Private Tutors, Coaches and Clubs – A guide for parents and carers
Many parents chose to provide additional tuition for their child(ren) for a variety of reasons which may include:
- To help support them on subjects they may struggle with in school
- To improve confidence in subject
- To improve grades or exam results
- To learn a musical instrument
- To help them develop new interests, skills and hobbies
- To widen their child(ren)’s experiences
Whatever the reason, this guide will provide important information for parents and carers to consider, if they decide to engage private tutors, coaches or join their child(ren) in out of school clubs.
When a parent engages a private tutor to work with their child they are employing them in that capacity. It is the parents’ responsibility to check the tutor’s suitability to work with their child/young person.
It is important to know that anyone can seek to work as a tutor. They do not have to be a qualified teacher, registered or approved by any statutory organisation.
The Local Authority does not hold a list of approved private tutors. If your child is already at school, you may want to speak to the school in the first instance and discuss why you think a private tutor may help your child. If you are concerned that your child is not making progress, your school will be familiar with your child but may not be aware you have concerns. They will be able to talk to you about your child’s progress and any issues, as well as what you can do to help your child achieve. The school may also be able to offer extra help as part of the teaching they provide.
Your child’s school may also know of other teaching staff that may be able to tutor your child at home on a private, paying basis. This would be a private arrangement between you and the tutor and it would still be your responsibility to risk assess and monitor arrangements to make sure your child stays safe. (See information below for who to contact should you have any concerns on the conduct of the tutor).
You can gain some assurance that if they are employed in schools, private tutors who also work in schools are in regulated activity, that they have been checked to make sure they are suitable and are qualified to work with children.
As an alternative you can also find a tutor by:
- Asking other parents if they can recommend anyone they may have used, or
- Contacting an agency that registers private tutors which you can access online to find a suitable tutor
If you decide to employ a tutor, irrespective of whether they are employed by a school, come highly recommended or are from an agency, it is important that you take time to choose a tutor for your child. Asking the right questions will help to keep your child safe. For example:
- Always interview the tutor or coach
- Ask to see personal references and confirm their authenticity by contacting the referees directly
- Ask to see their original qualification certificates and be satisfied they are recognised and authentic
- Ask to see their CV and employment record. If there are career gaps, ask reasons and seek evidence of any explanations offered
- If the tutor is a qualified teacher, ask to see a copy of documentation from the Teaching Regulation Agency confirming this and a copy of their DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. As part of your decision to employ the tutor you should consider the time that has elapsed since the DBS check and the level of check (teaching roles for children should be an Enhanced DBS Check with a Children’s Barred List Check).
- If the tutor has recently been or is currently employed in a school, speak to the Headteacher for a reference
- It is also helpful for the tutor or coach, and you and your child to meet prior to you making a decision
- If the tutor is a freelance or works as a supply teacher, ask to see their Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Certificate, (you should note the level of certificate and when this was issued, for example a Basic DBS Certificate will not include information that will only be supplied with an Enhanced DBS Check with a Children’s Barred List check. You must consider this in your risk assessment and your decision to whether to appoint a private tutor).
If you employ someone to tutor your child(ren), you are responsible for checking that the tutor is suitable for working with children and young people. Some agencies who register private tutors may undertake periodic checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service; you should ask the agency about what DBS checks they undertake, the types of check and when anyone they recommend was last checked.
You also need to consider:
- The supervision of anyone tutoring your child
- Health and Safety requirements, and
- Employment rights
You may want to have a written agreement that outlines dates and times of the tutor’s visits and other arrangements, such as where tuition will take place and the arrangements for that.
Tuition at your home is best undertaken in a quiet location suitable for study, away from the distractions of television, radio, and any social media. Tuition should never be held in a bedroom or behind closed doors. It is essential that you or another trusted adult, chosen by you, remains on the premises. Any chaperone arrangement offered by the tutor should be declined. It is important that you have access to the teaching area and can observe and hear activity at any time you wish. Any intervening doors should always be kept open.
If lessons are delivered from a location other than your home, you should have in place an agreement that you can chaperone your child.
Your agreement should also state that all correspondence should come directly to you. Tutors and coaches should not email, text, or contact your child on social media.
Enrolling Your Child in Group/Club Activities
If your child is interested in attending a group activity, for example, to learn a new sport or amateur dramatics, etc., you should visit any clubs you are considering to see if it is suitable for you and the requirements for your child.
Discuss with the group how it operates and ask to visit one of the activity sessions so you can see what the staff are doing, what is covered in the sessions and whether the children seem happy.
Coaches and instructors should always act professionally and in a similar way you would expect from teachers.
It is important that staff undertaking activities are well trained, supported and have the necessary skills and experience to work with children.
When visiting the club you should establish the following:
- Does the club or coach have a child safeguarding policy and where can you access it? They may (preferably) have this on their website or be able to email it to you
- Who in the club/organisation do you speak to if you are worried about anything?
- Are staff trained in safeguarding and subjects they are coaching?
- Do staff have the appropriate DBS checks to work with children and young people?
- Is the group linked to a professional body or recognised organisation?
- Is there someone who is first aid trained on duty during every session?
- What is the staff ratio?
- Does the club/group have procedures in place to supervise those who volunteer?
- Is there a code of conduct for coaches, staff and volunteers?
- Is there a code of conduct for the children/young people attending any sessions?
- Is there a policy on personal care?
- What are the arrangements for parents while the activity is taking place?
- Seek assurance that your child will always remain within a group
- What arrangements there are regarding data protection and privacy (e.g. taking pictures of your child and putting their images on social media or a website). You should have the right to refuse consent.
If your child is attending a group activity, you should always stay on the premises with your child. Sit where you can keep your child(ren) in sight.
Your child should not travel alone with the coach/tutor at any time.
The coach should not contact your child(ren) directly and any contact outside of the group activity should be directly with parents (i.e. the tutor should not text, email or engage your child in social media).
Any club social media or websites that provide information to everyone are appropriate as long as they are accessible to everyone.
What should I do if my child tells me something inappropriate has happened?
If there is an immediate risk you need to contact the police and the Children & Families Service. You should also consider other appropriate actions may need to be taken e.g. ensuring your child is taken to a safe place, seeking urgent medical attention and securing evidence.
You should contact the Duty Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) by telephone on 01609 533080 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org where you believe a person has:
- Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child
- Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child, or
- Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children, or
- Behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children.
If you are concerned that a coach/tutor has engaged in ‘poor practice’, but has not acted in a way which makes them unsuitable to work with a child/young person, you should cancel any further activities and keep you child away until you have sought advice. If you are concerned about a tutor from an agency or a coach you should contact the organisation they were supplied by/work for and discuss your concerns with their manager or the agency’s safeguarding lead. If you have employed the person directly you need to consider whether you will continue to employ the tutor and any employment rights they may have.
Where you have concerns about a coach/volunteer in a club or group activity you should raise any concerns with the designated person. The club/activities should provide you with this and may be available on their website or via social media.
The Department for Education has produced guidance for Keeping Children Safe during Community Activities, After-School Clubs and Tuition. For more information please visit:
For further advice and guidance on managing allegations against those who work or volunteer with children and young people please see our One Minute Guide at:
Last updated: 1 October 2020