One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to private tutoring is that of costs. Why is it so expensive? Is it really worth it?
These are the questions that people mull over for ages when they are considering private tuition – either as a student or a parent. Students worry about whether it’s worth trying, and why it costs so much.
Private tutoring can be a tough market due to how competitive it is in terms of skills offered and rates of pay. There are more and more people becoming tutors, and because there are no necessary qualifications or certificates, there is no real filtration system either.
This means that there is a lot of vetting involved by both the student and the tutor in order to make sure that you find someone suitable and worth the time and money.
Private tutors set their own rates. Most tutors in the UK charge between £20 and £45 an hour, depending on experience and skill level. It’s completely up to the tutor what they charge, and this could be influenced by the local, national or international market.
As a student, it can be hard to know where the mark is set with tutoring prices in your local area, and what you should pay for a good service. The top things to consider are:
- A tutor's skillset and qualifications
- A tutor's professional experience
- A tutor's teaching ability
- A tutor's personality – do they seem creative? Enthusiastic? Constructive?
- Compatible availability and flexibility
To put it simply, the more the tutor has to offer, the more they will be able to charge. This is true of any freelance work - if someone have lots of great experience and the academic or creative skill level to match, then they can set their prices quite competitively.
Students and parents are paying for quality. They want lessons delivered at a high standard, which will guarantee a boost in grades and a rise in confidence in the subject.
So tutoring can often be worth the money, and can be an incredible investment in your education and your future when you find a tutor that suits your way of learning and your schedule.
When considering hiring a home tutor, you need to think about what your goals are. You will be considering what grades you want to achieve, how much money you can afford to spend, and how it will fit around school or work.
But it is usually the question of money which is most frequently worried about. As we’ve seen, private tutoring can get quite pricey, and you may feel pressure to pay more in order to receive a better service.
So it’s up to you as a paying customer to do your research and compare the market. Have a look around online and in your local area to get an idea of rates and competition, maybe speak to friends, family or colleagues to see what people around you pay for tutors.
Places like schools and libraries are a great place to find adverts, and sites such as Gumtree will give you a great idea of what’s out there. Tutors will usually advertise their business on social media as well, so keep an eye out online.
Once you know what you want to achieve and how much you are prepared to pay for it, you can start making enquiries. If it is GCSE level tutoring you need, you will probably find that you can employ a tutor with a lower level of experience and still get great results.
The average costs for secondary school private tutoring is about £30 an hour in the UK, and A Level tutors or IB it averages at around £36. Find London, Edinburgh tutors & Bristol tutors on Superprof.
If you are looking for A-Level, IB or even university level tuition, you will of course need to find a tutor with at least university level education, or a practicing professional. Again, it’s up to you who you feel comfortable employing.
And don’t be afraid to trial people either - a student-tutor relationship is never set in stone, and you might just like to pay for one lesson and see how it works for you. You will soon see if you are getting your money’s worth and if this is a worthwhile investment for you.
When it comes to learning languages, private tutoring really is worth considering. You can try out free apps or cheap online courses, and even some classes can be a decent option, but the best way to learn a language is one-on-one with a native speaker of your target language.
Language tuition will give you the help and support you need in a relaxed setting. You can learn all the more challenging elements like grammar and spelling with worksheets and textbooks if necessary, but a tutor will give you something which isn’t always easy to find: authentic conversation practice.
This is something that no amount of YouTube videos or language apps can provide – and it’s the best way to learn a language whilst staying in the country! There are some really amazing online services available, but when it comes to language learning, tutoring is undeniably worth the money.
What Rates Do Tutors Charge?
If you’re choosing a tutor for yourself or your child, you’re bound to consider the cost. What is a fair fee, and what factors will influence what a tutor charges?
The Tutor Pages collects data on how much independent private tutors charge, and so this is a good place to start. Our data shows that, in 2016, tutors across the UK were charging, on average, between £29 and £41 per hour, depending on the level of study.
In general, more advanced levels incur higher fees. Up to 14 years of age, you might expect to pay around £30 per hour, for GCSE around £32.50, or for A-level £36. At university level, the fee rises to, on average, £41 per hour.
Fees can, however, vary significantly. Tutors with a proven track record will charge more, and indeed London is its own micro-economy. Online tutors may charge slightly less, and don’t forget travel costs for in-person tuition. On the other hand, some tutors will give a discount for a block booking, or for an introductory session.
Foreign language tuition and music tuition are also different ball games. For language tuition, the UK average is around £30 per hour. For music tuition, the average cost is around £32 per hour.
When employing a tutor, make sure you discuss the fees in advance. Our advice page for parents and carers will help you with that.
So Why is Private Tutoring so Expensive?
We know how competitive private tutoring is, which is why prices range so much and can seem really high. But, as we’ve seen, home tuition can be a great investment worth paying for!
Having private, personal tutoring sessions with an expert means that you will usually see a huge improvement in a subject. A private tutor could make the difference between passing an exam rather than failing, or it could boost a grade from a C to an A!
Unlike a classroom education, home tutoring is a completely different experience to school. There are fewer distractions and less pressure.
This is why people are prepared to pay so much for tutors nowadays – it’s the quality of education provided and the clear incline in academic performance and confidence which is guaranteeing student success.
Many parents know the value of private tutoring for their child, and many students can see how much better they do at school or college when they receive personal lessons outside of school. It's vital you think about child safety for your tutorials as a number one priority.
But for lots of people who are still sitting on the fence, it can be uncertain whether you will actually get what you pay quite a large sum of money for. This can be quite an off-putting thought, especially for those who feel financially stretched as it is, and taking the plunge can be daunting.
You might decide that you could stretch to £30 an hour, once a week. This £30 a week could end up pushing you forward to receiving a place at university, or preparing you to work abroad. Tutoring is undeniably an expensive industry, but the success rates speak for themselves.
Don’t hesitate to speak to your tutor to find out about their individual success rates with past students, so you can get a better idea of their standard, experience and skill as a teacher.
Bear in mind, though, that you really shouldn’t be paying much less than £20 an hour. For high-quality tutoring with someone experienced enough, it’s worth paying around £30 an hour for decent tuition.
It is up to you and your impression of the tutor, of course, when you consider hiring them. But remember that paying too little will most likely guarantee you a low-quality or inexperienced tutor.
You can make sure you’re getting the most out of your tutor and your money by checking they tick the right boxes for you. You might feel more at ease if they are a qualified teacher, or have teaching experience. It is usually best to find a tutor with a degree in their subject to make sure they know what their stuff too.
By paying a little bit more, you can probably guarantee better quality and therefore better results too.
If finance is a problem, and you feel like you couldn't afford a tutor, let alone a decent one, then there are still options available for you. There are tutoring charities across the UK which offer free academic tutoring outside of the classroom, to help boost grades and fulfil potential.
Organisations such as Action Tutoring work to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through volunteer tutors. Charities like these are available all over the country, across various secondary schools.
Have a look online to see what's out there, or check with your local school to see what they can offer. You might be surprised by what’s out there, and what you could be eligible for.
Remember that there is a solution to your academic queries, and finding a great tutor isn't impossible if you feel as though it's something you need but can't really afford.
No matter your reasons for wanting a tutor – whether it’s moving up a grade or two, passing an exam, learning a new skill or simply getting your head around a subject you find tough - only you can decide if your success and happiness is worth paying the money for!
All of the points presented in this article are honest assessments of the pros and cons of private tutoring, don't you think?