How to Become a Private Tutor: Information & Safety Guidance

March 7, 2018
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Private tutoring is a growing career opportunity with many benefits. It allows you to work flexible hours, generate a great source of income, and see the rewards that your hard work has on somebody’s educational achievement.

A study by Sutton Trust found that more than 40% of pupils in London had a tutor at one point in their educational career. Clearly, private tutors are in popular demand. If you’re patient, approachable, and passionate about your subject, then private tutoring could be a great opportunity for you.

This article will explain all you need to know about how to become a private tutor.

What Qualifications Do I Need?

In the UK, there are no standard qualifications that you need to be a tutor. For example, you don’t need to have teaching experience or a teaching qualification. However, you should have a great amount of knowledge in the subject area you plan to teach – ideally you should be a graduate in the area. Ultimately, it’s up to the tutee’s parent or carer whether they think you’re qualified enough.

However, gaining work experience in a school or educational setting would be very beneficial. This shows that you have experience working with children, which can act as a trust signal to potential clients.

tutoring maths

Update Your CV and Register Online

Before you set up as a tutor and advertise your services, you should firstly update your CV. Adapt it so that it’s specific to the tutoring role you’re planning to fulfil.

Your CV should include:

  • Any relevant experience. For example, if you’ve worked or volunteered with children in the past.
  • Any relevant skills you have. If you hold a driving license, it would be beneficial to include this to show that you can travel to tutees.
  • Your specific qualifications and how these make you suitable for the role.

You can also enhance your credibility by providing references. These act as trust signals and can help to back up your CV. Aim to get at least two references: one from an educational setting and one from a work setting.

The reference from an educational provider, such as your lecturer, can vouch for your educational experience and your knowledge in your area. The reference from a work setting, such as your manager, can discuss your commitment to your work, your attitude to your work, etc. Furthermore, once you have tuition clients, you can even ask them to provide references to further enhance your credibility.

You could also consider registering for tutoring agencies online as a way to find work. Often, parents and carers will look to these sites as a trusted way to find tutors.

researching how to become a private tutor

Safeguarding and Child Protection

As a self-employed tutor, you’re not required to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check by law. However, it’s advisable for you to have one as many parents and carers will ask to see this before you begin to tutor their child. You will have to cover the cost of this yourself and it can take a few weeks to process, so plan ahead and request one sooner rather than later.

There are some essential safeguarding precautions you should take when you tutor children:

  • Have the child’s parent either in the same room or an adjoining room with the door open. If a claim is made against you, this person can act as witness.
  • Never tutor in the child’s bedroom.
  • Avoid social relations with the student. Unless you are arranging tutoring sessions, any messaging must be avoided. If you do message a student to arrange a session, you should always copy their parent or carer into the message.
  • Avoid physical contact with your tutee.

If a child shares any information with you regarding abuse or bullying, you can’t ignore it. You should discuss issues with the child’s parent or carer if this is appropriate. If it isn’t, such as if the accusations are about them, you have a duty to share this information with the relevant authorities. You can report issues of child abuse to your local council through the website.

safeguarding children

Legal Information

General aspects of law apply in the tutoring industry, and it’s important that you comply with them.

Firstly, you need to set up as a sole trader.  To do this, you must register for Self Assessment and Class 2 National Insurance as soon as you can after starting tutoring. You can do this through

You have a number of responsibilities as a sole trader:

  • Keep records of your sales, expenses, and income.
  • Send a Self Assessment tax return every year. You should complete this every year after 5th April. You have three months from when you begin your self-employment to tell HMRC and obtain your Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number.
  • Pay Income Tax on your profits and Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance.

If you work elsewhere, and you plan to tutor privately on top of your current job, you must still register for self-assessment.

Secondly, you should invest in insurance. Public liability insurance is generally recommended for tutoring businesses. This insurance covers you if a member of the public suffers an injury or their property is damaged because of you. It includes cover for compensation claims, legal expenses, costs of repairs, and medical fees. You could also take out professional indemnity insurance. This type of insurance covers any compensation and legal fees that you may need to pay if somebody makes a claim about you.

If you plan to tutor in your own home, you should also conduct a simple risk assessment to identify any possible risks to health and safety. Look for any hazards, such as trailing wires and a cluttered workspace, and rectify these to promote good health and safety. You should also consider any allergies, such as if a student is allergic to pet hair and you have a pet, and plan accordingly.

organising legal documents

Personal Safety

As well as understanding safeguarding for your tutee, you must also ensure your own personal safety when you’re tutoring.

Some simple steps you should take are:

  • Speak on the phone to a client before the session. This can give you an indication of their character and you should listen out for any inconsistencies in what they say.
  • Tell somebody that you have a tutoring session and how long it should last.
  • Take your mobile phone with you when tutoring.
  • Remain vigilant of your surroundings and behaviour.
  • Don’t let anybody pick you up by car.

Although these points may seem extreme, and problems are rare, it’s important to consider your safety when tutoring.

tutor and child discussing work

We hope that you found this article useful and you now know how to become a private tutor. For further resources to help you, take a look at the list below.

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