School stories

School experiences with Small Group Tuition

The Small Group Tuition program (SGT) provides literacy and numeracy support for students needing additional support in NSW primary, secondary and specialist schools. ​

Schools are encouraged to use a variety of department assessments including NAPLAN and check-in to support the identification of students to receive literacy and/or numeracy intervention. A program of support is then developed to cater for the learning needs of the student.

Each school identifies their own students to receive support and develops a program suitable for their needs. The vast diversity of schools in NSW means that each one is at a different stage of program implementation. School leaders and educators are collaborating and learning from the unique journeys that others have taken so far.

Read about first-hand Directors Educational Leadership, principal, coordinator, teacher and school experiences of small group tuition from across the state.

“‘Schools are being very strategic with their use of funding and are ensuring sustainability of practice and learning is part of their long-term planning… Results are already being seen and most of the schools in this network are using PLAN2 as their preferred way of managing the program.”

“We are holding a parent/carer celebration afternoon tea for our first group of students to share their success. We are now looking to build the capability of our LaSTs and a few more tutors to scale up our program prototype to reach more students.”

“The school leadership team is considering data sets to inform the selection of students and have introduced ‘collaboration days’ into the school calendar to enable additional educators and classroom teachers to connect...”

So far, schools have also found the information on the Small Group Tuition digital platforms to be accessible, relevant and invaluable to growing the program.

“We have accessed the website extensively to unpack what is required in Small Group Tuition. The sample models of delivery have helped shape our thinking in terms of what we will do within our school context.”

“I have created draft versions of small group tuition timetables to present to the executive team in terms of what will work best for our context. These drafts were built drawing upon the research advice cited on the Small Group Tuition website.”

“Using the website [was] the first ‘go to’ for additional educators to familiarise themselves with the program. [We] believe engaging with the available research on the website is paramount to a foundational understanding of the program for additional educators.”

School case studies

Read stories from schools that have implemented the program in their school.

The whole school focuses on literacy and numeracy in this Newcastle school.

Glendale Technology High School is a large 7-12 co-educational school near Newcastle in the Lake Macquarie region. It has approximately 800 students with around 15% identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Its strong links with TAFE ensure that it provides comprehensive effective Vocational Education and Training programs with a focus on utilisation of technology across the school.

Small group tuition is a priority program with a designated Head Teacher (Student Improvement) position created to coordinate and oversee the program. Several dedicated teachers have been employed to form the Small Group Tuition delivery team.

The SGT team leveraged the existing school Learning and Support processes for referrals and identification of students suitable for inclusion in the program.

Tuition is delivered during school hours and is timetabled in collaboration with classroom teachers to ensure students do not miss out on key learning areas. Literacy students are withdrawn from class and Numeracy students are offered in-class support.

The school developed 28 groups and 27 Areas of Focus to track student progress using Literacy and Numeracy Progressions. This information is analysed regularly and used to develop progression indicators as areas of focus for each tuition cycle.

Before, during and after data is displayed on a data wall to track growth and improvement and to celebrate success. An individual student profile is developed for each student based on identified strengths and needs and this is clearly communicated to all teachers.

Improvements in both Literacy and Numeracy for all students in the program and increased student engagement and behaviour have been highlighted as strengths of the program.

Orange East Public School is supporting approximately 120 students through the Small Group Tuition program.

Small group tuition is delivered during school hours either within or outside the classroom, depending on student needs with the school focusing on both literacy and numeracy.

To identify students for the program, the school holds stage-based data meetings (once per term) where students are considered for inclusion in the program.

The Instructional Leader, Assistant Principal, and Learning and Support Team designed a tuition program to meet the needs of the students with the school initiating a “Consult” stage which involves discussion with classroom teachers to select relevant literacy and numeracy learning programs.

Educators delivering small group tuition keep a learning support plan where they summarise pre-and post-test findings for each student, outline their teaching strategies for small group tuition, and suggest next steps for each student.

Teaching in public schools across Illawarra was disrupted due to school closures caused by the floods

Warrawong High School is a culturally diverse secondary school in the Lake Illawarra North network with 545 students. 46% of students have a language background other than English and 11% identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Student families represent 25 different nationalities and the school houses the region's Intensive English Centre, which supports both refugee and international students as they enter Australia. Warrawong High School also has a large and dynamic Special Education Unit, supporting students with a diverse range of abilities.

The school established a Small Group Tuition team and developed a plan to prototype withdrawal from class: 28 Year 9 students In-class support: For Year 7 students. Tuition was delivered in three 50-minute lessons per week.

Formative assessments were used to monitor student progress. The school combined feedback from students (which included a pre-program questionnaire, a mid-point check, and an end of program survey) that provided additional details around focus areas and allowed staff to deliver tuition tailored to student needs. A strong focus on evaluation informed next steps and reporting.

The school has regular ongoing communication with families about the program and student progress. Quantitative and qualitative data indicates that the withdrawal from class tuition for Year 9 students has been highly successful.

As well as experiencing COVID-19 shutdowns, Woy Woy South Primary School on the NSW Central Coast also experienced some of the highest daily rainfall totals in the state.

Despite its challenges, the school under the guidance of its Principal Matt Barr and Deputy Principal Sandra Lappan, ensured that Small Group Tuition was integrated into the school's business as usual.

Woy Woy South Public School is a K-6 school in the Brisbane Water network and Koorana Local AECG with a student population of 590 students including 43 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

Small Group Tuition, with its literacy and numeracy focus, is being delivered to students (Years K-6) with the greatest need in line with the School Vision and Strategic Directions.

The school employed teachers with expertise in literacy and numeracy to deliver the program and created 16 groups with 8 focus areas.

An individual plan is developed for each student based on their identified strengths and needs. Student observations are entered as part of each learning cycle and are used to create learning goals and growth with achievements recorded.

Data collection is an essential element in the identification of students and the ongoing monitoring of students using the teaching and learning cycle.

The school used ongoing formative assessments to monitor student progress using the Literacy and numeracy progressions. Educators delivering small group tuition keep a learning support plan where they summarise pre-and post-test findings for each student, outline their teaching strategies for small group tuition, and suggest next steps for each student, this is saved and shared at fortnightly meetings with teachers and communicated to parents.

Work for the department? Find out more about the program on the Small Group Tuition program guidelines webpage. For program enquiries contact us via email at


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