Top 5 tips to reduce tutor costs
With average prices now around £40 an hour, the cost of getting a tutor certainly isn’t cheap. But there are several ways to keep your spending down.
First the bad news. Getting a regular tutor for your child isn’t cheap and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. As any economics student will tell you the price charged for a service depends largely on demand and supply. And with grammar schools performing particularly well in last year’s GCSE and A-Level exams (see the feature on the Parent Power League Table), the demand for getting into them is expected to be even greater in 2019.
Reports also show that the number of tutored children is also rising sharply. According to education and social mobility charity The Sutton Trust, one in four secondary school children now receives private tuition. This compares to less than one in five a decade ago.
However, the good news is that prices can vary considerably and it is definitely worth shopping around. A quick look at the Tutorfair website, which acts as a hub for private tutors, shows that the typical price of a tutor per hour outside of London is between £30 and £50.
Qualified v Unqualified
One important factor is whether the tutor is a qualified teacher. Basically, you will pay much more if they are qualified and have significant experience of tutoring – ie. 10 years or more. You may also pay more if they have an Oxbridge degree, or if they are a specialist in a certain subject. This is particularly true of Maths tutors.
Of course in London, you can expect to pay even more, given the generally high demand for grammar schools in the area. Here prices for face-to-face tuition currently average between £40 and £60 although some on The First Tutors private tuition website charge over £100 for specialist tutoring, particularly in Maths or languages.
One ‘Award-winning’ Maths Teacher in West London on the Tutorfair website charges an eye-watering £130 an hour. This is based on 10 years teaching experience and 5 years experience as an examiner.
So what can you do to keep the price of tutoring your children to a minimum and still ensure they pass with flying colours? Here we give our Top 5 Tips when choosing a tutor.
1. Don’t assume that the most expensive is the best
As with most things, it is possible to bag a bargain. You just need to do your homework. TV programmes like Shop Well For Less show us you don’t need to spend a fortune on flashy labels to get good quality products. So it is with tutors. Many tuition websites provide user ratings for their tutors. And it is definitely worth reading these before you make a decision.
Also don’t necessarily assume that a qualified teacher (ie one with PGCE, QTS certificates) is the best person to tutor your child. Even though qualified teachers generally command much higher prices than non-qualified teachers they aren’t necessarily better. There are some very good graduates out there with a good track record of getting children through their 11 Plus.
Expect to pay around £30 for an unqualified teacher compared to around £50 per hour for a qualified teacher.
2. Don’t commit to too many sessions!
Every child is different, but generally speaking, you shouldn’t spend more than a few months getting your child tutored for the 11 Plus. According to Anita Moss, Director of First Tutors, the average tuition relationship lasts for 16.5 hours. Much more than that and fatigue can set in and your child could be burned out even before sitting the entrance exams!
3. Consider online tutoring
Without a doubt, sitting next to a tutor is the best option. But it’s also the most expensive. Increasingly popular is online tutoring. This can save you an awful lot of money. Some tutors offer their services for nearly half the price of face to face tutoring because they don’t have to travel. With broadband speeds improving all the time, it’s now more practical than ever to use services like Skype. For those in rural locations, it may also be a more practical option.
4. Splitting the bill
Using a group tutor inevitably brings the costs down. For example, tuition company Explore Learning charges approximately £129 per month for two sessions a week of 1 hour 15 minutes each. These take place with up to six children per tutor. This compares favourably price-wise to one-to-one tuition which currently averages around £40 per hour.
5. Do it Yourself!
OK, this might not be your preferred option. However, parents with a bit of time and patience can invest in coaching books designed around the 11 Plus exams. You can find a vast selection of various papers on this site. With links to be found to all from the Home page or have a look at the School Entrance Index to make sure you don’t miss any. Your child can then sit these at home in close to exam conditions.
SWhat score do you need for passing the 11+? / How to apply for grammar school test / Some last minute 11 Plus Strategies! / How to become an 11 Plus Tests tutor / Top Tips for Successful 11-plus Preparation