What makes a good tutor?

Private tutors are very common nowadays, especially when the industry is unregulated and anybody can become a private tutor. Many schools and parents choose to hire tutors to support students alongside a school to boost students' confidence, ability and grades. However, in choosing a private tutor, what good qualities do we need to look for?

A good tutor will have a valid and current DBS (Disclosure and Barring service) certificate; a check for individuals who will be working with children which tries to ensure that they are free of police conviction, caution, reprimand and warnings. A good tutor will always present their DRB for viewing on their first face-to-face introduction to the parents of a new student.

Many tutors will have expertise in their teaching area with degrees and academic qualifications. They have built up the knowledge to teach the students in the subject they have chosen to teach. A good tutor does not teach subjects in which they have limited knowledge.


What level of knowledge of a subject is required to be a good tutor? A tutor has to have a good understanding of a subject for them to be able to teach it well. For example, an inexperienced maths tutor may be able to teach different mathematical formulas but a great tutor can also derive them. An exceptional tutor will not give up teaching a concept to a student who finds the topic difficult to understand, they will just adapt their teaching method.


A good tutor should be an experienced tutor. The more experienced the tutor is, the more likely they will able to address the student's issues, they will know in advance the areas where students often fall down, and the slight differences that matter between the examining boards in their exam content and question styles. Experienced tutors have built up a repertoire of "best practice" teaching methods and theories, some of which are not found in books.


A good private tutor must not only know the subject, but they should also be able to teach it to students of any ability. Qualified teachers are taught a variety of methods to enable them to communicate effectively to their target audience; these skills are only fine tuned through the years of experience that follow.


A good tutor should be able to track and evaluate each student's performance and change their approach on a lesson by lesson basis to develop weakness and enhance strengths. A good tutor will routinely use homework to assess a students' comprehension of topics and past paper practice to evaluate ongoing performance.  An exceptional tutor will be able assess the academic levels of maths topics by sight, they will be able to draw upon a large volume of past paper questions from memory and make accurate predictions of exam outcomes.


An exceptional tutor will have a relationship where the student will feel encouraged and empowered to work independently. The student will feel they are supported through each step of their learning journey; as a result they will be more confident in their subject, and their confidence will even positively impact onto other areas of their life.