Congratulations To Our Students of 2021

Congratulations To Our Students of 2021

The class of 2021 has had it tough and results week for us was unusual in a number of respects. Overall, our students who attended tuition with us achieved some incredible results, with not just a 100% pass rate, but a 100% B-A* at A Level and 55% grade 6+ at GCSE (with 100% grade 4 or above).

Celebrating results is such a small part of our journey, but it’s the ultimate end to a journey that we’re incredibly proud to be part of.

got an A!!!!  So pleased and thank you for all your help. 

Parent – AS International Computer Science

We were also able to offer assessment help to a number of private candidates through linked private exam centres such as Tutors and Exams. Pulling together invigilated assessments and tutor assessed grades for both GCSE & A Level was not easy and a huge thank you from me goes to all of our tutors who helped get these students over the line at a difficult time for everyone.

I’m over the moon with my A*A*B. Thank you very much for all your help, you’ve been amazing!

Student – A Level Maths & Further Maths Assessment

This year we had an inkling of some of the results as we had been involved in assessment which meant that we’d been keeping some pretty massive secrets for a few months. As with all assessments, these had been through vigorous moderation and we were delighted that all grades went through this year without changes and some positive feedback from moderation panels.

We were absolutely over the moon for our students, some of which had worked through the most upsetting circumstances to come out the other end with the option to start the new academic year in a far better place than ever predicted. We are incredibly proud of how each and every one of our students worked.

Hello, I am really happy with my results. I got into my firm choice! Thanks for being part of my journey as my tutor.

Stelli – A Level Computer Science Assessment

This year, we’ve taken some time to enjoy the relative peace of the last few weeks of the summer and appreciate the hard work that goes in from students, tutors, and parents to get such well deserved grades. All of this has been added into our annual reflection which will help us to improve what we do and carry on supporting our students no matter what turns up to challenge us!

I managed to achieve an A in computer science, an A* in maths and an A* in Economics (+ a B in further maths AS from the year before). 

But all in all I can truly say I’m the most proud of my grade in CS as we put the most effort possible into achieving that grade. It’s funny to remember the first time we spoke and I said I would like, maybe a B, probably a C and wow how that changed!

Thank you so much for your kind wishes and I too am wishing the best for the future students you may have, and the furthered development of TeachAllAboutIT. Im sure your students this year did amazing too 😀

Take care Holly and the team!

Josh – A Level Computer Science Home Ed

Reflecting on Tuition During 2021

We’re now in our third year of gathering data from both students and staff as part of our ongoing reflections. This is to ensure that TeachAllAboutIt stays focused on our primary goal of making education accesible & enjoyable to everyone. Writing a public post on how we’re doing never gets any easier, but I maintain that being transparent about our feedback is a positive thing – even when we get things wrong.

Key Performance Indicators

This year, I’ve added in KPIs as we have grown as a company and these help us to focus on what our ethos is and how our work helps everyone to acheive this throughout the year. Feedback has still been evaluated using the formal teaching standards as I believe that these help us to remain focused on tuition as a profession.

Student Outcomes

Maintain our 100% pass rate for all students

2021 Exam Results

Student Attendance

Increase student attendance rate from 92% (2020) to 95% each term

Student Attendance 2020/21

Enrolment Numbers

Increase number of lessons taught to 700 by 01/07/2021

Actual: 1051

Hours Tutored 2021


Increase turnover in excess of current year planned budget to fund development of a further GCSE course and additional Home Education session in 2022

Courses Developed Summer 2021

September 2021: iGCSE ICT Course & KS3 Computing Course

Home Education Groups for 2021/22

Reflections on Feedback

Back in our first blog at the end of the 2018/19 year, I talked about the vulnerability that publicly posting our feedback online created, but since then I have had several opportunities to refer back to our data and hold firm that if we’re going to make a claim about our tuition, then we need to be able to back that up! Although we’ve remained relatively small in terms of tuition companies, we were always aware that maintaining the same level of feedback as we grew would be difficult, particularly as we pride ourselves on emotionally investing in the success of our students.

