Welcome to the Love Tutoring Festival 2021 Report
The Festival exceeded all expectations.
Over 750 tutors, tutoring businesses and tutor-support services registered to join this 5-day online extravaganza. With an average of 40 festival-goers attending each individual event, the sessions were brimming with conversation, collaboration and a sense of community. The invited speakers, each and every one of them, delivered or contributed to memorable and informative sessions, ranging from emotive addresses on the power of a tutor to content-packed information sessions on how to tutor effectively online to highly interactive group workshops that inspired and educated in equal measure.
This wasn’t a conference.
Few festival-goers remained on mute for the duration of a session as, first Qualified Tutor, and then the festival-goers themselves implemented and embodied a culture of interaction, of sharing and of encouragement. The Festival Organisers and Volunteers were aided in no small part by the high level of energy across each day and the renewed enthusiasm at the start of each new event.
With each speaker and festival-goer open and receptive to the idea of further connection and collaboration, we hope that the Festival has inspired hundreds of next-step conversations and, further down the line, partnerships. The primary objective of the Festival was to bring together tutors in one place; one place in which they could meet, connect, share and learn. We believe we achieved this, and much more.
A Festival led by experts, but made by you.
The division of each day into its own Theme worked to provide a clear framework for the discussions of that day. Although we saw familiar faces from day to day, it was a pleasure to welcome a largely different daily audience. This serves as proof that the segmentation of the Festival into distinct themes achieved one of its original aims: to appeal to as many areas and aspects of the tutoring industry as could reasonably be hoped for at a 5-day event. The Festival Organisers were keen to place ‘the right bums on the right seats’, a desire to bring relevant individuals and businesses within tutoring to the right discussions.
This Festival, and none of those that are to come, is not for everyone. Tutoring is a growing force within education but tutors themselves work in niches and it is this highly specialised outlook that means quality will always trump quantity.
This was one of the great successes of the week.
Our promotion and segmentation of each event, including who it was aimed at and what it would bring to this sub-group, allowed for specialists to speak to fellow specialists, thereby generating a togetherness and an understanding that formed the bedrock of the positive experiences of festival-goers and speakers alike.
The Festival started with a real bang on the Monday, with a number of highly engaging sessions, from speakers such as Diego Melo, Founder and CEO of Nudge Education, Judy Brice, Founder of JMB Educational Services and the Scanning Pens team: Co-Founder Jack Churchill and Head of Education Julia Clouter. We always knew we wanted to kick off the Festival with the (admittedly huge) areas of SEND, mental health and wellbeing, and we were not disappointed with our decision.
We knew beforehand that Tuesday, the Business of Tutoring, was going to be an important day. Tutors and teachers are largely confident in their teaching and learning abilities, but it is in the tricky area of business and leadership that many educators often struggle. Tuesday was full of relevant and practical information around key areas such as recruitment, retention, marketing and small business leadership. We would be foolish to leave out this theme at the next Festival.
Wednesday and Thursday were our big Teaching & Learning days, and what better way to provide the latest high-quality research in teaching and learning than by inviting thought-leaders Mary Myatt and Professor Dame Alison Peacock (CEO of the Chartered College of Teaching) to lead our Wednesday morning events. This set off the day in excellent style and, buoyed by the energy and incisiveness of Ian Gilbert after lunch, festival-goers were left with an array of tools, philosophies and strategies with which to enhance their tutoring practice.
Thursday saw us welcome 8 National Tutoring Programme (NTP) Tuition Partners, as well as former Lead Inspector at Ofsted, StJohn Burkett, and long-time pioneer of school-led tutoring, Lee Elliot Major OBE, to the table in a series of Roundtable and Panel events. Bringing together NTP Tuition Partners and their champion schools in an open and neutral environment was a top priority for this day. All of those involved would agree that the discussions were held in this fashion, allowing for in-depth analysis of the first year of the programme to be conducted. We hope that the content of these conversations are able to feed into the next year of the programme (2021-22), which will be led by current Tuition Partner, Randstad.
