Who are they?
1 Relton Mews
Tel: +44 (0)207 352 8800
We have met with Enjoy Education’s staff. In addition, 68 clients and 55 tutors have completed an on-line survey (sent to 381 clients and 290 tutors) and we have followed this up with additional short phone interviews with some of those surveyed.
Enjoy Education staff
Founded in 2006 by Kate Shand (late 30s). Glamorous, dynamic, chirpy. Chatty too – while tutor agency owners are a famously talkative bunch, we defy any to beat Kate on words per minute. Fizzing with zeal and zest and determinedly upbeat, she looks for the same in her tutors. So, if it’s excitement, fun and a real buzz about learning that you want out of your tutoring (and who doesn’t?) then Enjoy Education is definitely worth a shot. Mission statement of the company has always been ‘to create happy, confident learners.’
Kate set up Enjoy soon after doing her MA in English at Oxford. A tutor herself, she wanted to create an agency that was ‘really personalised and supportive’. Since Covid, she’s also shone a ‘spotlight on mental health’ (and woe betide anyone who writes off today’s youngsters as ‘the lost generation’ in her company – ‘It’s been a time of opportunity too, including for self-knowledge, and we want to build on that,’ she insists).
Kate is well known in tutoring circles. A founding member and former vice president of The Tutors’ Association, she was also chosen in 2013 to represent the UK’s education sector with then PM David Cameron. Voted onto Management Today’s 35 Women under 35; has featured in the Young Guns elite list of outstanding self-starters; was chosen as one of BBC’s 100 Women; and was nominated as one of four women for Women of the Future, Entrepreneur Awards. Under Kate’s leadership, Enjoy Education itself has been recognised for several awards. Kate is also a governor at Salusbury Primary School in London.
Kate’s company is now 17 strong and though she’s still at the helm, Beatrice McKechnie-Rowe (MA in education, English lit and theatre from Cambridge) is MD, along with other key roles including head of tuition and head of home schooling. ‘Very professional, very quick at getting back to me, very efficient and super friendly,’ said a parent, though a number of tutors feel comms could be improved (‘with us, not with clients – the company always bends over backwards for the clients,’ said one).
What do they offer?
Mostly hourly tutoring for entrance exams including 7+, 8+, 11+, pre-tests and 13+, along with GCSE, A level and IB. But they tutor as young as pre-school (mainly for SEN and EAL) right up to degree level (including foundation pathways and master’s), with university students now forming a substantial chunk of their clients – ‘especially,’ says Kate, ‘when it comes to support with essay writing, dissertations and educational wellbeing including time management and organisational skills.’
Extra-curricular is an exciting and more unusual aspect of their provision. It’s a wide range, from robotics to textiles, game design to musical theatre, entrepreneurship to debating and current affairs. This often, though not exclusively, supports their home-schooling programme – probably the company’s biggest area of growth in recent years, now making up 30 per cent of their overall work. Focus is on meticulously devised and creatively delivered programmes of learning which are led by the passions of the student to help re-engage them in learning. ‘We had a uniquely difficult situation and [Kate] has been incredible and really helped our son through such a terrible time,’ said one parent, who added, ‘They are very thorough and insist on regular updates and feedback both from us as well as the tutor. Their service goes far beyond that of a tutor search service – they are like the headmistress and governors’ committee.’ Another told us, ‘All the tutors have been excellent – I can’t fault the service, I think they are first class.’
Enjoy also offers exam revision courses and interview workshops (even in lockdown), as well as one-to-one sessions in these areas and others – with common examples including organisational skills, revision practice and exam techniques.
Core geographical areas are all London boroughs and home counties, though they regularly send resident tutors abroad (35 countries to date) eg for British families on holiday or ex-pats whose offspring are about to enter the UK school system. They were early adopters of online learning too which gave them a head start during Covid.
Hot on SEN, with specialist tutors available (including for home tuition), as well as offering assessments for individual learning plans and educational psychologists’ reports. ‘Our son has ADHD and ASD and Enjoy Education were the first tutor company we spoke to who we felt really understood the situation, were sympathetic to it and were able to react to it,’ said a parent.
