Working with a private tutor to support your child with dyslexia

It used to be only wealthy people who engaged a private tutor for their child but times have changed. In September 2017, a report from The Sutton Trust called Extra Time found that almost one in three 11-16 year old state school students in England and Wales had private tuition at some point in their life and in London, the proportion is now almost half of young people.

Tutors are often called in during the run up to important exams such as the 11+, Common Entrance exams, GCSE and A levels but there are advantages to using a private tutor for children with dyslexia:

  • A tutor can build a child’s confidence
  • Lessons can go at the child’s pace
  • No distractions from noisy classmates!
  • Parent and child can ask questions at any time


Sometimes children feel discouraged and if they are struggling at school they worry they will not cope with extra lessons so talk to your child about why you are thinking of bringing in extra help and what the benefits will be.

When you first meet the tutor, have some of your child’s school work to hand so they can see their strengths and weaknesses and start to plan a programme.  Gather all the relevant information you need: a copy of the dyslexia assessment or an educational psychologist’s report, samples of recent work plus information about exam boards and dates of exams if relevant. It also helps if you have a list of concerns but do try to be realistic about what you expect the tutor to do.

Make sure you have a space ready if the tutor is coming to your house: a clear table, books, stationery, a range of pens and pencils, preferably of different thicknesses and a jug of water. This means the session can get off to a good start.

Once introductions are made, do not hover. Tempting as it may be to lurk outside the door and listen in it will affect the dynamic of the session and make tutor and tutee nervous.

Ask for a brief report at the end of the session and make sure you know if the tutor has set your child homework. Young people with dyslexia do not always have good memories and sometimes lack organisational skills.

Children should be proud of the work they have done at home. Put a piece of homework that gets a great mark on the fridge. Put a piece of artwork on the wall. Fostering pride in their work builds confidence and encourages them to try their best both at school and at home.

Simply Learning Tuition is a leading independent education company providing introductions to private tutors who deliver effective one-to-one academic tuition. It also offers specialist advice throughout a child’s academic journey, from school selection through to university applications and mentoring. Here the company’s founder and managing director Nathaniel McCullagh offers his expert advice on how to work with a private tutor to support your child with dyslexia

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