The Festival was brought to an end on Friday 2nd July with the first-ever World Tutors’ Day: a celebration of tutoring in all its forms around the world. The Schedule combined Gratitude Circles from those within our Community with talks from Fionn Finegan, Commercial Director of TutorCruncher, and Ian Manzie, Senior International trade Adviser at the Department for International Trade, on the subject of taking your tutoring business global. We were blown away with the reaction to and celebration of World Tutors’ Day on social media, including from tutors and tutoring organisations that we have not spoken to before. This demonstrates the reach that WTD had on the tutoring industry and gives us confidence that next year will be bigger and more impactful.
In addition, over 200 hours of high-quality CPD were accessed live during the Festival; a testament to Qualified Tutor’s commitment to raising standards in tutoring through training and professionalism. A large proportion of our CPD ticket sales were for tutors and teachers who let us know they would be accessing the CPD via the recordings, so this number will likely increase significantly in the coming days, weeks and months. To find out more about QT’s training options, visit qualifiedtutor.org/training.
Over the course of the Festival week, we conducted a survey of festival-goers and the wider tutoring community to understand more about certain key aspects of tutoring in today’s profession. We asked respondents about cost patterns, hourly commitments per week, trends in subject specialism, the rate of affiliation to organisations/agencies, the spread of online vs face-to-face tuition and more.
From the initial analysis of responses from Love Tutoring Festival 2021 attendees, we have found that:
- Primary English was the most popular subject, followed by Primary Maths
- Most individuals tutor between 6-15 hours per week, and that, on the whole, tutors are more likely to work less than that, not more
- Although the Department for Education (DfE) has recently announced it is allocating around £18 per hour for government-funded tuition, just under half of tutors charge between £20-34 per hour, with the £35-49 bracket the next most popular
- Only 15% of tutors have been involved in the NTP
- Just under half of the respondents tutor internationally, reflecting the growing synergy between online and international tutoring
- To add to this, but perhaps unsurprisingly, over 65% of respondents stated that they tutor ‘mostly’ online
- Finally, over 50% of respondents rated the Festival 10/10, with an average rating across the respondents of 8.7/10 – not bad for a first Festival …
It is clear that LTF1 attracted a great number of individual (or independent) tutors, as over 80% of respondents stated. This will help us to tailor the content of the next Festival (the Schedule, the speakers, the Themes and so on) to our audience. It is important to us that we provide a range of activities, events and material in order to cover the breadth of what the tutoring industry is today – but it is just as important that we respond to the needs and wishes of our audience, and we are committed to making the Love Tutoring Festival the greatest tutoring event for independent tutors across the globe.
The price range question was of particular interest, given the Department for Education’s recent breakdown of costs for government-funded tuition in the UK for the coming academic year (2021-22). Within, they have set aside an average of £18 per hour for tuition. This falls below the average of £20-34 that just under half of respondents stated that you earnt per hour. There are a number of factors that comprise the UK government’s £18 p/hr metric but they must not lose focus on the value of a tutor’s time, including the many unpaid hours outside of sessions that many tutors complete alongside.
Interestingly, over 84% of respondents stated that they had not been involved in the first round of the National Tutoring Programme this year. While there have been flaws in the logistics and delivery of the Programme this year, we are working with Randstad, the new Supplier of the Programme, to make this coming year as transparent and effective as possible. We will be running workshops alongside Randstad to provide more information on how Community Members can get involved with either the Academic Mentors or the Tuition Partners pillar. If the Programme is to be a success in the coming years, it will need the best tutors in the country to be involved. Let’s see if we can make that happen.
