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Private tutors: a warning to parents

Published 25/08/2016

As the new school year approaches we know that many parents will be considering private, independent tuition to supplement their child's education.

But as parents search for private tutors, NSPCC Northern Ireland believes they should be aware that vetting standards which apply to schoolteachers do not currently apply to independent tutors.

Tutors supplied by a reputable agency are often subject to criminal record checks by their employer. However, the same level of checking is not routinely undertaken when self-employed tutors are directly engaged by parents.

It is absurd that you need a basic criminal record check to issue a parking fine, manage finances, or treat animals, but not to work with children as a self-employed tutor.

In the absence of statutory requirements, the NSPCC has issued advice and guidelines for parents.

l Use tutors through reputable agencies and ask if background checks have been undertaken.

l Carry out their own reference checks and speak to previous employers.

l Interview prospective tutors to satisfy themselves that any risk to their children is minimised.

More detailed advice is available at nspcc.org.uk

NEIL ANDERSON

National head, NSPCC

Northern Ireland

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