We have quizzed and/or visited a number of tutor agencies about whom we have received considerable feedback and talked to their clients and their tutors. The reviews are available online to logged in subscribers.
We have divided the tutorial companies into three sections plus a postscript detailing newcomers. Please see below for an explanation of the divisions.
Those agencies reviewed in our first section actually know their tutors personally, ie they meet and interview them and keep in close touch. We have visited all agencies in this section.
Companies reviewed in section A include:
Athena Tuition Review snapshot: Nice’ and ‘helpful’ are words that cropped up frequently among parents we spoke to. Nelson, as the front man, got a huge amount of praise. ‘He gives good advice, is efficient and friendly and ultimately provides great tutors.’ ‘He’s very professional, amiable and brilliant at his job.’ etc. read more
Bespoke Tuition Review snapshot: ‘Because he was a teacher, he knows the schools inside out, as well as the best resources for tutors and he gives us access to them. He’s also excellent at matching families to the right tutors and he’s a great problem solver. He bothers with the fine detail to give an outstanding service.’ read more
Bonas MacFarlane Review snapshot: ‘This is the seriously upper crust of the tutoring industry, kneaded and done to a crisp according to the precise educational recipe for your privileged progeny." read more
Carfax College Review snapshot: "International families send their children here to study on a long-term basis. Principal Rupert Alesbury was a King’s Scholar at Eton, studied French and Russian at Oxford, and picked up Mandarin Chinese, too, during a stint in China. Sartorially elegant as befits the principal of a ‘reassuringly expensive’ establishment, he is an experienced..." read more
Carfax Private Tutors Review snapshot: ‘We are extremely specialist and a lot of the requests are niche ones. Our clients have very specific requests and often have already identified the problem..' read more
De Silva Tutors Review snapshot: ‘The tutors are his friends and most of his clients seem to be friends – or certain to become friends – and he is on dining and tennis-playing terms with many of them.’ read more
Elite IB Tutors The company’s flexibility is also a strong point, according to families. ‘Sometimes we only want a tutor before exams or special assignments, not every week, which has never been a problem.’ read more
Enjoy Education Review snapshot: "Founded in 2006 by Kate Shand who is committed, passionate, energetic and hugely likeable. Clearly on a mission to deliver a top quality service to her clients – and her tutors – Kate is eloquent on the personal nature of the tutor-client-agency relationship and has a positively moral take on what she sees as her job." read more
Gabbitas Educational Consultants Review snapshot: ‘They won’t just tell you what you want to hear and take your money – they are realistic with you, and that includes bringing tutoring to an end if they feel it might become a crux or has run its course.’ read more
Griffin & Bell Review snapshot: ‘It’s on the more expensive side, particularly for more experienced tutors, but it’s absolutely my favourite. They’re honest, on the ball and have the best quality tutors,’ concluded another parent. read more
Hampstead and Frognal Review snapshot: ‘Because he was a teacher, he knows the schools inside out, as well as the best resources for tutors and he gives us access to them. He’s also excellent at matching families to the right tutors and he’s a great problem solver. He bothers with the fine detail to give an outstanding service.’ read more
Harrison Allen Review snapshot: ‘There is a unique sense of enjoyment here…this is an unpretentious but top class organisation which other parts …of the country could well look to and emulate.’ read more
Holland Park Education Review snapshot: "With demand for bright young Oxbridge grads seemingly insatiable, this firm has busily carved out what was a niche - but is now rather larger - in this expanding market." read more
Ivy Education Review snapshot: 'We're quite small, so we can give our clients the individual attention they deserve, and I happen to think our approach is very methodical. We're always thinking about the best way to help students, and we're proud of our focus on qualified teachers and experienced practitioners.' read more
James Layland Tutors Review snapshot: 'This is a real family firm: James Layland runs it; his sister Wendy is his PA; when we visited, his mum (also visiting) let us in and made us a cup of tea. Included on the staff are his two luscious, cream, long-haired Burmese cats, who sprawl nonchalantly across much of the table in the conservatory where most of the teaching takes place, and help to break the ice with reluctant or nervous tutees.' read more
JK Educate Review snapshot: The parents we spoke to couldn’t get enough of these add-on options. ‘It’s a one-stop shop for tutoring, but it’s a la carte, which means you can pick and choose what works for you. What could be better?’ said one parent. read more
Kings Tutors Review snapshot: 'We had two tutors via this company and they were both fantastic,’ says one parent. Their enthusiasm was contagious, and they managed to motivate my son to try his best, and he really looked forward to his tutor session.’ read more
Newman Tuition Review snapshot: Our current tutor is outstanding’ and ‘The way the tutor taught was quite exhilarating’ were the kind of comments we heard repeatedly, which most attribute to the excellent matching process read more
Osborne Cawkwell Educational Consultants Review snapshot: 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. read more
Owl Tutors Review snapshot: There’s no shortage of praise from parents. ‘They’ve been wonderful – we couldn’t have asked for more.’ ‘Excellent tutors and organisation.’ ‘Outstanding.’ And so on. Read more...
