‘I am thinking of starting a tuition centre – what advice can you give me?’
This question has been sent in to me several times over the last few years, and I have usually obliged with a reply. Some of them are in previous posts of this blog.
The case of the would-be starter and the support that might be offered to them came up for discussion at the national gathering of the Association of Professional Tuition Centres (APTC) in Warwick recently (8 May).
Why? Because new members are needed as established members approach their retirement – and because one of the core functions of the Association should be the sharing and passing on of experience.
So, as an APTC member of 5 years (which is as long as the APTC has been in existence) let me put before you – a hypothetical starter of a new centre – what you might encounter if you were to track the APTC for a little while.
First, the APTC is a small organisation of about 25 centres, most of which had previously been functioning under a franchise called Kip McGrath. Unlike the franchise however, the APTC is not for profit – that is to say, although members all have profitable centres – some smaller, some larger – the funds of the APTC (from subscriptions of £60 per centre per year) are very modest. Save for ordinary expenses APTC work is unpaid – carried out by committee members in the main.
The chief event of the year, you would find, is the Midlands AGM, which has a social and celebratory side (not paid for out of funds) as well as business and housekeeping. Business might range from constitutional issues, finances and website management to recruitment, resources and the make-up of the committee.
As a listener-in to the meeting, you would probably be bored with much of the detail, but what you would, hopefully, realise is that the skills required for running a tuition centre should be perfectly attainable by any individual or couple with the following attributes: a few years of teaching experience, an appreciation of the curricula (primary and secondary), a personable manner and a local knowledge (of schools).
The rest, you would probably surmise, would be down to your good humour, patience, perseverance and dedication.
I hope you would come away from the meeting feeling confident of your calling for the challenge, and having made the acquaintance of a friendly member or two whom you could afterwards visit at their centres: to get the feel of tuition in practice and see the resources we use etc.
Who knows, within a year you might be on the way to success as a member of the APTC yourself?