As with previous years, I have divided each section of our reflections into the eight areas of the Teaching Standards which are a key aspect of what we believe makes us professional tutors. Any parent or student can expect the same level of professionalism from us that they would from a school.

Teaching & Learning

1. A teacher (tutor) must set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils

Working independently is one of the ultimate goals for a tutor in our opinion. If our students are able to leave us as independent & confident learners, then we have fulfilled our purpose. Part of this is through challenging students in lessons which isn’t always an entirely comfortable process and as we have moved through one of the most difficult years for our students in a long time, encouraging them to move away from their comfort zone has been more difficult.

Student Survey: I am encouraged to develop independent problem solving / learning skills


I am encouraged to develop independent problem solving / learning skills
66.7% Strongly Agree
33.3% Agree


As part of our staff survey, we also asked staff their opinions on their own motivation and whether they felt well supported. This was an important question to us as we know that staff who do not feel supported and motivated will find it difficult to inspire the same in their students. Despite the difficulties of the past year, I am delighted that we’ve ended this year with an overwhelmingly positive response from both staff and students.

Staff Survey: I am happy with my role & responsibilities

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2. Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils

Progress doesn’t always need to be reflected in exam results, and we are equally thrilled with the personal growth that many of our students have made this year through developing confidence academically and socially. With many of our students spending almost all of their GCSE or A Level courses in unusual circumstances, we’re incredibly proud of the resilience and maturity they’ve shown.

Ali Review

Parents have been generous enough to leave public reviews which reflect the data from our students & tutors. These reviews often comment on some of the key aspects that our parents and students are looking for and it is good to see that many of the reviews focus on the enjoyment of learning and strong relationships that we are able to build with our students.

With that said, tracking progress has been an important part of ensuring that the work that we do is adding value to our students’ education. With exam results released on the 10th and 12th of August, we will be able to formally track one of our main targets for the year – even though we were involved in the teacher assessed grades for a number of our students, we are unable to release any achievement data until these dates.

Student Survey: I am encouraged to challenge myself in lessons


I am encouraged to challenge myself in lessons 
66.7% - strongly agree
33.3% Agree


Staff Survey: I am aware of the expectations of my role and that of others

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3. Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge

Curriculum knowledge comes from a number of aspects of our tuition. Back in 2019, as a single tutor this was easier to track as it was a case of ensuring that I was following knowledge based CPD and was able to support students as a qualified teacher in my subject. In 2021, offering a range of subjects with a team of tutors requires us to look at different aspects to ensure that our curriculum knowledge matches or exceeds that in schools. This year we have focused on the following:

  • Recruitment of qualified teachers
  • Payments to staff based on the formal teacher salary scales
  • Development of e-learning courses in line with formal curriculums
  • Access to tutor specific CPD through the Tutors Learning Network

Student Survey: I feel well supported in my learning


I feel well supported in my learning
Strongly Agree - 100%


Although we asked our staff a number of questions regarding development and knowledge of the curriculum, as some of these are identifiable, we have chosen to publish only anonymized data. One of my targets for this year was to ensure that staff felt valued in the work that they did despite us growing as an organisation. Part of this was to ensure that our pay rates match those that would be found in school and fully reflect the knowledge and expertise of each member of staff, both tutors and admin. In a similar vein, it is important that we are able to justify tuition charges to parents which may appear initially high but ensure that we are able to provide the best possible service without overcharging.

Staff Survey: Compared with someone doing a similar role in other organisations, I feel that I am rewarded fairly

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4. Plan and teach well structured lessons

Over the past 18 months, we have implemented our new student portal for booking and feedback. Whilst this has been met with very positive feedback from our parents and students, it has been a difficult transition for tutors whose workload has increased. Over the lockdown period and since schools have reopened, our focus has been primarily on direct support of students rather than the creation of new resources. This is an area which we have once again begun to work on in the summer of 2021.

I am pleased that we remain with positive feedback about the results and support that we offer despite having been through a period of both significant change and growth.

Student Survey: Resources and support are good


Resources and support are good
Strongly Agree - 83.3%
Agree - 16.7%


In order to plan and teach well-structured lessons, it is important that staff have access to the tools and resources that they need. This may be in the form of access to our own resources, booking through our student portal, or simply the provision of equipment where required.

