The BBC has reported that The Tutor's Association estimates there are around 10,000 full-time tutors in the UK. New research from The Tutor Pages now places the figure of children receiving tutoring at around 1 in 7 (15%), or around 900,000 nationwide. Measuring the true size of the private tuition market is not an easy task, as there is no independent regulatory body overseeing the industry. The report provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the private tuition market in the UK, revealing that many teachers at state schools increase their income with private tutoring.
Of the 302,000 courses that began last term, an estimated 230,000 were delivered through the new school-based mentoring pillar. However, with uncontrollable prices that vary by the hour, private tutoring comes at a cost. Guardians charge at least £25 per session, which many parents can't afford. According to Sutton Trust, 34% of students in “high-income” households receive shadow education and are more likely to have received such enrollment, compared to 20% of students from poorer households.
This disparity gives rise to inequality in the education system and contradicts article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stipulates that education must be free and equally accessible. In the past year alone, one in 10 of all children aged 11 to 16 with a state education in England and Wales received tutoring. More than 40% of London pupils have a private tutor at some point in their school career, which normally costs £27 an hour, but sometimes much more, fueling an industry valued at £2 billion a year. More than 300,000 tutoring courses began last term, approaching the total number of the previous academic year.
The average hourly price of an hour of one-on-one tutoring is estimated at £50 for the 22 providers listed by NTP. The National Mentoring Program will continue to offer access to tutoring across all three branches for the remainder of this academic year to ensure that schools have the greatest possible flexibility to offer students support. In the UK as in France, some tutoring agencies can be much more expensive than Superprof simply because of additional fees they charge. The evidence on the effectiveness of online tutoring is mixed and extremely limited when it comes to international tutors; however, it is important to note that lower cost does not negatively reflect on quality or that of the tutor. But overall, it's not clear if there are enough tutors in the UK to accommodate a large increase in demand.
In addition to quality questions, there is concern that outsourcing tutors from emerging economies could be exploitative. The Sutton Trust has estimated that nearly half of teachers (200,000) are currently tutoring or have previously taught. In London this figure is significantly higher, with 42% of students receiving help from a personal teacher. We know that there is still work to be done, but it is very encouraging to see that so many students from all backgrounds have been contacted directly through the government mentoring program. I encourage all schools to take advantage of it.