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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.

Section A

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:

Able Tutors review snapshot: The company’s bread and butter work is support for GCSEs (15 subjects) and A levels (19 subjects). Maths, English and science perennial high demand subjects, joined recently by A level computer science (teacher training hasn’t yet caught up with syllabus changes). For primary age pupils the agency offers literacy, numeracy and science and preparation for 11+ entrance exams at highly selective schools including City of London, UCS, Haberdashers’ and Latymer (the firm also offers CE preparation). read more

Athena Tuition review snapshot: ‘Nice’ and ‘helpful’ are words that cropped up frequently among parents. 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. The agency’s flexibility was also referred to. ‘Because my daughter plays sport to a high level, she has to travel a lot. This means I’m not able to commit to a set day and time every week for a tutor and Athena have worked around that, without compromising on matching,’ says one parent. read more

Bespoke Tuition review snapshot: From Arabic to zoology, there’s no subject that Bespoke Tuition won’t teach. ‘From anthropology to Nepalese, media studies to IB Theory of Knowledge, I have never had a request for a subject for which I have not been able to find a tutor – either a tutor already on my books or, if needs be, via bespoke headhunting,’ says Emma. read more

Bonas MacFarlane review snapshot: Parents pay tribute to the professionalism and care taken. ‘BM plans tutorials with meticulous detail, yet let the child dictate the pace – it’s a delicate balance, but one they get just right,’ says one. ‘The tutors never talk at the children – they work with them, using the same techniques as experienced teachers,’ says another. One family told us BM were ‘extremely accommodating of their son’s hectic sports schedule,’ while another told us they ‘helped us at extremely short notice’. read more

British Home Tutors review snapshot: A bunch of committed teachers who have organised themselves into a sort of collegiate collective, cutting out the merchant side of tutoring which can be pretty off-putting. They’re in it for the enjoyment of the thing and, ‘not a dating agency – other set-ups are businesses who don’t care whether there’s love at the end of the thing or not’. read more

Bruton Lloyd review snapshot: Back in the early noughties, friends Ekaterina Ametistova and Anna Kunitsyna (who met at Moscow State University, where Ekaterina did an MSc read more

Capital Tuition Group review snapshot: ‘I couldn’t praise Capital Tuition more highly – they listened to me and assigned a tutor who was exceptional in every way and he ended up getting an A.' 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..." read more

Chelsea & Fulham Tutors review snapshot: ‘I’ve used tutor agencies before and they were fine, but with Clare, there was a genuine interest in getting us into the right school,’ said one parent, reflecting the view of most we spoke to... read more

De Silva Tutors review snapshot: A warm, efficient agency that seems to sprinkle magic dust on parental stress and anxiety and turn out kids as relaxed as Craig himself, reaching their potential not through pressure but through improved confidence and a love of learning. A perhaps uniquely...

Areas covered: Covers Greater London but some will travel slightly further out into the edges of the home counties – always worth asking. Skype increasingly available and home schooling and residential are on the menu. read more

Dulwich Tutors review snapshot: ‘DT saved my life!’ gushed one parent. ‘I’m a busy, pressurised, single working parent and our tutors stayed with us for long periods of time providing crucial support and advice to both my children, which went well beyond academic tuition.’ While other parents don’t put DT on quite such a high pedestal (and quite a few had grumbles) there was no shortage of praise for the personalised and professional approach.’ read more

Education Boutique Review snapshot: Parents praise the ‘extensive verbal feedback at the end of each lesson’ – ‘they always keep you in the loop,’ said one, while another told us their tutor ‘rarely left before an hour and a half, despite only being paid for an hour. Around three-quarters of clients have offspring in the private school system; the rest more

Elite IB Tutors review snapshot: EIB is the main source of tutoring support in the UK for IB families and schools and we were impressed with their knowledge base, customer service and quality of tutoring. A gem for families currently inhabiting the world of IB. 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

