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The top 10 qualities of a good tutor

By Atom | Jun 12, 2023, 8:21 AM

Young boy talking to an online tutor on a laptop


Tuition is a booming industry in the UK, with an estimated 100,000 individuals offering their services as private tutors to young people. However, the private tutoring industry is largely unregulated – private tutors do not need to have a formal qualification or be registered with a recognised body. This makes the process of spotting a good tutor challenging when there are so many choices available.

If you’ve decided to invest in private tuition to support your child’s education, the following 10 key qualities of a good tutor can help you choose the right person.

What are the qualities of a good tutor?

1. Subject knowledge

If your child is receiving 1 to 1 tuition, you need to be sure that the content they are being taught is 100% accurate and aligned with the relevant curriculum or exam board.

Pay attention to tutors’ educational backgrounds when carrying out your research. The tutor you choose should be able to demonstrate quality assurance in the subjects your child is studying. This will usually be indicated by a good university degree (or at least a degree in progress), and great A level grades or equivalent in any other subjects they may touch on in their sessions.

2. Personable approach

While teachers are responsible for multiple children in the classroom, a private tutor can provide more focused and tailored support. As your child will be spending a lot of one-on-one time with their tutor, it’s important that the tutor is personable and can build a good rapport with your child to help them achieve their full potential.

It can be difficult to get a sense of somebody’s personality based purely on a listing. If you think you’ve found a great tutor, ask for a trial lesson first to see if their characteristics and personality are a match for your child.

3. Expert communication

The ability to communicate effectively with parents, as well as children, is crucial to a great tutoring relationship.

Your child’s tutor should be able to demonstrate great listening skills and open communication with your child, but their communication with you as a parent is equally key to a positive experience. Good tutors always keep their student’s parents in the loop by providing regular constructive feedback on their child’s learning journey.

4. Flexible teaching

Private tuition has the benefit of being more flexible than in-school teaching. By providing one-to-one support, a private tutor can hone their lessons to ensure that they are teaching the right content at the right pace for their student's learning style.

While many private tutors may come equipped with pre-established learning plans, a good tutor is willing to adapt their teaching style and lesson content to match your child’s unique needs, goals and learning style. You may be able to get an indication of how flexible your child’s tutor can be from testimonials or feedback from previous clients.

5. Ongoing patience

Patience is an incredibly important skill when it comes to teaching, and private tuition is no exception. A good tutor will be able to exhibit patience to help make their student feel valued.

Your child will explore many challenging topics and concepts in their learning journey, and they will need a tutor who shows patience while they’re learning to get to grips with the content. Great tutors can slow their teaching pace and review the content with their students as many times as necessary to ensure success.

6. Encouraging motivator

As your child explores increasingly challenging topics and concepts, they will need an individual who can encourage them to keep trying – even when they lose motivation.

An effective tutor will not want your child to become dependent; they will encourage them to become an independent learner. The best tutors help their students develop independent learning skills through problem-solving activities and asking open-ended questions to support their thinking process.

7. Professional standards

Your child’s tutor will spend a lot of time with your child one-on-one, so they should be a good role model for your child. While the rapport between tutor and student may be slightly more casual than in-school teaching, it’s important that there is enough distance for your child to respect their tutor and encourage them to want to do their best work.

It’s also essential that your child’s tutor maintains professional standards, including maintaining strict confidentiality when it comes to your child’s personal data and information. Don’t hesitate to ask your child’s tutor if they have an enhanced DBS check and find out how they store personal data on their students.

8. Empathetic supporter

A good tutor knows how difficult it can be for a child to develop confidence in an area in which they’re struggling, and they will be able to empathise with their student’s situation. When a student feels understood and supported, they are more likely to keep trying.

A good tutor will also be able to exhibit empathy towards their student’s parents. When you’re looking for a private tutor for your child, make sure that you feel equally supported and that your child’s tutor can empathise with your concerns.

9. Subject enthusiast

Learners typically learn best when they are interested in the subject at hand. If your child’s tutor is enthusiastic about their subject, it increases the chances that their positive attitude will rub off on your child.

Look for a tutor who is clearly enthusiastic about the subject they’re teaching. A good tutor will be able to demonstrate their passion through their teaching and use their enthusiasm to make the content fun for children.

10. Experienced teacher

Private tuition is a skill, and as with all things in life, experience is crucial to success.

The best private tutors can typically demonstrate genuine teaching and/or tutoring experience on their profile or listing. While every tutor has to begin somewhere, tutors who have built up their experience will be more likely to use a variety of teaching styles and assessment methods to tailor their approach to their students.

If your child has a special educational need or requires different learning styles, make sure to refine your search appropriately. You’ll want to ensure that their tutor is well-equipped with the right experience, tools and resources to support your child’s specific learning needs.

Find your child’s perfect tutor with Atom Tuition

One-to-one private tuition with Atom is available for support with Key Stage 2 core subjects (English, maths and science) and preparation for selective secondary schools.

Our team of dedicated client managers will talk to you about your child and their learning style, matching you with the perfect Atom learning tutor to help your child achieve their full potential and boost confidence for their education and beyond. You’ll get:

  • Personalised teaching: uniquely personalised and data-driven tutoring sessions

  • Professional tutors: subject experts with track records for success

  • Regular feedback: weekly reporting, termly assessments, and 24/7 access to your child’s progress data

  • Continuous learning: discounted access to our award-winning online platform Atom Nucleus

  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed: if you feel that your introductory lesson isn’t a positive experience, we’ll give you a free replacement with another tutor or a full refund

Find out more about Atom Tuition

Ready to book a trial lesson? Fill out this simple form and one of our tuition advisors will get back in touch soon.


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