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More details needed for tutoring program: IEU

The Independent Education Union (IEU) of Australia has welcomed the $337 million school tutoring program that is being rolled out by the NSW Government.

The funding is for tutoring of small groups of disadvantaged students whose learning has been adversely impacted by COVID-19.

The IEU has urged the NSW Government to involve teachers at every stage to ensure the program’s success.

“The union believes classroom teachers are integral to identifying the students most in need of help and identifying the tuition’s focus,” IEUA NSW/ACT branch secretary Mark Northam said.

The funding is available throughout the 2021 school year to support tutoring of groups of up to five, and is expected to reach 290,000 students and involve thousands of staff in both primary and secondary schools.

However, Northman said there needs to be clarity about pay rates for tutors, and a clear understanding of how funds will be allocated,.

“The union believes priority for tutoring work should be given to casual teachers who are already known to a school and its students, or current part-time teachers who are seeking more hours.  Existing enterprise agreements should apply,” he said.

“There should be close collaboration between the classroom teacher and the tutor and release time should be provided to the class teacher to allow for this.”

The Grattan Institute specialists reinforces Northman’s comments, stating: “teachers are likely to be swamped this year, and education departments should provide extra support to help teachers guide tutors as needed”.

IEU reported that most of the $337 million will go to government schools, with about $31 million allocated to non-government schools with the greatest levels of need.

As a result, 45 per cent of Catholic systemic schools in NSW will receive about $20 million between them.

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