Exceptional Academics review snapshot: Parents equally wowed, calling EA ‘flexible’ and ‘totally different to every other agency in respect of the quality of tutors and of the service.’ ‘I frequently recommend the company to others due to the high quality of service offered.’ Families also grateful that ‘there’s never a push to get more lessons or try to sell you something you don’t need.’ Perhaps that accounts for one description of EA as ‘less commercial  … than other agencies,’ (no mean feat given those hourly rates…) read more

Gabbitas Educational Consultants review snapshot: ‘We have families that stay with us throughout their children’s upbringing – then we look after their own children. This really does happen, with generations of the same family having worked with us.’ ‘Having a small register, we know our tutors personally. Some have been with us for many years which helps greatly in matching clients and tutors appropriately.’ read more

Griffin & Bell review snapshot: ‘They are honest, professional and provide very high quality tutors,’ summed up one parent. Another commented, ‘They are rigorous, professional, reliable and understand needs and can set clear targets and make sensible suggestions. Flexible in their attitude, and approachable.’ 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: The most infectiously enthusiastic team we have encountered. All our tutor agencies are run by wonderfully committed people, but there is a unique sense of enjoyment here. Confident in what they do (borne out by their impressive range of services and the length of time they have been doing it), this is an unpretentious but top class organisation which other parts of London – and the rest of the country – could well look to and emulate. 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: Tutors say: ‘It’s absolutely fulfilling, helping children to understand things they thought were beyond them.’ Parents say: ‘James is a superstar teacher. When my son first met him I could see his confidence rise – James spoke to him a language he could understand.’ ‘He is totally inspirational. The children love him.’ ‘He’s very good at getting on the same wavelength as each individual child, and at choosing the right tutor for the right person.’ read more

JK Educate review snapshot: ‘What they don’t know about the system isn’t worth knowing,’ a parent told us. ‘They managed my angst and worries amazingly throughout the process,’ said another. While there’s plenty of overlap, Katie’s passion is organising and process – ‘making things happen’ while Lorrae is the natural strategist. Refreshingly, they’re not afraid to tell you if they think your child doesn’t actually need a tutor. Client reviews available on Trustpilot. read more

Katie Jayne Tutors review snapshot: SEN is a strength, with a small team of fully qualified SEN teachers on their books – ‘we fully understand the importance of having a specialist to provide the right support for each child,’ says Katie Jayne, who has contact with ed psychs, occupational therapists and others, with plenty of referring involved in her role read more

Kensington & Chelsea Tutors review snapshot: This is an agency that does what it says on the tin – offering good value, high quality tutors for a wide range of requirements. Don’t expect anything too warm and cuddly, but do expect a flexible, friendly enough service that ultimately gets you the tutoring you need. ‘My son, who is studying for his A levels, went from a low C to a high A over several months. This was solely due to the competence and easy manner of the tutor supplied by K&C. He really enjoys the subject now, thanks to this tuition,’ said one parent. read more

Keystone Tutors review snapshot: This is the BMW of tutor agencies – wow-factor quality, innovative, always evolving, an authority in the industry. It doesn’t pretend or want to be Ferrari – rich jet-setters and Russian oligarchs aren’t their target market. read more

Kings Tutors review snapshot: Kings goes the extra mile when it comes to finding the right match and inspiring children to reach their full potential, yet we found it softer around the edges and less cut-throat than many other agencies. read more

Leading Lights Education & Wellbeing review snapshot: Tutors told us they had a ‘greater degree of interest in young people and in us tutors’ than other agencies they worked for and their emotional buy-in shone through again and again. A few had suggestions around improving admin, but otherwise we heard about the organisation’s ‘integrity,’ ‘hard work’ and ‘relentless commitment to excellent outcomes for students.’ ‘I’ve never known a tutoring agency quite like this.’ read more

Lotus Tutors review snapshot: We found Amit earnest, business-like and reassuringly candid. Parents say his passion and professionalism shine through - we didn’t speak to a single one who didn’t use the word ‘efficient’ to describe him, with others calling him ‘sincere’, ‘reliable’, ‘friendly’ and ‘helpful’. Goes well beyond the call of duty, added some, to the point of telling clients...

