Low SES schools get a helping hand

Media release

A pilot tutoring program designed to provide support to high school students in literacy and numeracy is making a positive difference, thanks to the dedication of Curtin University’s LinkUp committee.

The collaborative effort between Curtin’s Future Student Services and School of Education, recently completed at Southern River and Armadale high schools, provides mentoring help by volunteer Bachelor of Education students at low socioeconomic schools (SES).

The LinkUp Tutoring Program was set up in response to the 2009 Bradley Review’s recommendation for universities to increase undergraduate enrolments of traditionally underrepresented individuals and groups.

Acting Director for Future Students and Marketing, Tracy Armson, said the potential of a tutoring program to raise pre-tertiary performance and strengthen self-efficacy within schools had been discussed as part of the University Student Equity Strategy for 2010-13.

“Focus groups discussed included Indigenous peoples, regional and remote areas, young people with low NAPLAN results, mature age prospective students, as well as those in our community who are financially disadvantaged,” Ms Armson said.

Tutoring Program Coordinator and ex-classroom teacher, Saul Karnovsky, said his experience in teaching at SES communities had helped him to identify key requirements for the program.

“One-to-one help can provide a struggling student with much needed assistance, as often a teacher in a classroom of 25 or 30 students will find it difficult to spend enough time aiding those who have learning difficulties or lack core skills to process information,” Mr Karnovsky said.

“The added benefit is that our pre-service teachers can extend their learning as well as build their portfolio of teaching experience.”

Mr Karnovsky said tutoring support provided schools with a flexible pool of committed pre-service educators to share the burden placed on classroom teachers.

“Public schools are under enormous financial pressure, with very tight budgets to deliver curriculum and essential support services to students,” he said.

“In a classroom of up to 32 students, often education assistants are only provided to those most in need, such as students with physical impairments, and funding for support is dependent on the fluctuating numbers of enrolments.

“The LinkUp Tutoring Program is about helping to identify young people experiencing social, economic and other kinds of hardships and finding multiple solutions to increase their chances of success in life and formal learning situations.”

Over the coming weeks, Curtin’s LinkUp committee will collate evaluations by school principles, classroom teachers, students and candidates to inform the way in which the program can be implemented on a wider scale in 2011.

Contacts:

Saul Karnovsky
Tutoring Program Coordinator, Curtin University
Email: saul.karnovsky@curtin.edu.au  

Flavia Zeps
Curtin Link Up Co-coordinator, Curtin University
Email: f.zeps@curtin.edu.au 

Andrea Barnard, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 4241, Mobile: 0401 103 755, Email: andrea.barnard@curtin.edu.au  

Web: http://curtin.edu.au