The Academic Tutor – How do I choose the right one for my child?

Many of us will remember how we had a supremely excellent teacher as a young student, turning on the lights of academia and lifting us out of the cloudy haze of confusion.  Despite now having better trained teachers and smaller class sizes in schools, parents are not leaving anything to chance and often look for independent tutors to teach, guide and help their children.

In a classroom setting, it is easy for a child’s needs to be overlooked by a teacher, particularly if the child is less vocal and quieter than his peers.  Or a child’s learning style may not suit how the lessons are being delivered.  Students can benefit from the one-to-one attention that a tutor provides.  Tutoring may prevent a loss of confidence or self-esteem if a student is struggling in academic lessons.  Provided that tutoring is not given unnecessarily or excessively, selecting a good tutor can make all the difference to their academic success.

At BESSA, the British Education and Schools Show in Asia in 2018, we asked some parents why they chose an independent tutor for their child.  “My daughter’s maths tutor helped her get back on track because she needed additional assistance processing and understanding certain concepts”, said Mrs Lim.  “Also in English Literature, she did not have good exam technique and learnt how the mark scheme worked to understand how to improve her grades.”  Another parent commented on his son’s tutor having a large database of practice material for GCSE and A level exams, which allowed him to prepare well for answering questions under timed conditions.

With so many tutors available for hire, it can be difficult to know where to start looking for the right one.  We found it useful to use these three baseline rules as to what every great tutor should have, regardless of the student’s age or ability.

Qualifications and credentials

When looking for a tutor, it is important to enquire about the candidate’s professional credentials and qualifications. While a prestigious degree is not the only important qualification necessary for a good tutor, it is a great way to get a sense of the tutor’s own academic background.  Tutors should also have the right level of qualification – a GCSE level subject tutor should have at least an equivalent certificate, if not a higher A level one.


Since each student is unique in their learning, be on the lookout for a tutor who has experience working with different types of learners. Are they able to adapt to the needs of your child? Experienced tutors will be able to suggest different strategies for processing information if one method of learning is not working.  Try narrowing your search to candidates who have experience working with the age group or subject that matches your child’s needs.  After all, you are looking for highly specialized assistance!


A passionate educator can make a big difference and inspire your child become motivated and excited about their education.  The best tutors build a positive rapport with their pupil, allowing their academic performance and confidence to flourish.

Finding a tutor that meets these criteria is an excellent start to choosing the right tutor for your child.  Let the search begin!