Is your child falling behind? Find the right tutor

The right tutor can help children who have fallen behind catch up to their peers. Photo: Pexels
The right tutor can help children who have fallen behind catch up to their peers. Photo: Pexels

If your child has fallen behind while learning from home, you might be considering finding a tutor. But choosing the right tutor to meet your child's needs can be daunting.

Tutoring expert and Australian Tutoring Association co-founder Mohan Dhall said a parent could discern their child might need additional tuition when they see or are told by teachers their child is behind or ahead of same-age peers.

Parents should be aware of the usual developmental milestones to make an informed decision about whether there is a need for additional, targeted support. General information about where a child stands in relation to these milestones can be gained from looking at NAPLAN data received after Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 tests.

With the market for tutors becoming more saturated, parents must know how to select the right tutor for their child.

Here is some of Mr Dhall's expert advice to help your kids get the most out of their tuition.

Types of tutor

Mr Dhall said different children have different needs. Tutoring can be one-to-one, small group, large group or online. One-to-one tutors will prepare lessons for the individual student, tutoring centres have set homework and lessons, and coaching centres are focused on test performance.

Tutors should also be qualified for your child's age group - primary school tutors should have teacher training, and secondary tutors should be subject-matter experts.

Child protection

Mr Dhall said parents and caregivers should keep accountability and child protection in mind when choosing a tutor. All tutors should have a Working With Children Check and should welcome parent questions on safety.

Online tutors should record all online tutoring sessions make them available to parents. "Tutors who avoid accountability should be strictly avoided," he said.

Expected costs

Tuition can be expensive, so "it is important for parents to be careful who they are using to tutor their child," Mr Dhall said. Prices can vary from $10 per hour for group tuition to upwards of $150 per hour for a highly-skilled, experienced professional offering one-to-one support. Sometimes tuition centres charge on a term-by-term basis, usually between $400 and $800 per 10-week term.

Where to look

Now you know what to look for when choosing a tutor, where should you start your search? Steer clear of social media platforms or websites where tutors' credentials cannot be verified. "Several people have come to us reporting scams from these websites," he said. The ATA's website has a list of all its members. Members follow a code of conduct, have child protection clearances and qualifications verified, and receive training.

NAPLAN's surprising 2021 results

Despite concerns lockdown learning may leave kids lacking, preliminary NAPLAN results are "reassuring," the Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACRA) reported.

This year, more than 1.2 million students from over 9000 schools took part in the exams for the first time since 2019.

Surprisingly, the preliminary NAPLAN results reveal the COVID-19 pandemic has had no significant impact on students' literacy and numeracy at a national or state level.

The 2021 results were "not significantly different" to the 2019 results, said ACRA. Compared to 2008, reading, numeracy, and spelling for years 3 and 5 have notably improved.

"It is certainly a relief that we have not yet seen the significant declines that we may have expected due to school closures," federal Minister for Education and Youth, Alan Tudge, said.