A Note on Vetting and Checks
There are well-established checks that all reputable tutor agencies will make on anyone they take on as a tutor. The most thorough and mostly widely used check is ‘enhanced CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) disclosure’. What distinguishes the ‘enhanced’ CRB disclosure from the ‘standard’ one is that it records any allegations made against a tutor whether or not he/she has been charged or has any convictions.
If you employ a tutor from an agency, you should expect the agency to have done a recent enhanced CRB (ie within the previous three years) check. List 99 is maintained by the Department for Education and Skills and is a record of convicted sex offenders and anyone else permanently excluded from working with children. An agency may tell you that it has done ‘a police check’. This is insufficient as these checks only record people who have offended within a local area and national records are not available.
Although these checks are important, despite what the tabloids would like us to believe, we should remember that sex offences are very rare. The vast majority of people who offer their services as tutors interact wonderfully well with children and can only do them good.
*please note The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.
You’ve asked the postman, the woman in the newsagent’s, everyone you know on the road and in the playground and no one knows a tutor to help Jessica with her maths. Reluctantly, but confidently – armed with the above – you check the bank balance and pick up the phone to call a tutor agency. Here are a few things you may want to ask before making an arrangement.
- How do they select tutors?
- What references do they take up?
- Are the tutors CRB checked? Is the agency a CRB registered body?
- Will you have a choice of tutors and will you be able to meet them before taking one on?
- Will the tutor visit you for the lessons?
- Is there a registration fee – if so, when is it payable and is it refundable if the tuition doesn't happen or is clearly unsatisfactory after only a lesson or two?
- How much and how do you pay? eg Do you pay the tutor direct or does the agency invoice you? Do you have to pay extra for the tutor’s travel?
- Can you see any recent references from previous clients of the tutor(s) they recommend? Better still, can you talk to any current clients?
- Do you have to sign a contract? If so, ask to see it before you commit yourself to tuition.
- Is there a number to call if you have problems? (This is especially necessary if you use an Internet site.)
And finally - really! - we have found in all our research that a happy tutor tends to be a good tutor. When you interview a tutor from a tutor agency, see how they feel about working with the agency. Do they feel supported? loved? Properly paid - and regularly? If they praise the agency and tell you how efficient/kind/professional they are, you're probably onto a good thing.
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