Problems with a Tutor

Tutor Problems?

Unfortunately, not every parent’s experience of employing a tutor is trouble-free. At ElevenPlusExams we occasionally hear from parents who have been badly let down by a tutor. The most common issue is when a parent discovers that the tutor is not teaching the correct material for the 11+ tests that the child will be taking. Other parents report that their children are simply not making progress with the tutor and the tuition has turned out to be of poor quality. We do occasionally hear of even more alarming problems, such as the tutor disappearing a few weeks before the test.

If you have followed our advice on selecting a tutor we hope that your experience will be a good one, but even if all seems to be well, you should still step back and evaluate your child’s progress after the first two or three months.

Tutor Checklist

These are some of the questions that you should be asking:

  1. Is your child happy working with the tutor?
  2. Do they mostly go into the sessions feeling positive and come out smiling?
  3. Is your child being actively tutored during the sessions, or simply completing a series of test papers whilst the tutor watches over them?
  4. If your child is in a large group, does the tutor give the children any individual attention? Does your child feel able to ask questions when they do not understand something?
  5. Is the tutor living up to their promises by giving the amount of homework that you were told to expect?
  6. Is the tutor marking the homework each week? Is the marking done within the lessons? If so, what does your child do while the tutor is marking the work? They should be actively engaged on another task, not watching the tutor work.
  7. Are they giving your child too much homework? If so, why? It may indicate that your child is perhaps not cut out for the 11+ after all, or that the tutor is not using the lesson time efficiently.
  8. Is the tutor giving you regular feedback on your child’s progress?
  9. Is the tutor motivating your child to succeed at every session?
  10. Is your child growing in confidence about the 11+?

If you are unhappy with any aspect of the tutoring, obviously your first step should be to discuss the issues with the tutor.

Walk Away?

If the tutor is intransigent about their approach and you cannot resolve the problems to your satisfaction after discussing them with the tutor, the best advice is simply to walk away. There is no point in continuing to pay for something that is not working for your child, and may even be counter-productive by putting them off the 11+ or even souring their attitude towards learning.

If you have paid a large sum in advance you can obviously discuss a possible refund with the tutor, but you should assume that you are unlikely to be successful.

If it is too late in the day to find another tutor, you will find help on tutoring in our advice for late starters in our section on Planning An 11 Plus Campaign. You can also post on our 11+ Forum for support and advice from tutors and other parents.