First things first
So, perhaps you’re a teacher or senior school staff member and have a single student that needs help, or an entire year group with multiple students who would benefit from additional tuition. This can feel overwhelming, especially when already dealing with a heavy workload. We are here to help make the path to accessing tuition smoother and highlight some things to consider, ensuring that you can get that support underway easily and effectively. We’ve put together some top tips to help you along this important journey!
Tip one: Have a single point of contact
Ideally, before you start making any calls or browsing Google (always looks for reviews by the way), pause and ask within the school if there is already an arrangement in place with a tuition agency or service. You might be surprised! If this is the case, find out who the current point of contact is within your school and who exactly at the tuition agency they are dealing with. This really helps to streamline things at both ends. Ideally, what you want is to avoid having different people arranging different things within the same school and not communicating about it, thereby causing confusion!
Whereas schools have different budgets handled by different staff members, making a point of having conversations within school staff meetings or briefings about any external tuition can be really helpful to ensure everyone is on the same page. If there is already an arrangement in place with a tuition agency, of course you can still choose to go elsewhere with your needs and budget but at least this will be documented within the school for clarity to avoid any invoice mix ups or crossed wires. Importantly, too, you will most likely need to enter into a new Terms of Service with any new provider, which needs to be stored centrally at the school for reference.
If you do decide to arrange tuition with the current school tuition provider, ensure that you contact the tutoring agency directly and not an individual tutor at the agency who may have been recommended to you by a staff member. This is to ensure that all tutorials go through the proper channels, which makes life much easier for industry compliance and also when it comes to booking tutorials and invoicing. Remember, you can also ask to have a single point of contact at the agency end too – this works both ways and is the most effective way to operate.
Tip two: Know where your funding is coming from
A lack of knowledge or clarity about tuition funding can be a real problem and can lead to arrangements being halted at the last minute. Equally problematic, it can also mean that there could be a pot of money waiting to help your students that you just don’t know about and so your students go without the help they need! So, we recommend that you do some digging along with your colleagues, ideally around the summertime, and find out what the funding situation is likely to look like at the start of the new academic year.
Once the academic year starts, make sure you have the details of the funding and sign this off with any senior staff or finance officers before reaching out to a tutoring agency. Once you do have the details, be sure to tell your tuition provider where the funding is coming from so that they are able to report accordingly (NTP funding etc). If a PO number is required for payments, ensure you get this ahead of time from your school’s finance office. If there are any changes to your funding at any point, please always do your best to inform the tuition agency or tuition service provider as soon as you can so that there are no sudden halts to tuition. This can happen and is very detrimental to students, especially cared-for students or those in alternative learning provisions.
If your funding is dependent on periodic funding panels, it is important to know what the funding panel will need so that you can give the student, carers and tutoring agency enough notice to prepare everything that is needed. Sometimes tutors are required to attend funding panel hearings. If this is required, it is also a wise plan to ensure well ahead of time that they can attend on a certain day or time and that they are explicitly told what to have with them, i.e. their student progress reports. We, along with you, want to make sure that at every funding hearing panel, students have the best chance at continuing with additional tuition and this can take quite a bit of organisation and preparation on all sides!
Tip three – Get fellow teachers on board
You may well have identified a need and got some funding. Great stuff! But what if fellow staff members have other ideas or are not really fully on board? It is actually really important to ensure that you explain to fellow teachers why the needs are important and what exactly will happen. This is so that they will be fully on board with the idea. Why is this important? As an example, if a senior staff member wants to arrange subject-specific tuition, they will inevitably need to liaise with someone from the right subject department. If it is an even bigger need or programme, you might need to be communicating with multiple staff members from different subject departments. These teachers are vital links in the chain as they have the ‘nitty gritty’ information that is such a key to the tuition and students success. They know the students strengths, weaknesses where they are up to in the course and much more.
If they are not fully aware of tuition arrangements or programmes and of the importance of communicating about these effectively with both the tuition agency and referred tutor, then communication can break down. This in turn can adversely impact the tuition itself. As such, it’s best to do everything you can first in terms of talking to heads of department or other vital staff members and ensuring you have internal support and cooperation of all relevant teachers before booking the tuition. This means that they are primed and ready to spring into action when contacted by the tuition agency.
Tip four – Give tuition providers as much notice as you can
Sometimes things happen quickly and it simply cannot be avoided. A child may suddenly need to be home-schooled for a period of time and reaching out to a tutoring agency with a sudden need is just an unavoidable necessity. We are here to help and we will pull out all the stops for you! However, if you know of something in the pipeline that is on its way but has not yet become urgent, do start the conversations with your preferred tuition provider early. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, it makes sure you have your internal arrangements and finances firmly lined up. Secondly, your preferred tutoring agency might not actually have capacity to meet your needs and they may need to recruit additional tutors, which takes time. This may delay your planned start date for tutoring. The bigger the programme or intervention, the more notice tuition agencies need to prepare and ensure the right tutors are lined up and in place.
Much of this advice can be summed up as follows: first things first! Get your ducks in a row within school and do things in the proper order to ensure tuition provisions run smoothly. This will give you and your students the very best chance of success and enable the tutoring agency or tuition service provider to make the best tutor matches. Remember, everyone is pulling towards the same goal – enabling students to fulfil their potential. Schools can do their bit by following these tips to help to ensure that everyone has the best chance to thrive and succeed.
Here at Greenhouse Learning, we are an ALP and NTP approved Tuition Partner. Contact us now to set up a consultation on how we can maximise the learning your students receive!