This week, Carfax Private Tutors’ Academic Director, Joanne Kashmina, provides insight into the rise of the ‘super tutor’ and their use by international students already in or planning to head to the UK.

Using the services of ‘super tutors’ is a growing trend with increasing numbers of parents employing highly qualified graduates to give undivided attention to their children in the comfort of their own homes, both in the UK and abroad. These ‘super tutors’ can earn hundreds of pounds a day and enjoy some wonderful benefits along the way. This fast-growing trend has been fuelled by both middle-class and wealthy parents concerned by the intense competition for places at top boarding schools and universities. At many prep schools in the UK, it is unusual to find a child in a class who isn’t being tutored privately. 

What are the criteria for new tutors at Carfax Private Tutors? 

We aim to recruit the best possible tutors and we evaluate applicants on a range of criteria. Our minimum requirements tend to include a good degree in subject to be taught; ideally at least two years of tutoring or teaching experience; a passion and interest in education; and a commitment to tutoring long term.

Can tutoring be a stable career?

Tutoring can be an excellent long-term career. However, it is less structured than many other careers and tutors need to build their own careers. One of our top London-based tutors receives a yearly salary of around UK£45,000 (US$ 75,589) per year before tax, so it can be very well paid. Tutors who take placements abroad may earn up to UK£1,500 (US$2,519) a week depending on their educational background and experience. As well as giving a tutor the chance to work intensively with one or two pupils, tutoring abroad can be a lot of fun. A tutor we placed with a family in Kazakhstan learnt to hunt with an eagle! Good tutors get a following through word of mouth. Many of our top tutors have to refuse work on occasion or have waiting lists.

Is this a growing trend?

Definitely.  Since September 2012 Carfax Private Tutors has seen a 500 per cent growth in the amount of tuition we have provided.

What prompted this trend?

Particularly in London, the best private schools are oversubscribed, so they have become increasingly competitive. Economic austerity has led to people feeling that education is more important than ever in giving their children the best possible chance in life. The increase in university tuition fees has made students realise that it is worth getting the best education possible. 

Can you tell us about the new trend of tutors heading overseas to provide tuition before students come to the UK?

Once children have been accepted in schools, parents sometimes realise they don’t know how to prepare students and look for tuition in their home country. We’ve sent tutors to places including Cyprus, Oman, Dubai, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Italy. This academic year the number of enquiries for this kind of service has doubled.

Where do enquiries for tutors to visit the student’s home country come from?

Parents find us online and contact us directly. Quite often we receive enquiries from study abroad agents and also from concierge companies overseas. Requests can range from a few weeks to a whole year of tuition.

What advice would you give to an agent or parent that is looking for a tutor to provide tuition to a client?

They need to check qualifications correspond to the student’s needs and should check references from the tutor’s previous clients. If they decide to find a tutor directly, ask to see a tutor’s curriculum vitae, proof of qualifications, references as well as a valid DBS check (formerly known as a criminal record check). Agents could use a specialist tutoring agency that has a large database and the ability to match students and tutors quickly. Using an agency with an established reputation means they can be sure of getting a high-quality tutor.

Is it harder for children from abroad to get a place in English boarding schools?

International pupils are welcomed by many schools, but they can face problems with studying a different curriculum as well as fitting in to a new country. They can also find entrance exams more challenging due to the language barrier, so often turn to tutors to help prepare for these exams.

How about the use of tutors by international students already here in the UK?

Many international students successfully enter university or school here, only to subsequently struggle to cope with their courses as they have insufficient English to keep up with their peers. As a result of this many international students turn to tutors to go over materials they have not understood as well as for help with essay planning and writing.

How do international students already in the UK approach you for tuition services?

Generally parents contact us, but sometimes pupils will contact us directly. Schools might send us some students directly for tuition, as we provide educational consultancy services and work with a number of schools. This could also be a good way for agents to show that they are still interested in the clients’ progress.

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