Can I afford a tutor for my child?

by Anna Michaelidou

Hiring a private tutor is a great way to help your child improve academically and the rise in parents seeking the help of a private tutor is astonishing. The way in which children are being taught has changed a lot since our grandparents, parents, or even we were at school. It used to be that a child would come home from school, play for a while and then sit down and do their homework by going over their notes and things they had learnt in class. Nowadays it's all about children rushing home to be in time for their private one-to-one lesson or rushing to a tuition centre for a group lesson.

tutor and child

The need for a private tutor has changed. Private tutors used to be commonly for children who had a certain learning disability or needed extra coaching because of a long absence from school. Today though the need for a private tutor is based on parents wanting their children to improve academically, to pass important exams like the 11 plus, GCSE's or A-levels, to excel in a new subject and generally to be able to compete with their peers.

According to an article in The Independent One in four parents are now paying for private tuition for their children to top up their education. So for parents that are on a lower income does this mean that only children from wealthier families are seeking the help of a private tutor? Absolutely not. Private tutoring has never been more accessible or affordable than it is today. First Tutors, for example, offer a database of over 30,000 available tutors around the UK with prices ranging from anywhere between £8 to £40 per hour, depending on the subject, location and the tutor's rates.

Finding a private tutor for your child has never been easier. Knowing your budget and finding a tutor that is both affordable and within your area is simple. An interesting debate on asked their members 'what do you think of private tutoring?' A poll of 137 members took part and these were the results:


Source: Netmums survey

Although the number of participants in this poll was not incredibly large it is still interesting to see that such a large percentage of parents would opt for private tuition should they feel their child would benefit from it.

The comments that parents made in reply to this question were also very interesting. One mum wrote:

Last year when my son age 5 was in reception, we had one come every Sunday morning for an hour, she was fairly expensive as we got her through an agency. £27.00 ph.I have to say it is the best thing we have ever done, and if we could afford it now I would have her back again. After 5 weeks she showed us the difference in his writing from the beginning of the book to where he was then, and it was amazing. He could not even hold a pen properly and she was surprised that his teacher had not taught him, but his teacher had told us to let him hold it as he wanted at that age.He was much happier at school too as he was able to understand more and join in with things better. He loved her coming too so it was good all round.

I found this comment particularly interesting as the mum explains what a difference getting a tutor made to her child however she also says that she can't afford to do this now. The world of private tutors is expanding everyday and tutors rates vary enormously. It would be fair to say that should a parent wish to find a tutor for their child there are many ways to find a tutor that does not require breaking the bank. First Tutors allows you to search for a tutor in any subject and with a range of different rates.

Another member wrote:

I think it's fine for parents to use a private tutor if their children need a bit of extra help - why not?! It simply isn't possible for school teachers to give that level of individual attention to every child, and most kids would probably benefit from that extra time spent one-to one. As long as parents aren't putting excessive pressure on the children, I can't see any problem with it.

Private tutors can help children with homework, boost their confidence and help them improve their academic skills. There is a massive world of tutors available from qualified teachers to undergraduate students all charging different rates.

An article in The Independent quoted First Tutor's research saying:

Analysis by the private tutoring website First Tutors suggests that the typical cost of a private tutor is now £22 an hour, with the national average ranging from £20 for primary and secondary tuition to £26 for help with university degrees.

I did my own search for a Maths tutor to see what I could get in terms of primary school help for my child. I am based in Kent and First Tutors managed to find me 16 available tutors near my postcode! All 16 tutors had references and were qualified. And they all had different prices. The most expensive was £40 per hour (but there was only one tutor with this price), one or two at £30 per hour, many were at £20 per hour, a few at £15 or £12.50 per hour and a couple as low as £10 per hour. This proves that there are tutors available for all families, including families on a budget.

I could inspect any tutor by clicking on their profile and I was met with a world of information from their personal profile and their tutoring experience to their tutoring approach and qualifications. They also had references from other users giving them a star rating for their reliability, their professionalism and their trustworthiness!


Children can benefit immensely from a private tutor whether it be in a private one-to-one lesson, a group lesson or even online. So, in answering the question 'Can I afford a private tutor for my child?' the answer is simple. Should you feel your child will benefit from private tutoring then you can always find a tutor within your economic means that will help your child. Take the time to explore the different tutors available and discuss your child's needs with them. Normally weekly one-to-one lessons have proved to be more effective but that's not to say that group tuition (which can often be cheaper) is much less effective.