September 12, 2013

Is it time to keep tabs on private tutors?

Summary: A plan to regulate private teachers in England is causing deep divisions in this fast-growing industry. The Centre for Market Reform (CMRE) is supported by several of the UK’s largest tuition agencies in its proposal to form The Tutors Association. This article includes statistics from a survey conducted with 500 private tutors and interviews from a variety of perspectives.

by Jeremy Sutcliffe, The Independent, originally published on 7/17/13.

One to one: Alexander Moseley of Classical Foundations tuition service teaches at home.

“Freedom works. Leave it alone.” The rallying cry comes from Alexander Moseley, a 46-year-old former university lecturer, author of academic textbooks and founder of Classical Foundations, a private – and proudly independent – tutorial service in the Vale of Belvoir in the East Midlands. He is one of a vociferous army of private tutors who are objecting to a plan to set up a national association to represent an industry which, thanks to the internet and rising demand for one-to-one teaching and coaching, has become one of the fastest-growing sectors of the education market-place.

The proposal to form The Tutors Association (TTA) comes from the Centre for Market Reform of Education (CMRE), a right-wing think-tank, and is being supported by several of the UK’s largest tuition agencies. The aim is to establish minimum standards for the industry and draw up a code of ethics by which all members will be expected to abide. A consultation on the new tutoring association, which is due to end next week, has set out a number of controversial proposals, including that tutors teaching secondary-age pupils should hold university degrees in their chosen specialist subject. Tutors teaching children up to the age of 11 should hold a general degree in any subject.

James Croft, the think-tank’s director and instigator of the plan, says the association is necessary to act as a guarantor of quality in an industry where there are no statutory minimum qualification requirements and no rules to prevent anyone from setting up as a private tutor. Although membership will be voluntary, Croft sees it as a “kite-mark” for the industry that will help parents who currently have “precious little guidance” when seeking tutors for their children.

Unfortunately for the CMRE and the major tuition companies who back the plan for self-regulation, that is not how many freelance tutors see it. A survey of 500 private teachers carried out by the UK’s leading private tuition website thetutorpages.com, published today, has found them to be ambivalent at best over the proposals.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Commercial Providers

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