This is a growing list of questions we have been asked and answers we have given. We reproduce them in the expectation that some parents will find them helpful. We are always glad to talk through any issue that you might have and would recommend a conversation by email/enquiry form or telephone.
What if my child wants to do an evening you cannot do?
Unfortunately there are just practical limits in what I can do. I won't compromise my principles which guarantee that when I commit to you and your child I keep that commitment. Rarely is this a real issue as there is usually the ability to compromise. Within reason I am also happy to discuss moving other times around, subject to the parents of those sessions being happy to move.
Can you do English, Geography, Art...?
We only tutor in subjects I am experienced and qualified to teach. In practice this means We provide tutor in Sciences (separate and combined) to GCSE and A level, computing to GCSE and A level and also in German and Russian. We occasionally get request to tutor KS3 and are happy to do this for.
What about cancellations, do we need to pay?
Key to the provision of tutorials is the development of a good relationship between us. In practice this is rarely an issue. I reserve the right to charge for a missed session but I do not do this unless there are extreme inconveniences involved. I am quite comfortable with normal events - illnesses, snap school events, favourite football team wins FA Cup, etc and I am happy to cancel if needed. I am more concerned that missing too many sessions with me is the same as missing too much school work, ie it is hard to catch up (particularly near the exam period).
How do we keep track of how many sessions we have paid for?
Assuming you pay in blocks of 10 sessions (which most parents do). I issue an initial invoice which details when the first session will be. I then give the student/parent a session sheet every session I deliver which notes how many of the block have been covered. Over the years I have found that this method is better than any ticket/calendar system as it allows for missed sessions for illness etc or extra sessions when exams are near etc.
What about work in holidays?
We are happy to work in holiday periods if required, except when on holiday ourselves. We are also happy to set reading lists and revision lists if these are required. In practice our work together ensures that even the long summer holiday doesnt really produce a drop in learning.
Do you give guarantees of exam outcomes?
We are often asked to consider this but there is too much variability in the actual examination paper/change in examiner/specification for me to feel I can be held to exact account for exam outcome. I rely in my years of experience and my track record to prove that I know what I am doing and get the desired results. In addition to a terrific record and very hard work from students we are occasionally very surprised by exceptionally good AND bad results. Exams are human experiences and with the best preparation some students still do much better on the day or have a real bad day.
Do you provide references?
We do not provide paper references but can give you personal email addresses of parents for the specific courses you are interested in if this helps. We are bound by the data protection act and as such have to be careful what information we provide. This is also a reassurance to you that we won't use your name without your prior permission either.
Are you teacher qualified?
Yes. all tutors are DFE approved. There is no longer a register of teachers but information records at DFE will confirm our CVs. We provide a "potted" CV to all prospective parents which contains details that are fully checkable regarding QTS, length of service etc.
Have you been CRB checked?
It is now called Disclosure and Barring (DBS) rather than Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and all tutors hold an enhanced DBS certificate that confirms we do not have any relevant convictions or restrictions on our work within teaching.
How do we keep in contact with you?
Most importantly we will see each other every week. We try to spend almost all of my time with the student themselves but also try to at least have 5 minutes with the parent at the start or end of a session. At the end of every block of sessions (normally 10) We provide a summary report and give this to the parent and discuss it's contents.
In addition we give parents my home and mobile telephone and email. In 2017 texting seems to be our most common method of communicating. Until recently we did not telephone students themselves but the norm now is that they text me when they are late or need to cancel a session. Where a parent prefers then we keep all communication directly to them.