Professionalism

Tutoring Futures (formerly Quintessential Tutors) continue to put tutors and families at risk.

Several weeks into the recruitment process, after personal visits to the family, assessment of the children, and initial searches for suitable candidates, we sadly had to turn down a client because they wanted to make major amendments to our terms and conditions. The well-being of our tutors and the children they educate are our primary concern, and we felt the changes would jeopardise that well-being.

A few months later, I was surprised to find another agency, Tutoring Futures, advertising the same role, but it was clear from the advert and from my own personal knowledge of the client that the job description was either based on information provided by the Client or from the text of the job specification we had agreed with the Client before they wanted to make more than 150 changes to our Terms.

Not only did the job specification give a false impression of the capabilities of the student, but when tuition companies cut corners and don’t carry out due diligence on either the client or the applicants, or both, that puts people at risk.

I was involved in a similar incident involving the same company about 18 months ago. One tutor’s distraught father was phoning around several UK tuition organisations, attempting to discover who had placed his daughter in her post in Greece, having received increasingly worrying calls from her about her working conditions, lack of pay, and most seriously about having been left in loco parentis without adequate warning or preparation while the student’s parents were away from home and without any knowledge of when they would be returning.

The Tutor had not been placed by Tutors International.

It transpired that the tutor had no contract with her employers, no first aid training, was unable to drive should an emergency have arisen, and felt she had been abandoned by the company who placed her there as she was unable to contact on the phone and they weren’t responding to her emails.

Agencies have a duty to protect their tutors and their clients. It is not enough to have a phone call and take the parents’ word for the circumstances of the position. The agency must conduct a formal appraisal and form its own conclusions about the nature of the role, what approach is most suitable for the student, and the personality and skills a successful tutor will need to have in order to make a positive difference to the student and fit in well with the family.

Anything less than this will likely result in a poor hire, and if the tutor leaves part way through a contract, that has a terrible impact on the student and the family.

I hope that we will see standards improve in our industry now that there is The Tutors Association. A certified body of private tutors will ensure that members are held to a higher degree of professionalism, so that both tutors and parents can feel reassured as to safe, qualified practice and a high level of support for all parties.

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