Wages may be high, but demands from parents will be too
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
Tutoring companies have witnessed a dramatic increase in business.