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Founder Robert Grabiner road-tested with his daughter Rachael

Online tutoring market booms

An online tutoring service is now facilitating hundreds of tutorials each month, reflecting growth that is beginning to mirror the US market

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | February 18, 2014 | International founder Robert Grabiner believes that the traditional UK tutoring market is ripe to be disrupted by online tutoring as parents become increasingly aware of the benefits: primarily greater affordability, broader choice and the convenience of not having to travel to sessions.

“Enhancements in technology and improvements in broadband speed and connectivity across the country over the last few years have created new opportunities for online tutoring providers. We meet the needs of parents who want high quality support for their children at an affordable price or who aren’t able to drive them to and from sessions,” said Robert.

“We have also seen a lot of interest from parents who home-school their children: the fact that tutorials are online enables these parents to cherry-pick days, times and subjects in a way that wasn’t previously possible.”

Robert believes that the UK is set to experience an explosion in the online tutoring market similar to that predicted in the United States.

“For myself and other UK online tutoring providers, the indications are there that this is a burgeoning industry. The research we did prior to mytutorweb’s launch last year told us that there was a market, but if anything we underestimated demand. This led to us needing to raise some capital through an SEIS scheme which has enabled us to grow more quickly than we’d originally anticipated.”

It is likely that 2014 will see other corporates entering the UK market, which Robert believes “will increase awareness of online tutoring and fuel further growth.”

Launched in January 2013, is completely unique: every session is one-to-one, bespoke for that child and led by a high-achieving student currently studying at a Russell Group University. Interest has been strong: on an average day, four new parents seeking tutors for their child sign up to the service, which has facilitated over 3,500 sessions since its launch. It has also received applications from over 2,000 university students but has only accepted around 10 per cent due to an interview process that identifies those with a combination of subject expertise, appropriate motivation and exceptional communication skills. draws schoolchildren from a broad range of backgrounds – from inner city to the top boarding schools. The service has also received unexpected international interest: “Our university students are tutoring young people in Qatar, Gibraltar, Bermuda and China, even though we have not been actively promoting it in these markets,” Robert said.

Anne Cook whose daughter Valley is receiving English tuition from Oxford University student Laura Clash, said: “Laura has been helping my daughter with her iGCSE Language and Literature exams. I am really happy and grateful to have found her. Laura is very skilled at getting to the crux of the problem and providing advice and guidance that is easy to understand. She is also always very well-prepared for her tutorials even when Valley hasn't always completed her homework! We are a home educating family and Laura's flexibility fits with our unconventional timetable.”

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