- How is Tutors International run?
- Tutors International operates from a small office in Oxford and has two full-time employees. Adam Caller – the person you really need to speak to – is often away seeing clients, interviewing tutors, etc. However, an appointment to see Adam can easily be arranged if requested. The demand for tutors is variable. Sometimes we may be working with six new clients, but usually we only handle two or three enquiries a month.
- Does Tutors International require any special licence?
- In the UK, running an agency to place tutors abroad does not require a special licence. Nevertheless, we are subject to all the usual strictures of company law and trading standards, and by the particular requirements concerning teachers. . All of our tutors go through a process of strict background screening including Criminal Records Bureau checks on all UK based tutors.
- Can I contact your previous private tutoring clients for references?
- We show a few testimonials on our website, but the clients who have supplied them are not contactable. We follow a strict policy of confidentiality and the clients we handle have very good reasons for keeping it that way. While the experiences of other clients may be of interest, your confidence in our service will ultimately be based on the tutor we find for you. You will be shown the references for each tutor.
- Do you employ your tutors? / How are they contracted to you?
- Our policy is to act as intermediary rather than introducer. The practice of most agencies is to act as a ‘finder’ for which they charge a one-off fee. The person ‘placed’ – tutor, butler, chauffeur – is the client’s responsibility, and this includes: wages, visas, insurance, etc.
Tutors International follow a different path – we sign a contract with the client to provide tutoring services, and a corresponding contract with the tutor to supply those services. This means that the tutor is our responsibility, which is another reason why we take so much trouble over the recruitment.
- How do you pay your tutors? / How do you make your money?
- We require the client to set up a monthly standing order to Tutors International for the monthly sum of the contract. We then do the same for our tutor – paying a monthly salary directly into his or her account. We make our money by the difference between these two figures.
Clearly, the longer a contract lasts, the more we stand to make. This gives us an incentive to find the right tutor and ensure that the placement continues to satisfy the client. It is this ongoing relationship that makes Tutors International different.
- Can the client specify particular attributes in a tutor?
- This tends to be the norm. Clients may insist on a non-smoker, for example. Other attributes we’ve been asked for have included: creativity, sportiness, ability to ride, musical ability, good swimmer, love of animals, a sense of humour, etc. We do our best to get a good match with the family. It is, quite simply, in the interests of both parties that their interests and lifestyle should be compatible.
- You put forward two tutors for interview. Can we see more?
- Assuming that more is better, some clients have specified in advance that they want to interview 4 (or even 5) candidates. When this has happened they invariably find themselves spoilt for choice – with so many good candidates choosing becomes more difficult. It’s actually less trouble to start with two. If neither is acceptable we will certainly put forward another two.
- What are your standard terms of business? / Can we see them in advance?
- We are often asked to send our Terms in advance and have no problem in doing so. Our standard contract is a multi-page legal document arranged in specific sections, one of which is a Specification. The Specification, drafted after we meet the client, allows us to alter the Terms to tailor these to each Client’s requirements.
- Why do you insist on a meeting? / Can’t we just agree things over the phone?
- Our meeting you is vital. We get to see what kind of family you are and the environment the tutor will live and work in. And we meet the children, which gives us an opportunity to assess their needs. We really can’t begin interviewing tutors until we have this background information – it is essential if we are to achieve a good match.
- How long does it take to get a tutor in place?
- It takes about 3 months – there’s a detailed process to work through…
Following an enquiry we have to arrange to meet the client, draw up a spec, place adverts, receive CVs, check references, interview candidates, then arrange for client interviews, draw up contracts, and allow for the tutor to work through his or her notice period.
- Are support visits really necessary?
- Support visits are well worth the trouble. We’ve found from experience that the first weeks of a placement set the pattern, and a new tutor is likely to be reticent about any tensions or uncertainties. A visit from head office provides an opportunity to deal with these unseen difficulties.
Later on, things may seem to be going well. But it is our desire to keep things going well throughout the contract, and support visits help to foster this ongoing relationship. Our minimum recommendation is one support visit per annum. We make no profit from them, and ask only that you cover the air-fare and minimum expenses.