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Tutorful is moving online only

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on all of our lives, none more so than the move to online learning for the majority of children in the UK. This move has been a challenge to many of our tutors, as they have adapted to delivering the same high-quality lessons online.

As we knew they would, our Tutor community have risen to this challenge and we have continued to see amazing results being produced across our platform. A recent internal poll of Tutors saw an overwhelming 87% of tutors preferring online teaching over face to face, indicating a strong preference to not return to in-person tuition once we are able to socially interact again.

Our students, who have told us online tuition has allowed them to meet fantastic tutors from all around the country and the flexibility of learning online has allowed tuition to fit into families’ busy and often hectic daily lives better than ever before. For tutors, there are many benefits of moving to online learning:-

  1. Online allows tutors to knock down geographical barriers and connect to students all over the country.
  2. Online lessons are much safer for both tutors and students.
  3. It’s more convenient and frictionless. There’s no travel time and it fits in with the busiest of schedules.

In the coming weeks, we will be moving to online tuition only and we will be removing the ability for students to search for and book in-person lessons from the website and app. This work is expected to be completed before the end of March 2021, however, you will still be able to book in-person lessons for the foreseeable future.

We recognise for some of our tutors this will be a sharp transition, but we commit to working with you on the support and tools you need to succeed. We’ve been listening to all your feedback and we will be launching our in house developed online classroom to everyone in the coming months, which is being tweaked and perfected to offer the best online learning experience.

We will be offering all of our tutors more support for the online classroom if you need it, and of course you are able to speak to our Customer Support team or book to attend our online classroom focussed live session with a member of the Tutor Team.

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I just sent an email about this, but I thought I’d post my comments here as well.

I cannot emphasise strongly enough how disappointed and upset I am at this.

I am a music tutor, specialising in flute and piano, with the intention to add vocal lessons once the pandemic has ended and I can return to in-person teaching. Although I am incredibly glad I’ve been able to keep teaching via the online classroom, my students and I are counting down the days until we can move back to face-to-face lessons, as there are many downsides to online lessons such as a delay meaning I cannot accompany my students, among others.

I understand that many tutors find online lessons preferable, as I’m sure I would too if I were teaching a different subject, but for my practical lessons, the best option without a shadow of a doubt is returning to in-person when it is safe to do so. This news has made me feel like what I do is not important to Tutorful and that I (and tutors like me) am not being considered.

I cannot understand why you wouldn’t allow tutors to continue offering in-person lessons if we wish to, while still supporting online lessons for those who prefer that.

How am I supposed to plan for a future teaching on Tutorful if Tutorful does not want me teaching in the only truly acceptable way for music lessons?

I await your response, and hope that this email has made clear the many downfalls of online lessons for music tutors, and why we need to be supported to move back to in-person lessons later this year when it is safe to do so.

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I am totally in support of this transition! I just so happened to invest in a gaming PC just as the pandemic began and it has been amazing for delivering online sessions for the past year.

I have been pondering whether to go back to in person tutoring and I honestly don’t think I would. I love not having to travel, particularly hopping between places during rush hour. Being online allows me to book more students in regardless of location.

As a maths tutor, thank you Tutorful for all the recent updates and improvements.

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I am intrigued by Tutorful’s decision as I can’t see the logic since all monies go through them regardless of in-person or online classroom or Skype/Zoom…
I live on Anglesey so I’ve never had much in person interest but having said that I have, during the pandemic, had to regretfully decline SEN or very young learners because they needed a physical presence to help build rapport/communication/concentration. These learners are going to be left high and dry by this decision and some good tutors will be lost …very odd

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I understand that online lessons are better in many ways, but I don’t see why that means in-person lessons should be removed. For many tutors in-person tuition is a good thing so why not allow for that option. For me, it would result in more clients than I would otherwise get.

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I love teaching online, and really like that the emphasis will be to stay online, but I have tutored students in the past who are SEN and respond much better to in person for various reasons. Maybe still have the option available if needed?

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This decision is horrendous. Yes, tutors will prefer online education, no travelling time ect.

But students are sick of online education. When things go back to normal, they won’t be looking for online tuition. It’s all very well doing it now because of covid, but the idea that students will continue to want online post covid is delusional.

Students are sick of online education. They won’t use Tutorful if this goes ahead. I urge Tutorful not to shoot yourselves in the foot, and destroy your own business.

Your competitors, First Tutors and Tutor Hunt will be absolutely delighted if this goes ahead.

