During my thirteen years in the tutoring industry I have seen an enormous change in the way private tuition is perceived. In the last five to ten years having your child tutored has moved from a dark art to a badge of honour. Granted, my experience is very London-centric, but from what I read this seems to be the case right across the UK – and indeed the rest of the world. Back in the early years of the new century when I founded K & C Tutors there was an element of secrecy and possibly a little embarrassment connected to engaging a tutor. Is your child stupid? Nowadays having a tutor is seen as a strong support mechanism rather than a lifeboat. Because tutoring has become so mainstream many new agencies have been established and inevitably, with the light speed growth of the internet, so have a myriad of websites offering lists of tutors and providing a shop window for individual ‘tutors’ to place themselves in. Be careful when choosing a tutor. Now I’m bound to say this, but using an agency is by far the best way to choose the right tutor as long as correct procedures are in place. Does the agency interview EVERY tutor they offer? Does the agency carry out Enhanced Disclosure background checks through the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS)? Does the agency check tutors’ academic backgrounds and experience? Does the agency understand the ever changing education system in which they exist? At K & C the answer to all these questions is a categorical YES and it has been since day one. However, this misses one crucial point, our years of experience mean that we have insight and empathy – a CV only tells one superficial side of the story. Much depends on personality and match. Only experience gives you this and we have lots of it. Cost is also a critical factor. An industry that is talked of as ‘booming’ will inevitably attract individuals and organisations keen to get their pound of flesh. One very important thing to remember is that within certain geographical areas (for us it is London) the best tutors will be signed on with several agencies but those agencies will charge them out at different rates. At K & C we charge NO REGISTRATION FEE which makes us very unusual and our prices remain lower than all our immediate competitors. And these are competitors with far less experience.
We need PROPER vocational skills taught in schools alongside core subjects. Help the less academic gain vocational skills whilst still having the opportunity to study mainstream academic subjects.
A teachers leader has criticised England’s chief inspector of schools after he said they must work extra hours if they want a pay rise.
A pioneering new online tuition service has recently launched in the UK that will revolutionise the delivery of private, personalised, home-based learning for English, Maths, French and many other subjects.
Webtutornet.com, established by Nevil Chiles of Kensington & Chelsea Tutors Ltdhas been in development for two years. It allows teachers and tutors to deliver personalised lessons to students using the internet.
Nevil, who has worked within education both in the UK and abroad for over two decades, explained: “This is the first online tutorial resource that has been specially designed to exactly mimic the experience of a one-to-one lesson without leaving home.
“This is not Skype! We have written the software specifically to do the job. It has all the facets of a live lesson but teacher and pupil could be on opposite sides of the planet! It is the result of two years of hard work,” added Nev.
Teacher and pupil can see and hear each other, share and annotate documents and ‘write’ on documents using a specialised mouse. There is a virtual notepad, Open Office to work with popular document formats and a number of other innovations and features.
The new site features a number of informative videos that clearly explain the process for both tutors and pupils.
Nev went on “Initial feedback from both students and tutors has been immensely positive. Home visits for private lessons will continue but I firmly believe that this offers an excellent alternative for the delivery of private learning.”
After registering, each tutor and student receives a set of equipment that includes a headset, a webcam and a mouse pad with specialised mouse that is used like a pen. There is no software to download as the system is entirely web based but files and documents can be safely and securely shared online between tutor and student.
Nev added: “The ethos behind webtutornet.com is more than just to provide a way of delivering lessons online, it is also to create a social network for learning.
“The tutors set their own rates of pay and you can study their profiles and availability to select the tutor that best fits your needs. It offers all the subjects you would expect but the sky really is the limit, both in subject matter and the location of teachers and students,” added Nevil who set up Kensington & Chelsea Tutors in 2002.
One of the first tutors to use the system gave it a definite thumbs up. Angad Rihal, who provides tuition in Maths, amongst other subjects, commented, “Webtutornet offers an innovative method for delivering lessons to students. As a tutor it provides me with unrivalled flexibility and helps to incorporate technology and IT into private teaching.”
As Adrian Chiles, who hosts the site’s video content, says, “Learn about anything, at anytime, anywhere. It’s just like having a personal tutor at home, virtually!”
For more details visit www.webtutornet.com or follow on Twitter @webtutornet.