Time for a new industry benchmark? On reform in the tuition industry

Time for a new industry benchmark? On reform in the tuition industry


In an attempt to minimize the extent of the educational disruption caused by Covid-19, the government has announced funding for a new tutoring initiative. The National Tuition Programme is set to inject £350 million into the education kitty, and represents an effort by the government to support disadvantaged pupils, who have been disproportionately affected by school closures.

While the initiative is a positive step towards ‘closing the gap’ between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers, the programme comes with operational challenges. With a significant amount of cash set to be handed to a number of agencies, it is necessary to consider how, within a saturated market, a benchmark for high quality tuition might be identified. 

Currently, the only advisory requirement in choosing a tutor is a DBS check; even this isn’t enforced by all agencies. And whilst a DBS is a vitally important safeguard, it doesn’t indicate how capable a tutor actually is. Many large internet agencies allow tutors to create a profile in little more than a few short clicks. In contrast, other office-based agencies curate their workforce, with interviews, practice lessons, access to resources and signed codes of conduct in place before tutors are matched with clients. Consider whether a tutor has been met in person by their agency. Do they have a relevant teaching background, or are their skills highly transferable?

Tutoring offers flexible working hours, can be well paid and doesn’t require any specific entry requirements. As a result, the industry hosts a large diversity of talent, from youthful students to experienced specialists. However, the biggest determinant of a tutor’s rate is the agency they sign with, and starting rates can fluctuate between £20-60/hr. Knowing what degree of excellence a student might be getting for their money is becoming increasingly difficult. 

“Up to now, there has been no standardised, credible industry benchmark in which quality has been measured. This is a reform which is long overdue, and which the NTP has brought well-deserved attention to”, explained Leona Potter, founder of Myelin Academia’s certified tutor training. 

Although some training does exist in the sector, it tends to favour specific areas such as Special Education Needs or 11+ entrance exams. Myelin Academia’s course is somewhat of an outlier, then, offering an opportunity to regulate a generally unregulated industry. Designed to instil fundamental teaching skills by drawing upon both psychological research and pedagogical techniques, participating tutors receive Certified Tutor Status™ upon completion of the training course: a recognised and uniquely verifiable benchmark of quality assurance and completed training hours.

To be eligible for the participatory funding offered through the National Tutoring Programme, organisations must be able to prove that the tutors they provide have been trained. A tutor with Certified Tutor Status™  awarded by the Myelin Academia is not only a master of their subject field, but has the necessary skills to foster confidence, resilience, and independence in learners. Students are not simply passed knowledge; they are equipped with the tools to apply what they learn beyond the immediate context of school and assessment

Find out more at www.educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk or www.myelinacademia.com

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