Qualified Tutor Podcast

Love Tutoring Festival 2021 Podcast #2 - How to Run a Successful Tutoring Agency

July 15, 2021 Helen Kenworthy, Georgina Green, Harry Cobb Episode 70
Qualified Tutor Podcast
Love Tutoring Festival 2021 Podcast #2 - How to Run a Successful Tutoring Agency
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

We brought together agency leaders and heads of tuition from 3 highly successful, but markedly different, tutoring organisations: Helen Kenworthy, Georgina Green and Harry Cobb.

Helen Kenworthy: Founder of The Complete Works, a teaching service that creatively provides learning programmes for students of all ages
Georgina Green: Founder of Green Tutors, STEM specialists based in Hertfordshire and training partners of Qualified Tutor
Harry Cobb: Head of Tuition at Bonas MacFarlane, prestigious agency that mentors students and provides educational advice to parents across the globe

From how we deal with new clients and new tutors to the process of matching the right tutors to the right students to the motivations behind why tutors join a particular agency, this conversation had it all (in the field of running an agency).

And it beautifully tied together the many conversations that we had on the Tuesday of the Love Tutoring Festival, including the importance of values in a tutoring business and the importance of knowing your client before going into business with them.

(And if you think your access to the Festival is OVER, then think again! You can still catch every recording to the free sessions by clicking here. And if you'd like access to our suite of 6 CPD-accredited workshops, then all you have to do is purchase the £68 ticket on our website at qualifiedtutor.org/community/love-tutoring-festival/#register and you'll get immediate access to all those recordings)

If you would like to be part of an industry-first Level 3 Qualification for Tutors, enrol now by following qualifiedtutor.org/training/level-3-qualification-for-tutors/ and be the first in a new crop of motivated, committed, qualified tutors. Over 8 weeks of self-paced learning, interactive live sessions with peers and expert facilitation at every step of the way, you'll set yourself apart in a crowded space.

We can't wait to see you here.

Don't forget to review the show (on Apple, preferably!) - we'd love to hear how you found the advice, guidance and discussions inside.

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🎧 And thank you as ever to Luke Tierney for the sophisticated soundtrack

Host

Ludo Millar [Ludo]

Guests

Helen Kenworthy [Helen]

Harry Cobbs [Harry]

Georgina Green [Georgina]

 

[Ludo]

Welcome to this, the second mid-Love Tutoring Festival Qualified Tutor Podcast Episode (god, that’s a bit of a mouthful). Tonight, we will be welcoming on Harry Cobb, Helen Kenworthy and Georgina Green onto this podcast, which we have entitled ‘Running an Agency’. And I think it’s important that we set out nice and early that this conversation is going to be about running an agency. There is, obviously, so much we could talk about, about establishing an agency or about why a private tutor could into setting up an agency, but tonight we want to focus on that real role of being an agency or tutoring organisation leader. So, really what we’ve had is another incredible day at the Festival. What a lovely way to bring today to an end. Just as a brief introduction of each of our speakers so you have a bit of context as to where the perspectives of tonight are going to be coming from. 

Helen Kenworthy is the Founder of The Complete Works, an innovative tuition agency that works to tailor its teaching to the child’s needs, particularly in the area of special educational needs and disabilities and in the framework of learning through creative expressions. 

Harry! Harry Cobb is the Head of Tuition at Bonas MacFarlane, an agency that really is a pioneer of agency tutoring in this country. Having been established nearing twenty years ago. Harry has been there himself for Bonas’ international expansion and currently helps run the Independent Schools Show, which is the largest such show in the UK.

And our final guest this evening is Georgina Green who is the Founder of Green Tutors, a wonderful tuition agency based out of Hertfordshire which serves its students with passion, agency and dedication, really embodying all of the wonderful areas that make a tuition agency so impressive and one that has such an impact on children’s lives.

So, we are gonna learn more about our speakers this evening, that’s just a brief introduction but welcome the three of you. We are gonna dive right into our first question of the evening which is, what is your ‘why’ as a tutoring business leader?

