The 7 Benefits of Hiring a Qualified Teacher as Tutor



October 25th, 2016

The 7 Benefits of Hiring a Qualified Teacher as Tutor

Choosing a tutor can be a very personal and highly-involved process. Parents are overwhelmed with choices, ranging from teachers that tutor part-time, full-time tutors, and even university students looking to earn some much-needed cash. In this article, our top Chemistry tutor Carl lists 7 reasons why choosing a qualified teacher is the best option to help your child achieve academic success.

1. Teachers have been trained to teach

This one comes at the top of the list. To gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in the UK, a teacher has been through a rigorous training programme, where they are taught to:

  • Plan and deliver lessons that ensure optimal learning and progress
  • Set high expectations and create a good climate for learning in which students feel safe, inspired and motivated to succeed
  • Assess progress and use a range of intervention strategies if progress is not optimal
  • Personalise learning so that the pace and challenge is matched to each learner
  • Transform their specialist subject knowledge in ways that engage learners
  • Prepare and support students through the examination process
  • Provide detailed feedback that boosts confidence and guides students to improved performance
  • Guide students to reflect on their learning and progress

For tutoring, a particularly valuable aspect of this training is the focus given to the relationship between teaching and learning. Understanding this helps teachers plan and personalise sessions so that maximum progress is made.


2. Teachers have proven they can teach

Anybody can call themselves a tutor. To call yourself a teacher however means strict criteria have been met. Firstly, a teacher must have made the grade and gained entry to a teacher training programme, most commonly through some form of Initial Teacher Training. These are postgraduate courses, so the minimum requirement is a good degree in your chosen subject. Places at leading training centres are highly competitive and selection is tough, usually taking place over a full day. Successful applicants are thoroughly vetted through multiple rounds of interviews, teaching observations and scrutinised group activities.

During training, time is divided between the training centre (which may be a university or a school) and placement schools. During placements, performance is continuously assessed through a gruelling cycle of observations. Teachers not meeting the required standards are deemed a Cause for Concern and must either improve, or face failure.

After qualifying, teachers go through the same selection process to get a teaching job. This means that if you hire a tutor that is a teacher, you have the reassurance that their teaching capability and suitability to work with children has already been vetted – twice.


3. Teachers are professionals governed by professional standards

Private tutoring is an unregulated profession. A private tutor is accountable to absolutely nobody in terms of their competence, professional code of conduct, and suitability to work with children.

Teaching on the other hand is a highly-regulated profession with a governing body, the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). Teachers must first demonstrate their suitability to work with children through a clean criminal record. After qualifying, the NCTL award QTS and maintain a list of professional Teacher Standards that teachers must commit to and uphold. Membership isn’t voluntary; without QTS, you cannot teach in state schools.


4. Teachers are accountable

It is oft-said that nothing is more important than education. The importance placed on education puts teachers firmly in the spotlight, both in the media and in their professional environment. To cite from the current Teacher Standards:

“Teachers make the education of their pupils their first concern, and are accountable for achieving the highest possible standards in work and conduct.”

Maintaining those standards in schools and colleges is largely achieved through scrutiny in the form of lesson observations, and ongoing training. Junior teachers report to heads of faculty, who report to senior leadership. There is a system of management and oversight in place whose aim is to ensure pupils receive the best possible education.


5. Teacher training never ends

Educational changes don’t occur frequently, but when they do occur they tend to be sweeping. Look at the recent A Level reforms for instance. Then there are the constantly-emerging improvements to teaching practice. To ensure teachers keep up-to-speed with all these developments, and to share good practice between colleagues, schools and colleges have Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes that staff must attend (in fact, part of the commitment a teacher makes to the Teacher Standards is to improve teaching practice through continual training).

For teachers, training doesn’t end once QTS is gained.


6. Teachers have intimate knowledge of the examination system

This one is especially important since the goal of tuition is often to get the best possible grade. Teachers work in the school system, so have inside knowledge of the education sector and the examination process. They can tap into a valuable network of knowledge and a bank of resources that a private tutor simply cannot.

Many teachers also work as examiners for GCSE, A Level or the International Baccalaureate, an experience that offers unrivalled understanding of mark schemes and assessment processes. Currently, all the major examining boards and the International Baccalaureate only recruit examiners that are qualified teachers.


7. Teachers care about children and education

Teaching is a vocation. You certainly don’t go into it to get rich. You do it because you genuinely want to make a difference to a young person’s life, and to enjoy the unmatched job satisfaction doing that brings. Most teachers care passionately about children and education and demonstrate this through making the commitment to teaching, and through taking on the huge responsibility the job entails.


But don’t you just need good qualifications to tutor?

Sometimes, parents feel a student at a top university or a top graduate would make the best tutor, the logic being that since they must themselves have gained excellent qualifications, they’re ideally placed to help others do the same. Personally, I find that logic a little shaky; it’s a bit like saying the best person to teach you to drive is someone that passed their test last week.  

Qualifications are only one part of it. Effective teaching isn’t about how much you know, it’s how well you transform what you know in a way that makes it accessible to learners, and how well you are able to adapt your teaching to the individual needs of your students. As described earlier, developing these skills is where most emphasis is placed during teacher training.

Hopefully the points above should help persuade you that when faced with the myriad of choices in hiring a tutor, a qualified teacher is the smart option.

More about Carl

Carl qualified as a teacher in Chemistry in 2013, and now works as a tutor with Owl Tutors.

Carl is a highly-qualified tutor, teacher and examiner of chemistry with an outstanding track record of helping students to achieve top grades in science.


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