Staff Survey: I have access to the tools & resources needed to complete my role

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5. Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils

Tuition is primarily about adapting to the individual needs of a student, particularly when working one to one. Unfortunately, this often means challenging the student to work in ways that they have not considered before in order to make progress or build confidence. Working outside of your comfort zone is never an easy thing to do and often we ask our students to take risks in our lessons that they may not feel comfortable doing in a standard classroom.

Whilst the student feedback on the choice about how to learn has changed significantly since 2019, this is reflective of us working with students where our primary aim is to build confidence through trying out the “tough stuff” in a low stakes environment. Our student feedback remains primarily positive, but is an indicator to us to consider the involvement of our students in understanding why a particular style of learning will work for them.

Student Survey: I have a choice about how to learn new things


I have a choice about how to learn new things
Strongly Agree - 83.3%
Agree - 16.7%


With the change of our company structure from an individual to a team of tutors by 2021, it was important to ask our staff whether their own contribution to teaching and learning was recognised. It is important to me that every tutor can make a positive contribution and feels that they have autonomy in their tutoring rather than following a strict style.

Because of the relationships that each tutor builds with their students they are best placed to understand the style of learning that their students require – therefore, one of our targets was to foster an environment where tutors had the ability to make decisions on lessons whilst following our policy of ethics.

Staff Survey: I feel recognised for my contribution to TeachAllAboutIt as a Company

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6. Make accurate and productive use of assessment

Assessment within a tuition setting looks very different to a classroom where we are supporting one to one students who also attend a formal course of study. Much of our assessment is discrete and verbally provided within a lesson which our students may not see as assessment (and in our opinion they should not be focusing on identifying feedback, but instead reflecting on their own learning).

Student Survey: I feel well prepared for tests, exams, and coursework


I feel well prepared for tests, exams, and coursework
Strongly Agree - 50%
Agree - 16.7%
Neutral - 33.3%


One area which has been much improved over the past 18 months has been our online testing platform which remains under development for the summer of 2021 enabling us to implement more formal feedback into our e-learning platforms. This coupled with the introduction of our student portal in April of 2021 where students are provided with written feedback after each lesson. This is also emailed to parents each month and has enabled us to improve formal feedback. However, there remains room to utilise this better to help our students feel more prepared for formal assessment.

7. Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment

Creating a safe learning environment for tuition often looks very different to that of a classroom setting. Within both one to one and small group sessions, it is vitally important to us that our students feel respected and encouraged – this includes our core values of active anti-discrimination.

Despite our group lessons expanding, and as such the potential for behaviour management to be more difficult, our student feedback of feeling respected and encouraged has improved since 2019. For us, this is one of the key aspects of attending tuition as many of our students arrive with low confidence and through strong positive relationships with their tutors are able to make better progress.

Student Survey: I feel respected and encouraged in lessons


I feel respected and encouraged in lessons
Strongly Agree - 83.3%
Agree - 16.7%


It is not just our students that we want to feel respected and encouraged. We asked our staff directly how strongly they felt that we promoted an environment which encourages staff and students to respect individual differences and promotes respect for diversity.

Staff Survey: I think that TeachAllAboutIt respects individual differences (e.g. cultures, working styles, backgrounds, ideas, etc.)

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8. Fulfil wider professional responsibilities

The final aspect of the teaching standards document is sometimes difficult to pin down as fulfilling our wider professional responsibilities could technically include anything. For us, this final aspect is all about building strong relationships with our students and ensuring that we are upholding tuition as a professional role in a similar way that we would if we were teaching.

One of the more difficult questions to ask our students is if they find their work interesting and enjoy the lessons – it is always difficult to hear that a student is not enjoying their lessons, but this year it has been a learning moment for us as tutors to understand that sometimes lessons are not enjoyable because we are assisting a child through a difficult period of their life. In this case, we will do our utmost to identify how we can make this journey more enjoyable and work on the process of resilience.