Georgina, we’re gonna start with you on this one, what is your ‘why’?

[Georgina]

So there’s the fairly obvious idea that it’s a bit of financial freedom, isn’t it? To be able to deliver all of the things that I want to do. To be able to explore and learn and try new things out with my business developing a bit more and handing the tuition over to somebody else lets me do those things and have, still have the financial freedom that I need in my business. It also initially, because I didn’t want to keep saying no to people when they said can you help me with XYZ and I couldn’t. Now I can find someone who can help them. And also, my reasons for wanting to tutor were that I had real passion for my subjects and I have seen how its applied in my scientific career. I just wanted to find a whole other group of people with different scientific and engineering carers to share that and make science and maths a bit more interesting for school age students. 

[Ludo]

And I think you’ve probably done that, so thank you Georgina. Helen, can we move onto you next?

[Helen]

Absolutely, for me it was because of my experiences as a tutor. Everything seemed to be too compartmentalised, so I wanted to create something that really made a wrap around service. Whatever the individual needs, not just educational needs, the sort of wrap around that the student needed and there didn’t seem to be one place that could really get to know the students, whatever age they were, and okay, these are all the elements and we can make sure that all of those bits are together in one place so that, so that the families that we work with don’t have to try and remember a million different phone numbers etc. They know that they can come to one place and have a friendly voice at the end of the phone at the same time and the other bit was, I’d worked in lots of different alternative provision environments and every single one of them seemed to be going down a trying to be mainstream route, and you, there were lots of students who were coming to these APs because of how flexible and student centred and supportive and nurturing they were, and then suddenly they would go all mainstream  and the students would be stressed, and not turning up and you’re thinking, listen to them, for heaven’s sake! Listen to what they actually need. They’re blossoming when you do that wrap around, and I thought no, no, no. If I want to work in that environment I’m gonna have to create one. So that’s where The Complete Works came in.

[Ludo]

Look at that. Wonderful, thank you so much, Helen. Harry, can we turn to you?

[Harry]

Yeah, certainly, I think that when I started as a tutor you see the transformational change you have with working with a student one to one and developing that confidence, which is obviously hugely impactful and very rewarding. And then, having done a degree in business I was always interested in, you know, growing and developing a company to, obviously, have, hopefully change lives. As I said, to kind of, develop life long learners. So that’s kind of why I got into it and where I am now.

[Ludo]

Yeah, you said two key phrases in what we do there, Harry, which is transformational tutoring and life-long learners and certainly those are two things that Helen and Georgina embody and certainly values that we hold very important at QT, so thank you very much for pointing those out.

Now, Helen, I’m gonna go back to you for this one and really I’d like to know, as a tutoring business leader, how, there’s a central problem to what we do compared to other issues that, we have to, kind of, work with everyday as a tutoring business that works with both tutors and with clients, parents and students. How do we overcome this dual problem of finding new clients and at the same time attracting new tutors or educators?

[Helen]

Well, for us it’s about the development of the reputation because the more your niche is known, the more your strength is known, the more people will naturally gravitate to you because they know that that’s the particular thing that’s going to make their life easier. So we’ve focussed quite heavily on putting out the reputation, on developing the relationships with the families that we were already working with and getting those responses, and getting those reviews and getting those personal connection out because people buy from people. People wanna be involved with people, so the more families could be those people, it meant that the new families trusted us more. So that’s how we started to spread our net. Does that answer?

[Ludo]

Yeah, absolutely, Harry do you have some thoughts on that, this dual problem and this, kind of, spreading the net as Helen was mentioning just there.