Finally, we were interested to see that a majority of respondents (just over 80%) stated that the Tuesday (the Business of Tutoring day) was most relevant to them. Given that a large majority of festival-goers were independent tutors, and yet the Business of Tutoring day was the most pertinent, we realise that this intersection between independent tutor and commercial understanding is key to our festival-goers and Community Members. We have recently launched the Business of Tutoring Hub within the Community, a collaborative space with weekly meet-ups and group workshops, as well as monthly coaching sessions, for current and future small tutoring business leaders to expand their knowledge and work alongside others in the field. You can register your interest and take advantage of the One-Month Free Trial that will run until early August 2021 by following qualified-tutor.typeform.com/to/EX9umiXO and completing the short form.
The overwhelming feeling that we were left with as the dust began to settle and the decorations were being packed away late on the Friday afternoon was that: we are ready to do it all over again in January 2022.
As the kind words and heartfelt messages poured in on that Friday afternoon and into the weekend, we sensed this could be a turning point in the lives of so many of those who attended some or all of the week.
Before even the final day of the Festival, we had begun preparations for the upcoming Business of Tutoring Hub to be held within the Qualified Tutor Community and to be led by a team of small tutoring business leaders and tutor coaches. This has now launched and interested tutors and tutoring business leaders can access the Hub free for the first month by visiting the Community and looking out for the ‘Business of Tutoring Hub’.
We can’t underestimate the overall effect this has had on the supportive and welcoming Qualified Tutor Community, the professional development community for tutors of all stages and subjects.
The Festival has given the Community an enormous boost, of numbers, energy and ideas.
We may find that this is the legacy of LTF 2021.
In terms of what we have learnt as a team, there has been a great deal of progress made. We have reviewed our systems in full. We have listened to our feedback and to the responses in the tutoring survey. We appreciate that the Festival Hub was tricky to navigate – we were cautious about posting Zoom links publicly or even by email as we wanted festival-goers to engage in the conversation and content within the Hub. We have learnt more about our own boundaries with regard to the scheduling and moments of less engagement within each day.
An online festival will always have to fit in and around the daily schedules of festival-goers and we will again be paying close attention to the schedules that tutors live by: the mid-afternoon school run, the 4-5pm post-school tutoring session, the 6-7pm dinner-time rush and more.
One area to watch out for will be that, as interest and participation in the Festival inevitably grows, the Festival Organisers remain committed to this central idea that individual events be treated as such; and that, while there will always be patterns and themes throughout a day, as mentioned above, not every event is for every tutor. Therefore, we encourage future festival-goers to read into the description and detail of the various events. We spend a good deal of time curating the Schedule and the list of speakers so that as many areas and aspects of tutoring are represented.
There will be something for everyone.
As with any first iteration of an event, there were things we missed, there were things we glossed over and there were things we could have done better. Overall though, we hope you agree that we delivered a packed schedule brimming with guidance, expertise and participation. We brought together speakers that many of you may not have connected with or seen before, and we put you in touch with tutors you otherwise would not have had the pleasure of meeting.
The next Festival, LTF2, will be held from Monday 24th – Friday 28th January 2022.
We’ll see you there.
With thanks to our Sponsors for making the entire event possible and for giving us the support and guidance required to make this the most important thing ever to happen in tutoring:
A huge thank you too to our team of Volunteers, to Jack Simmonds, Helen Osmond, Linda Larbi, Amanda Cremona, Sholto Millar, Melonie Ware and to Dan Wardle.
To our one-of-a-kind graphic designer, Ayala Malka, and to our tenacious VP of Sales, Jolyon White.
To Dave Harris, the man who makes the world go round behind the scenes at QT and to whom we send all our wishes for a speedy recovery.
To Carina Leney, Founder of Casa Marketing, who helped us to deliver a high-quality marketing strategy and who was there to keep our wild ideas in check every step of the way.
To Adrian Conway, who delivers our training courses with professionalism, panache and more than a touch of Cumbrian wit.
To Julia Silver, Founder and visionary leader of Qualified Tutor.
And of course, to you, our festival-goers, who made the week come alive and who showed us that what we’re doing is meaningful, valuable and timely.
Festival Director and QT CMO