Pointers when Looking for a Tutor or Assessor

Helpful Information for Parents or Students looking for a Tutor or Assessor. This guidance will assist those making arrangements for private tuition or assessment.

Patoss has an Index of Tutors and Assessors which lists professional members willing to have their names given to other professionals or parents seeking tutors, assessment or advice. The Tutors and Assessors listed on the Index are independent practitioners and are not employees of Patoss Ltd.

When you have selected a Tutor or Assessor from the list and made contact with them, ground rules should be established from the start and both parties should satisfy themselves that the tutor/assessor can meet the student's needs and that they can relate well.  The following information may be used for guidelines.


Specialist Teaching:

You could ask for a copy of the tutor's CV or consider the following factors:

  • Experience of teaching learners with specific learning difficulties
  • Teaching qualifications with dates, including Department for Education or General Teaching Council registration number, if held.
  • Specialist dyslexia teacher training is essential. You are advised to check for which level[s] they are accredited and have experience. One of the following qualifications would be advisable:
    • An SpLD (Specific Learning Difficulties) Certificate qualification for either primary, secondary or adult levels. The qualification should be accredited for BDA ATS (Approved Teacher Status) or APS (Approved Practitioner Status).  These specialist practitioners are qualified for teaching, and may assess for the purposes of establishing a teaching programme.
    • To provide specialist teaching and diagnostic assessment, the qualification should be an SpLD Diploma including specialist training in diagnostic assessment accredited by SASC (the SpLD Assessment Standards Committee, www.sasc.org.uk) or accredited for AMBDA.
  • Full or associate membership (e.g. professional membership) of Patoss.
  • Specialists should be regularly updating their knowledge through continuing professional development. This may be underpinned by either an SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate (APC) for assessment or an SpLD Teaching Practising Certificate (TPC) for teaching. Note if the tutor regularly updates his/her knowledge, e.g. courses, seminars, conferences etc.
  • Ask about his/her current teaching post(s) and other experience and note relevance for your needs.


Additional recognition:

  • Teachers with specialist training may hold full or associate membership of Patoss. Both are professional memberships.
  • They might also hold an SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate (APC), confirming specialist training in diagnostic assessment and a commitment to continuing professional development in this area. An SpLD APC is recognised by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) as meeting requirements for assessment for access arrangements in examinations. An SpLD APC is required for specialist teachers supplying diagnostic assessments in support of Disabled Students Allowances for Higher Education.
  • They might also hold an SpLD Teaching Practising Certificate (TPC),  confirming training in SpLD specialist teaching and a commitment to continuing professional development in this area. An SpLD TPC is also recognised as underpinning professional qualification to provide non-medical help in Higher Education.
  • They might be members of other specialised groups such as ADSHE (Association of Dyslexia Specialists in Higher Education).

 You will find icons on the website which confirm holders of an APC or TPC with Patoss or an APC with another issuing body. You can confirm individuals who have held an Assessment Practising Certificate by checking on the SASC website. www.sasc.org.uk  

Details to consider:

  • Would a multi-sensory structured programme be used for literacy?
  • Would it be appropriate for the specialist teacher to be familiar with the National Curriculum, with particular GCSE syllabuses, have experience with support in Higher Education?
  • Would specialist study skills need to be taught?
  • Would ICT be available and/or beneficial?
  • Are there recommendations from a Specialist Teacher Assessor or Practitioner Psychologist full diagnostic assessment to work from?
  • Would the tutor be suitably qualified to make an assessment either for their own teaching purposes or otherwise, e.g. for provisions for examinations such as GCSE, for Disabled Student Allowances?
  • Would the tutor be required to write reports or be prepared to attend meetings at school or liaise with the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) in school or the classroom teachers?
  • Clarification needs to be established as to when, where and how frequently the lessons will take place. Would the parent want to observe the lessons?
  • Would homework be set with guidelines for parental assistance?



  • Do you have recommendations from a Specialist Teacher Assessor or Practitioner Psychologist full diagnostic assessment to work from?
  • Is the tutor suitably qualified to make an assessment either for his/her own teaching purposes, for provisions for examinations such as GCSE or for Disabled Students Allowances?
  • Will the tutor write reports for you to give to school or attend meetings there?


Fees and Conditions:

  • Establish whether the lessons will be on an individual or group basis and their length.
  • Establish how much the lessons will cost and payment arrangements. 
  • Establish arrangements in the case of cancellations.
  • Ask how often reports, verbal or written, will be produced and whether these will be chargeable. Progress should be reviewed regularly, e.g. termly or at six monthly intervals with reports.
  • Establish whether there will be cancellation fees or additional charges for materials.
  • Ask whether the tutor is insured. Patoss is able to arrange this.
  • Has the tutor obtained a DBS [Data Barring Service] check? Those teachers employed by a DfE registered school should have this already in place. Independent practitioners should have this through their professional body.
  • Ask for references and take them up by telephone as well as in writing.

You could see also our Pointers for Private Specialist Tutors and Assessors