Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below answers to some of the most common questions we receive. Feel free to pick up the phone or get in touch if you have any further queries.

I am unable to make a lesson one week. Will I have to pay for it?

No, you will not be charged for lessons you do not use. Courses are flexible to take account of holidays and illness etc. and lessons can be rescheduled for another convenient date and time. We only ask that you give your tutor 24 hours notice to cancel the session otherwise it will be charged at the full lesson rate.

My company is going to pay for my lessons. Are you able to invoice them?

Yes, we can arrange for your company to be invoiced directly for an agreed block of lessons as long as the tuition has been approved.

How do I pay?

The Language Machine takes payment on behalf of your tutor leaving them to concentrate on tutoring you. Payment for all lessons is made in advance for an agreed number of sessions. Payment can be made by card, cheque or bank transfer. Payments can be made easily and securely via an online Student Zone, where you can also monitor how many lessons you have used and how many you have remaining.

Students are able to purchase an initial trial block of 3 lessons to make sure they are happy with their tutor. Subsequent lessons are usually paid in minimum blocks of 6 or 12. No refunds are made for any unused lessons after they have been purchased.

At the end of your pre-paid block, tuition will carry on as usual unless you’ve given us the required one weeks notice, and you will need to get in touch to purchase more lessons.

The Language Machine is an agency and we collect fees for lessons on behalf of our tutor.

Do your prices include travel costs?

The prices seen on our pricing page include reasonable travel expenses. For example, if you have a London or Brighton postcode then there would not normally be an extra charge for travel expenses. In some cases, however, your tutor may have to travel a greater distance and for these an agreed travel charge for the tutor may need to be added on a case by case basis. Students would be notified of this before tuition commences.

How much does private tuition cost?

We try to be as transparent as we can on lesson costs. Moreover we do not charge a registration fee. Prices vary depending on a number of factors including the duration of the lesson and also how many students the lessons are for. Lessons with more students work out cheaper per person. Also as we work as an agent for tutors, occasionally some tutors choose to charge a lower or higher rate than our published rates. Visit our pricing page to have more detailed information about different rates.

Do you charge a registration fee?

No. We do not charge a registration fee. All our prices are transparent and published on our web site.

Are your language tutors police checked?

Some of the tutors we work with have been CRB/DBS checked. If this is a requirement then please let us know before we check availability for you.

What is different about your tutors?

All the tutors we work with are qualified language tutors. The vast majority hold a specific qualification to teach their native language which is similar to a TEFL, are degree educated, and have plenty of experience teaching their chosen language.

Most tutors are native speakers although we also work with some excellent non-native tutors who meet our exacting standards.

As well as holding the required qualifications to teach their language, we choose the most likeable, personable and professional tutors. Unlike many other organisations we keep in constant touch with the tutors to ensure they are providing their students with the best service.

We are happy to work with them and students benefit from learning in a friendly and professional environment.

Can you supply references?

We have a page of testimonials from students. We can also provide longer references on request from current or former students who have used our tutor arrangement service.

Can I take an exam?

Our tutors can tailor your training to gain a qualification. Our tutors have helped hundreds of students pass with flying colours examinations such as GCSEs, A Levels, IB exams, DELE, Goethe Institut exams, etc.

Do you provide materials such as books?

Your tutor will provide basic handouts and photocopies. We recommend, though, that students purchase a textbook for the lessons.  Your tutor will be able to give you guidance on the best option for you.

I never liked learning at school, will private tuition be different?

Private tuition is nothing like school! All lessons whether for pleasure or business will take place in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Our tutors are all professionals and will do their best to put you at ease and make your learning experience enjoyable and fun. Many GCSE and A-level students benefit greatly from private tuition as it takes them out of the classroom environment which they find intimidating.

How long are the lessons?

Most students find that a lesson for 1.5 hours is about right, although some prefer a longer 2 hour lesson. Some younger students or those who do not have much time opt for 1 hour sessions. For intensive learners we can arrange longer sessions.

How many lessons do I need?

This depends on why you want to learn and what your aims are and we can discuss this with you. Ideally students should try and take two lessons per week as this helps to reinforce learning, although we understand that some people do not have the time. The important thing is to complete any homework you have been given and practice a little and often.

As a rough estimate, for beginners who are looking to attain a basic level where they can get by in a foreign country will usually need around 18 hours of tuition.

Where can I have private tuition?

Private tuition can be arranged at either your home, office or other suitable location. We have a network of tutors across the UK and aim to cover all areas. In some cases we may be able to arrange for you to travel to the tutor’s home to have your lessons.

Are you able to arrange tuition for staff at my company?

Yes, we can arrange for a tutor to come to your office and teach one-to-one or in small groups. We don’t normally recommend classes of more than 10 students.

Do your tutors teach children?

Many of tutors have lots of experience teaching children and we are able to arrange tuition for any age from pre-school through to A-level. For GCSE and A-level we allocate tutors who are familiar with the National Curriculum and can help your child achieve the highest grades.

Can I learn with friends or colleagues?

Yes. Learning with friends or colleagues is a great way to learn as you will be able to interact in class with role-plays and also practise with each other after classes. It is also more cost effective to learn in a group.

When I am able to have lessons?

We are able to arrange a tutor for you at any reasonable time from early morning through to the evening. Most tutors are also available at weekends.

How do I know what level I am?

Your level will be assessed either by staff at The Language Machine or your tutor will contact you prior to your first lesson to assess your level and needs. You will not only be tested for your level, but also for the best way to learn taking into account your learning style and interests.

Which languages can I learn?

We aim to teach all languages!

How does private tuition work?

We work as an agent for hundreds of fully qualified language tutors throughout the UK and we are able to arrange for a tutor to teach you at your home, office or other convenient location. Before starting your tuition course we will speak with you about your level and motivation for learning a language so we can allocate a tutor we believe is best suited to you. Once you start tuition you arrange classses each week with your tutor.

There are three ways to get in touch and arrange tuition:

When can I start private tuition?

This depends on tutor availability, but we aim to arrange your first lesson within 7 days. For urgent enquiries we should be able to arrange a tutor more quickly.

What are the benefits of private tuition?

Private tuition is the fastest and most effective way to learn a language. Private tuition can be tailored to your exact needs whether you are learning for pleasure, business or an academic qualification. You can learn at the days and times you choose and the lesson duration can be specific to your needs. If you need to cancel a lesson one week that’s fine as long as you give your tutor 24 hours notice.

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