A particular strength is their partnership with schools – we noted a much more joined-up approach than with some other agencies. In practice, this means liaising with teachers regarding pupil progress and attending parents’ meetings where relevant. No doubt helps that they have eg former head of Godolphin and Latymer on their tutoring books. Schools often commission them directly to provide English and maths tuition, as well as English language training for teachers.
Background and basics
Ethics are a strong point. ‘They adhere to the very highest ethical standards, running outreach programmes in local schools – and if a child doesn’t need tutoring they will say so,’ said a tutor. Charitable works are particularly impressive – Enjoy partners with Tutoring to Thrive, a charity supporting pupils in the state school system, as well as running a scholarship programme for 14 students who attend academies in south east London. Tutors love this about them – we think it probably helps attract some of the top ones (and it’s also worth noting that they pay their tutors full whack for benevolent works ‘to ensure commitment and continuity’, unlike other agencies we speak to who expect the tutors to do it for free!).
Our tutor has been brilliant and gone above and beyond,’ was a typical parent comment about the tutors themselves. ‘Not only do they teach but they discreetly mentor and realistically boost the confidence of the pupil, helping them to organise their work, structure revision techniques and timetables, and always be there to listen,’ said one. These tutors – of whom there are around 300 working for Enjoy at any one time – often have degrees from Oxbridge, Ivy League or Russell Group universities and years of tutoring experience but (unusually for an agency charging these prices), while tutor applicants must have an undergraduate degree, no previous experience is required.
The company’s tutor recruitment process is extremely thorough, starting with a CV, followed by a face-to-face interview with three members of the team including a 15-minute mock lesson. Two references are taken up, and an up-to-date DBS is required. Families are largely positive about being matched with the right tutor and say it’s easy to switch if you’re not keen (we heard a few such tales), though one told us, ‘Our tutor was a wonderful person but really not able to cope with our difficult adolescent boy.’
Some of the tutors we spoke to, however, had niggles in this area – ‘I think they have a nice attitude towards their clients, but they have a very large volume of available jobs and the whole system is disorganised,’ explained one; ‘They should inform you if you’ve been unsuccessful – just a quick email to say they’re grateful for your application but you didn’t get it,’ voiced another. Others felt the system for logging lessons and getting paid was ‘a bit arduous’ and that ‘they need more consistency with client and tutor liaison.’ Enjoy told us they are launching an updated tutor relationship platform this year to optimise their communications and that they’ve taken on a director of studies to support tutors with any teaching or pastoral concerns.
Clear goals and targets are set (‘it avoids over-tutoring,’ says Kate) and feedback is prioritised, with clients asked for views on both the company and the tutor after the first session, then weekly or monthly, depending on the intensity of the tuition programme. ‘We also ask all tutors and parents to fill in regular surveys,’ says Kate. Training (eg in 11+) is available (and now compulsory in safeguarding), as well as regular socials, both of which go down well with tutors.
Money and small print
Not cheap, ‘but you definitely get what you pay for,’ said more than one parent. Following an initial arrangement fee of £90, clients pay from £69 per hour, with pricing dependent on the level of tuition, subject and expertise needed. Tutors receive 70-80 per cent of this; the rest goes to Enjoy. Travel is sometimes payable on top if the family lives outside zones one and two. You are protected by a ‘first session policy’ whereby families do not pay for their first session if they are unhappy with the quality of tuition. Both clients and tutors sign a contract – all the usual T&Cs, with a 48-hour cancellation policy, although as with most reputable agencies, there is leeway under certain circumstances such as one-off illness. Assessments from around £300 depending on subject and level; and workshops and courses from £300-600 depending on subject and duration.
What Enjoy Education say
Education has the power to transform lives. We work closely with our families to provide inspiring home-schooling programmes and tailored one to one tuition to ensure children have the opportunity to unlock their potential and thrive.’
A high-end tutor agency with a clear moral compass and determination to go above and beyond for its clients. Never a case of teach and run, these tutors mentor, focus on confidence, consider wellbeing and provide unrivalled support to the wider family. Behind the scenes, we’d like to see a bit more emphasis on keeping tutors informed.