Views of individual tutors
Many of the tutors polled were sharply critical of the CMRE's plans. Dr Alex Moseley, former university lecturer and founder of Classical Foundations, a private tutorial service in the Vale of Belvoir, East Midlands, said: "Standards are already set by parents' wishes and tutors' abilities. Parents are quite capable of assessing whether a tutor is up to standard or not by how they deal with their child.
"Feedback is instantaneous and the market is working. What the CMRE will do is add a layer of intrusion into a highly competitive market."
London tutor Mischa Foster Poole, said: "There is already too much emphasis on measurable 'outcomes' in Education, at the expense of the less measurable incremental teaching of skills like critical thinking, reasoning, analysis, creativity and style, and a love of learning.
"The strength of private tuition lies in the flexibility with which tutors can approach the needs of their students, unhampered by the over-regulation which has messed up school education to the point where private tuition is now so much more in demand. To provide good education, teachers need to be free to teach."
Matthew Barnes, a tutor in Oxford, commented: "This country is driving itself into the ground under a mass of unnecessary and self-defeating bureaucracy and the process needs to stop right now. Under the discipline of the truly free market poor tutors get fired very quickly.
"Although 'trained teachers' are regulated to death there are enough poor ones still around to create a massive demand for private tutors. If tutors are 'regulated' in the same counter-productive way that teachers are there will be no refuge to which parents can turn."
While the response from tutors was generally cool, however, there was support in principle for a national association with 62 per cent of tutors saying there was a need for an association to set and maintain industry standards.
One supporting voice came from Louise Armstrong, a tutor in Colne, Lancashire, who said: "Much as I dislike paperwork, requiring tutors to be qualified and to work more closely with schools, has to benefit the students, therefore I support it."
But tutors were divided about whether the CMRE, a think tank pushing for the marketization of state education, should be behind setting up the new association. Only half of those polled (52 per cent) said they were happy with the think tank's involvement
A typically ambivalent view came from Gordon Braddock, a tutor in Emsworth, Hampshire, who supports The Tutors Association plan, but with reservations: "The quality of private tuition probably varies more than the quality of teaching in schools, colleges and universities which are accountable and monitored by OFSTED or similar organisations.
"I feel a professional body is a good idea, in principle, but it will be controversial and may be divisive, even threatening, in practice. Some sort of certificate of competence and conscientiousness or membership of a professional body which has a minimum standard for its personnel is a good idea in principle."
Support for tutors working in state schools
Despite the ambivalence of many tutors, 62 per cent of those surveyed agreed with the new association's aim of using self-regulation to give the private tuition market greater access to providing one-to-one tuition in state schools.
Less than one in seven (13 per cent) of the private tutors in the poll currently do any tutoring work for state schools yet nearly two-thirds of those who do not (65 per cent) would like to be able to do so.
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