The Sutton Trust praises Tutorfair

September 08, 2016 by Breanna
Image Private tuition remains to be the “hidden secret of British Education” says the Sutton Trust. The social mobility think tank, founded by Sir Peter Lampl, annually polls young people and educators through Ipsos MORI on their experiences of private tuition, helping to lift the curtain on tutoring. In this year’s report the Sutton Trust has also worked closely with Tutorfair, a website where parents can find and book a local tutors. With 40,000 tutors on their website, Tutorfair holds some of the most extensive data available within the tutoring industry, and this information was shared with the Sutton Trust in order to help inform the Trust’s findings.

Almost 25% of 11 to 16 year old state school students have received private tuition - that’s over 700,000 young people in England and Wales. In London this figure rises dramatically to 40% of students. Tutorfair reports that the most popular tutored subjects are Maths and English (in that order), followed by science, musical instruments and foreign languages.

The Sutton Trust’s report reveals that nearly half (43%) of state school teachers have tutored outside of their main teaching role at some point in their career. Top Tutorfair tutor and qualified teacher, John N comments, “I was a teacher on the Teach First programme, teaching in a challenging school in Kent. However, I've found tuition far more rewarding as a career in education. I love teaching, but the reality of teaching in schools is that too often there is a lack of respect and appreciation for teachers. Too much time is spent dealing with behaviour, social care or superficial bureaucracy, and academic rigour comprises a remarkably small part of the job. Tuition is entirely different, where academic rigour is a core aspect of the role and the focus is truly on high performance teaching and learning. Tutorfair represents the most socially responsible way of providing tuition, enabling tutors to help students whilst also providing support to students from less privileged backgrounds who really appreciate and benefit the support that tutors can offer”.

A meta-study into one-to-one tutoring by the Educational Endowment Foundation, shows that it provides 5 months additional progress over untutored pupils. This makes it one of the most effective forms of education that parents and teachers can use to support learning. Although tutoring is incredibly effective, it remains to be the most expensive, with tutors across the UK costing on average £27 per hour. Therefore, private tuition is mainly accessible to be those who can afford it. Privately educated students are almost as twice as likely to receive tutoring as state-educated students. So students who receive private tutoring disproportionately come from families that are already advantaged.

Both the Sutton Trust and Tutorfair want to highlight that there are many important social mobility issues caused by this inequality within the industry. The Sutton Trust calls on more tutoring agencies to follow Tutorfair’s example and offer free tuition to disadvantaged students – with the aim of “levelling the playing field within education”.

Andrew Ground, founder of Tutorfair “We welcome the Sutton Trust’s findings. Tutoring is very beneficial but action is needed to ensure it’s fair. We welcome more positive engagement on how tutoring can be good for everyone.”

Tutorfair includes a donation from their paying students’ lessons, and develop free tuition programmes to support disadvantaged students. Their website cites the DfE 2012/13 figures that “61% of children on free school meals received a “D” grade or lower in their mathematics and/or English GCSE” and Tutorfair call for change. Tutorfair partners with schools that have a high proportion of students on free school meals, and gives free one-to-one and small group tuition to their students. They have so far helped 5,562 disadvantaged students, involving 675 tutors across 14 partner schools.

Make a difference by recommending Tutorfair to students, parents, teachers and schools. Tutorfair’s socially responsible mission shines a light on the ‘shadow education’ industry, making tutoring both fair and transparent for all. If you would like to know more about Tutorfair and their mission, please contact them on
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