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Osborne Cawkwell Educational ConsultantsWho are they?

Osborne Cawkwell Tuition
The Bloomsbury Building
10 Bloomsbury Way
London
WC1A 2SL

Tel: 020 7584 5355
Email: [email protected]
Web www.octuition.co.uk

We have visited Osborne Cawkwell’s offices. In addition, 29 clients and 41 tutors have completed an on-line survey.

Osborne Cawkwell Tuition staff

Run by Lucy Cawkwell (40s) from glass-fronted, snazzy Holborn-based office (they also make use of meeting and conference rooms at The Office Group for meeting clients, interviewing tutors and running training workshops). Lucy has been involved in tutoring for nearly 30 years; with her works a small team of consultant specialists: Shirley, (specialist adviser for EAL students and overseas clients) , Sarah (trained SpLD/dyslexia specialist who has worked in several London prep schools as a specialist teacher and SENDCo), Dan (mental health and wellbeing coach and trained mental health first aid instructor) and Holly (PGCE in Secondary art and design). Then there’s Maciej (pronounced ‘mat-chay’), in charge of invoicing and accounts.

Lucy, who we found calm and personable, is regularly described as ‘pleasant’ and ‘efficient’ by parents, many of whom have got to know her well after using the agency to tutor multiple siblings. Either she – or one of her team, who parents and tutors also spoke well of – help clients on the phone, or in some cases they’ll see them in person. ‘Lucy came to see me and my son when I approached her for a tutor for him because we had a slightly complicated case – I thought that was wonderful,’ one parent told us. ‘Lucy is absolutely brilliant, although I’m never disappointed when I talk to her colleagues – they’re all amazing too,’ says another.

What do they offer?

Tuition offered to children from five to 18 in all subjects (general subject support as well as specific exam preparation for 7+, 8+, 11+, 13+, GCSEs, A levels, Pre-U and IB); to university students (from science and psychology to politics and languages); and adults (most commonly languages).

In reality, the bulk of tutees are age 10 to 18, with 11+, 13+, GCSE and A level tutoring the most popular levels. And while Lucy relishes a challenge, she’s honest about when she can’t help. ‘For instance, we had a request for learning Polish and another for learning Hindi. I could help with the first, but we didn’t manage the second.’ Very occasionally, they work with three/four/five year-olds – usually for EFL or for reception or year one students who require support with their numeracy and literacy.

During half-terms and holidays, they offer residential tutoring (over 30 last academic year) in the UK and abroad – usually between two days and two weeks, with four hours of teaching a day – and they also place a handful of tutors a year on longer term residentials up to 12 months. Very experienced in home schooling (including sorting out suitable syllabuses, timetables and exam registration).

SEN an increasing focus. ‘This isn’t just regular tutoring with a bit of extra knowledge tagged on – it’s ensuring a seamless, relevant and appropriate service for the individual child.’ Emotional wellbeing a key area too, with workshops for tutors in mental health and wellbeing; and positive psychology and mindfulness is incorporated into their tutoring. They also run a mental health first aid course for adults working with children.

Most tutoring involves one-hour weekly sessions in clients’ homes in London, but tutors travel out to the home counties for half or full days of tuition too. Online sessions are also becoming increasingly popular. Students typically attend top state or private schools, some of which contact OC to arrange tutoring directly for their pupils.

They don’t advertise so parents find them by word of mouth. Children are also referred to them by ed psychs, consultants and several London schools.

Background and basics 

Tuition offered to children from five to 18 in all subjects (general subject support as well as specific exam preparation for 7+, 8+, 11+, 13+, GCSEs, A levels, Pre-U and IB); to university students (from science and psychology to politics and languages); and adults (most commonly languages).

In reality, the bulk of tutees are age 10 to 18, with 11+, 13+, GCSE and A level tutoring the most popular levels. And while Lucy relishes a challenge, she’s honest about when she can’t help. ‘For instance, we had a request for learning Polish and another for learning Hindi. I could help with the first, but we didn’t manage the second.’ Very occasionally, they work with three/four/five year-olds – usually for EFL or for reception or year one students who require support with their numeracy and literacy.

During half-terms and holidays, they offer residential tutoring (over 30 last academic year) in the UK and abroad – usually between two days and two weeks, with four hours of teaching a day – and they also place a handful of tutors a year on longer term residentials up to 12 months. Very experienced in home schooling (including sorting out suitable syllabuses, timetables and exam registration).

SEN an increasing focus. ‘This isn’t just regular tutoring with a bit of extra knowledge tagged on – it’s ensuring a seamless, relevant and appropriate service for the individual child.’ Emotional wellbeing a key area too, with workshops for tutors in mental health and wellbeing; and positive psychology and mindfulness is incorporated into their tutoring. They also run a mental health first aid course for adults working with children.

Most tutoring involves one-hour weekly sessions in clients’ homes in London, but tutors travel out to the home counties for half or full days of tuition too. Online sessions are also becoming increasingly popular. Students typically attend top state or private schools, some of which contact OC to arrange tutoring directly for their pupils.

They don’t advertise so parents find them by word of mouth. Children are also referred to them by ed psychs, consultants and several London schools.

Money and small print

Impressively upfront on their website about the division of fees between the agency and the tutor – we like this. No registration fee, but there is a placement fee of £45 for new families that covers the first tutor request; £25 introduction fee after that for each new subject tutor request. Hourly lessons cost £55-£70, of which £40-£55 goes to the tutor. Some parents gang up to get their children tutored together to save costs. Most hourly tuition within the underground system’s zones 1 – 4. Small travel fare charged if clients outside their core area. Clients are invoiced monthly by the agency on behalf of the tutor. They send out their terms and conditions when a client first contacts them, as well as when they confirm a booking – the confirmation acts as a contract, with clients not required to sign anything. ‘If a child falls ill, the parent can get annoyed that they still have to pay, but once we explain that tutors are self-employed and missing even a few sessions a month can make a significant dent on their income, they almost always come round,’ says Lucy. Home schooling, group or SAT tuition is £85, while residential days cost £260-£320. Assessments are now on offer here at 7+, 8+, 11+ and 13+ Pre-Test with specialist tutors.

Osborne Cawkwell Tuition say

‘We firmly believe that tutoring is not just about a student achieving higher academic grades. Equally important is building confidence and encouraging inquisitive and independent thinking beyond the classroom.’

Remarks

Tutors pay tribute to the way they are nurtured and valued, and a happy tutor is probably a good one. Clients praise Osborne Cawkwell for being ‘very understanding,’ ‘reliable,’ and ‘going the extra mile.’ ‘At short notice, they found us great tutors who solved the very specific problems our kids were having,’ says one. ‘All the tutors they have found for us have been of very high standing and very helpful. They found the right person for us each and every time,’ comments another.

I have used them on and off for my three children to prepare for exams, from Common Entrance to GCSEs or Alevels, to give a bit of confidence when needed, to boost effort when there was some lagging. They have been most reliable, professional and courteous, always providing tutors with an amazing fit for the children,’ another one said.

Problems are sorted out quickly and parent upon parent told us stories of how their children had been enthused about subjects they had previously disliked.

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