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I am a little surprised by this. It shouldn’t affect me too much as my students are almost entirely online, but I know that’s the case for everyone. I understand why it’s not going to be much of an issue for many people, just not what the benefit is I suppose. I’m sure there are reasons of course, just none I can vouch for.

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Hi Lorna, I am also a music teacher (saxophone) and I feel exactly the same. I’m frankly disgusted and bemused at this decision. Tutorful, please change your mind. Allow us tutors the option of teaching face to face, don’t discriminate against those who need face to face learning and don’t torpedo your business (which is exactly what this will do).

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Does Tutorful make a loss from face to face tutoring?

Hi,

I’m a music teacher who’s been very happily using Tutorful for a number of years. Over the years I’ve found it to be a fantastic tool, that’s helped me grow my business immensely, regularly meeting and taking new students under my wing. When fellow teachers ask me about my successes I’ve always been quick to mention the success I’ve had through Tutorful. But recently I’ve just witnessed Tutorful get worse and worse, (starting with pestering me via email and text to give feedback - I already give feedback via personalised emails to my students, which contain lesson summaries, practice materials and further reading! And that new chat bot, that I keep needing to close) but this really takes the biscuit! Instrumental music lessons can be taught remotely to great success, but nothing beats the depth of assessment, critique and practical advice that can be given to a student musician face to face. Remote lessons are good, but both tutors and students appreciate the flexibility in having the option to learn remotely or in person. I’ve met many new students in different parts of the country through Tutorful during the pandemic and I do hope they continue as lockdown eases, but I also have students who can’t wait to come and see me personally and I know there will be new potential customers who will soon be looking for a local music teacher for face to face lessons once they’re able to leave the house - if Tutorful denies them that opportunity, that’s business lost for us both. Couldn’t be more disappointed with this decision, please reconsider.

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Okay, having calmed down a bit from my response in the other thread I’d like to explain why this is a very bad move on Tutorful’s part.

Firstly it shows a fundamental misunderstanding in the relationship between Tutorful, it’s tutors and students. Tutorful is an intermediary, providing a link between students and tutors. It is not an tutor employer, and has no business limiting how or where tuition happens. That is a decision for the tutors and students (or their parents).

Secondly, as many responses both here and in the other thread have shown, there are many tutors who (for various reasons) require the option of face-to-face tuition. By removing that option Tutorful are in effect discriminating against those tutors, and many students who are in the most desperate need of support.

Third, online lessons through Tutorful can only be done through the in-house classroom, and this is again something that removes choice. I use Zoom, I find it works extremely well for me, and I am strongly opposed to being forced to use a medium that I don’t like, particularly when others have noted its shortcomings!

Fourth, the decision is (apparently) based on internal polling of tutors. I don’t remember taking part in any such poll, but if I had I probably would have said that I prefer online tutoring. Overall I do prefer it, but I would also like the option to do face-to-face, and I’m pretty sure I was never asked that question. Looking at @Rachel_Tutorful’s original post I’m disturbed by the use of the polling data.

Apparently there were, “87% of tutors preferring online teaching over face to face” which means that more than 1 in 8 prefer face-to-face. That maybe a significant minority, but are you really going to ignore the opinions of 1 in 8 of your tutors by simply denying them any option?

But wait, it gets worse, because we then have the statement, “indicating a strong preference to not return to in-person tuition”. On the face of it that doesn’t seem so bad, however, as I said above, I prefer online tutoring, but I want the option of face-to-face, for any number of reasons. People preferring one option over another does not indicate that they want other options removed. Ask me my favourite ice-cream flavour and I’ll reply “Vanilla”, no question, no hesitation. But I want to be able to eat mint-choc-chip occasionally. I want the choice.

Was the question, “Would you have any objection to removing the option to tutor face-to-face?” asked in this poll? If it wasn’t asked, then how can you make a decision to remove the option without actually asking if people are okay with it? If it was asked, then why don’t we see that data?

From the students’ point of view, yes, having the option to use online tutoring gives them a much wider choice of tutors, and provided more flexibility. But again, were they asked if they thought it was a good idea to completely remove the option of face-to-face? I seriously doubt it.

This seems to be a case of bad polling (not actually asking the question you wanted the answer to), exacerbated by unwarranted inference (extrapolating an opinion from responses to a different question). The only other possibility I can see would fundamentally alter my perception of the people who run Tutorful, and greatly increase my desire to leave the platform.

I have not yet seen one response that says, “yeah, great idea.” Everyone responding is against it. Some are more vociferous than other, but all (so far) are opposed.