Student Survey: I enjoy my lessons and find the work interesting


I enjoy my lessons and found the work interesting
Strongly Agree - 100%


Personal & Professional Conduct

Although the personal and professional conduct section of the teaching standards sometimes feels like an aside to the numbered standards when completing an appraisal, for us the personal and professional conduct as tutors is our number one priority. Over the past 18 months there has been an enormous expansion of the number of tutors offering assistance to students through both private means and the government funded National Tutoring Programme.

Although we were not accepted by the NTP in 2020 as we were unable to support the volume of students that they required as a baseline, this has enabled us to focus our efforts on a smaller number of students and promote our ethos of offering high quality, professional tuition. In the second year of running, we have chosen not to apply to the NTP, but instead apply for voluntary Ofsted registration, something we were unable to do until we were in a position to offer in person “childcare”.

We will also continue to work alongside local education authorities, who have enabled us to ensure that we are matching or exceeding the professional performance of the larger tuition agencies.

Teachers (tutors) uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, by:

  • treating pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position
  • having regard for the need to safeguard pupils’ well-being, in accordance with statutory provisions
  • showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of others
  • not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
  • ensuring that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways, which exploit pupils’ vulnerability or might lead them to break the law.

Our students continued to feedback to us that they have good relationships with their tutors. Our small team has been overwhelmingly employed due to their combination of expertise in their subject and strong ethical beliefs of encouraging students to learn to love the learning process and fostering strong positive relationships to promote educational progress.

Student Survey: I feel that I have a good relationship with my Tutor


I feel that I have a good relationship with Holly
Strongly Agree - 100%


Teachers must have proper and professional regard for the ethos, policies and practices of the school in which they teach, and maintain high standards in their own attendance and punctuality

Our primary ethos remains that education should not have barriers based upon accessibility or learning style and this is reflected in the feedback from both our staff and our students. Although the question regarding equality and diversity may seem like a standard question within every staff survey, this is in fact one of the most important questions that we asked our staff members.

Without the promotion of equality and diversity within our organisation, our ethos of encouraging individual students and promoting positive relationships would simply not happen.

Staff Survey: I believe that TeachAllAboutIt promotes equality, diversity, and human rights in everything that we do

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Asking our students whether the quality of tutoring is good will of course be a subjective question. However, it is important to us that our students and parents feel that the quality of education that we provide is of a high standard. Many education organisations talk about high expectations, but we prefer to see this as a natural consequence of our everyday practise and not simply on a poster.

Student Survey: The quality of tutoring is good


The quality of tutoring is good
Strongly Agree - 100%



Finally, having requested a good number of quantitative questions we also asked our students for further comments on improvements that they would like to see in the coming academic year. Although there were not many suggestions a few were highlighted that we would like to add to our targets (if these suggestions were from you, thank you and we are listening to your requests).

Staff were also provided with extended comments for every question that we asked and were encouraged to provide feedback as this allows us to facilitate a positive working environment.

Possibly add a way to track what homework has been setWe will talk to the developers at Tutorbird to see if there is a way to add this into the student Study Log
Still don’t love TutorBirdThere are some areas that we are looking to streamline with this – although the system isn’t going away, we’re looking at ways to make this better
More summer clubs to get involved with physically and online for teachers who get bored in the holidays!This feedback was the perfect prompt to get you involved in course development & improvements ready for September. This summer, we’ve launched an in person summer school and we have extra online groups running in the new term.
More in person activity at the Tuition Centre (subject to government restrictions)This is something that we are encouraging more and have more students now attending in person. Both Worthing & Adur Chamber and STAR Team training have booked the space for their own training and we are continuing to advertise the space locally.
More hours for my job, maybe working a full day on a Monday?With the launch of the new Home Education games club on a Monday, this has enabled us to extend Admin / Tuition Centre hours to a Monday afternoon from September 2021.
Becoming an exam centre, but I know that’s something that we’re looking atThis is a difficult process, but we are in regular communication with the Tutors & Exams Centres which has enabled us to offer Functional Skills at the tuition centre and although it doesn’t solve the issue of travel, it allows us to support our students with a well known and respected exams centre.

Following on from the feedback of both students and staff, we have been able to update our KPIs for the next academic year and put in place further targets for the autumn.

