Valerie Westfield from Lisburn is just one of a new breed of ‘super tutors’ - an elite group of experienced teachers that has a string of successful exam results under their belts.
The qualified high school teacher often works with a Russian family in London, where she would earn as much as £200 per hour.
“This family have a daughter studying for her GCSE’s, so I would be doing four hours tuition with her and the family would be paying me £200 per hour, plus my flight,” she said.
“In London, when tutors are paid £200 per hour or more, they are known as super tutors. In, fact some tutors are paid up to a £1000 per hour.”
Valerie was working in a school improvement role before, in North Wales.
“I was employed to raise the GCSE results across the school in the core subjects, which I am pleased to say I did, and have the results to prove it,“ she said.
“Ofsted were very impressed. I did offer to help the Education Minister here with my programme, but unfortunately, due to funding issues this was a non-starter.”
Valerie has beenteaching privately for many years.
She said, “I have never had to market myself. If you are good, you work on referrals. We all know the competition to get into the most popular schools, both private and grammar - is ten times more competitive than a decade ago, and parents are willing to pay large hourly tuition fees in order to give their child the best start in life.
“Among my clients are primary school pupils with parents desperate to get them into top public schools, or the best grammar schools, and teenagers struggling with their GCSE’s wanting to get good results, in order to do A levels and secure a place in University.
“Rich families want to supplement their children’s schooling and help with home work. Also families with special needs children where home schooling is best for them.
“These families usually already have a full-time permanent tutor, and are just looking for extra support from time to time.
“Then, there are the super rich families that travel between multiple homes around the world. These families usually have full time tutors travelling with them, and are just looking for a tutor to fill in for a week, or two.”
She went onto say, “It’s not all very wealthy families many of my clients are normal middle class families who see private tuition as an investment.
“And if you ask me why some families pay such a lot of money for private tuition I would say because I have a proven track record when it comes to getting good exam results.
“At the other end of the market, it’s a case of some people just want to pay top rate - it is what they are used to and their children are important to them. If they have the money to spend, why wouldn’t they spend it on their education?
“Recently, there was a write up regarding the Education and Training Inspectorate report. It’s Chief Inspector’s biennial report found that almost 80,000 children across Northern Ireland were receiving a standard of education that ‘was not good enough’ - that is sad.
“It is now at this time of year pupils are already getting ready for exams and parents are frantically worried about the results. I am already busy here in Northern Ireland tutoring pupils for their GCSE’s.”
Valerie can be contacted on 07774796508.