[Harry]

Well I think Helen summarises it pretty well. It’s essentially about client care and obviously we’re in a service-led business and if you can dig deeper and nurture those relationships, and really understand what parents want and therefore what their children essentially need, and getting to know them. Then ultimately, you’re gonna create a level of trust and knowledge in order to support them right the way through their education. And unlike schools where, obviously, you might go to three or four, as hopefully, a tutoring agency can see them right the way through their education. So, I guess, kind of a mantra for us is from cradle to career, but essentially that just means that we can take them along, or support them along their journey. So, that’s really where you build your client base from and then from a tutor perspective I guess, once you’ve got a good, strong team of tutors it’s really through word of mouth referrals and their enjoyment of working with us as an agency, respecting them, giving them the training and the care that they need. And that’s how we’re lucky enough to access, arguably, some of the best tutors in the country.

[Ludo]

Yeah, so, so just picking on a point you were making a touch earlier: how do we really work out what parents want from the tutoring? They might come to your agency and say, oh my child needs help and, you know, try and shove the child onto you and say, you help with their education. So, how do you as the, you know, the board, the leaders of the agency, how do you really work out what parents want from your services, Harry?

[Harry]

Well, often they come with an objective which is to pass the 11+ or to gain access to a competitive school, or to, kind of, gain access to Oxbridge or a top Russell group university, and for us, if it’s appropriate we will assess the student. So, we do work with educational psychologists, so for us it’s understanding not only their cognitive profile, but also their personality and then it’s my skill and experience, hopefully, to potentially select the right tutor who is ultimately a mentor as well, to give them the confidence and the guidance to achieve that goal. Now, if that isn’t realistic, or the expectations are not realistic from a client perspective then, again, that’s obviously where we would guide the family and the tutor in order to ensure that the student develops in the way that we would expect. 

[Ludo]

Yeah, so Georgina this can be a tricky area, can’t it? Matching student with tutor, especially as your business grows, which is something we are gonna get onto in just a second. As you tutoring business grows, your job gets much harder ‘cause you have to keep knowing your tutors, your students and your parents. Just as well as you did when you only had two of them, you know, two of each. So, Georgina, how do we manage this area? This area of continuously matching the right student with the right tutor?

[Georgina]

I think a lot of this is where, I mean, all of these quite so far are quite related. Once you’ve established what your ‘why’ is and you’re looking into growing your tutor team and finding new clients for those, all of that is done really with marketing and putting out a picture of like, what your values are and what you’re aiming to deliver to your customers and everyone’s gonna do that slightly differently. So, the people that are gonna contact me are the people that are gonna like that message, so they’re all gonna have the same sort of values and they’re gonna, like, if I’ve got a particular focus on supporting anxious students or people who are potentially interested in STEM careers then they’re gonna contact me because they’ve got an anxious child that’s interested in STEM careers. So, for a large part of it, is its because they like my message but beyond that I’ll have a conversation with parents when I first speak to them about their child, what is their experience so far, what things would they like to do when they leave school, what things are they finding challenging at the moment? What ways do you find to support them? And you get a really good picture of that child that 90% of the time just needs a bit more of a confidence boost but there’ll be some specific things they need for specific career they’re interested in or a particular challenge that they’re facing. So, if it’s because they’re a really disruptive child and their parent struggles to get them to do any work outside of school then they need to be matched with a tutor who is gonna be really disciplined with them and not take any messing around in the lesson. If they need a confidence boost they need to be matched with the tutor that’s quite soft and not particularly intimidating, so a large part of it is just that a lot of the tutors that I match and hire are quite similar to me anyway, but part of it is that element of having and understanding of the child and specifically what they need. 

[Ludo]

Yeah, and that’s really true, a process that we touched on actually in the previous event with some, kind of, highly experienced entrepreneurs about making sure that you don’t dive in with a new client, business, partner, whatever, too soon and making sure that you understand who they are and what their values are before diving in with them. And that’s, that couldn’t really be more with the tutor-student relationship because the worst thing we can do is match a student who is already struggling with a tutor who isn’t matched with them. Which then, further, you know, worsens their experience of learning. So, absolutely, a very, kind of, key part of what agency leaders do. But, Helen, I wonder if you had some insights here. Georgina touched on a point there, you know, sometimes when a parent approaches you with something that they believe is, their child needs help with. Sometimes the objectives of the parent and the actual, true objectives of the student might not be aligned. Do you have conversations, kind of, with the student as well? Outside of the conversation with the parent, to get to know the student, given that that’s going to be the one you’re working with more closely?

