State school teachers are blatantly moonlighting as private tutors during the working day while their pupils are stuck at home missing out on an education, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Hundreds of teachers are offering tutorials for up to £95 an hour on video conferencing service Zoom, with some breaking rules that ban them from doing private work during the school day.
Several boasted of their availability during school hours to an undercover reporter posing as a parent seeking to hire their services, with one admitting: ‘I am not overloaded with work currently.’
Hundreds of teachers are offering tutorials for up to £95 an hour on video conferencing service Zoom, with some breaking rules that ban them from doing private work during the school day. Pictured: Stock photo of a teenage girl studying at home
Our findings will infuriate parents who are anxious about their children falling behind during lockdown and appalled by the intransigence of teaching unions who have obstructed Government efforts to reopen classrooms.
But there was no lack of eagerness from prospective tutors when The Mail on Sunday registered with the website Tutor Hunt.
Within minutes of signing up, a reporter was bombarded with messages from maths and English teachers.
Most said they could only work outside school hours, but others appeared happy to break the rules.
Omar, a ‘full-time mathematics teacher’ who boasts of being available all day for £95-an-hour lessons, was adamant that moonlighting would not clash with commitments at a secondary school.
‘At the moment I am working from home due to Covid-19, hence the all day [availability],’ he said.
Omar did not respond to a request for comment once we revealed out investigation.
Pavan, a maths teacher at a Birmingham secondary school, was also adamant that her £35 hour-long tutorials would not hamper his main job.
‘Yes I’m able to do school hours depending on time and day. I teach via Zoom. One-to-one at GCSE is £35,’ she said.
‘I am going into school but not everyday – we are on a rota basis –some days from home some from school. So Wednesday/Thursday will work well for me.’
Challenged later about her private work, Pavan said: ‘My tutor times would be school day but after my teaching hours are over.’ She then deleted her Tutor Hunt account.’
In Enfield, North London, Irini, a ‘full time English teacher, is available to provide £37.50-an-hour GCSE English lessons on any school day apart from Monday.
‘My school has not reopened fully which means I am more available to provide online support,’ she wrote in a message.
Ben, another secondary school English teacher whose hourly rate is £35, was even more flexible.
‘For the rest of this academic year, I am able to complete online tutoring in school hours as I am not overloaded with work currently.’
Later requests to Irini and Ben for comment went unanswered.
Critics condemned the ‘racket’ of online tutoring and said it would only ‘widen the gulf’ in education between the richest and poorest children.
Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: ‘This is an outrageous abuse of lockdown.
A recent study by the National Foundation for Educational Research found four in ten pupils have had little or no contact with teachers during lockdown. Pictured: Stock picture of a child studying at home on a laptop
These are teachers abrogating their responsibilities in favour of making money. I feel sorry for the talented, hard-working teachers who have thought up imaginative ways of teaching pupils during lockdown and whose efforts have been undermined by these few rotten apples.’
A recent study by the National Foundation for Educational Research found four in ten pupils have had little or no contact with teachers during lockdown.
Meanwhile, a headteacher in Sunderland was suspended last month for suggesting that some of her staff had been lazy.
Pauline Wood, who transformed Grange Park primary from ‘inadequate’ to ‘outstanding’, said: ‘Some teachers are coming up with the most imaginative, amazing things and other people do sit at home doing nothing.’
Despite union opposition, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson last week confirmed all schools will reopen in September. Primaries will have ‘bubbles’ of more than 30 children, allowing the return of full classes, and secondaries may operate ‘whole year bubbles’ of more than 200 children.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: ‘Teachers can’t take on additional contracts of work for any time they are required to be available for work with their school. We would expect headteachers to appropriately manage their teachers’ workloads while they are working from home.’
Teachers in academies are not bound by the same national terms and conditions, but the spokesperson said most academies chose to mirror them.