Frequently Asked Questions

What does a tutor cost?

This is a hard question to answer.

Nearly every tutor will cost something different and it will depend largely on their qualifications and experience, where the lessons take place and how they structure their lessons. An hour’s tutoring with us will cost £40/hour if paid after each individual lesson or invoice at the end of the month. However, if you pay for 5 lessons up front the cost will reduce to £35/hour (£175 for 5 lessons) If you pay for 10 lessons up front the cost will drop down again to £30/hour (£300 for 10 lessons). This cost will include the tutor traveling to you and everything that will be needed during the hour’s lesson.

Where will the lessons take place?

There are 4 main styles of tutoring which will allow the lessons to take place in a variety of locations. The first option is the lesson will take place over the internet using a platform such as Skype. Secondly, some tutoring sessions will take place in a central location. These lessons very often cater for a small group of people. The next option is for the lesson to take place in the tutor’s home. These will vary between one to one and group lessons depending on the tutor’s teaching preference.

Our preferred option is to carry out the lessons in the comfort of your home. It hopefully causes you the least amount of stress and inconvenience.

How long do the lessons last?

As a rule of thumb a lesson will last for an hour.

Younger children or those with attention difficulties may just for 45 minutes. That is down to the discretion of the parents. Older children (GSCE age) or adults, especially those with exams on the horizon or studying 2 subjects may choose to have a slightly longer lesson. This takes careful consideration though as to concentrate for more than an hour is exhausting especially if it follows a full day at work or school.

Sometimes it is more effective to have 2 short lessons than 1 long lesson. Again this is at the discretion of the family.

Do you do an initial assessment?

At Starr Tutoring the answer to this is no.

I know many tutors do an assessment on first meeting but I have always felt that this is counterproductive. This attitude may be adverse to your own person beliefs but what I feel is that if a stranger walked in and tested me on a subject I already feel inadequate at I would feel under immense pressure and what not perform to my full capabilities or potential. The tutor would probably not see an honest picture of me.

However, through conversations with the parents and child, observations taken in the first lesson and feedback from what the school have observed it will give you a far more honest idea of where the child is at.

The resources the tutor brings to the first lesson may not be 100% appropriate but will normally be a fairly good starting point. Leading on from this I also suggest, from what I have learned through experience and academic qualifications, is that it is always beneficial to start below the child’s current level of competence.

Why?

That way you can insure the foundations are firmly in place. Without these all future knowledge will always be less secure. It also gives the child the feeling of success that can be built upon. If you set them up for failure in the first lesson progress going forward will be far more of an uphill struggle.

Are you a teacher?

Personally, no I’m not a teacher though we do have fully qualified teachers that work for Starr Tutoring.

When I first starting tutoring I was concerned not being a teacher would prevent me from being eligible to tutor. I had a degree in childcare and education and had completed many additional qualifications particularly based around learning through play and dyslexia. When I voiced my concerns a friend explained to me, and once it was explained it made perfect sense, that teachers are taught how to teach something a specific way. If the child doesn’t understand it, the teacher will just repeat the method again in the hope that the child will grasp it when explained a second time. But sometimes it takes someone to come in and explain it by using a completely different perspective.

Years ago, when I was sitting my GCSE’s I couldn’t get algebra. It just didn’t make any sense to me. The teacher had been over it a couple of times in class and I think had come to the realisation I just wasn’t going to get it. However, my dad sat down with me that evening and explained solving equations to me by explaining it as a set of scales that I needed to keep balanced. Whatever I did to one side had to be repeated to the other side as well. I got it, I don’t know whether it was because he had taken the time to explain it to me one to one or whether it was his different way of approaching the situation but it suddenly made complete sense.

I use this method in lessons today and it still continues to make sense to people. My dad was an amazing man and I will forever be truly grateful to him for the patience he showed in explaining things to me when I sat my GCSE’s.

Most of the tutors who aren’t qualified teachers have a background of working in education and have a sound subject knowledge. Others have completed our training and have access to our support and resources.

I have complete confidence in everyone who works for Starr Tutoring. I have to have as I realise that if the tutor doesn’t live up to expectations it is the reputation I have worked hard at building up will be at stake. You are only as strong as your weakest link…

Can we meet you before the lesson?