[Helen]

We tend to have a multi-step process. I mean, fundamentally, Harry, Georgina and I are all saying exactly the same thing. It’s about, it’s about really understanding the needs of the family, it’s about understanding the needs of the student. It’s about understanding what the student thinks their difficulties are, in comparison with what they actually end up being. So, we, at the very beginning, I, it’s always me at the moment at the very beginning. I have a huge discussion with the parent, with the carer, whoever, about what that young person is like. What that student is like. What their needs are. I gather together as much information as possible, as Georgina’s just said, but also, sort of, looking into the psychology of it as well in terms of what other elements might there be that are also impacting on what their needs are? Most of the time, Georgina is absolutely right, most of the time it does come down to confidence. More often than not, they simply don’t believe they can do what they actually can do. I mean, Julia talks about the quote often, if you think you can’t or if you think you can, you’re probably right. And it’s about the positivity, looking at it positively, looking at the how, looking at the yes, looking at what the right route is for that student. And our steps are, the first discussion, the first in-depth discussion. Then a conversation with the, with the student, as I say, to find out where they think their strengths and weakness are so we can then work out where tho-those strengths and weaknesses actually are. And then we will, we will do a test session with them, where we’re beginning to get to know them, but also, we’re beginning to get to know how they naturally approach their work. And then, once we know at that stage, that the relationship is working, because you can believe that the chemistry is going to be there. But if it isn’t there, then it’s not gonna move forward. So, so once we’ve done that first trial session and we know that the chemistry is there. And we know that there’s a beginning of relaxing into what they do need. Then you can start, you can start cranking up in to what the learning programme is going to be.

[Ludo]

Yeah, getting into the real, kind of, content delivery of helping that child, really furthering their progress, kind of rapidly, which is what we’re aiming to do. Now, Harry, when we spoke about this conversation, you know, prior to the festival, one thing that we discussed was how the ability to get to know your tutor, which is the, you know, lifeblood of your agency are your tutors, how the ability to get to know your tutor in this day and age, in the, kind of, lockdown age has become more difficult. Because in-person meetings have largely been removed and therefore, understanding the personality of your tutor has got trickier. So, I wonder if you could tell us a little bit more about how, given the ease with which you can hire a new tutor today, how do we continue to provide value for our clients?

[Harry]

Absolutely, well I was always told, everyone can be nice for 15 minutes so you need to spend a little bit longer than that …

[Ludo]

Well, we’re about 15 minutes into this conversation so…

[Harry]

Yeah, and I guess, well, you know, to my benefit, I’ve been interviewing tutors for the last, sort of, seven years. So, I’m probably not far off meeting at least 500, if not 1000 tutors. So when we went into the pandemic, to be able to interview tutors online obviously gives me a lot of experience and years behind me to know how they operate and so. Yeah. There are losses, obviously, of not being able to meet people in person, whether they can turn up to the office on time, how well presented they look in person physically, but obviously, it is trying to spend an hour, two hours with them to discuss what they’re about, what their ambitions are, why they’re getting into tutoring, what are their motivations, how long they want to be within the game. Are they just doing it as a side hustle while they look to write a play or be an actor? Or are they deeply, intrinsically motivated about wanting to work in education but they feel that being part of a school has too much bureaucracy and they enjoy the one to one element of it? Then, obviously, you’ve got the lesson plan element to it. So each tutor needs to deliver a tutorial, of which, you know, we will, kind of, critically talk about and discuss. And it’s just over that period of time you’re getting to understand them as people. You’re also, obviously, portraying your values, what our company is about, talking about the expectations of the clients that we work with. Bonas MacFarlane is, kind of, sets itself, I guess, in the, kind of, high net-worth individual world where students are already independently educated but they want, you know, that extra support in order to access the best institutions. So it’s important that tutors understand our philosophy and that’s essentially how we go about it.

