In the UK, the private tutoring market is doing really well. In fact, the market is growing healthily and more and more students are getting extra help with their studies.

As a result, more companies are popping up and taking a piece of the pie.

Private companies, online academic support companies, and websites are available to help parents and students find the right tutors.

So who are the big players when it comes to academic support in the UK?

In this article, we're going to have a look at academic support companies, the platforms that connect students to tutors (and vice versa), the different types of tutors, and the issue of tutors not declaring their earnings.

Academic Support Companies

If you’re interested in getting private tutorials or academic support for your child, you’ll have probably noticed that there are tonnes of different companies offering tutors and private tutorials. We imagine they’re also being taught at school.

Where are the biggest private tutoring companies?
There are some big private tutoring companies. (Source: jraffin)

There are seemingly thousands of private tutoring companies in the UK. Among all these companies, there are a few really big ones that have found their place online.

The biggest and most popular include:

  • First Tutors
  • UK Tutors
  • Tutorful
  • Tutorhunt
  • Tutorhouse
  • Superprof

How Do Private Organisations Work?

There are two main types of companies. Usually, you’ll get in touch with a company who’ll find you a tutor. This means that they only deal with finding your tutor and aren’t actually involved with the content of the tutorials. In this case, the family employs a tutor.

In other instances, the company will have their own tutors and the family act as a customer rather than employing the tutor. Generally, the latter charge more for their tutorials. This means you can see rates around the £50 per hour mark in some cases.

The Advantages of Certain Organisations

If you’re on a budget, there are also certain charitable organisations. There are charities and organisations that help students who are struggling at school. Of course, these are harder to find than organisations that you pay. Some groups can even send a tutor to the student’s house to teach certain tutorials.

What About the Others?

Since the private tutoring market is growing, we’ve also seen plenty of tutors acting as sole-traders. Rather than a general offer with English, history, geography, and foreign language lessons being offered, for example, they specialise in a given subject.

Some students offer tutorials on the side to supplement their income during their studies, retired teachers offer tutorials, and many choose to teach private tutorials full time.

Platforms Connecting Tutors to Students

There are new companies offering something new for those looking for private tutors.

How old do you need to be for private tutorials?
No matter how old you are, you can benefit from private tutorials. (Source: MabelAmber)

Rather than just offering online tutorials, these platforms help students get in touch with tutors and vice versa. This type of offering is new. Rather than getting in touch with tutoring companies, you can get in touch with the tutors directly. Put simply, these platforms give you access to a directory of tutors who live or work near you.

Tutors will create a profile detailing their skills, training, qualifications, methodology, pedagogy, and their rates. The student (or parent) can get in touch with them in order to discuss potential tutorials.

On Superprof, a lot of the tutors offer the first hour of tuition for free. This is a way to get started without any commitment. If you don’t think the tutor is going to work out, you can try out another.

When you find the right tutor, you can invite them to teach in your home or at a public place that works for both of you.

On Superprof, students pay when they find their tutor. You can find:

  • Private tutors for foreign language classes
  • Science specialists
  • Maths tutors
  • Guitarists
  • Sports coaches
  • Art teachers

There are also specialised sites for things such as:

  • Music
  • Sports and training

The advantage is that you know exactly who you’re working with.

Undeclared Work

Somewhere between 8% and 12% of work in the UK is undeclared.

Do private tutors need to pay taxes?
You can get into a lot of trouble for not paying your taxes. (Source: BruceEmmerling)

The academic support market is no exception and there are still tutors who don’t declare their earnings, while recent studies have shown that not declaring your earnings is no longer cost-effective.

What Is Undeclared Work?

When you employ an academic support tutor, the family will pay the tutor for the services rendered. Tutors should be registered as sole traders and declare their earnings.

This isn’t something that the student should have to worry about. The tutor is the one who is required to pay their taxes and national insurance contributions.

Some tutors agree with their students to pay cash-in-hand. Of course, we don’t recommend this at all. While the onus is on the trader to declare their earnings, if you pay tax on your earnings, there shouldn’t be any reason why your tutor should do any differently.

Legally, you’re not responsible for what the tutor does with their earnings. Nevertheless, there are ethical implications. To be fair, tutors who do everything above board tend to be more professional than those who don’t.

What Are the Risks of Working without Declaring Your Earnings?

Since it’s illegal to not declare your earnings, you probably don’t want to encourage your tutor to work for cash-in-hand. Of course, you can pay in cash, they just need to declare it. Not declaring their earnings could result in fines and maybe even imprisonment.

In fact, the maximum penalties are £20,000 in fines or six months in prison.

Why Do Some Tutors Choose Not to Declare Their Earnings?

For some students, the rates of private tutors may seem quite high. If a tutor doesn’t pay tax on their earnings, they could arguably charge less. That said, they’ll miss out on other benefits they’d get from paying tax or national insurance. If they’re not declaring their earnings, they also won’t be able to declare business expenses.

Different Types of Tutoring

When it comes to tutoring services, you can get one on one home tutoring services, online tutoring, or group tutoring services. Whether students need help with homework, exam or test prep, or someone to help them achieve academic success, there are tutors for all the subjects on the curriculum plus home tutoring for hobbies and skills.

How much do private tutorials cost?
You can quickly work out how much private tutorials will cost. (Source: stevepb)

You can get one on one tutoring for subjects such as:

  • Maths (algebra, calculus, trigonometry, etc.)
  • Languages including English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, etc.
  • Sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.)
  • Writing tutors
  • Academic tutoring including exam or test prep and study skills

If you're interested in becoming a private tutor, you just need to create a profile on Superprof, our platform that helps students find a tutor (and vice versa). Since the academic support market has been growing in recent years, it's never been easier to become a home tutor and find tutoring jobs.

The best tutors will have no problem finding work. However, if you want to entice potential students, it might be a good idea to offer free tutoring for the first hour. This is both a good idea for the tutor and the student as it's an opportunity to see whether or not you get along, work out exactly what kind of instruction the student will need and how they can be tutored and the best ways to help them academically. It's much better to do this and see whether or not the project is within your skillset that finding out you're not suited to one another and wasting each other's time.

If you have a decent internet connection, you should also consider becoming an online tutor. Without the cost of travelling, you can charge the tutee less per hour and potentially earn more money per hour if you fill your schedule with tutorials.

You don't need to be a certified teacher to become a tutor, either. Supplemental instruction can be offered by anyone with the knowledge and skills to do so. The market will dictate if you're successful or not.

Becoming a tutor is about providing tailored tuition on your subject matter in order to help students learn in the best possible conditions. If you provide a good service, your students will leave glowing reviews and you'll start finding more tutor jobs.

It doesn't matter whether you're a physics tutor, English tutor, chemistry tutor, or a French tutor, there are students who need help with plenty of different subjects and exams. In fact, you don't even need to tutor academic subjects. You could also teach yoga, painting, piano, etc.

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.