Staff Survey: I am proud to be working in this organization

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Creating a Tuition Co-Working Space in Worthing

Since moving from classroom teaching to tuition two years ago, one of the main aspects that I have found that is missing from my working life is access to a custom designed working space that suits both me and the students that I work with. After trying out a number of solutions, including hiring co-working office space I realised that in order to have the space that works for us as tutors I’d have to create it myself!

The Worthing TeachAllAboutIt Tuition Centre has been in development for a number of months and it is an enormously wonderful feeling to be able to share with you the results of all the hard work. In designing the centre, we have included the needs of a variety of tutors and students and adapted our plans to include the more recent requirement for social distancing.

Where Are We?

We’re located in 303 Tarring Road, Worthing on the ground floor of a delightful Victorian building that was once a sweet shop! As soon as we visited, we knew that this was the perfect place for us and our students. Being in West Worthing allows us to be away from the bustle of the town centre, but easily accessible by public transport as we’re 180m away from the train station!

Being close to West Worthing has also meant that we’re closer to many other small independent shops and the past few weeks has really opened my eyes to quite how many other small businesses there are locally. We’ve already discovered an absolutely fabulous small coffee shop, which does mean that my cinnamon bun intake may increase exponentially…

Tutor Co-Working

Tutor Co-Working Desk 1
Tuition space for independent tutors to hire with us.

Finding suitable space away from the home for private tuition has been increasingly difficult, so we have purposely designed the front area of the centre to be used by local private tutors seeking a quiet & comfortable working space alongside their tutees (whether that is in person, or online).

Co-Working space is a flexible way to work within an office without the pressure (and cost!) of an ongoing contract, but with the benefits of a desk, WiFi, and the office kitchen. Tutors can hire a desk for just a day, or on a more regular basis with everything they need included (WiFi, refreshments, reception area). Co-Working space is available for tutors from 10am – 8pm with an option to reduce the cost through regular bookings.

Our Co-Working spaces are open plan and laid out to allow for social distancing. We have also reduced the number of bookings for each space to one per day to allow each “station” to be fully sanitised – tutors are given a “tutor pack” for the day including stationary (to keep) and a mug (returned & sanitised) to ensure that no equipment is shared.

Student Study Support

Study Desks

Not all tuition is the same, and our homework / study clubs run on Tuesday & Thursdays for 1-3 hours after school providing a quiet working space for a range of subjects with a qualified teacher on hand to provide supervision and support where needed.

Each student is assigned an individual, adjustable desk creating a comfortable environment for them whether they are completing Maths, English, or even Art! At present, the desks are arranged to allow for students to face away from others and we will continue to monitor public health advice on desk positions.

Our study club runs from 3.30pm – 6.30pm each Tuesday & Thursday during term time. The majority of the sessions are supervised by me (Holly), but will occasionally be run by other fully qualified tutors. A second member of staff is always in the building.

Online Tuition & Private Exams

An additional two “office” areas have been created at the back of the centre for online tuition and the ability for students to sit on-screen exams.

The middle room is occupied by me (Holly!) where I run my Computer Science tuition alongside supporting other tutors through the Tutor’s Teaching & Learning Network, and run online CPD for teachers on behalf of NCCE. This room also contains two exam stations for IT exams. This space also allows me to support students who need a little more quiet during in-person tuition, or where lessons need to be less formal – there’s even space to study on the floor! (… think robotics!)

The back room is occupied by Jay Shurey of TeachAllAboutIt – Film & JQS Media where he runs his Film studies tuition and distance learning courses. We’re absolutely delighted to have Jay as a permanent fixture in the centre!


Accessibility is a huge factor for anywhere that I work (especially as a wheelchair user), so even though the centre is in an old Victorian building, we’ve added lots of accessibility features. You can see a full accessibility statement here where details of the centre including physical access are listed in full.

TeachAllAboutIt was founded on the idea that education should be accessible for all, including students and teachers. Where a tutor or student requires additional access, we will always be willing to discuss potential improvements.

A Note on COVID Safety

In order to open safely to the public, we have introduced a number of precautions to increase protection for tutors, students, and their families.