Yes, that’s fine. Just ask and we will try and find a time and day that is suitable to us both.

If we meet up it will give us the opportunity to talk through any questions you may have. It also give you the opportunity to get to know the tutor a bit better and ensure you are happy with them as a person.

Am I required to stay with my child?

That’s completely at your discretion. Some parents have things they want to get on with, others would rather be present especially during the first lesson.

Because the lesson takes place in your home it will depend where the tutor and the child are working. Sometimes a lesson takes place at a kitchen table and if it coincides with you preparing a meal, you will inevitably be around.

The choice is yours.

One family I went to many years back used to use me as a babysitter. She would leave for London as I knocked on the door leaving me responsible for both children. The official babysitter would arrive as I left.

To be honest, I don’t think it is fair if I ask my tutors to be babysitters for people. If you are leaving an older child alone at home with the tutor, just advise the tutor in advance that you won’t be there and I’m sure something can be arranged.

Do you tutor primary aged children?

Yes, we have tutors that are able to tutor maths and English children from reception to the end of GCSE.

When working with these younger children we will put a lot more emphasis on games during the lesson and more kinaesthetic learning.

Why?

Research has proven that if we relax we are in a better state of mind to learn.

Also the larger variety of resources we use, the more neuropathways we are creating. This means that when the brain needs to recall the information there are more memories stored in the brain to help with this.

The other advantage of using games is that they are fun… If a child is enjoying themselves they will be more inclined to want to participate. Participation results in practice and the more we practice the better we become.

We can cover the syllabus for reception, key stage 1, key stage 2, Key stage 3 and key stage 4. We can also work on Functional Skills with adults if required.

Do you tutor Secondary school aged maths?

Yes, we have tutors who are able to tutor children from Key stage 3 and key stage 4 (GCSE).

We can also support primary school children and adults doing their functional skills exams if required.

Can you support my child with spelling and punctuation?

Yes, that’s no problem.

We use a variety of tasks to support these such as word searches, pairs, snakes and ladders.

We also have simple writing tasks such as funny pictures. In this task you take it in turns to draw a picture (The first person draws the head, the paper is folded over and the next person draws the body. The paper is then folded for a 3rd time and the legs are drawn. Once the paper is opened up a fairly random person has been created). You then have to think of as many words as you can to describe the picture.

We also play a variation on the game of battleships, where you hunt down the other person’s words.

The focus might be high frequency words, words which are tricky to spell or words associated to a particular theme. These can be varied according to the needs and ability of the child.

We use games because of my interest in dyslexia. I have studied my courses and taken several qualifications in it over the years, initially because of a personal interest. Now to support the children I work with. What I have learned has always implied that the more creative and varied we can be with our teaching, the more likely we are to learn.

Games also help us to relax and the more relaxed we are, the more likely we are to learn.

My child is struggling with comprehension. Can you help?

Yes, we have supported many children with comprehension tasks.

A game I regularly play in my lessons is a board game I created a few years back.

On the board there are 3 different coloured circles (or pictures related to the child’s interests or the specific book) which appear 6 times each.

Imagine one of the colours is red, another yellow and the third one is green.

I will choose to be green and you have chosen to be red.

You can move around the board in any direct you please, but once you have set off you must keep going in that direction.

If anyone lands on a green, I will have to read a paragraph, page or chapter; whichever is most appropriate.

If anyone lands on a red it will be your turn to read.

If anyone lands on a yellow they will have to complete a forfeit such as: move forward 2 spaces, have another go, read another page, other person reads etc. These will be determined by a roll of the dice.

At the end of the section you ask the other person a question about something you have just read. (In lessons I have predetermined questions according to the text and the child’s focus).

This game is great because you can both be “really mean to the other person!!” or you can manipulate it so that the child is never pushed too far out of their comfort zone. It also takes the stress off that person having to do all the reading.

If you have a go at the game, I hope you enjoy it.

Do you just do 1 to 1 tutoring or do you work with small groups as well?

At the moment we are just working with one to one lessons (unless the children are siblings working at a similar level). We have tried group lessons in the past but they didn’t prove to be as effective as one to one lessons.