Mentor Education review snapshot: ‘The first thing I noticed was how much the owner cared about the tutors, who were nearly all trained teachers,’ recalls Mary. ‘Knowing teachers were poorly paid, she gave them good quality work at a good rate. We became good friends and I bought her out in 2014.’ read more

Minerva Tutors review snapshot: This is the Innocent Drinks (as in smoothies) of the tutor world – run by bright young things that have come in and shaken up all the industry norms, resulting in a friendly, energetic, highly branded, internet-savvy company with a clear edge. read more

Newman Tuition review snapshot: Most tutoring is done in the student’s home (occasionally public places like libraries or in tutor’s home if required) and they cover Barnet, Harrow, Brent, Camden, Westminster, Islington, Haringey, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hertsmere and Hertfordshire. ‘We’d like to expand more into West London too,’ says Zac. read more

Osborne Cawkwell Tuition review snapshot: 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. 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...

Pegasus Tutors review snapshot: Tutors rave about Alex, calling him ‘well organised,’ ‘very efficient’ and ‘extremely supportive’. ‘The amount of effort Alex puts in to ensure things are going smoothly is phenomenal,’ said one, while others said point to his ‘professional leadership’ and ‘the fact that Alex is always on hand to help with any queries or help with resources’. Clients say, ‘Alex is so efficient’ and ‘it’s such a personal service’. read more...

Riviera Tutors review snapshot: ‘Riviera provides tutors who have been handpicked to correspond to the child’s needs and personality,’ one parent told us. ‘The tutors are always excellent and have worked well with both our children,’ says another. Almost every parent we spoke has recommended Riviera to friends and many praised Luke’s approach. read more

Simply Learning Tuition review snapshot: ‘SLT are by far the best London agency I have encountered – the team are committed to their vision.’ read more

Strive Tutors review snapshot: ‘Confidence’ is the one word that kept cropping up among clients. ‘They’ve helped my son improve his grades, but equally importantly increase his confidence and reduce his anxiety levels.’ ‘Mastering of specific skills and increasing confidence is their forte.’ ‘We wanted improved exam grades and confidence and that’s what we got, with amazing service and wonderful and personable tutors thrown in.’ And so on.

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

The Golden Circle review snapshot: Tutors told us it feels like ‘the elite end of tutoring’ but ‘without being stuffy’. ‘Although a relatively new company, Golden Circle offers world-class education’, said one. read more

Titanium Tutors review snapshot: Over 200 subjects at all levels, catering for children in year one (‘mainly maths games or fun language quizzes at this young age – the aim is to inspire a curiosity to learn,’ says Joe) right up to adult learners. Most popular subjects, predictably, are English, maths, sciences, languages, humanities and musical instruments, while the most common levels taught at are 11+, 13+, GCSE and A level. 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

UK Study Centre review snapshot: Although the founders have no personal history of tutoring – unusual for agencies that succeed – they have broken the mould and created an efficient agency with a strong reputation, particularly for matching the right tutors with the right clients and meeting international families’ needs. read more

Young Giants Tutoring ‘We want to grow, but never so large that we don’t know our tutors personally. Our main purpose is to develop the learning and confidence of the student. read more

Section B

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:

Fleet Tutors review snapshot: This is more Waitrose than Harrods – top end but with a nod towards value for money. A hit among both public sector and private clients – and attracts families with children in both the state and private system. read more

Teachers To Your Home review snapshot: The upsides of the sheer size include choice and speed. ‘It’s brilliant - you get two or three high-calibre teachers to choose from within just one or two days,’ explained a parent. read more

Watling Tutors review snapshot: They did an amazing job with my capable but a little lazy son – the tutor knew her subject well and what was required to succeed and within five to seven sessions he went from a B to an A*,’ was a typical parental comment.. read more

Section C

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:

Section D

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.

The Good Schools Guide reviews of tutorial companies are available to subscribers of this site.

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