[Ludo]

Yeah. I’m gonna feedback a question to you Harry, but this question I’d like to pose to the three of you, but I’m gonna start with Harry. Off the back of what you’ve just said, have you then found that people’s motivations for getting into tutoring have changed in the past year? You mentioned there, you analysed why a tutor wants to get into tutoring before you take them on. Have you seen changes in the reasons why people have wanted to get into tutoring in the past year?

[Harry]

Well, absolutely, yeah, because, you know, the creative industry, as an example, have been dead and buried for eighteen months. So, a lot of the tutors that worked with us 10 years have, kind of, flocked back and want to, obviously, work with us in order to fund their way through the last 18 months. Some of those have been absolutely, completely inspirational and we’ve been very sad to lose them. So, in that respect we’ve been very fortunate in being able to offer their services.

[Ludo]

Okay, brilliant, Georgina, can I pass this over to you? Have you found the reasons why people have approached Green’s tutors to become tutors has changed, of have you noticed a difference?

[Georgina]

Just recently, yes, I would get a lot of applications previously from, like, people who were maybe completing a PhD and had an interest in education and wanted to have some experience of that through tutoring. Just recently I had, I had a hundred applications in the last year and most of them were people who were already tutors but just wanted an extra avenue to find clients, ‘cause there was a massive rise in online tutoring over the last year for some reason. So, it was very difficult for independent tutors to find clients. Much easier through an agency.

[Ludo]

Okay, so as the scope of work scaled back, people resorted a little bit more to agencies do you you think?

[Georgina]

Yeah.

[Ludo]

As a place to find work, yeah. No, I think that’s certainly a trend that will have been seen across industries. Not just in the tutoring sphere. Helen, can I call on you to give insights into Barbara’s question that she’s just asked there. Do you think that, given that many tutors work across agencies, do we, do you think that there is a kind of, is there other value, other than the pay that can motivate the tutor to work for a particular agency? And please, draw on your experiences with The Complete Works.

[Helen]

I think it actually links back very much to what Georgina was saying a moment ago about, about the reputation and the methodology of the agency, of the organisation. I mean, we, we are very much, we are very much SEN and vulnerable students, so  those are the families that gravitate to us and because it’s very much a mentor, and coach, and counsellor and supporter, a lot of the tutors who, well actually. A lot of tutors who come to us actually are recommended, so it’s word of mouth from other tutors but, they, lots of people want to come because they, because they want to be within working within that environment, with with the students. So it’s sort of, the focus on ongoing learning but more watching and helping the learner to develop and to build that confidence, and for the light to go back on in their eyes. A lot of our students have been out of education because they haven’t been happy in education. So, as I say, a lot of tutors have chosen to come, because they want, they’re choosing to be in that environment and it’s fairly difficult to really get, to get that message across in your personal profile when you’re registered with Tutor Hunt or First Tutors, or any of the other, sort of, myriad of effectively tutor dating agencies. Where you’re trying to describe how you work and how you connect with your students but it’s very difficult to paint that three dimensional, vibrant picture when all you’ve got it some words in front of you. So if you go to an organisation or agency then you know you’re going to be jumping right in, into exactly the field that you want to be, want to be involved with.

[Ludo]

Yeah, absolutely yeah. And that’s, kind of, really, that’s one of the safety nets of working for an agency, isn’t it? Is understanding the, kind of, values that that agency has and the support network that it has. And going at it alone as a private tutor, you’re kind of forging that yourself aren’t you? So, you’re almost writing the rules as you go along, which, for some is the absolute gold dust, that’s what drives them on and for others, that’s what terrifies them.

So, you know, I think it’s a huge compliment to this industry that there are so many of both. Now, that was, you know, what we’ve just been saying there is a little bit about what the, what the purposes of a tutoring agency can serve and now I’d like to turn a little bit towards your roles in your companies and how those have changed, how those have solidified in certain areas, and then, and then your thought on how those roles will look as your company grows. So, I’d like to start with, and Harry, I’m gonna start with you here if that’s okay? What are some of the bigger, biggest obstacles in transitioning from a smaller team, to a larger business with many tutors? When you first joined Bonas MacFarlane there were clearly, you know, far fewer tutors. So what are some of the lessons you learned along the way, you know, in moving from a bigger team of tutors?