They can often lead to bickering between siblings. The other thing I have found is that if one child is consistently stronger than the other it can leave them feeling deflated and incompetent. It is also easier to work with a person’s personal, specific needs on a one to one basis.

My child is dyslexic, can you help?

Because we use such a variety of resources we can help. Over the past 15+ years I have done a lot of additional learning and qualifications on dyslexia and how dyslexics learn.

We all appreciate the fact that dyslexic children will need a range of resources and will not necessarily learn best by working through work sheets or reading text books. Instead a variety of interactive resources will be required.

We have a Facebook group “Dyslexia Support and Awareness group” which you are welcome to join if you wish where I post resources and suggestions in supporting dyslexic children.

I have also created a couple of courses on supporting dyslexic children. I am in the process of upgrading these but if you would like more details please do get in touch at info@starrtutoring.co.uk.

Do you offer tutoring for the 11+?

Yes we do. Like our maths and English tutoring the lessons will take place in your home and we will provide everything that is needed.

We use a range of activities but will always focus on your child’s strengths and weaknesses rather than having a generic pre-prepared syllabus to work through.

What is our pass rate like?

To be honest varied. This is for several reasons. Sometimes we only work with a child a couple of times before the exams. Sometimes we will support children we were previously supporting in maths and English and the parents have asked us to spend some of the time working with their child. The parent’s often state they don’t expect their child to pass but want them to take the test and have some idea of what to expect when they go in there.

Other children do pass, several have very nearly passed and have got in on appeal.

What I would say when looking for an 11+ tutor, one of the huge indicators on how well the child will do is based upon how much they want to go to the grammar school. If they don’t want it the odds of them passing is much lower. It has to be an internal drive rather than an external force.

Do I need to book a group of lessons?

No, not at all, if at any time you decide the lessons aren’t working you can stop.

If you do decide to book/ pay for a set of lessons in advance it will be slightly cheaper though.

If you pay for 5 lessons up front the cost will reduce to £35/hour (£175 for 5 lessons)

If you pay for 10 lessons up front the cost will drop down again to £30/hour (£300 for 10 lessons)

I’m looking for an after school tutor to visit our home.

That will be no problem. Most of the tutoring we do is in an evening after the children finish school or on a weekend. We also make it our policy to travel to you as this is part of our mission statement:

“To build confidence and knowledge in maths and English in the comfort of your own home”

What subjects do you teach?

At Starr Tutoring we support maths and English from primary age through to the end of GCSE. We also support adults who are returning to education in qualifications which are equivalent to these levels such as functional skills.

I don’t know if a tutor is the right answer. What other options are available?

There are many options available and it will depend what works for you as a family.

There are many books on the market or sheets/ activities that can be downloaded from the internet that you can use to support your child yourself.

Each week I send out an email offering hints and tips in supporting your child with maths and English. If you would like to receive this just let me know by emailing me at: info@starrtutoring.co.uk

I have also created a FREE times tables course which offers activities for teaching your child their times tables. It is based around the games I use in lessons. The templates for these games can also be downloaded here.

I have a Facebook group “Support your child with maths and English” where you will find support and can ask any questions you may have.

I mentioned previously the book (Support your child with reading and spelling difficulties) I published a couple of years back which can be accessed through Amazon or email me directly at dawn@starrtutoring.co.uk and I will pop a copy in the post for you. It will be cheaper doing it like this as it will only cost £1.50 +p&p.

I want to be a tutor

We are often looking for tutors so please do get in touch with a covering letter and a copy of your CV. If a covering letter isn’t included I won’t be able to consider the application. These need sending to info@starrtutoring.co.uk.

We have also recently set up Start Tutoring. This is an online membership group for people who are looking to start their own tutoring business. You can find out more about it here: Start Tutoring

Alternatively you may decide to become a Starr Tutoring Brand Associate. These are people who own their own tutoring business but work under the Starr Tutoring brand. You will receive training, support with your marketing and we will obviously do our upmost to ensure your business is a success. For more details on this, please click here

Any questions on any of these, please do get in touch info@starrtutoring.co.uk