  • We are currently unable to provide students with laptops although they are welcome to bring their own pre-charged devices.
  • We request that all students over age 11 and parents wear a mask within the tuition centre unless medically exempt.
  • Hand sanitizer is provided and we ask that everyone uses this upon entry and exit.
  • Each student will be provided with a dedicated study pack including pens, pencils, & paper which will be stored within a plastic folder which is cleaned after use to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Students will be provided with refreshments as part of the study club. All refreshments are pre-wrapped to meet hygiene standards.
  • We have reduced the capacity and placement of study desks to enable social distancing.
  • Desks & chairs are fully disinfected with alcohol-based wipes after each use.

Getting Here & Disability Access

The TeachAllAboutIt Tuition Centre is situated within an old building, however we have added a number of features to make this more accessible to adults and children. If you have any additional access requirements, please do get in contact and we will do our very best to assist.

Getting Here

The full address of the tuition centre is 303 Tarring Road, Worthing, BN11 5JG. We encourage everyone to make use of the excellent public transport links to the centre, but understand that this is not possible or practical for all.

By Car: There is a number of on-road parking areas around the centre without restrictions however these are often used by residents and often unavailable. There is a public car park 180m containing 38 spaces including 4 blue badge bays.

Map showing distance from Station car park to Tuition Centre

By Train: West Worthing train station is 180m away from the centre with even pavements and drop curbs.

By Bus: The closest bus route stopping by the centre is the number 10 route. This stops 400m from the centre and requires you to cross West Worthing railway crossing. Alternatively, you may wish to use the Pulse which has a walk of 350m from West Avenue travelling North towards Tarring Road.

You can use the interactive map below to find the best route for you by clicking “more options” and entering your address instead of “Centenary House”:

Getting In

The centre is accessed fromt the pavement. The main doorway is 96cm wide.

There is a 110mm step up into the centre which is accessed using a 6ft temporary ramp. We are currently working with Access to Work to install a more permanent ramp. Inside the door is a 40mm step with a doormat making this a 35mm shallow step.

(A Google street view has been provided below)

Getting Around

To assist those who require physical access to the centre, we have provided detailed information below regarding the physical layout of the building. The centre is all at ground floor level. However, there is a level change between the front and rear of the centre which has ramped access.

Floor Plan of Tuition Centre
Floor plans for the TeachAllAboutIt Tuition Centre
(click image for a larger version)

Front Tuition Area

Quiet Study Area

The floors in the front of the centre are hard painted white wood. Walls are white, with a single grey wall at the front. The front windows are covered by a frosted film to prevent the public from seeing inside, but allowing natural light into the room. Lighting in both sections in via yellow tinted standard bulb (no strip lighting).

All furniture is easily movable and can be rearranged to accommodate access. Tables are black metal & dark wood, chairs are black metal & brown faux leather (pvc). Individual student desks are 66cm tall at the front and are adjustable to an angle with a ridge to hold a laptop or tablet.

Tutor Co-Working Desk 1
Tuition space for independent tutors to hire with us.

The back section of the front tuition area is laid out for two 1-2-1 tuition spaces with Windows PCs on each. The desks are 75.9cm high and are easily movable to accommodate wheelchairs. Carpeted rugs are placed in the front and rear sections of the room to dampen noise.

Tuition may take place at the computers or main desks. The main office router is situated in the front of this room.

In the video below, a full walkthrough of the centre is shown including audio for those sensitive to noise. The wheelchair shown in the video is an 17″ active user chair.

Middle Room – Office

From the front tuition area to the back rooms. There is a doorway (79cm wide) with a right angle left to a corridor (86cm wide) leading to a second doorway 79cm wide. This door has a step down of 100mm with a fibreglass doorway ramp with grip surface.

The middle room, used as an office is carpeted in short pile mid-blue carpet with white walls and a central bulb light. This leads to the back rooms through a doorway (78cm wide).

Back Room – Office

The back room, used as an office and quiet tuition is carpeted in short pile mid-blue carpet with white walls and a central bulb light. This room contains a rear secondary emergency exit (74cm wide) with a large 140mm step down to an external path. This room leads to the kitchenette & toilet through a doorway (78cm wide).

