The future of Tutoring: Evolution or revolution?
On Friday 25 October, over 200 independent tutors, corporate agencies and industry professionals gathered to tackle some of the most pressing questions facing the education sector today. The 4th annual conference of The Tutors’ Association (TTA), held at The Royal Society in London, looked at the role of education in social mobility, children’s mental health and the application of Artificial Intelligence.
Keynote speakers included James Turner, CEO of The Sutton Trust and Dr Kathy Weston, a leading parental engagement specialist.
“Tutoring is an important part of the educational landscape, used by increasing numbers of parents, schools and teachers. It is great to see a commitment from TTA and many of its members to ensure tutoring is not only of a high quality, but that it reaches more of the young people who need it most – the national conference was a testament to this. Government, schools, the tuition sector and not-for-profits like the Sutton Trust need to explore innovative ways to widen access to the best tutoring – whether through the pupil premium, vouchers or other imaginative approaches,” said James.
Launched in 2013, The Tutors’ Association is the UK’s only professional membership body for tutors. It provides the vital self-regulation that is necessary for tutors clearly to define their commitment to best practice, professional development and a strict code of conduct and ethics. With over 1000 members, and growing, the association is making significant strides to unite the national tutoring community.
Addressing a packed auditorium, TTA President, Tim Morris, reiterated his mission to bridge the gap between the tutoring and traditional education sectors. Since his election on June 26, Tim has spoken openly about the need for cooperation, not competition, between the sectors. His self-proclaimed mission for the next 12 months is to generate greater awareness of the association and push for more robust self-regulation of the private tutoring market. He is already making headway, having represented TTA on both national BBC and ITV broadcast interviews in the last six weeks.
“One-to-one tutoring is an increasingly effective solution to the challenges faced by the teachers, students and families of our modern age. It is absolutely crucial that, through collaboration with government, the media, our members and the wider public, we seek to ease systemic pressures in the education system. Only by making tutoring more accessible and addressing the regional disparities in funding through initiatives such as the Pupil Premium programme, can we hope to level the playing field for future generations,” said Tim.
The latest Sutton Trust/Ipsos-Mori survey revealed that more than one in four students have received private tuition in the last decade and 11% during the most recent school year. Similar to polls in recent years, pupils in London were substantially more likely to have received private tuition than the rest of the country, with two in five pupils from London (41%) having had tuition at some point. Perhaps most notably, the report highlighted that 27% of pupils received tuition for a school entrance exam.
“Whilst private tuition is undoubtedly on the rise, we must act on the very real issue of regulation in the industry – something I am personally very passionate about,” said Tim. “Safeguarding should be at the forefront for all professional educators. And yet, there is currently no requirement to have a DBS check if you are a tutor, tutoring children. The Tutors’ Association is doing its bit to address that by ensuring that all our members are DBS checked – it’s a mandatory requirement for membership. I firmly believe that all tutors owe it to the families they tutor, and to themselves, to undertake one. In the meantime, any family employing a tutor who is a TTA member has the assurance that this is the case.”
The conference is yet another way in which TTA seeks to empower its members through lifelong learning and the opportunity to come together with their peers. Workshops and expert panels throughout the day provided an opportunity for delegates to get practical advice on technology, accounting, compliance and legislation as well as meet with several quality assured suppliers.