App aims to bring security to private tuition

Only security-checked tutors will be available on Sophia, having first been subject to enhanced DBS and police checks

A new app has been launched with the aim of helping parents find security-checked private tutors.

Unlike classroom teachers, private tutors do not need to be checked by the Home Office’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Initially launched on iOS, with the Android version to follow, the app – Sophia  – promises “secure, flexible face-to-face, on-demand private education”, with all sessions covered by professional indemnity and public liability insurance.

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“There are now over 360,000 children in the UK receiving private tuition and shockingly, even though they are working with children, these tutors do not need to provide a background check,” said Sophia founder, Melissa McBride.

“As a mum and ex-teacher, I appreciate the value extra tuition can give your child, but I would like to be reassured that I am not putting my child at any risk.”

To that end, Sophia assesses all of its tutors before they are registered on the app, via interviews and verification of references, qualifications, ID and address.

Melissa McBride

Tutors are subject to enhanced DBS, police and overseas checks (if applicable) and obliged to complete a safeguarding awareness course. They are also required to sign a code of ethics.

Sophia is initially available in London, with a rollout planned across the UK as more tutors are enlisted.

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