Elective home education: tips on employing tutors and using alternative providers - one minute guide

Considerations when employing a tutor

Parent/carers who Electively Home Educate may choose to provide additional tuition for their children. If parents/carers employ someone to tutor their child(ren), they are responsible for checking that the tutor is suitable for working with children and young people. Tutors do not have to be a qualified teacher, registered or approved by any statutory organisation. The local authority does not keep a list of approved tutors – employing a tutor is a private arrangement between parents/carers and the tutor and it is their responsibility to risk assess and monitor arrangements to make sure their child stays safe. It is important that parents/carers ask the right questions in their risk assessment. We strongly recommend 
using the following checklist of actions:

  • interview the tutor themselves
  • ask for the two most recent references including for their current post where applicable & follow up by speaking directly with referees
  • ask to see their qualification certificates 
  • ask to see their CV/past employment record & find out the reasons behind any gaps in employment
  • if the tutor is a qualified teacher, ask to see a copy of documentation from the Teaching Regulation Agency confirming this and a copy of their DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check
  • if the tutor is freelance or works as a supply teacher, ask to see their Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Certificate (note the level of certificate and when this was issued, for example a Basic DBS Certificate will not include information that will only be supplied with an Enhanced DBS Check with a Children’s Barred List check)
  • consider a written agreement about where the tuition will take place (e.g., where parents/carers are in sight of the tuition)
  • request that all correspondence be only via parents/carers (for example tutors and coaches should not email, text, or contact students via social media)

Concerned after employing a tutor?

Parents/carers should cancel any further activities until they have sought advice. If the tutor is from an agency, contact the agency directly and ask to speak with the safeguarding lead. Where parents/carers believe a person may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children, they should contact our Duty Local Authority Designated Officer. Contact us.

The North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership website has useful information.

The Department for Education has produced guidance for keeping children safe during community activities, after-school clubs and tuition.

Choosing an alternative provider as part of home education

Parents/carers who Electively Home Educate (EHE) may consider using an alternative provider as part of their child’s educational package. Parents/carers are responsible for ensuring the safety and the quality of any alternative provision, which they source and use to support the education that they put in place for their child/young person. The Department of Education (DfE) Guidance indicates that a provider must be registered as an independent school if it provides full-time education to five or more full-time pupils of compulsory school age, or one pupil who is looked-after or has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

Generally, any institution that is operating during the day, for more than 18 hours per week, is considered to be providing full-time education. This is because the education being provided is taking up the substantial part of the week in which it can be reasonably expected a child can be educated and therefore indicates that the education provided is the main source of education for that child.

Local authority commissioned Pupil Referral Units, school led alternative provisions, colleges offering 14 to 16 places, free schools and academies are registered education providers and are therefore subject to scrutiny by Ofsted, in the same way as maintained schools are.

Further information about registered alternative providers in North Yorkshire.