A buy one, get one free offer for tutoring which helps the disadvantaged

While tutoring may be (in some cases) a thousand-pound-an-hour gig, not every tuition firm is in it solely for the money. A company I used to work for, Tutorfair, has decided to give back.

And ‘fair’ it is indeed. The company, founded by former Lovefilm brand builder Andrew Ground and entrepreneur Edd Stockwell, with the help of ‘supertutor’ and maths and science specialist Mark Maclaine, is a community marketplace for tutors with a ‘child for a child’ social mission, meaning that for every child who books a lesson, they provide extra help to a child who can’t afford it.

The ‘marketplace’ idea means Tutorfair.com acts as a facilitator, connecting tutors (who may be registered with other agencies) with clients, rather than as a provider. Clients can also book sessions online, a first for this industry.

Recently appearing on Yahoo News, as well as the BBC News and Times websites, the Tutorfair team discussed inequality within education and explained how they are attempting to bridge the gap. ‘Social mobility is a huge issue in the UK and giving tutoring to pupils who can’t afford it is part of the solution,’ says Stockwell.

‘We set up Tutorfair.com to make it easier for parents to find great tutors and part of that mission is making tutoring fair. Because we’re a marketplace, not an agency, we can afford to charge less and deliver on our charity promise: a child for a child. That’s the “fair” bit of Tutorfair.’

Having previously worked as a tutor myself, specialising in Latin and French, I found the trade to be a nice little money earner that supplemented my journalism income. While the travelling about became tiresome – tutors typically travel an hour and a half for just one hour of work in London – and the work was mainly during antisocial evening and weekend hours, it was well remunerated at up to £35 an hour.

It was also, of course, deeply rewarding helping to improve students’ grades and generally boosting their confidence. The idea that you can do that and be part of helping the less well-off is satisfying indeed.

I confess that I was all the more motivated to sign up as a tutor for Tutorfair – and assist them with their online writing and social media – having encountered during my tutoring rounds, albeit not all that often, grotesquely spoilt children who treated me with dastardly disdain. At least, unlike their poor household staff, I had the option of leaving after one hour and could choose not to return again.