether the tutoring takes place at home or online.

Also, regularly ask your child how the tutoring’s going – to make sure they’re still comfortable with the arrangement.

2. Ask the tutor about references and vetting checks

Make sure the tutor undertakes appropriate vetting checks and that you are happy they are suited to working with children before you hire them. This should include criminal records checks and full reference checks as a minimum.

A tutor should be able to show you up to date references and criminal records certificates, and an agency will be able to confirm these are in place before they start.

The types of checks they can provide will vary depending on the nature and regularity of their work with children, and also whether the tutor is directly employed (for example, by an agency) or self-employed (as an independent tutor). Find out more about the types of checks available for tutors.

3. Agree boundaries and expectations before the tutoring starts

Talk to the tutor about boundaries and appropriate behaviours before they start. You may want to agree a list of appropriate behaviours and expectations together to prevent any misunderstandings, including if the session is online.

This should include agreeing how you’ll communicate with the tutor outside of sessions, for example by text, phone or email. Make sure the tutor always contacts you and never has direct contact with your child outside a session.

Agree how the tutoring will take place safely, whether it’s online or in someone’s home. For example, you’ll need a desk or table where children can work quietly and it shouldn’t be in a bedroom.

Make sure the door to the room is left open, the room has windows with open curtains so that someone can see in, and that you or another adult are within earshot. You may want to sit in on the session. You shouldn’t leave your child alone with a tutor and go out.

Ask the tutor for regular updates on your child’s progress, for example at the end of each session, and discuss any concerns or issues that might have come up during sessions.

4. Speak to us if you're worried

If you have any concerns about a tutor who’s working with your child, it’s important to get help right away. Our Helpline counsellors can offer advice and support if you’re worried. Call us on 0808 800 5000, email [email protected] or fill in our online form.

Advice and training for tutors

Do you tutor children or young people?

NSPCC Learning has safeguarding and child protection advice for you as well as child protection training.

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Discover our child protection training

Worried about a child?

If you think a child or young person is at immediate risk of harm, call the police on 999.

If there's no immediate danger and you're unsure what to do, contact our Helpline by calling 0808 800 5000, emailing [email protected] or submitting our online form.

For more information about child abuse, please read our advice on bullying, physical abuse, grooming and neglect.

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