Wages may be high, but de­mands from par­ents will be too

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFESTYLE - By GUY KELLY

For most chil­dren, July rep­re­sents to­tal eman­ci­pa­tion: school’s out for sum­mer, and that means — as Alice Cooper once put it — “no more pen­cils, no more books, no more teach­ers’ dirty looks.”

When it comes for the off­spring of cer­tain high-rollers, how­ever, the end of term in­creas­ingly her­alds the start of an­other, more be­spoke pe­riod of ed­u­ca­tion: home-tu­tor­ing sea­son.

Yes, why let chil­dren waste their hol­i­days hav­ing fun, when one-onone hot-hous­ing could be giv­ing them a chance to gain an edge on (or catch up with) ri­vals at school?

In par­tic­u­lar, tu­tor­ing com­pa­nies are re­port­ing a dra­matic in­crease in de­mand for “live-in” tu­tors, who stay with the wealthy fam­ily in ques­tion for the du­ra­tion of their place­ment, be that at home or on hol­i­day.

By liv­ing with (or near) their pupils, logic fol­lows, not a mo­ment is wasted. And when school and univer­sity places are more con­tested than ever, it seems it’s never too early to start cram­ming.

Last month, the Lon­don-based com­pany Tu­tor House launched a new pack­age for a “res­i­den­tial tu­tor”, avail­able for up to ten weeks, start­ing at a price of £1,500 per week for 30 hours of tu­ition.

“Achiev­ing more starts here,” is Tu­tor House’s on­line tagline, and they can show their work­ing for that claim, too: since 2012, an im­pres­sive 95 per cent of stu­dents “have achieved or ex­ceeded their aca­demic po­ten­tial.” A re­sult they’re con­fi­dent they can only bet­ter.

“The live-in jobs can be very en­joy­able, if they’re short,” says David Cas­tor, 66, who joined Tu­tor House four years ago, af­ter tak­ing vol­un­tary re­dun­dancy from his job as a com- puter sci­ence lec­turer in south-west Lon­don. In 2015, Cas­tor, who is mar­ried with a step-child, took a live-in tu­tor­ing place­ment on Guernsey, work­ing for “a very wealthy fam­ily in fi­nan­cial ser­vices” based there.

For a week dur­ing their teenage son’s sum­mer hol­i­days, the fam­ily hired Cas­tor to give sev­eral hours of com­put­ing lessons a day, on the of­fchance the boy wanted to take a com­puter sciences GCSE and may need a head start.

“You can be hired for all sorts of rea­sons, as a tu­tor. Some­times the mo­ti­va­tion is for the child to get very high grades, some­times the child is strug­gling, and in this case they just thought it was best their son had a taste of his GCSEs be­fore mak­ing his mind up,” Cas­tor says.

“They paid for me to stay in a nearby bed and break­fast, and would pick me up in the morn­ing, then drop me back in the af­ter­noon. It was ideal for all of us, but some ad­ver­tised are a lot more in­tense than that ...”

A week, he says, is quite enough. “It’s good for the child that way, and un­der­stand­able if the par­ents want them to suc­ceed with more prac­tice. There are jobs ad­ver­tised where you end up more like a nanny and you have to eat with the fam­ily ev­ery day for weeks — they’re not for me.”

It turns out those par­tic­u­lar jobs — which in­volve long, seem­ingly lux­u­ri­ous place­ments with su­per-rich fam­i­lies for eye-wa­ter­ing salaries — aren’t for many peo­ple at all, in fact.

Tu­tors In­ter­na­tional, a Bri­tish com­pany that has found tu­tors for live-in place­ments since 1999, re­cently ad­ver­tised for a res­i­den­tial his­tory tu­tor in Toronto. The suc­cess­ful can­di­date would be tasked with en­sur­ing a trou­bled Rus­sian 20-year-old stu­dent made the grades in his sec- ond year at univer­sity. They would be given an apart­ment with all bills cov­ered, a car for lo­cal use, 45 days of hol­i­day and a re­ward of — wait for it — £144,000 per an­num.

Ac­cord­ing to the man who came up with that fig­ure, Tu­tors In­ter­na­tional’s founder, Adam Caller, that is not at all an un­rea­son­able re­ward.

“We have all sorts of peo­ple on the books, mainly ex-teach­ers and grad­u­ates look­ing for a break, but this is not an easy ask. This needs to be a his­tory grad­u­ate who is sin­gle, and will­ing to live with a 20-year-old for months on end. They’d be tu­tor­ing

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Tu­tor­ing com­pa­nies have wit­nessed a dra­matic in­crease in busi­ness.

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