Staying safe as a private tutor: the essentials

Compared to many industries, being a private tutor is a relatively safe line of work, but there are still several measures you should take to help ensure the safety of you and your clients.

Child protection

Child protection is an important area for private tutors to understand.

Some parents will ask to see what is known as a ‘DBS certificate’ which proves that there is no known reason why you cannot work with children or vulnerable adults. It can be difficult to obtain one of these as a self-employed tutor, but organisations such as the UK Tutors’ Association can help.

Understanding child protection goes beyond DBS certificates, however. The NSPCC run a recommended online child protection course which will fill you in on the basics such as how to recognise possible child abuse.

Sensible child protection advice specific to private tuition includes:

  • working with the parent or carer from the outset
  • having another adult present in the same or adjacent room
  • avoiding inappropriate social relations and physical contact with a child.

Personal safety

Private tutors rarely consider their own personal safety. However, when meeting a potential client for the first time it is advisable to meet in public or to let a friend or family member know where you are going.

When you are in a new environment, also make sure you have a clear exit from the room and building.

For the best tips on personal safety in general, please visit The Suzy Lamplugh Trust website.

Legal matters

Tutors are sometimes unaware of their legal requirements.

If you tutor in your own home, you have a legal obligation to make sure it is a safe space for students.

If you advertise your services, you are obliged to advertise them accurately and truthfully and not over-claim about your own qualifications and experience or the results you expect to achieve for your students.

You must also pay tax on what you earn, which involves registering with HMRC and keeping clear records of income and expenditure.

Tutors are also advised to draw up appropriate written terms for their private tuition. This gives clarity to both the tutor and client, and helps avoid misunderstandings and non-payment. Further advice can be obtained from The Tutor Pages website, including a sample private tuition agreement.

Staying safe online

Everyone is at risk of online fraud, and tutors are no exception.

Two common areas of risk for tutors are identity theft and fraudulent tuition enquiries. To avoid the former, do not share personal sensitive data online (for example, your CV). For the latter, understand the ‘counterfeit cashier’s cheque’ scam so that you do not become a victim of it.

Insurance

Finally, private tuition insurance offers vital protection to tutors in several areas, and is also mark of professionalism in your private tuition practice.

Covers include public liability and professional indemnity protection, and you can also add personal accident and business equipment insurance to your policy.

Henry Fagg is an expert on UK private tuition, and founder of the private tutor directory Thetutorpages.com.

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