Riviera Tutors Review snapshot: Tutors enthuse about the company too. ‘I am very satisfied that the company responds well to my needs as a tutor and I feel that all my tutees have benefited from my tutoring. This is testament to how well they fit tutors to tutees,’ says one. ‘The company is very responsible, accessible and holds the needs of it pupils in very high regard. I have an extremely positive appreciation of the company,’ read more
The Basic Skills Centre Review snapshot: ‘We’re a happy and caring place where pupils come first. Children enjoy coming here, and we aim to make it as encouraging and supportive a place as possible.' read more
The Fulham Study LLP Review snapshot: Praised by parents for warmth and empathy and by an employee as ‘motherly, lovely but firm,’ dyslexia specialist Carol Cox started tutoring local children in her basement at home as a favour to parents worried about looming entrance exams. read more
Trefoil Tutors Review snapshot: You could grab yourself a (relative) bargain here, with fees starting as low as £33.80 an hour, moving up to £60 an hour for the most experienced tutors, including Vivek himself. This includes travel expenses and tutors get all of it, bar £5 which goes to Trefoil as commission. read more
Tutors International Review snapshot: This is the Dom Perignon, rather than the Cava end of the market. Clients – who quite likely already employ butlers, housekeepers and cooks – say Tutors International ticks every box. read more
Those tutor agencies in the second section meticulously check references, CRB* records, etc but, partly because of the size of their lists, conduct their personal interviews only over the telephone. These are usually agencies with a very large list of tutors and who cover a wide geographical area. They are dedicated and hard-working and take enormous pride in the service they offer but do not provide the face-to-face relationship offered by those in section A. Again we have visited all agencies in this section.
*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.
Companies reviewed in this section B include:
The third section comprises those tutor agencies which have been recommended to us by approbatory parents, whose tutors are happy, whose credentials and approach we have researched and which appear to us to do a creditable job but which we have not personally visited. In section C are both website-only agencies as well as those who offer the kind of careful, personal service described above. The postscript has brief reviews on two very new and ambitious agencies, both, again, specializing in the central/west London areas.
Tutor Agencies - Section C explains more about this type of agency. Companies reviewed in this section include:
These are online tutorial companies that offer interactive lessons over the web. Volunteer pupils have tried out a few lessons and they and their parents give their views.
A perfect fit?
No tutor agency – and no tutor – is perfect. All of them – the honest ones readily admit – can get it wrong occasionally and we have spoken to disgruntled clients from even the best of the agencies, but serious derailments are rare. All those listed in the following sections are reputable, respected and highly praised, both by those who work for them and by their clients. All seem to us to try hard to provide a blue chip service. The list does not include the names of all the agencies that have been recommended to us.
Some few companies we approached did not respond to our advances and we wonder why.
It’s a pity so many in our list – all those in section A – are based in London and the south-east. As ever, we would like to hear from parents who have used agencies of this calibre elsewhere in the country. We hope they’re out there – we need to know who they are! If you'd like to recommend a tutorial agency do contact us.