Pay it forward system to give underprivileged students access to tutors

Does anyone have views regarding a pay it forward system for students who can’t afford a tutor but could really use one. A combination of current tutees making donations to pay for the online classroom and donated time by tutors that logs on your profile.Would Tutorful be up for this ?


I think it would be a great idea because they are the ones who need a tutor the most but often can’t afford one. As always though, there will be people trying to abuse the system for a discount or free lessons so I imagine there would have to be a system in place to assess the student’s actual situation. Maybe something similar to how applications for a student loan are considered?

I feel very strongly about making tutoring available to anyone regardless of their background or financial situation so I keep my rates below Tutorful’s subject average. Also, some of my students pair up with a sibling or a classmate for my lessons and that halves the cost for them because I charge per hour rather than per student. But I understand that this may not always be possible especially for very young students or those with very specific needs.


I think it’s a good idea and one I would contribute to. The issue is how to implement it of course. Means testing may not be feasible (and with issues surrounding its ethics or at least tastefulness) and without it it’s basically free sessions. In principle that’s maybe not a problem either. I’m generally of the view that it’s better to help one person even if it means nine others taking advantage than none at all, but it does mean that those who need it will be competing with everyone else (and the supply is presumably going to be quite low). Hopefully there’s some way of making it work.

I know some alternatives have been discussed like group classes to spread the cost out, or a form of Tutorful Talks giving classes/lectures on certain areas.

I think if Tutorful formed links with schools to identify students we could bypass any abuse of it as a system.
I do lots of paired lessons and also try to keep my prices down. My students usually have specific learning needs and their parents are desperate for help that isn’t exam focused. However being able to identify high ability students who need help and cannot afford it could be a life changer for some students.

S A Pilkington

Hi wonderful idea trouble is how to implement it. Headteachers recommendation would be one idea particularly if the school was in an area,where incomes were very low. I do teach one student who is very local to me for free and if parents approach me I will reduce my rate if its clear that there is a genuine hardship. Its a judgement call but there is always room for individual action and like everyone here I believe in tutoring for all. Yes let’s look at this and see if we can find a workable system and see what can be done. Paul the History Tutor

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Everybody should have access to tutoring, I completely agree with that. It’s the underprivileged ones that often need it the most.So I definitely agree with the idea that more should be done to give them support for sure.

I am very much up for this especially while the disruption to the education system cause by Covid 19 continues.

This is what the legal profession calls Pro Bono work. Easier for tutoring than legal work - a single hour can be beneficial.

3 previous attempts by me have have failed.
(a) The national tutor programme - who appear not to have heard of the concept.
(b) A science teacher friend
(c) Topic raised at end of one of my phone calls to Tutorful.

As mentioned above there is also the issue of identifying those students who have with a genuine financial need.

Perhaps Tutorful could approach schools/ education authorities direct? Such a move could raise the profile of Tutorful with those bodies and hence in the medium to long term generate extra enquiries. Free advertising !!

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I am not sure that Tutorful is the right platform for this and doing this is fraught with difficulties, as parents are less likely to be involved. I work in a school that is in one of the most deprived areas of the UK; I run an Instagram channel and am in the process of setting up a free tutoring service for students in the school who are moving on to sixth form that builds on the remote learning that we set up in lock-down. I am able to monitor the quality of what is being taught and ensuring that the staff that I work with provide consistency. Tutorful is a great platform, and it does protect tutors in that it requires parental consent, but I find it hard to see how this could work practically for students. Tutorful works well, partly because it engages with parents who value it - sadly free services are often thought of as no good and are not valued by those who use them. The reason that the free service that we offer at our school works is that the students already know and trust the teachers.

I think this is a really interesting idea; Tutoring is expensive.

I wonder if Tutorful have ever thought of a model like Tutorfair? So for each lesson taught and paid for, Tutorful donates a small amount to a Tutorful foundation? I’d certainly be very happy knowing that part of the 25% / 20% commission was going somewhere so useful! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I’d also be happy to offer some cut price lessons as part of this scheme. The hard part, as others have pointed out, is identifying those most in need and delivering the lessons appropriately according to this metric.

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