T L C Live

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by T L C Live's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from T L C Live is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP


CEO Simon Barnes
An engaging online
TLC LIVE delivers real-time, online tuition to students of
all abilities and in all situations, including those in school,
“looked-after children”, hospitalised children, children
in alternative provision as well as those located in other
countries. The company is also increasingly being used to assist
unaccompanied minors to get their English language skills to
a level at which there are able to participate in society. These
are crucial functions, which Simon Barnes, TLC LIVE’s Chief
Executive Officer, discusses at length.
Our reason for being
As with all new businesses, you have to be alert to new opportunities and able
to act on them at any time. It was in 2011 that we first identified the potential
of online education. Online was looked at slightly suspiciously at the time – as
something unnecessarily “alternative” rather than truly innovative.
TLC LIVE, however, began life as a fixed location tuition business, mostly based in
state schools in the East Anglia region. When it became increasingly difficult to find
qualified teachers for after school centres, we looked at alternative ways we could
deliver our service. In 2011, we trialled online and gradually built that market, to
such an extent that, in 2013, we closed our last fixed location tuition site and went
fully online. Back then, our first month of online trading delivered 50 sessions; now,
however, we regularly do that in less than an hour.
»CEO: Simon Barnes
»Founded in 2011
»Based in the UK and Northern
»Services: Online tutoring
»Uses fully-qualified teachers
with background checks
»Has several thousand hours’
worth of lessons online
Highlighting best practice
I would like to take this
opportunity in expressing what
a brilliant service you provide
and I have been very impressed
with your prompt response in
sorting out any difficulties we
have encountered. The regular
tutors we’ve had have all been
outstanding, very patient, kind
and understanding and are an
absolute credit to the service you
offer. I would have no hesitation
in recommending your service to
any other parent.”
This online approach enables us to bring
to bear the expertise of our teachers,
wherever they may be, on the students,
wherever they may be. To give an
example of how remote we can get, we
have an excellent maths teacher who
lives on the Isle of Skye who regularly
teaches students in all parts of the
country and, indeed, often further afield.
Our wide remit
Using only fully qualified teachers
with full background checks, TLC LIVE
delivers lessons in maths, English,
science, EAL (English as an additional
language), geography, history and RE
to students from year 1 up to GCSE,
including retakes. Wherever the
student is – school, their house, a care
home or hospital – TLC LIVE can reach
them. Using our own content, we
deliver one-to-one real-time lessons at
a time that is convenient to the school,
care home or carer. One of our clients
was keen to point out that during her
son’s Easter revision, he expressed a
strong preference for TLC LIVE. The
parent, quite naturally, was especially
pleased to hear that this could take
place with total flexibility. This is the
power of online education.
Several thousand hours’
worth of content
From year 1 to GCSE
Our content,
with several
thousand hours
of lessons, has
been in
development for
over 15years
Why and how we excel
The success of TLC LIVE has
depended on three fundamentals:
the use of qualified teachers (both of
the founders are qualified teachers);
robust educational content; and
excellent customer service. The use
of fully qualified teachers (FQTs)
gives our customers and students
reassurance about the quality of
education being delivered. Our
teachers are trained to identify
areas students need to develop
further, which may not have been
flagged up during assessment. Being
an FQT, however, is not the only
requirement of our teachers; the
ability to teach online is a skill that
needs to be learned, and so too
the ability to build rapport with the
student that enables him or her to
grow in confidence. Our teachers
are specifically chosen and trained to
deliver in these areas.
Our content, with several thousand
hours of lessons, has been in
development for over 15 years; indeed,
it will never be finished, as we are
adding to it and updating it on a
daily basis. This enables us to keep
up to date with educational trends
and innovations as opposed to a text
book, which is out of date as soon as it
Our great customer service is regularly
commented on by our clients. The
speed with which we organise lessons
from the moment of referral to the
student engaging with a teacher can
be as little two hours. We monitor
lessons, and feedback is given by
the teacher after each lesson, which
the organisation responsible for the
student can access online through a
secure login. Attendance, engagement
and progress are also measured
– all of which are fed back to the
Business challenges
The challenges that we face still relate
to the lack of acceptance that online
is as good as face-to-face tutoring.
Although this view is changing
rapidly, it is still a barrier. I believe it
is something that government should
do more to address. Schools should
be encouraged to incorporate this
type of educational support into the
normal working school day, especially
as we can deliver tutoring at less than
half the price of standard face-to-face
tuition. Tax payers’ money should be
used carefully, and, because online
support can deliver the same or better
results, it should on this basis be used
more widely.
and progress
are also
measured – all
of which are
fed back to
the relevant
From a parental point of view, it has
worked really well, ensuring that the
student had ongoing teaching from
an expert. In addition, I was pleased
to see that he engaged his brain
and entered into a formal learning
conversation daily. It helped with his
mindset and gave a positive learning
structure to our day. His feedback
was that he enjoyed the lessons and
this style of learning, he liked the
teachers and the fact that he could
ask questions. He said it helped with
his confidence and concentration.”
Keeping up to date with
educational trends


This article was sponsored by T L C Live. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister