Safeguarding and the growing concern of the unregulated tutoring industry

As reported, recently in the ITV and BBC news, there is a growing concern in the education industry about how unregulated tutoring is in the United Kingdom.

Concern over lack of regulation for private tutors – ITV

Anybody can claim to be a tutor, without any checks at all. Unless clients are using reputable agencies to source their tutors who have clear policies and procedures around safer recruitment, clients themselves should undertake professional background checks before they open their doors to tutors working in their homes and workplaces; shockingly statistics show that the majority of clients fail to do so.

This can no longer be allowed to continue. Sophia supports the Tutors’ Association in lobbying the government to making sure all self employed tutors in this country have a police check (known as a DBS) before they can offer private lessons to children in the UK. It is also something that children’s charity the NSPCC has been campaigning for as they call for a tightening of the law to ensure every individual giving private tuition undergoes a check, saying the same rules should apply for self-employed tutors as for classroom teachers.

What we do at Sophia

At Sophia, we believe that the tutoring world needs shaking up and that it needs to become more professionalised, so that it is aligned with the teaching profession. All tutors wishing to join Sophia undergo a face to face hour long interview. These interviews are conducted by Melissa McBride (co-founder of Sophia) and David McCarty who have been in education for over forty-five years and have a wealth of educational experience behind them as school leader both in the UK and within International settings.

In addition, as part of the vetting process all tutors take part in a brief telephone interview before having to supply Sophia with two current professional references, three documents that include proof of id and proof of address (which needs to have been within the last three months) plus evidence of the Right to Work in the UK and, more importantly, a current Enhanced DBS certificate. We are also advising our tutors to register to the DBS update service every year, so that their DBS certificates remain updated in real time throughout the year. Every tutor on the Sophia platform, also sign the TTA’s Code of Ethics ensuring they are prepared to operate under the professional standards of the Association.

“Sophia is striving for the high standards of safeguarding and professionalism within the industry and we believe every tutor who does so receives a gold standard of safeguarding.”

Whilst this is not a legal requirement, Sophia is striving for the high standards of safeguarding and professionalism within the industry and we believe every tutor who does so receives a gold standard of safeguarding. We are also in liaison with the NSPCC and the Tutors’ Association, so that our tutors have access to their esources and training. We will actively encourage tutors to go on these courses and use their resources in order to safeguard both our tutors and clients on the platform.

The future

Thankfully, in the future, the Education Team are confident that the government will pass a law about safeguarding children and parents, forcing all tutors to have vigorous checks in place and forcing tutoring agencies to act upon this. Sophia is proud to be working alongside the TTA and NSPCC and leading from the front in this regard.