You might be thinking about using a tutor or out of school setting for a child or children you care for. This could be:
- for help with their homework or to improve their grades
- to learn a musical instrument
- to take part in other out of school activities, such as sport, dancing, drama or uniformed clubs.
While the vast majority of private tutors and coaches are reputable, you need to take care to make proper checks when hiring their services.
What do we mean by an ‘out of school setting’ (OOSS)
An OOSS is an institution which provides tuition, training, instruction, or activities to children in England without their parents’ or carers’ supervision that is not a:
- School, College, 16-19 academy; or provider caring for children under 8 years old which is registered with Ofsted or a childminder agency.
- This is a non-exhaustive list of what is considered to be an OOSS:
- Tuition or learning centres (which may be used to support mainstream, or home education)
- Extracurricular clubs or settings, e.g. ballet classes, gymnastic training, sports tuition, instrumental music tuition, martial arts training, drama classes, etc;
- Uniformed youth organisations, e.g. the Scouts and Guides;
- Open access youth providers, e.g. centre-based and detached youth work;
- Supplementary schools or what are sometimes called complementary schools, e.g. those offering support or education in addition to the mainstream, or core learning, and which operate after school hours or during the weekend;
- Private language schools, including those for children coming from abroad
- Religious settings which offer education in their own faith, culture, religious texts, preparation for rites of passage, etc. e.g. Jewish yeshivas and chedarim, Muslim madrassahs, Hindu OOSS, Sikh OOSS, Christian Sunday schools, etc.
The advice below is designed to help you make informed decisions about tutoring services or out of school settings for your child and to give you confidence in your choices.
Tutors – what checks should you make?
- Regardless of how you found them, ask the tutor or coach for details of two referees, and follow them both up with a phone call.
- Ask the tutor for details of the parents of some current or former students, and follow them up with a phone call.
- If there are career gaps in their CV, ask for reasons and seek any additional evidence.
- If a local school, college or service employs the tutor, ask for a reference from the Headteacher, Principal or Head of Service.
- Check to see whether the tutor is properly accredited, experienced and qualified by asking for evidence such as certificates, and then contact the relevant accreditation body or organisation.
- Ask the tutor about the tuition they provide, locations, past clients and results. Do their answers sound genuine or are they avoiding certain issues and not telling you the full story?
- Be clear where the tutoring will take place and who will be present.
- If present, you may wish either to be in the same room, or to leave the door open and enter the room at random. Your child's bedroom is not a suitable place for tutoring. If using another venue you will need to check arrangements for drop-off and collection, where your child will wait and what the venue is like.
- Who else might be in the tutor’s house at the same time or while the child is waiting? Trust your instincts and do not be afraid of calling off the lessons if you or your child feels uncomfortable.
- Ask your child how the session went.
When you send your child to an out of school setting, never assume that the venue is also the provider of the sessions, which may be run by another company. Tuition, coaching companies, and franchises often rent premises in sports centres, school halls or from community groups, charities, and local churches.
Questions to ask:
•Have staff and volunteers undertaken DBS checks? How recent were the checks?
•Will any adults besides the instructor be present at the venue while my child is there? If so, will they be there on a regular basis?
•Do you have child protection and anti-bullying policies? ( ask to see a copy) •Who is your safeguarding Lead? What training have they had?
•Who owns the organisation, where are their headquarters and what are their contact details?
•.If my child has to change their clothes, where do they do this and does anyone supervise this activity?
•Does the activity require appropriate physical contact relevant? (For example, in a dance, music or sports class tutors may need to correct posture, stance, and position. Children should know in advance if there will be any physical contact and it should be explained what contact and why)
•What provision is there for dropping off and collecting my child?
•Can I stay while my child is taking part in the activity and, if so, where do I wait? •Does the tutor, coach or centre have insurance liability?
•Does the organisation have a regulatory body: (i.e. Football Association, British Gymnastics Association, etc)
•My child has Special Educational Needs and/or a disability (SEND). What steps will you take to accommodate this?
•How are you securely storing the information you hold on my child? Who has access to it and are you giving it to anyone else?
•Does my child have access to the internet and if so what filter and monitoring systems are in place? (Your child should be 13 or older to access the internet unsupervised. Your OOSS should not allow children under 13 to do so.)
What should you do if your child tells you something inappropriate has happened, or the tutor/coach/provider is behaving inappropriately/abusively?
You can contact Havering’s multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) – see contact details below - and/or the police.
You can also contact Havering’s Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) who is the person responsible for managing allegations against staff and volunteers who work with children in Havering. Please See contact details below. •The LADO for London Borough of Havering is: Lisa Kennedy •firstname.lastname@example.org•Telephone 01708 431653
If you are concerned that your child’s tutor/coach/provider is teaching them extremist views or influencing them to hold such views, please read the information on the NSPCC website https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/report-abuse/dedicated-helplines/protecting-children-from-radicalisation
You should report this to either Havering MASH/Police/LADO or for the Anti-terrorist hotline call 0800 789 321. You can report online on http://www.seeitreportit.org/ and report terrorist content on the web go to https://www.gov.uk/report‐terrorism
This service carries out a DBS check on anyone who works unsupervised with children under 18 to make sure there is no known reason why they should not work with children or vulnerable adults.
Tutors who have had a DBS check will usually tell you they have one and you can ask to see their DBS disclosure certificate when you meet them. Individuals cannot get a DBS by themselves - only if they are part of an organisation. So if a tutor works freelance, they will not actually be able to obtain a DBS check themselves
The DBS certificate may show if there are any previous criminal offenses and it would then be for you to decide whether employing a private tutor with convictions, a DBS certificate for other employment or no DBS check would pose a risk to your child’s safety or wellbeing.
For more details visit https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service/about