[Harry]

Well, I guess, obviously, the bigger team you have, arguably, the kind of, less control you might have over your team. So it’s just making sure that you’re delivering a message to all of the tutors and the standard that you keep is as strong as when you had two clients to when you had two hundred clients. So, ultimately, that’s a challenge when you grow from sixty tutors to six hundred, and I guess, we’ve been fortunate in that technology has improved significantly over time. So the fact that you can have webinars, you can communicate with tutors much more easily through WhatsApp or through smart phones they can ultimately turn up to people’s houses on time rather relying on the A to Z, has definitely helped in that respect.

[Ludo]

And, have you found that, bit of a plug here, have you found that software such as TutorCruncher has been able to help with that transition?

[Harry]

Sponsored by TutorCruncher, yeah! Absolutely, TutorCruncher, hopefully they’ll listen to this at some point, has definitely been revolutionary for our business. Just in the sense of, clearly being able to communicate with our tutors, but tutors who understand the system, you know. Many agencies use the platform, so it’s very intuitive. It’s fantastic, obviously, for invoicing, and it just allows myself to spend more time ultimately speaking to families and, and having to worry less about the administrative side about it.

[Ludo]

Yeah, exactly. Doing those things that a) we love doing and b) that we as humans are best at, which is not, you know, going through 600 tutors’ reports at the end of each month and you know, 600 clients’ billing invoices. It’s developing relationships, it’s another topic that we were discussing at the event prior to this, that although AI and tech will come and sweep education off its feet, humans will never be lost in that. And, in fact, only reinforced in there, in their roles. Georgina, can I turn that question that I originally asked towards you, about some of the biggest obstacles you’ve found in growing your team?

[Georgina]

Yeah. So, mine’s a lot smaller, it’s a long way from 600 tutors so I still get a lot of the benefits of the small company, but I have built it with lots of one on one time with those tutors. Getting to know them and learning about things that they’re passionate about and having social events, and sending gifts, and having one on one training and things like that with them. But, it gets, as it, the bigger it gets, the harder it is to do things like that and I spend less time with them individually and, kind of. I feel like I leave them to themselves a bit too much, which is why, actually, I was quite grateful to be able to direct them all through Qualified Tutor training, because I feel like they had the time that they missed with me. You kind of have to have a point where you just let go and accept the fact that they are fine by themselves and that they have the opportunity to ask for help when they want it. Because that is why they were hired. Because I feel like they can do the job. They don’t need to be having lots of hand holding, but it’s hard because it was started as just me tutoring one to one everybody who was a customer, the business literally has my name in it and I’m handing it over to somebody else. So there is an element of just letting go and accepting that it’s gonna be okay.

[Ludo]

Go into that more, Georgina. How did you get through that? That’s clearly something that was difficult.

[Georgina]

Yeah. It was hard, and I ended up having to, didn’t really view it as, like a leadership role. I was growing my team and they were all working with me, doing the same thing, and then at some point I realised this isn’t how it works. You are the leader of this, you are supposed to be leading it. You’re not supposed to be doing it and then telling them how to do it, and then doing it for them. You have to accept that leadership role, which means stepping back from the doing and making sure that things are running. And, this is just the next step in the business and, you know, it’s just gonna be a bit different. It’s hard. It’s hard to let go. But, if I am micro-managing and, and trying to get involved in everything that’s happening I’m not allowing them to do it properly. And I feel like they will give as much to things as if they’re just left to do it their own way.