Let me end by saying that I have a great affection for Tutorful. I joined 5 years ago ( it was called Tutora then), when it was a fledgling company, and it helped me to build my tutoring business into a full time career. Tutorful is the only platform I use, and I am (to my knowledge) the most prolific tutor on the site, with over 2000 hours taught in those 5 years. So the fact that I would even consider leaving should give the bosses pause to rethink their decision.

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Agreed Richard

Based on the responses so far on this community forum, is there a single tutor who supports what Tutorful has done?

It would be good to have a poll on here. Do you support Tutorful’s decision to permanently remove the option of in person tuition. I’m not sure if it would get a single vote.

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I have been with Tutorful for a couple of years now and just like @RichardP was with Tutorful when it was called Tutora. This is also my only platform and I have seen the company grow and have had only positive things to say about it.

I understand that online lessons have their perks in terms of more students, less travel costs and less time spent commuting. However, these benefit mainly the tutors. However, looking at it from the perspective of students and parents, students learn more in person, just like how students learn more at schools rather than online. As an example, for primary school children, it can be difficult to keep them engaged, motivated and help them learn online. It is also difficult to teach certain subjects online such as music.

Also for parents, many will prefer in-person lessons after the pandemic, they do not want their child glued to their screens. Some have chosen online lessons as it has been the only option but provide them with the option to do in-person after lockdown and they will most likely prefer it as there is no substitute for in-person learning.

Online tutoring isn’t for everyone, obviously if the circumstances mean you cannot then its good to have an online option but equally its also important to cater for in-person lessons. Tutorful will be losing parents and tutors once lockdown ends if this goes ahead, so I strongly would recommend rethinking this crucial decision for the sake of tutors, parents and students.

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I love the idea Tutorful is going online although it’s not for everybody I can see it’s benefits and hope Tutorful can come up with more options for the other tutors who need more support in person or online!

I am here for it and looking forward to the new changes!!

I’m so glad I’m not the only one that wasn’t polled!!!

I completely agree with the points you raise and keep returning to the point that since all monies go through Tutorful I cannot understand why it makes ANY difference to them whether I teach online or in person…:thinking:

Also, I agree that unless your student has excellent connection the Tutorful classroom can be extremely problematic (Skype has never let me down!). If we have have to use the Tutorful classroom I will have to, reluctantly, find another platform :sob:

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@sanak_tutor it’s great that you like working online, but this is a totally misleading thread title.

Tutorful aren’t going online, they’ve been online for a long time. They’re going online only, which means that they’re removing the option for face-to-face. So when you say that you “hope Tutorful can come up with more options for the other tutors who need more support in person or online!” you are in effect saying that they shouldn’t go to online only.

In other words, you don’t actually agree with them completely removing the face-to-face option.

Hi Richard,

I understand where your coming from but like everybody I also have some reservations. I’ve been with Tutorful from when they were “Tutora” and alot has changed. Online has been a recent option as I mostly did face to face and for me every change made has been a encouragement on my part.

So like everybody I do have some doubts but like I said I’m here to see what the future holds.

Unfortunately for many of us there won’t be a future on Tutorful if this goes ahead. I know I’ll lose students if I tell them I won’t return to face to face teaching, and I’m not prepared to do that. I’m not prepared to give my students sub-par lessons when it’s no longer necessary. If it works for you, that’s great, but that doesn’t mean it should be forced upon those of us that it doesn’t work for, for whatever reason.

Also, I don’t believe I was polled either as I would definitely have answered that I prefer in-person lessons - how small a sample was this?

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Emailed but also wanted to share here:

I was very disappointed to read about the move to purely online lessons this morning.

I am not going to go in-depth about the many reasons why this move doesn’t seem to make sense but the one that immediately comes to mind is, simply, just why? Why on earth not offer both and try to accommodate for as many needs of the students as possible. There are undoubtedly students that do not learn well over a computer and might this even violate part of the 2010 Equality Act (mentioned in another thread on this site)… I don’t know, have you looked into this?

You explain the pros of online lessons, which are many, but your email does not at all address why you would want to completely remove the option for in-person lessons. We can take the pros of online lessons and use them where we serve us, and where they don’t and the student will benefit greatly from in-person lessons, we should be able to offer that too. Why on earth would you take that option away from students and tutors?

I am also very saddened that a statistic of 87% preferring online teaching (a poll I don’t remember being asked to take part in) meant that such a drastic move was taken, what kind place are we in that ignores the needs and wants of a significant 13% of its workforce and also no mention of the student’s preferences? It is often the tutor that has to travel, so they would be skewed to preferring online lessons where it is often the student that will suffer, not the tutor who has time and money to gain from the move. This seems very narrow-sighted.

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