Private tutors are becoming more and more common, both to supplement the education system and to provide specialist education that may not be available in schools or colleges. In 2018, it was estimated that 25% of schoolchildren also received private tuition, and that figure has increased sharply as students try to catch up on learning lost to Covid-19. By no means all private tuition is for children, though. Adults of all ages may want to learn anything from music to coding, or marketing to art. So what do you need to set up as a tutor?
Do I Need Qualifications?
There's no formal requirement for a private tutor to have a qualification. In practice, however, you're unlikely to get many students unless you can demonstrate your expertise at the subject. This may be an academic qualification, but it could also be business experience in a relevant sector, especially if your role has involved training.
Do I Need to Be a Teacher?
Many teachers also operate as private tutors, especially newly qualified or retired teachers. For some subjects, this can be useful, but it's by no means a requirement, and for non-academic subjects or for tutoring adults it may be irrelevant. In fact, some parents specifically want their children to be tutored by someone from outside the school system.
Do I need a DBS Check?
A Disclosure and Barring Service check (formerly known as a Criminal Record Bureau check) is a legal requirement for most people working with children or vulnerable people, such as teachers. There's no legal obligation for a tutor to be checked, but in practice it would be wise if you anticipate working with anyone under eighteen. Many parents will discount any tutor without a DBS check.
What Business Model Do I Need?
Most tutors initially set up as sole traders, meaning they have no requirements for a formal company structure. A sole trader merely files a personal tax return each tax year at any time before 31st January. You may wish to convert to a limited company if you expand enough to take on staff or become a tuition agency.
Do I Need to Be Insured?
Insurance isn't a legal requirement for a private tutor, but it's wise take out a public liability policy. This will protect you against liability for injuries to students or damage to third-party property. It will also help should a student or their parents to sue you over any consequences of your lessons.
Where Should I Give the Lessons?
Private tuition can be delivered wherever is most practical. Many tutors give lessons in their home, if that's suitable, while others travel to the student's home or workplace, or even conduct it in a public place, such as a café — although this would clearly be unsuitable for subjects such as music. Increasingly, though, and especially this year, many tutors are delivering lessons remotely over an internet connection.
How Do I Attract Students?
It's one thing to set up as a tutor, but another to find your students. The traditional card in a shop window or the more up-to-date notice on a community website has very limited reach. Instead, you can become widely visible by signing up with TutorExtra — and you'll also have access to much more information about how to become a tutor.