Kitchen & Toilet

The bathroom is 154cm x 140cm in size and is not wheelchair accessible. The toilet is accessed through a doorway (79cm wide) with a 20mm step down. The toilet & basin are both standard height.

How Much Does Tuition Cost In The UK?

The difference between tuition and teaching is vast, and nothing brings this home more than conversations about the cost of private tuition. So, what better topic to celebrate the 1st birthday of the TeachAllAboutIt website than a discussion about the cost of education?

It’s a brave move discussing the cost of tuition openly, especially on social media. As a society, we have become incredibly polarized in our view of access to education and discussing the payment in exchange of tuition or resources has become a taboo subject. I’d like to dispel some of the myths in this post and explain why tutors charge what they do.

According to, the average hourly rate for a private tutor in 2019 is between £30 – £60 dependent on experience, location, and sucess rate. That’s not to say that some tutors don’t charge outside of this range, but from experience upwards of £35 per hour for GCSE is pretty standard. So why do tutors charge so much per hour?

Firstly, it’s important to remember that private tutors are outside of the mainstream education system, and as such are businesses in their own right. Unlike independent schools, they do not have charitable status and have a delicate balance to create in making their lessons as accessible as possible, whilst also earning enough to cover what they would otherwise earn in a classroom (remember that a school will purchase resources, books, and office space on behalf of a teacher, whereas a tutor is responsible for purchasing everything from the fees that they charge).

In so many business networking groups, the phrase “you get what you pay for” crops up again and again, more often than not when someone talks about being burnt by a too good to be true deal. This is often switftly followed by the sharing of a form of the diagram above which is a visual representation of the standard IT phrase, “you can have fast & cheap, cheap & good, or fast & good, but not all three”.

But how does this apply to private tutors?

Well, the old adage of “you get what you pay for” applies just as much here as any other industry, albeit with an extra dimension of the free to access learning.

Fast may apply in a number of ways. In the case of private tutors, fast can mean a number of aspects – this could apply to availability. Expecting a prime space to be available immediately is a tall ask for popular tutors. In fact, most will offer a waiting list of up to 6 months or more. Seeking a tutor during the quieter summer months is highly recommended as tutors are often fully booked within the first few weeks of the autumn term. Alternatively fast could apply to the length between starting tuition and the exam. Spaces are not only limited towards exam season, but the nature of tuition becomes more intensive and often means additional independent work or longer sessions.

Cheap is a subjective term for tuition. Parents have questioned the cost of £5 for a group lesson, only to be followed by a parent who questions why I only charge £41 for an A Level lesson. Comparing tutors to each other requires a certain understanding that not all tutors have the same baseline of education and training that teachers do, and indeed not all tutors are solely working as tutors (this may or may not be a positive for you). All of these are factors to consider when comparing on price – An A Level or undergraduate student will generally charge far less than a qualified teacher. Lower cost lessons are absolutely available with highly qualified tutors with high success rates, but expect these to be in groups or with larger volumes of independent study. My advice to all parents considering tuition is to ask for qualifications of the tutor (DBS goes without saying) – having a teaching qualification will give your child’s tutor insight into the psychology of learning. There’s a reason why all teachers must hold this post-graduate qualification, and it’s not to show off!

Good lessons are an expectation from any tutor. I cannot contemplate offering a student or parent lessons that wouldn’t help them progress, after all what is the point of tuition if not to help the student make progress and build confidence? However, high quality tuition requires preparation, time, and effort. In turn, good tuition requires either a longer time within groups or using independent resources, or the cost of the more intensive 1-2-1 lessons. Ultimately, if I don’t feel that I can provide you or your child with the highest quality of tuition, it’s likely that I will offer you a place on my waiting list or refer you to a colleague. I know very few tutors who wouldn’t do similar.

Free lessons are one of the most searched for term for private tuition. As a private tutor, I work with a huge array of families. No two family situations will be the same, just as no two students will be the same, and financial situations are no different. The Venn diagram highlights this well – most full-time tutors will be engaged with a certain amount of pro-bono work either through their own company, or by working with organisations like The Tutors Network. Either way, the free tuition that you are able to access will be paid for through balancing the fees of other students to allow for lower cost access for those that need it.

