Safety Centre

Staying Safe in One-to-One Tutoring & Other Services

Most one-to-one tutoring experiences are completely safe and professionally conducted on both sides. However, as with any interaction between people, this can't be 100% guaranteed, which makes it essential to take reasonable precautions.

At TutorExtra, we take safety extremely seriously, whether it's the safety of students, their parents or carers, or the tutors registered with us. However, since we're a platform and can't monitor the interactions we facilitate, we'd strongly urge anyone using our services for delivering or receiving one-to-one tuition to read the information below.

If You're a Student or Parent...

Whether you're hiring a private tutor for yourself or for your child, it's likely to involve either bringing a stranger into your home or else going to their home. The overwhelming probability is that this will be perfectly safe if you've found the tutor on TutorExtra, but we can't give any absolute guarantees. This makes it essential to take sensible precautions, especially if it's your child who would be at risk. These are the basic precautions to take:

DBS Checks

Although private tutors aren't required by law to have a Disclosure & Barring Service check in place (formerly known as CRB), we strongly recommend that the tutors on our platform do so, especially if they're intending to tutor children. This ensures that there's no known reason why they should pose a risk to students.

When you browse through tutors' profiles on the site, you'll be able to see if they have a DBS check. However, this won't tell you whether it's up to date, so we'd encourage students and parents to ask to see an up-to-date DBS. A professional tutor with nothing to hide will be happy to provide this.

Qualifications and Experience

We aren't able to verify any information tutors place on their TutorExtra profiles about their qualifications and experience. Students and parents are advised to ask to see certificates and testimonials before committing to hiring a particular tutor.

At the same time, you can check that the tutor has all relevant insurance in place.

The First Meeting

The first meeting with a tutor is crucial for deciding whether this is the right person. The tutor-student relationship can be as important as professional credentials, so be honest with yourself about how you interact, if you're a student, or else observe the tutor's interactions with your child. 

If the meeting isn't at your home, there are various important safety measures:

  • Meet in a public place place such as a coffee shop, if possible.
  • Have someone with you, if possible.
  • If the tutor is for your child, even a teenager, accompany them to the meeting.
  • Always tell someone where you're going.

Ask for a Written Contract

While tutoring can take place on the basis of a verbal agreement, this can lead to conflict if anything goes wrong with the arrangement. A written contract will form a legal agreement about expectations, standards and payment, and it will be binding on what happens in the event of any of these terms not being fulfilled.

Making Complaints About a Tutor

If you experience behaviour that you think might be harmful to yourself or other users of the site, contact us and we may, at our discretion, suspend or delete the offending tutor’s profile.

If You're a Tutor or Service Provider

As a tutor or service provider, there are a number of potential dangers you may face from a student you don't know, either of personal danger, unfounded accusations or inadvertently breaking the law. These are the basic precautions to take:

As a private tutor, you are a small business and therefore have a number of legal obligations. These include:

  • Having all relevant paperwork and accounts up to date and ready for inspection at any time.
  • Being compliant with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations).
  • If lessons take place at your home or business premises, ensuring that you've eliminated risks such as trip hazards.
  • Having the relevant insurance policies in place. These might include public liability, professional indemnity, personal accident and business equipment insurance.

Be Honest and Open

While it might seem tempting to inflate the experience or qualifications in your profile, you're likely to get found out and be subject to a complaint. This will almost certainly leave you in a far worse place than if you were honest in the first place.

You should also make sure you have all certificates and other documentation (including DBS checks) available and be open to having them inspected on request. If you're unable or unwilling to produce them, students or parents are liable to assume they don't exist and will draw their own conclusions.

Offer a Written Contract

While you're not legally obliged to provide a written contract, we'd strongly recommend that you do so. This will offer legal protection to both sides, and will ensure that the student or parents can't claim that you've failed to deliver some aspect of the tutoring that you didn't agree to.

The First Meeting

The first meeting is essential to ensure the relationship between you and the student is going to be productive. However, there's also the potential for both personal risk and false accusation. If the meeting isn't going to be at your home or business premises, these are some important safety measures:

  • Meet in a public place such as a coffee shop, if possible.
  • Have someone with you, if possible, especially if the meeting is with an adult student.
  • If the student is under eighteen, ask for them to be accompanied by a responsible adult. This also applies to meetings at your home.
  • Always tell someone where you're going.

Child Protection

When your student is a child, it's vital to take extra precautions, not only to ensure actual safety but also to protect yourself from suspicion or allegations. These include:

  • Having an up-to-date DBS check.
  • Undertaking specialist child protection training run by the NSPCC.
  • Ensuring a responsible adult is always present, at least in the next room.
  • Avoiding any inappropriate social relations or physical contact with a child.

Staying Safe Online

Whether you're a tutor or a student, the chances are that the process of tutoring will involve an online presence, even if the teaching itself is in person. This makes it essential to follow all the general online safety tips. If you're the parent of an underage student, talk to them about online safety, explaining the reasons for the rules you set, and have a way of monitoring their online activities.

  • Set your privacy settings as high as possible
  • Don't post any personal information online, except in appropriate secure forms on websites you have good reason to trust.
  • Be very careful of posting photos or videos of yourself online — think about how they could be used in ways you don't want.
  • Never share your passwords with anyone.
  • Before you post anything online, make sure it's what you really want to say. Inappropriate posts could damage your career later in life.
  • Be extremely careful of befriending people you don't know and take all possible precautions before meeting them in person. Not everyone is who they seem.
  • Beware of emails from anyone you don't know or that ask for personal information or to click on a link.
  • Destroy the hard drive of any computer you're getting rid of, whether you're passing it on or throwing it away.

For more information about personal safety, check out the Suzy Lamplugh Trust website.

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