[Ludo]

And, if you micro-manage at every stage, the student-tutoring session, then they’ll never take those next steps themselves, will they? If every step of the way you’re telling them how to do it and what to do, and, and you know, getting your fingers in all of those pies, then you’re not gonna allow those people to flourish. So that’s modelling effective practice in what you’re doing, Georgina, absolutely. Now, Linda has just asked a very, a really pertinent question, actually that I’m gonna pose to Helen first. We’ve all been tutoring online and for many that’s there to stay because it works so much better, and some of us, including Lucy who’s in the audience tonight, have been tutoring online much before the pandemic hit. But, Linda’s asking, do you see online tuition still serving, kind of, a bit part of your company, even though we could move back to face-to-face, do you find that online, the lessons that we’ve learned from online tutoring will still continue to play a big part?

[Helen]

Absolutely, definitely, yes. Despite, despite all the negatives of the last year and a half and how terrible the lockdowns have been and all the rest of it. Actually, there have been some wonderful positives, which include the technology that’s come online, the tools that have suddenly become available, the training and the tools. So that you can see how things marry up and the how creative you can be, and how encouraging you can be. And students who haven’t been able to leave their own bedrooms for ages, actually can engage, and be encouraged through a screen in their own room. So there are so many positives from online. Plus, as, as Lucy says all the time, we’ve got global reach now. So, definitely, we will carry on using all the online resources, all the online provision, for the foreseeable. And where, where face-to-face and one to one and whatever is the right way forward for the group, or for the, for whoever the learners are, then fine. That’s what we will come, come back to but there- there are just such massive positives to the online. It would be insane to throw it out, out the window.

[Ludo]

No, well we don’t plan on doing that! So, rest assured. Harry, do your experiences match up with that?

[Harry]

Absolutely, yeah. Yeah, I’d echo exactly what Helen’s said. I think in addition to that, sometimes, in the UK, families were very reluctant to have online tutors come into their home. Particularly in London because, obviously, you can access great quality of teachers in to your home. But actually, having someone in your house every week can become quite invasive, and to have the ability to have someone come in online makes life a lot easier. Particularly if they’re slightly older students and they need some corrections looking over, or they’ve just had an essay back and they want it scanned over before they’re going to a class the next day. It’s got huge benefits, and on top of that we work with a huge international community. Many of whom, who are trying to access top academic institutions within the UK and while we still send lots of tutors overseas and abroad, there’s a huge cost implication to that. And so, to be able to, kind of, parachute UK-based tutors into the living room of somebody living in India or China at half the cost, or at an hourly cost without having to worry about flights and visas etcetera is incredible.

[Ludo]

And really, one would imagine will be the norm for many years to come. Or at least, the norm for certain tutors, if not, you know, across the board.

[Harry]

And, sorry, just to, just to add to that, you know, for tutors themselves. There used to be, obviously a sweet spot between four or half three and seven, when schools finished. And now you’re opened up to a whole global society and tutors, ultimately, can start at seven, eight o’clock in the morning, work with families in Hong Kong, move through to China, go through to India, go through to Russia, go through to Turkey, and might want to meet someone face to face in the UK and then if they’ve got clients in America, their day is, you know, quadrupled in terms of hours of work. 

[Ludo]

Are you advocating for tutors to work from 7am to 9pm every single day?

[Harry]

You’d be surprised!

[Ludo]

Oh, absolutely, it’s something that I learnt myself as a tutor when the pandemic first hit was how accessible those other tutoring markets were. Not that I’d ever considered flying over before hand but, no, thank you. Thank you very much for that, Harry, and for bringing out that point, which people may have heard around and about. But, you know, if that’s the first time you’ve really considered that angle then that’s a very, kind of, eye-opening moment to reach. Now, we’re just, we’re coming to the end, really, of this conversation. As with yesterday’s late night live, it is approaching 9:40pm in the evening. So for those of you joining from the US, then, it’s probably just getting into your day. You might just be after lunch, but for, I’d like to draw this conversation, really, to a close by asking the three of you in turn, just to briefly summarise, what are the next steps for your businesses? We’ve talked a little bit, well, sorry, you’ve talked a little bit about your experiences, drawing on your roles in your business, but I think it would be a very useful step to take here, to learn, really, what the next steps are for your businesses and what we can take as tutoring businesses, tutoring business owners and- and tutors ourselves. So, Helen, I’m gonna start with you, what’s coming up next for The Complete Works?