Whatever you are looking for in terms of tuition, take the time to talk through your needs as a family as well as the educational needs of your child with your tutor. You never know what solution they may be able to come up with!

The Impact of Tuition on Teen Mental Health

If there is one thing that I’ve become more passionate about the longer I’ve been involved in education, it’s the impact that our system has on the mental health of our young people. Each week there seems to be a new hashtag or thread out there to support people who feel like it’s just them. One that’s done the rounds for a long time is #ItsOkToNotBeOk and it remains something that I often look through and offer an ear on.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about implementing a digital detox for a few hours each weekend as a part of improving our own mental health. Perhaps what I missed out on there was the impact that the education system was having on the mental health of almost every member of our family. Our KS3 kids were overwhelmed by the pressure of GCSE options and increasing homework loads; as parents we were stressed out by the pressure to be “good parents” that ensured all school work was done, keep a nice house, and spent quality time with increasingly large people who declared how lame we are; and with exams looming and my tuition timetable overflowing, my anxiety levels were through the roof (which meant everything was being cleaned & organised to within an inch of its life). It’s not really the insta-worthy picture is it?

Teenage boy carrying girl though woodland with bluebells in background
Photo credit Chalk and Salt

After 7 weeks of our weekly digital detox for just a few hours each weekend, I can report back that everyone is feeling much better without exception. Clearly, we’ve done more than just put our phones away for a few hours, but it’s been the catalyst to consider whether all work and no play is a healthy state of being (spoiler: it isn’t).

However, it dawned on me that I am in a unique position to do something about lessening the impact on those around me as an independent tutor. The views on employing a tutor are polarised, possibly because it often costs a tidy sum to bring an individual into your home to work one-to-one with your child. Because of the price tag attached, it’s seen as only accessible to the elite and another way to create unequal access to education. But talk to many private tutors and you’ll find that the students that come to them from a variety of backgrounds, and more often than not a percentage of their tuition is through scholarship or pro-bono. Talking to tutors will also highlight the variety of reasons that students access their services.

Anxiety is the top reason why parents seek individual tuition for their child from me. Whether this is exam anxiety where I can prepare them better by familiarising them with the exam style and answering their questions until they feel safer (and safer is absolutely the right word to use with anxiety), or an overall fear of what is perceived to be a difficult subject, almost without exception the students seeking tuition are looking for confirmation that it’s going to be ok.

Part of my toolkit for reducing educational anxiety is to use a form of gentle stoacism. We look at the toughest questions together and I mark harshly.

So, if I marked this trace table as a 2 out of 5, but you answered these correctly what is the worst grade you’re going to get?

Ok, so if you get that grade, what’s the worst outcome?

That may sound harsh, but as we progress and the worst grade becomes a 5,6,7, or even 8 or 9. What’s the worst that could happen is that they get their chosen place in college even though it wasn’t a 9. Stoacism is a form of CBT that I use myself (Good rule of thumb: I wouldn’t try anything that I wouldn’t put myself through).

Once students are feeling more confident to try questions, I throw in a few from the next level up (AS questions at GCSE, or A Level for AS) without telling them. Once they’ve answered and gained marks I confess that it was actually far more than they needed. Ater a few weeks, my students know I’m sneaky and expect some kind of evil but fun activity.

Anxiety isn’t the only issue that teenagers are suffering from, but it is the pastoral area where tutors are most likely to be supporting the work that teachers are already putting in. By working one-to-one with a student, we have a unique ability to address that child’s individual fears and help them feel heard. And this is not a dig at teachers – with 30 kids in a classroom for an hour lesson, that’s two minutes per student if you did nothing else but talk to them. This also isn’t a millenial snowflake* situation, but a real issue that impacts on not only grades, but will follow a child into their adult lives.

If a tutor can help a child feel less anxious and give them the tools to learn independently, then we’ve done a huge service to the child, their parents, and their teacher. Strategies like digital detoxing are part of a whole toolkit for mental health – your tutor is another.

*These are quotes words, I shudder using them