[Helen]

Okay, so, for us, we, thinking about what we were just saying about online and tools etcetera and we are very aware of the fact that lots of our students have insomnia, etc, where they want somebody at three o’clock in the morning, four o’clock in the morning, so our next step is to create, we’re in the process of creating a whole range of resources that are available online whenever they need it. With a personal kick to it, so they feel that they’ve got us there, they can ask us whenever they need but it’s there whenever they need it.

[Ludo]

Wonderful, cannot wait to see the development of that. I think that sounds like a really personalised touch, using, you know, enhancing this digitalisation that we have. Georgina?

[Georgina]

So I’m basically practising further what I was saying earlier, you know, that I need to take hands off and what I was saying yesterday, that I need to take holidays. So I’m looking at putting in more automation, so essentially that I’m needed less, ultimate goal that I’m not needed at all. But I’m still going to be able to meet students as much as possible, that way I can, I can focus on adding extra. Now that people are actually using their computers for tuition and are comfortable with that, just add more resources and things that people can dip into when they need to, and that all of the tutors can use when they need to.

[Ludo]

Absolutely, so really, kind of, enhancing Green Tutors, your role in Green Tutors, by not being involved at an operational level which is so important for an entrepreneur to think about. Julia taught me that one. So, Harry, you have the pleasure of the final word here. What are the next steps for Bonas MacFarlane?

[Harry]

I think, for us, for a long time the most competitive schools have really been focussing too much on academic assessment and fortunately it is shifting a little bit more to actually understanding the pupil and, as a consequence, investing more times in the interview and doing, kind of, doing assessments to see how they interact with their peer groups. So we’re taking that onus and setting up summer camps to develop students’ confidence and looking more into developing lifelong passions and skills, investing more in, kind of, their wellbeing and their mental health alongside, obviously, the academic support that they need. But running them as parallel, so gearing up tutors to focus on much as the mentoring as the, kind of, academic support that families often come to us at the beginning for.

[Ludo]

What a wonderful next step then, for Bonas, is turning those academic tutors in to, kind of, all round educational mentors. I think that’s a really important step. Thank you, the three of you, for giving your time to share your experiences there. I think that’s been an incredibly helpful conversation for me and, I hope, for the quite extraordinary 24 attendees that we have on this event. For our podcast listeners in the weeks, and months, and years to come, you won’t know that there was actually a great audience here with us. You won’t, at least, have been able to see them, but we have been lucky enough to. And I think that’s a real testament to both what you three have been saying, and of the success of this, the Festival in the two days so far.

So, thank you to Georgina. Thank you to Helen Thank you to Harry. Thank you to Dan Wardle, to Helen who has been working on tech this evening. To Lucy, to Natalia, to Elizabeth, to Miguel, to Ellen, to Daniel, to Linda for your questions, to Ruthie as well, and to those of us who have joined. Tomorrow is our big Teaching & Learning day, you can find out more about Georgina, Helen and Harry in the link that I have just put into the chat. And for those of our podcast listeners, this was Tuesday at the Love Tutoring Festival. This was the Business of Tutoring and we have three days to go. So thank you very much for joining us and we’ll see you next time!

What is your WHY as a tutoring business leader?
As an agency leader, how do you overcome the dual problem of finding new clients AND attracting new tutors?
How do we really work out what parents want from the tutoring?
How do we manage this complex area of matching the right tutor with the right student?
Do you have a conversation with the student (as well as with the parent) before working with them?
Given the ease with which you can hire a new tutor today, how do we continue to provide value for our clients?
Have you found that people’s motivations for getting into tutoring have changed in the past year?
Are there values other than pay that can motivate a tutor to work for a particular agency?
What are some of the biggest obstacles to transitioning from a smaller to a bigger team?
Do you see online tuition continuing to make up a large part of your company’s tutoring work?
What are the next steps for your businesses?